Reaching Russia

Hard Truths About the Third Cold War

Still talking, for now: Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Russia has turned away from the West and become imperial and suspicious. Europe must formulate a policy to deal with the new reality, the author says.

  • Facts


    • NATO has expressed concern about recent reports that Russia is increasing its military presence in Syria.
    • President Vladimir Putin says he wants to bolster Russia’s arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons.
    • The Nord Stream pipeline is one of the few examples of positive cooperation between Russia and Europe.
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NATO has said it is concerned about Russia expanding its operations in Syria. Vladimir Putin is blatantly backing Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, his old ally, in the face of Western opposition.

We are living in the Third Cold War.

The first phase of this war lasted from 1946 to 1968. The second was from 1978 to 1986. This final stage began in 2014. Since then, the relationship between the West and Moscow has been characterized by renewed conflict and confrontation.

We have so far managed to avoid escalating the Ukraine crisis – not least thanks to Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. But it is once more conceivable that there will be war in the heart of Europe. A look at recent history, and a closer study of how the previous Cold War tensions were handled, will help us learn how to avoid this conflict.

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