On the Surface
U.S-Russian relations have been under duress as of late. With both powers competing for influence in the realm of Eurasian and Middle Eastern geopolitics, the potential for conflict similar to the Cold War remains a grim possibility.
Russian anti-western rhetoric has been revitalized as of late. As opposed to Kruschev’s effrontery threats when addressing the U.N. council, 21st century anti-western sentiments manifest themselves in Color Revolutions. These revolutions (mostly civil movements in the former Soviet Union during the early 2000s), beginning with the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, and the the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, were initially described at a defense conference held by Moscow last summer. While relatively innocuous at first glance, these revolutions’ purpose is to depict the U.S as an imperialist aggressor; Russian defense minister Sergey Lulov claimed that these revolutions are a direct result of western meddling in Russia’s Eurasian backyard.
And, with Russian support of various Middle Eastern rulers, these displays of disdain isolate the U.S from Middle Eastern affairs as more regional leaders begin to fear the potential renewal of U.S. intervention in Middle Eastern geopolitics.
Re-emergence of Proxy Wars
The Vietnam War remains is the clearest example of a US-Russia proxy war, and evidence indicates the potential for a renewal in such proxy wars. Recent satellite imaging provided by Stratfor Global Intelligence captured Russian construction efforts at the Bassel Al-Assad military base in Latakia, Syria, a bastion for Alawite forces. This signals support of Bashar al-Assad.
Additional satellite imagery spotted the movement of both Alligator- and Ropucha-Class landing ships travelling towards Syria down the Bosphorus. These ships are expensive assets to the Russian military, and exemplify the extent to which Moscow supports Assad’s regime.
With the Obama administration’s announcment new ground efforts in supporting Syrian rebel groups, this is a source of friction between the two countries. Two world powers are competing for supremacy, fighting indirectly in a critical are of the Middle East.
These are only two of many contentious areas for the two United States and Russia. The potential for a renewal of Cold War-esque activity is increasing. The only solution to this conflict requires immense political shifts in the Middle East, but the region remains too fragile for any such remedy. As for now, we can only speculate as to how these two nations will forestall such conflict.