21st century Cold War

Originally published in pakistan today
The writer is a clinical psychologist and can be contacted at annieaman052@gmail.com.

The world has gone through a number of different important phases. The treaty of Westphalia paved the way for the creation of sovereign nation states. After this, a new power competition among different states started and as a result, news alliances and treaties were made by different countries in order to increase their sphere of influence and hegemony in the world. Followed by different alliances and counter alliances, the world witnessed two great wars that further played a role in determining the future of the world. The Cold War started at the end of the World War II. Though it was not fought with weapons, it was the most dangerous and fearful war that kept the world divided into two different camps for a long period of time.

Since the end of the 20th century Cold War, USA ruled the world and never felt reluctant to take any step to secure its own national interests (such as American invasion of Iraq without the permission of the UN). Moreover when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the USA promised that NATO would not move closer to the boarders of Russia, but this promise was broken with the inclusion of a few neighbour countries of Russia such as Czech Republic and Hungry into NATO. At that time, Russia was not strong enough to retaliate. Now the situation has completely changed as a number of new states have emerged not only economically but also politically. Now the uni-polarity has ended with the emergence of the UK, Germany, China, Russia and India on the stage of the world.

Now we are living in a multi-polar world. Owing to all these factors, the 21st century is witnessing another cold war but it is a bit different from that of the last century. This new cold war is not limited to just two countries. American isolationist policies and the failure of America to overthrow the regime of Bashar al Asad in Syria have opened the ways for Russia to create her sphere of influence in the region. Russia has strengthened ties with Egypt and Qatar. If the Middle Eastern countries show more tilt towards Russia, European countries will have to lift all the sanctions that are imposed on Moscow. NATO has started military buildup near the eastern boarder of Ukraine. It is imperative to note that to create sphere of influence over the Mediterranean and the Baltic regions is an old desire of Russia that is still pursued in their policies. The Baltic region has become a major flashpoint between the USA and Russia on account of their massive military buildups in the region.

The role of Germany and the United Kingdom has changed in global politics. In a nutshell, our world has become a global village and globalisation has become a never ending phenomenon

NATO rockets have been placed in Czech Republic and Poland. The military presence of NATO in the Baltic States could further prompt Russia to increase military presence in the region. Both countries sound increasingly belligerent and dangerous. Their military rhetoric is increasing and it could further deteriorate the conditions of the world. All these factors show that Russia is once again ready to challenge the hegemony of America. Moreover, South Asian countries always have played a major role in determining the geopolitics of the region. The nature of alliances and counter alliances has changed with the emergence of new power competition among the developed and the new emerging states

America has always tilted towards Pakistan but new power politics has made America develop amicable relations with India. On the other hand, Russia, China and Pakistan are now in the same camp. It is a well known fact that there are no permanent friends and foes when it comes to national interests and that is why alliances are being reviewed. Russian relations with Afghanistan have always been on an unstable trajectory. A number of interests have played their role in shaping Russian relations with Afghanistan. One of the major interests of Russia in Afghanistan is to get access to warm waters. Both countries fought a long war in the 20th century.

Russia is emerging as a formidable power so it has decided to redefine its relationship with the Afghan Taliban. Russia has already connected herself with Afghanistan through railways and roads. Russia is planning to get access to the Persian Gulf through Chabahar. All such factors have decreased American influence in the South Asian countries. Moreover, the Munich speech of Putin that was delivered in 43rd Munich Conference is considered as the beginning of a new cold war between Russia and America. Besides, the Belt and Road initiative has changed the fate of China and now it is being considered as another major player of this new cold war.

A new competition has emerged between China and America. China has also challenged the hegemony of America. One important aspect of this new cold war is pivot to Asia policy of America that was introduced by the President Barrack Obama. Now America has realised the fact that China is working hard to take the front seat on the stage of world leadership. Owing to all these factors, a tussle has started between both countries. President Trump vows to make America great again but instead of making it great he is on the way to make it isolated. On the other hand, China is on the way to replace America as the most powerful country. It has started its involvement in Afghanistan. China has blithely ignored the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration over the issue of South China Sea and its islands. China has decided not to compromise over disputed island of South China Sea such as Paracel, Spratly, Scarboroshole. America cannot resolve the North Korean issue without the willingness and help of china. Despite the fact that the UN has imposed sanction on North Korea, China still trades with it because it is in its interests. Now China has started increasing defence capabilities.

Moreover, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor has diminished the influence of America in Pakistan. The level of confrontation between India and China has increased since the Doklam conflict. It is believed that whoever controls the Indian Ocean will control the whole region. So bothIndia and China are trying to take control of most of the islands in the Indian Ocean. Now India is ready to build a military base in the Seychelles to counter the influence of China. India took this decision after the inauguration of China’s first military base in Djibouti. Besides, the role of Germany and the United Kingdom has changed in global politics. In a nutshell, our world has become a global village and globalisation has become a never ending phenomenon.

It must not be forgotten that power struggle always remained a major aspect of the foreign policy of the developed and emerging countries. These new dimensions of power struggle have paved the way for the new cold war that includes a number of countries and their objectives are not limited to just one dimension but also include new strategic relations, maritime and nuclear competition. But we hope that this new cold war will end peacefully.

Author: Annie Aman

I am a psychologist and writer.

One thought on “21st century Cold War”

  1. Interesting views. The analysis is bias in its dependency of vague aspects of militarism. Personally I see no timeframe for a resurgence of any cold war. There are doubtless threats to world peace and the new emerging world order presents universal challenges not least in energy demand and automation. Hydrocarbon suppliers are on a downward slope. Emerging economies, whose only advantage is cheap Labour will feel the impact of robotics. Whilst it is still a valid trueism of Henry Ford, that robots don’t buy cars, the industrialisation of third world economies in the face of large scale robotics and shift to alternative energy could bring their prospects and the quality of life of the populous, to a shuddering halt. Trade agreements are therefore the hot topic. There is little to be gained on subjecting international relations to the yardstick of thermodynamics. Where is the guage now on the thermometer of the cold war? I suggest absolute zero is neither achievable or desirable.

    Liked by 1 person

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