Yesterday the Council of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels discussed the rhetoric of the Cold War. "The conflict with which we are dealing now is perhaps even more complex than the one with which we were dealing during the Cold War," the Foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated.
An Associate Professor of the Faculty of International Security and World Politics of the MV Lomonosov Moscow State University, Alexey Fenenko, agrees with him, according to who the Munich speech of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in which he stated that relations between Russia and NATO sunk to the days of a new Cold War, was overly optimistic. "I'm afraid that a cold war for us is an unattainable ideal stability. We are, I strongly suspect, returning to the eve of the First World War, somewhere around the years 1910-1911, rather than to the Cold War, which is much worse. The Cold War was a game according to rules. The rules of the game were clear, in the first place, and secondly, we had rules that allowed military conflicts to be prevented. Remember that in any crisis, including the Caribbean and the crisis over missiles in Europe, immediately at the first threat dialogue was renewed and no one declared any harsh steps on how to break off diplomatic relations or to conduct military demonstrations on how to eliminate the UN Security Council or something like that. Simple no one discussed these topics, " Fenenko recalled.
According to him, today there are no mechanisms for conflict prevention: "The First World War started with a shot in Sarajevo, I'm afraid we are now coming specifically to this situation. We have completely blocked the strategic dialogue on arms control with the USA, a unique moment: in the past five years we have been living in a complete absence of strategic dialogue, which did not exist even in the Cold War. It was only 12 months under Andropov, and it was very conditional."
In addition, according to Fenenko, the dialogue on European security issues is almost turned: "all of our projects and agreements on European security and Euro-Atlantic security initiatives failed 3-4 years ago. And we did not find any other outcome. We do not have any code of obligations in the event of a conflict with third countries. The USSR and the United States, once again, during the terrible Cold War there was the Declaration of 1973 "On measures to reduce the risk of a nuclear war," where it was stated how to behave in case of war with a third country. Unfortunately, we do not have even such a package of obligations in the event of a conflict – say, between Russia and Georgia or Ukraine – of the United States, for example with Syria or with some other country in the Middle East. This set of obligations that we had, unfortunately, no longer exists. In this respect, the situation is much worse than it was during the Cold War. "
Fenenko believes that things are moving to a big crisis not only in US-Russian, but also in Russian-German relations: "in Russia there was very strong disappointment in the political line of Germany and Merkel's government. When they say that the Americans at first put pressure on Germany, but again, we all remember the behavior of Chancellor Schroeder during the Iraqi crisis, when Schröder and Chirac together opposed the US invasion of Iraq. What prevented Germany from taking the same position now? "
Speaking about the possibility of lifting the Western sanctions from Russia, the expert asks the rhetorical question: "how do you imagine a restoration of work in Russia? The fact that many banks actually lost their lending, the very least they have found it. Do you think that at least psychologically, even after the lifting of sanctions, that Russian businessmen will move towards the restoration of such contacts? They have already found alternative food suppliers . So how can we now stop those alternative schemes that have been found over a year and a half? "