Are the current hostilities between the US and Russia the start of a new Cold War, or are they just the latest flare-up in a Cold War that never ended? That discussion may be academic, but if things warm up, the results won’t be.
So far, we’ve had a war of words. While it’s typically difficult to discern where other nations’ red lines are, perhaps an indication of the seriousness of the situation can be estimated by listening to those words and seeing what actions the various players are taking.
With the US State Department as well as President Obama and presidential candidate Clinton making bellicose statements regarding Russia, Russia has directed that family members abroad return to Russia. Now we learn of additional measures taken by Russia, some of which include the following:
As the confrontation between the United and Russia has worsened over Syria, and amid speculation Washington might launch airstrikes against Syrian government forces, Russian state-controlled media has gone into high gear, asking Russians whether they are prepared for nuclear war.
“If that should one day happen, each of you must know where the nearest bomb shelter is,” a report on the state-controlled network, NTV, noted, before taking viewers on a tour of a nuclear bunker in Moscow.
This month Russia held a large-scale civil defense drill across the country, meant to prepare people for disasters, among them nuclear catastrophe. The drill, which Russian authorities claimed affected 40 million people, and particularly the way it was presented on state television, resembled Soviet-era exercises, with scenes of schoolchildren flooding out in evacuations and being taught to hurriedly pull on gas masks.
One more example:
Russia also conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile tests this week, launching three missiles in a single day. Two of the nuclear-capable missiles were launched from submarines off Russia’s Pacific coast, the third was fired from an inland launch pad, RIA Novosti reported.
This all could, and perhaps should, be seen as posturing — Russia baring its teeth as a warning, indicating how serious Russia takes the conflict in Syria. Whether the Bear is really ready to bite, and if so, how hard, is really only known to Mr. Putin and his closest associates. Let’s hope we don’t have to find out for sure.
Source: ABC News