Russia, the United States, and the New Cold War

Bohdan Harasymiw


While the phrase “New Cold War” characterizing the confrontational relationship between Russia and the United States since the advent to power of Vladimir Putin in the year 2000 has become quite common, its validity is problematic. Does the term refer to a new version of the old Cold War, similar in its dynamics, but with distinctly updated features? Or does it indicate a revival of the Cold War? Solving the conundrum is hindered by the lack of agreement among scholars on the nature of the original Cold War (1948-1991). Realists, traditionalists, revisionists, post-revisionists, and world-systems theorists have offered numerous perspectives none of which can adequately explain the relationship between the superpower United States and its erstwhile rival. A change of leadership in both countries in 2008, and a focus on the reciprocity of the relationship provides a better understanding of the two states’ inability to transcend the Cold War.

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