Will history remember President Obama more for Cold War 2.0 than the Middle East Wars ?

The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others) and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact). Historians have not fully agreed on the dates, but 1947–1991 is common.

Cold War II, also known as the Second Cold War, New Cold War, and Colder War, is a term appearing in the 2010s to refer to the renewed ongoing tensions, hostilities, and political rivalry between the Putin-led Russian Federation on one hand, and the state representatives of entities such as the G7 and NATO on the other hand, chiefly influenced by United States and Germany.

In 2012, Russian General Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov threatened that if the United States were to deploy an anti-ballistic missile shield in Poland and Czech Republic, Russia would respond by deploying Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. After a four-year stint as Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency and began to promote a new brand of ideology known as Putinism, which promotes conservative Russian values and opposition to the West, particularly the United States. By the early 2010s, polls from the Levada Center showed that Russians viewed the United States, Georgia, and the Baltic states as Russia’s greatest enemies.

Relations got really bad with the Ukraine-Russia war. The US and Europe have applied economic and other sanctions on Russia.

Just in the last few days, Russia has revised its military doctrine for the first time since 2010. Decrying what it sees as Western efforts to turn Ukraine into a “front line of confrontation,” the revised doctrine would allow for Russia to deploy precision conventional weapons “as part of strategic deterrent measures” against what it sees as its principal threat: NATO.

In July 2014, the United States formally accused Russia of having violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by testing a prohibited medium-range ground-launched cruise missile and threatened to retaliate accordingly.

The US government’s October 2014 report claimed that Russia had 1,643 nuclear warheads ready to launch (an increase from 1,537 in 2011) – one more than the US, thus overtaking the US for the first time since 2000; both countries’ deployed capacity being in violation of the 2010 New START treaty that sets a cap of 1,550 nuclear warheads. Even before 2014, the US had set about implementing a large-scale program, worth up to a trillion dollars, aimed at overall revitalization of its atomic energy industry, which includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers and construction of such sites as the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Facility in New Mexico and the National Security Campus in south Kansas City.

Russian espionage activities in the West under Putin had been reported to have reached the height of the Cold War levels years before the Ukraine crisis, according to official sources.

For their part, the US and its major allies had been aggressively building up their intelligence-gathering capabilities since the 9/11 attack, with the US intelligence budget having doubled by 2013.

Military budgets seem to be heading upwards in Russia and Europe. Tanks are other weapon systems are being modernized and procurement increased. This seems likely to continue for many years if not decades.

Middle East Wars

The United States on Monday stood by plans to halve the number of its troops in Afghanistan this year and reduce them further in 2016 following Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s suggestion that President Barack Obama review his deadline.

But Ghani’s comment adds to a growing debate over whether the White House will stick to its plans, already amended twice, of cutting U.S. troops to about 5,000 by the end of this year and drawing down to a “normal” U.S. embassy presence in Kabul at the end of 2016.

Ghani may have also given political cover to Obama should the president decide he needs to renege on his withdrawal pledge to preserve shaky gains made over 13 years of war and to avoid a collapse of local forces that Iraq witnessed last year.

The U.S. war against Iraq ended officially Dec. 31, 2011, but it has now metamorphosed into Washington’s air war against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. There are increasing hints U.S. ground troops may be sent in this year. (3,000 American military advisers are already there and 1,500 allied troops are expected soon.)

The U.S., British, French war against Libya ended with regime change in 2011, but this oil-rich country is now engaged in civil wars, and is evidently falling apart. In addition, the Islamic State has established a foothold in Libya. It is likely the U.S. covertly or openly will intervene to safeguard its interests.

Washington has supported the regime-change war against Syria for three years, politically and financially.

There are also “drone wars” in Yemen, western Pakistan, Somalia or other countries.

SOURCES – wikipedia, reuters, global research, national interest

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