Saturday, December 09, 2006


As London’s streets turn radioactive, and the Kremlin blandly denies all responsibility, Edward Lucas re-examines the thesis that what the nations of the West now face in relation to Russia is a contemporary reworking of the historic 20th century conflict that was known as the Cold War:

Like analogies involving the second world war, the “new cold war” is not a phrase to use lightly.

Or maybe at all. Russia is not now seeking military domination of Europe. It is not a one-party state. Nor does it claim to be the embodiment of an ideological success story. The once-towering edifice of Marxist-Leninist ideology is as ruined as social credit or syndicalism. An exposition of “sovereign democracy”, as the Kremlin now grandly calls its scheme of things, would barely fill a postcard, let alone a textbook.

To compare all this to the Soviet Union of Leonid Brezhnev’s era may look not only insulting, but absurd. The West’s differences with Russia seem mere nuances when set against the gulf between the modern world and the suicide bomber.

On the other hand, he points out:

…to argue only that the old cold war is dead and gone is to risk missing the point. Whatever we end up calling it, a new period of deep-seated rivalry is approaching—and perhaps has already begun. As in the mid-to-late 1940s, such things take a bit of time to sink in.

Perhaps it really is a queston of what we mean by what we call it. Just as we refer to “neo-Nazism” and “neoconservatism”, or even “neo-paganism”, so the “new Cold War” is just one more of the uncomfortable approximations to which we must acclimatize ourselves in the post-modern geopolitical world.

Is Londonistan turning into Londongrad? Or are they possibly the same thing? Fox News’s Amy Kellogg has the story.

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