Cold war 2.0 between Russia and US has begun and history has come back again to haunt the world.
In February 1945, when the 2nd world war had entered its ending phase, three heads of states i.e., Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, reached Crimea to sort out a plan for the organization of Europe after the ultimate end of war. This sitting was called Yalta conference and it was a complete failure.
After the war, Europe got divided into two camps: American camp and the Soviet camp. These camps were referred to as western alliance and eastern alliance respectively. Some years later these alliances took the shape of proper defense agreement by the names of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led by United States and Warsaw Pact led by Soviet Union.
USA and Russia along with their allies fought a cold war in the next four decades for the role of an undisputed global super power. This was a period of geopolitical tension around the world. By 1961, 40 countries all over the globe had joined American camp while more than 15 had joined the Soviet alliance. Yet there were a significant number of states who owed their fealty to no bloc and preferred to stay nonaligned.
The two superpowers never fought each other directly as it would have been a harbinger of a nuclear war. Such nuclear war was mutually assured destruction for both states. Still, they did check each other’s might in the proxy wars fought in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Congo. These proxy wars ended with regime changes and the installation of a puppet government by the winning party. The war ended in 1991 with the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
But history is repeating itself after three relatively peaceful decades. A cold war between US and Russia has again started, and America, this time, seems to be at the receiving end.
The events happening in the international political realm clearly elucidate that Cold war 2.0 will be more fierce than the previous one. Ukraine is at war; the world has again got divided into two camps. America has its allies in Europe, while China, North Korea, Belarus, Iran, etc., have sided with Russia in this conflict. Both USA and Russia are contesting for global power and influence.
Visits are being made to different states. Each visit is being replied to with a counter visit. In May, Joe Biden visited Tokyo to attend the Quad summit. The same month, Russian foreign minister Serge Lavrov went to Saudi Arabia to attend the GCC summit. In July, Biden went to Israel and Saudi Arabia to mend his ties with the states. In the same month, Putin reached Iran to forge a new economic alliance.
Then started a race to win Africa. Russian foreign minister visited Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda and Republic of Congo for requesting them to be Russian allies in the cold war 2.0. In response, Antony Blinken, US sectary of state, reached South Africa, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
But the victor of last cold war-United States of America- is facing a harsh time dealing with Russia this time on and its charm offensive policy has failed to attract allies. The visit of Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia resulted to be a failure as Biden was neither able to convince the Saudis to increase the oil production for filling the gap of Russian oil nor was he able to persuade them to annul the OPEC membership of Russia.
During the very same time it was revealed that immediately after the Russian attack on Ukraine, Saudi Prince Waleed Bin Talal invested more than 500 million dollars in three Russian fuel companies. This investment was surely in defiance and violation of US’ sanctions
One of the main reasons behind US losing its allies are its dual standards. After the start of Russian invasion, US ordered (I am using the word ordered after giving it a considerable thought) African states to not buy any Russian oil and pay respect to US’ sanction. But In first 100 days of the war, more than 61% of the Russian fossil fuel was imported by America’s European allies. America hitherto has been intriguingly silent over this violation.
Calling out this hypocrisy, South Africa has now also asserted that it will not be bullied into taking sides. Same statement also came from Rwanda. In June, the head of African Union met Vladimir Putin. In the meeting, he applauded and praised the long standing relations between Russia and Africa and asked US to lift its sanctions imposed on Russia.
In April, United Nations General Assembly held a vote for suspending Russia from United Nations Human Rights Council. Only 10 out of 54 African states voted in favor of suspending Russia. 9 voted against it, 24 abstained and 11 were not in the room.
Africa has learnt its lessons from the past. The last cold war froze it in the time and it is facing the consequences of proxy wars fought over its land even today. It is hitherto evident that Africa will not side with anyone this time and will stay nonaligned.
India that America deemed its most trustworthy ally in the Indo Pacific region (calling the region Indo Pacific due to this very reason) has also decided to stay anodyne in the ensuing conflict. In the cold war, India was nonaligned. This time on, it calls itself a multi aligned state. But whatever it may be, if it does not stand with US on the issue, the grip that US had hitherto enjoyed over world affairs will surely enervate.
It seems that difficult times for US have begun after decades of hegemony and it will take an extra effort on its part to conserve the rank of supremo this time. For now, the tide is surely in favor of Russia but as they say about International Politics, anything can happen at any time.
The piece is written by Editor of Youth Diplomacy Forum Khawaja Obaid ur Rehman. He can be reached out at firstname.lastname@example.org .