Icy winds of the Cold War linger strongly over Ukraine

If the goal is just to preserve the global leadership of the U.S., we all must be ready to feel the strike of the icy winds of the Cold War

Maria Dubovikova

Published: Updated:

Tensions over Ukraine are becoming dangerously intense. The parties are not even eager to seek an outlet for the crisis to end. Meanwhile, Western powers prefer to discuss possibilities for new sanctions against Russia and the possible ways to punish the country, as will be done once again at the meeting of the EU diplomats, scheduled for Monday.

They won’t even try to influence Kiev to start negotiations and to promote national dialogue through the intermediary of the international community. There is still such an opportunity, but it will be lost very soon as societal tensions will possibly reach boiling point.

The use of force by Kiev against its own people in the Southeast of the country does not contradict international law, according to the recent statements of European leaders, as there is a state monopoly over the use of violence and the state has the right to restore order on its territory.

Maybe it would have been somehow right to agree with this statement, if there were not significant problems: the state has a right to implement force and violence, if this is led by an elected and legitimate leader, not by a self-proclaimed one.

Odessa tragedy condemned?

The dreadful tragedy in Odessa, where over 39 federalization sympathizers (who are mistakenly called pro-Russian demonstrators for their use of Russian flags) were burnt alive, was not followed by declarations of strong condemnation by Western leaders. Does this barbarian act not contradict with notorious western values and the western way of life? Instead, according to Obama’s declaration in South Korea last week, he will not hesitate to defend with the use of the military force.

If the goal is just to preserve the global leadership of the U.S., we all must be ready to feel the strike of the icy winds of the Cold War

Maria Dubovikova

However, the EU External Action Service did publish a statement on the tragedy in Odessa, expressing the EU’s “deep sadness” and calling for an independent investigation into the incident and for all sides to engage in peaceful and inclusive dialogue. That’s all.

Instead of uniting the international community in common efforts to help Ukraine to avoid the worst, the Ukraine crisis has pushed the world to the hugest international confrontation since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The recent official statements of Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama are worthy of the coldest days of the Cold War.

And on Wednesday, Kerry delivered a speech which was a true call for confrontation, to the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington DC. Weakened by the international economic crisis and numerous internal problems, the U.S. seeks support among its allies, in order to repulse Russia and at least to isolate it.

Two quotes are enough to get the U.S. message, not only to NATO members, but to the whole world: “Our entire model of global leadership is at stake,” and; “It’s time for allies … to make credible commitments to increase their spending on defense over the next five years.”

The first statement reveals the fact, that in the Ukrainian case the U.S., though Kerry pretends to talking about the whole of NATO, worries about its own leadership, not about the stability of Ukraine. The second confirms the longstanding worries of the Russian political establishment about NATO’s expansion and its Cold War logic of maneuvers and thinking and this pushes it to force its defense capacities. That is an evident example of how the arm race starts and how it is stimulated. But will such approaches contribute to the stability of the international community or the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis that is only a step away from the civil war? Of course not.

A second Syria?

Furthermore, the deliberate overestimation of the role of Russia in the Southeast of Ukraine (that is in fact limited by historic, cultural and economic ties and dominance of the Russian language), is a deliberate distortion of facts to create an extremely negative image of Russia, deliberate substitution of notions – when the federalism protagonists are called separatists – all this makes the entire situation more complex and hard to settle and sparks tensions within Ukrainian society.

If the international community, especially Western powers, have a real goal to protect civilians in Ukraine, preserve its future and its unity, to let people make their legitimate choice in a healthy climate, everyone should and must put aside all disputes and stop blaming each other and shifting responsibility. Will we have a second Syria in Europe or not? This depends on the mutual cooperation and the fairness of the international players. If the goal is just to preserve the global leadership of the U.S., we all must be ready to feel the strike of the icy winds of the Cold War.


Maria Dubovikova is a co-founder of IMESClub (International Middle Eastern Studies Club), IMESClub Executive Director and member of the Club Council, author of several scientific articles and participant of several high level international conferences. She is a permanent member of the Think-tank under the American University in Moscow. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia) (honors diploma), she had been working for three months as a trainee at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Paris. Now she is a PhD Candidate at MGIMO (Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia). Her research field is Russian foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, the policy of France and the US towards the Mediterranean, theory of international relations, humanitarian interventions and etc. Fluently speaks and writes in French and English. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme

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