web analytics

Is this a new cold war?

Written By: - Date published: 4:10 pm, April 11th, 2018 - 17 comments
Categories: China, Europe, Globalisation, International, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags:

It’s really easy to get cranky right now and believe the world is retreating into to a sad Cold War binary in which Russia and its allies are always in high tension with the United States and its allies. A new Cold War.

Well there’s Russia, and spies, and the United States, and it feels tense, right? Very Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

For those of you 40 and over with your Frankie Say No t-shirts, you will recall that as a time when there were two great empires and their vassal states, and two leaders, against whom one side was Good and one side was Evil. Depending on your politics, or subscription to the Readers Digest.

At its peak, the Cold War was a global system of countries centred on the United States and the Soviet Union. They both had client states and influence – here’s the CIA’s view of a few. And here’s how it worked in Chile.

While it didn’t determine everything that was going in global world affairs, it influenced most of it. At its core was an ideological contest between capitalism and socialism that had been going throughout the twentieth century. It was a win/lose binary, neither seeing compromise with the other. It was intense, and likely to kill us all.

Many echoes of the Cold War are with us and will be for a while. And there’s no doubt as to President Putin’s ideological lineage. While now he works is oligarchs more efficiently than Cyrus The Great, Putin was a spy for the Soviet Union.

But as large countries rise and fall, great-power tensions occur. It happens, and doesn’t need the terminological laziness applied from seventy years ago. There’s nothing like the bread-lift to Templehof,

rolling of the communists in Italian and French elections,

the Cuban Missile Crisis between Kennedy and Khruschev,

or the Prague Spring

and its crushing –

no it’s weirder and it’s different.

What has also changed is the rise of China’s economy and the strengthening of its state with a pretty clear and open grand strategy, the shift of the United States into incoherence with little executive control over its grossly distended military, the destabilisation of Europe, the rise of new and great trade pact blocs,

and the control of most of the world’s assets by even fewer corporations to the extent that states are less and less relevant to world affairs unless the state steers those companies directly or indirectly.

Today’s international affairs are in large part murky and challenging, with Good and Bad binaries gone. But they are a far cry from Cold War absolutes. Calling 21st century great-power tensions a new Cold War just obscures more than it reveals. It’s a terminological laziness. Although many echoes and remnants of the Cold War are still with us, the determinants and conduct of international affairs have changed and are changing fast.

The politics of oil is changing fast.

The politics of trade and infrastructure throughout all countries surrounding China is changing.

The moral certainties within developed-nation politics are splintering very fast. A continued rise in tolerant states with strong rights and redistributive systems has turned into a retreat. The capacity to even be a citizen is far more uneven globally and not getting better.

All that is solid has melted into air. This is not the new Cold War.

17 comments on “Is this a new cold war?”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    and the control of most of the world’s assets by even fewer corporations to the extent that states are less and less relevant to world affairs unless the state steers those companies directly or indirectly.

    Which means that, more now than ever, we need the state. The corporations have spent decades trying to undermine it and/or corrupt it but cannot allow them to do so.

    The state is us, the people. Allowing the state, and thus us, to become irrelevant is the same as allowing democracy to fall.

    All that is solid has melted into air.

    That’s actually wrong. It should be: All that was believed to be solid is melting away into the mists like the delusion it was and is.

    Capitalism is a failure.

  2. Bill 2

    All that is solid has melted into air. This is not the new Cold War.

    Yup. Whatever else went with it, there was a “certainty” in that thar olde bi-polar world.

    But now with one pole well and truly decaying off into the ground while the other waves around in the breeze, it’s centre eroded and it’s foundations gently crumbling …I suppose there’s a certainty in that.

    Bit of a bugger that those perched atop it are armed to the gunnels, arrogant, stupid and paranoid though.

    Interesting times.

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    One view of the cold war was as a great contest of ideas and governing systems. Whatever else, the soviet system was not an oil painting – for all their flaws the western democracies were more effective at delivering public goods.

    If a new hegemonic standoff is in the wings, the nature of the parties is radically different. The ex-soviet state has ditched the baggage of pretending to Marxist or any other principles. US democracy has reached the point of farce under the erosions of corporate corruption and Dahlian polyarchy.

    So dysfunctional is contemporary US politics that whatever it is that is unfolding in the Middle East looks more to be directed on one side by Israel and the arms lobby, with congress too compromised to have any meaningful input.

    It may not be too bad from half a world away, if the major combatants get into a fracas as gentil as an altercation in Aussie league, that’s usually seen as win win. Except for the poor souls trying to scrape out a living in a dry land made harsher by climate change.

  4. AsleepWhileWalking 4

    Cold war is better than this

  5. Kaya3 5

    Where is the comment re the total bullshit we are being spun daily on our msm? Including RNZ? It is pathetic. Questions are screaming to be asked but nobody is asking them. The Skripal case, rapidly proving to be an complete joke and a false flag. The “chemical” attack. It never happened. The screamingly obvious question of why would Assad do the one thing to prevent him from winning the war hasn’t been asked. Why? Are our media talking heads under instructions not to ask awkward questions about our global “friends” or are they just stupid? Either way it is a shocking state of affairs.

    The world is heading towards thermonuclear destruction and nobody in NZ is talking about it. Go figure.

    Here is former UK Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford explaining the extent of the danger to yet another media moron who would make a chocolate fish appear gifted in the intelligence department. NZ media is no better.

  6. SPC 6

    We are in an age of nationalist populism.

    Imagine what would happen if we got into another GFC 11 without the resort to taxpayer repaid debt (as national debt is too high) to bail out the banks.

    A big recession to come and a real trade war/economic survivialism, or a reform capitalism as we know it to get out of it. Which would the elite choose? Or have they already chosen …

    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Ann+Pettifor&oq=Ann+Pettifor&aqs=chrome..

  7. mauī 7

    No cold war eh?

    The Stanford mathematician William J. Perry was a strategic nuclear advisor to U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and then he became U.S. Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton.

    He stated in a speech on November 28th at the National Cathedral in Washington DC, that “inexplicably to me, we’re recreating the geopolitical hostility of the Cold War, and we’re rebuilding the nuclear dangers,” and he went so far as to make clear why “I believe that the likelihood of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe today is actually greater than it was during the Cold War.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-03/former-us-defense-secretary-explains-why-nuclear-holocaust-now-likely

    Edit – Then you just have to ignore that the US killed Russian citizens in Syria recently, the Russian fighter being shot down in Syria, the Russians stealing the American election, the whole Ukraine situation on Russia’s doorstep, the Skirpal scenario…

    Sheesh, we should be concerned.

    • Ed 7.1

      We should be very concerned.
      Indeed this is arguable that this is worse than the cold war.

      Kaya3’s superb post above shows what independent experts think.
      Peter Ford’s words should have us very worried.
      You can also hear him being interviewed on George Galloway’s show on 10.4.18 – where he makes a case for this being as dangerous as the cold war.

  8. In Vino 8

    What is so strange? To my mind (that of an early baby-boomer) as soon as I learned enough of our history, I saw it as self-evident: that any hegemonic world power had the right to create an external enemy which would provide scare stories and justification for big military spending, as well the purging of internal enemies like Reds under the Bed…
    Isis and Terrorism no longer suffice.
    So the ogre of Russia has to be raised again. But Russia is not Communist any more (automatic fear) so we need some atrocity stories as well.
    Call me cynical, and I will call you naïve.

  9. McFlock 9

    Interesting times, indeed.

    The big difference between now and the Cold War is that there are more regional powers nudging just behind the two top-tier heavies, which are the US and China.

    Russia is basically a tier2 regional power with geostrategic legacy equipment – the level of India (actually the Indians are probably slightly ahead of Russia). The Soviet Union was elevated by its Eastern Bloc resources, russia lags well behind that.

    China is looking to expand its sphere of influence and its maritime security within that sphere, but it’s also quickly addressing its biggest weakness, which is the limited transit points into and out of mainland China. Essentially, China currently/recently could be throttled simply by controlling the access to the South China Sea etc (think a seige of a billion and a half people). Now China has routes to Pakistan and Russia, which expands its ability to pursue a longer term confrontation.

    But then the US is in a top-down rot, and has been for a couple of decades.

    I reckon the most likely candidates for nuke-swapping are India and Pakistan, or Trump anywhere. Russia, the rest of the West, China, have all done this before and are generally rational actors with rational priorities. Trump’s a mad fool, and India and Pakistan might get swept along by their populace and mutual fear and loathing.

  10. Cold Hard Truth 10

    The reality is Western capitalism is a failure. By contrast China Russia and India are actually in a good position. Unlike the US which has its dollar pegged to oil, I think since 71, all the other three have strong gold reserves and in Russia’s case a strong base of natural resources, gas, etc.

    The US is a failing empire so its using rather sad cold war tactic’s to try destabilise these nations so they can either exploit them or weaken them gaining the upper hand economically. The CP-TPP is a big part of this strategy as is NATO and the attacks on nations in the region such as Syria.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealanders’ human rights better protected in new Bill
    The law setting out New Zealanders’ basic civil and human rights is today one step towards being strengthened following the first reading of a Bill that requires Parliament to take action if a court says a statute undermines those rights. At present, a senior court can issue a ‘declaration of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Deep concern at Hong Kong national security legislation
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong. “New Zealand shares the international community’s significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government invests in New Zealand’s cultural recovery
    Thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern announced today. “The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Better protection for New Zealand assets during COVID-19 crisis
    Key New Zealand assets will be better protected from being sold to overseas owners in a way contrary to the national interest, with the passage of the Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Bill. The Bill, which passed its third reading in Parliament today, also cuts unnecessary red tape to help attract ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Cleaning up our rivers and lakes
    Setting higher health standards at swimming spots Requiring urban waterways to be cleaned up and new protections for urban streams Putting controls on higher-risk farm practices such as winter grazing and feed lots Setting stricter controls on nitrogen pollution and new bottom lines on other measures of waterway health Ensuring ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Record year for diversity on Govt boards
    The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa. For the first time, the Government stocktake measures the number of Māori, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • New appointments to the Commerce Commission
    The Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister and Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister, Kris Faafoi, has today announced the appointment of Tristan Gilbertson as the new Telecommunications Commissioner and member of the Commerce Commission. “Mr Gilbertson has considerable experience in the telecommunications industry and a strong reputation amongst his peers,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Historic pay equity settlement imminent for teacher aides
    The Ministry of Education and NZEI Te Riu Roa have agreed to settle the pay equity claim for teacher aides, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This will see more than 22,000 teacher aides, mostly women, being valued and paid fairly for the work they do. “Teacher aides are frontline ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt delivers security for construction subcontractors
    Subcontractors will have greater certainty, more cashflow support and job security with new changes to retention payments under the Construction Contracts Act says Minister for Building and Construction, Jenny Salesa. A recent review of the retentions money regime showed that most of the building and construction sector is complying with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand and Singapore reaffirm ties
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have marked the first anniversary of the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership with a virtual Leaders’ Meeting today. The Enhanced Partnership, signed on 17 May 2019, provides the framework for cooperation across the four main areas of trade, defence and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • JOINT STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTERS OF NEW ZEALAND AND THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE ON THE FIRST AN...
    On 17 May 2019, New Zealand and Singapore established an Enhanced Partnership to elevate our relations. The Enhanced Partnership – based on the four pillars of trade and economics, security and defence, science, technology and innovation, and people-to-people links – has seen the long-standing relationship between our countries strengthen over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government investment supports the acquisition of new Interislander ferries
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters has welcomed KiwiRail’s announcement that it is seeking a preferred shipyard to build two new rail-enabled ferries for the Cook Strait crossing. “This Government is committed to restoring rail to its rightful place in New Zealand. Bigger, better ships, with new technology are yet another ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Better protection for seabirds
    Better protection for seabirds is being put in place with a new National Plan of Action to reduce fishing-related captures, Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.   The National Plan of Action for Seabirds 2020 outlines our commitment to reduce fishing-related captures and associated seabird ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Milestone in cash flow support to SMEs
    Almost $1 billion in interest-free loans for small businesses More than 55,000 businesses have applied; 95% approved Average loan approx. $17,300 90% of applications from firms with ten or fewer staff A wide cross-section of businesses have applied, the most common are the construction industry, accommodation providers, professional firms, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law
    Thousands of children will have healthier lungs after the Government’s ban on smoking in cars with kids becomes law, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. This comes after the third reading of Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill earlier today. “This law makes it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Parliament returns to a safe normal
    The special Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) has successfully concluded its role, Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said today. The committee was set up on 25 March by the agreement of Parliament to scrutinise the Government and its actions while keeping people safe during levels 4 and 3 of lockdown. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Foreign Minister makes four diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced four diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium, High Commissioners to Nauru and Niue, and Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. “As the world seeks to manage and then recover from COVID-19, our diplomatic and trade networks are more important than ever,” Mr Peters said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Bill to counter violent extremism online
    New Zealanders will be better protected from online harm through a Bill introduced to Parliament today, says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin. “The internet brings many benefits to society but can also be used as a weapon to spread harmful and illegal content and that is what this legislation targets,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Mycoplasma bovis eradication reaches two year milestone in good shape
    New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is on track the latest technical data shows, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New payment to support Kiwis through COVID
    Further support for New Zealanders affected by 1-in-100 year global economic shock 12-week payment will support people searching for new work or retraining Work programme on employment insurance to support workers and businesses The Government today announced a new temporary payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PGF reset helps regional economies
    The Provincial Growth Fund will play a vital role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery by creating jobs in shorter timeframes through at least $600 million being refocused on projects with more immediate economic benefits, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The funding is comprised of repurposed Provincial Growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents
    Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector to fire back up quicker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong.  “We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week is a perfect fit for helping our Pacific communities cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, and to prepare now for the journey ahead as New Zealand focuses on recovery plans and rebuilding New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
    A nearly 40-year programme to protect one of New Zealand’s most critically endangered birds is paying off, with a record number of adult kakī/black stilt recently recorded living in the wild, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “Thanks to the team effort involved in the Department of Conservation’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
    The story of the Waikato-Tainui Treaty process and its enduring impact on the community is being told with a five-part web story launched today on the 25th anniversary of settlement, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “I am grateful to Waikato-Tainui for allowing us to help capture ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
    Taita College in the Hutt Valley will be redeveloped to upgrade its ageing classrooms and leaky roofs, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “The work is long overdue and will make a lasting difference to the school for generations to come,” Chris Hipkins said. “Too many of our schools are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
    The Government is allocating $36.72 million to projects in regions hard hit economically by COVID-19 to keep people working, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Projects in Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Rotorua and Queenstown will be funded from the Government’s $100 million worker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • $35m to build financial resilience for New Zealanders
    A $35m boost to financial capability service providers funded by MSD will help New Zealanders manage their money better both day to day and through periods of financial difficulty, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “It’s always been our position to increase support to key groups experiencing or at risk ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Dunedin barrister Melinda Broek has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Rotorua, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Broek has iwi affiliations to Ngai Tai. She commenced her employment in 1996 with Scholefield Cockroft Lloyd in Invercargill specialising in family and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $206 million investment in upgrades at Ohakea Air Force Base
    The Coalition Government has approved a business case for $206 million in upgrades to critical infrastructure at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, with the first phase starting later this year, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The investment will be made in three phases over five years, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Review of CAA organisational culture released
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today released the Ministry of Transport’s review of the organisational culture at the Civil Aviation Authority. Phil Twyford says all employees are entitled to a safe work environment. “I commissioned this independent review due to the concerns I had about the culture within the CAA, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Board appointed at Stats NZ
    Ensuring that Stats NZ’s direction and strategy best supports government policy decisions will be a key focus for a new Governance Advisory Board announced today by the Minister for Statistics, James Shaw. The new Governance Advisory Board will provide strategic advice to Stats NZ to ensure it is meeting New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Principal Environment Judge
    Environment Judge David Kirkpatrick of Auckland has been appointed as the Principal Environment Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  Judge Kirkpatrick was appointed an Environment Judge in February 2014. From December 2013 to July 2016 he was Chair of the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel. Prior to appointment he ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Digital connectivity boost for urban marae
    A programme to connect marae around the country to the internet has received $1.4 million to expand to include urban marae in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The funding for the Marae Connectivity Programme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt increases assistance to drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers
    The Government will provide $500,000 to the Hawke’s Bay Mayoral Drought Relief Fund to help farmers facing one of the worst droughts in living memory, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from Hawke's Bay's five local Government leaders asking me to contribute to the Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
    Budget 2020 provides a major investment in New Zealand’s documentary heritage sector, with a commitment to leasing a new Archives Wellington facility and an increase in funding for Archives and National Library work. “Last year I released plans for a new Archives Wellington building – a purpose-built facility physically connected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Driving prompt payments to small businesses
    Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. The Ministers of Finance, Small Business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs have written to more than 40 significant enterprises and banking industry representatives to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rotorua tourist icon to be safeguarded
    Maori Arts and Crafts will continue to underpin the heart of the tourism sector says Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta.  “That’s why we are making a core investment of $7.6 million to Te Puia New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, over two years, as part of the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $14.7m for jobs training and education
    The Government is funding more pathways to jobs through training and education programmes in regional New Zealand to support the provinces’ recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson have announced. “New Zealand’s economic recovery will be largely driven by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago