Are we heading toward Cold War 2.0?

Wondering if “this is 2016 or 1962?”

Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said the strained relationship between his country and the West could be described as “a new Cold War” in his speech during the annual Munich Security Conference.

“Russia has been presented as well-nigh the biggest threat to NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), or to Europe, America and other countries,” Medvedev said. “NATO's policy with regard to Russia has remained unfriendly and opaque. One could go as far as to say that we have slid back to a new Cold War.”

In Washington, just before the Munich conference, the United States’ Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was giving evidence on “worldwide threats” to the influential Senate Armed Services Committee. “I think the Russians fundamentally are paranoid about NATO,” he said. “We could be into another Cold War-like spiral here.”

The tension between the West and Russia has been escalating since Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea a few years ago and its support for separatists elsewhere in eastern Ukraine.

The Syrian war was the next fertile ground for the Russian conflict with the western world. Russia claimed it’s attacking terrorists. But some observers contend that Moscow is intent primarily on propping of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is hanging onto power despite a five-year-old war.

Therefore, the world is entering a new era of superpowers that some analysts describe as Cold War 2.0.

NATO and Cold War 1.0

The first Cold War pitted East against West and communism against capitalism. It pushed the world to the brink of a nuclear war. The Cold War dominated international affairs for decades and many major crises occurred – the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, Hungary and the Berlin Wall being just some.

For many, the growth in weapons of mass destruction was the most worrying issue. And the NATO military alliance was formed after World War II by countries in North America and Western Europe. It has 28 member states committed to defending each other.

Cover credit: