"I’m a Cold War Historian. We’re in a Frightening New Era,” historian Mary Elise Sarotte titles her guest essay for the New York Times published March 1. The Johns Hopkins University professor concluded that whatever the outcome, the invasion of Ukraine heralds a new era of major hostilities with Moscow.
Noting that she feared that the New Cold War would be much worse than the first, Sarotte goes on to state in another essay penned for the Financial Times, that she saw the invasion of Ukraine as a "requiem" for the post-Soviet peace order in Europe.
The Ukraine war is the frontline of the global power struggle that has been raging between the U.S., China, and Russia. In this context, Washington’s geopolitical goal is to ensure that relations between Russia and the EU remain at their worst in an attempt to get Europe to be fully dependent on the U.S. again.
The invasion of Ukraine became a pretext that facilitated America’s objective, also prompting European countries that were previously on the fence to alter their stance on Russia. Indeed, the invasion united the U.S., NATO, and the EU.
The invasion also resulted in a geopolitical fissure: it now seems extremely difficult to return to the old order. No one can predict where things are heading. The uncertainty only adds to the chaotic nature of the times we’re living in.
The Ukraine war has also become the kiss of life needed by the neocons, who are among the most fervent supporters of the American Military-Industrial Complex. Products of the former Cold War, neocons have now become the godfathers of the New Cold War. Prominent neocon Elliott Abrams penned an article in the National Review earlier this month, titled "The New Cold War," outlining how the Ukrainian war is contextualized from a neocon perspective.
According to Abrams, the Russia-China axis is the biggest threat to the global order and American hegemony. He goes on to argue that China has allied itself with Russia in the Ukraine war, noting that this partnership is tantamount to the non-aggression pact signed between “Hitler Germany” and “Stalin Russia” in 1939: “Putin and Xi should remind us of Hitler and Stalin in the days of the Nazi-Soviet pact.” Abrams also describes cooperation between China and Russia as the harbinger of a new alliance that aims to go beyond the Cold War.
Abrams, who thinks the military spending of the U.S.—and its allies—is far below where it should be, wants more money to pour into the coffers of arms dealers. He also wants restrictions on fossil fuels and nuclear weapons to be lifted, claiming these views weaken the U.S. and strengthen its enemies.
Stating his belief that Russian nuclear power deterrence signifies allowing Moscow to re-establish the Soviet Empire, Abrams wants the United States to send more weapons and troops to Eastern European countries.
Abrams claims that unless Putin is deterred, NATO countries will be targeted by Russia. Thus, Washington must lead the way to end Europe's energy dependence on Russia. In this context, Abrams argues that the United States must not withdraw from the Middle East.
Abrams compared the invasion of Ukraine to the German sinking of the Lusitania cruise ship on May 7, 1915. The Germans had declared that British passenger and cargo ships would be targeted on grounds that they were carrying weapons and ammunition. In this attack, which took place during the First World War, 1,195 passengers, 128 of whom were American, were killed.
The sinking of the ship started a chain of events that led to the United States joining the war. Even if it was an intelligence error, the attack created the perception that Germany was indeed a force that had to be stopped, while also fanning anti-German sentiment in the United States. This analogy of Abrams sheds light on the kind of future the Neocons were preparing the world for.
Seeing the world as the stage of the struggle between “good” and “evil,” Abrams says, “This new struggle has been thrust upon us by Russia and China; there is no escaping it. Strength will be rewarded and weakness will be punished. The days of easy American preponderance have come to an end.”
Abrams, who is among the senior members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a highly influential think-tank specialized in American foreign policy, ended his article as follows: “For the next few decades we will have to work hard to keep the global balance of forces from turning against us.”