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Expert: Russia, US should seek balance of rivalry and cooperation to avoid new cold war

October 19, 2015, 18:41 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. Seventy years after the "cold war" term was used for the first time, the United States and Russia have failed to tap the cooperation potential that appeared 25 years ago after the end of the cold war period to promote peace, Deputy Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada at the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Kremenyuk told TASS on Monday.

The "cold war" expression was first used by writer George Orwell in an article published in Tribune magazine on October 19, 1945. Scientists have been arguing about the date of the cold war commencement up to now.

"Someone believes the cold war commenced with the speech by Churchill in Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946, in which he urged to counter Soviet expansion in Europe. Other specialists mention the Truman doctrine and the NATO bloc created on its basis in April 1949. However, most experts regard the Berlin crisis of 1948, which played a key role in the split of Europe after its liberation from fascism, as a starting point for the commencement of the cold war," Kremenyuk said.

The expert is the author of the book "Lessons of the Cold War," recently published by the Moscow publisher Aspect Press.

Kremenyuk believes it was a historical mistake that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George H. W. Bush, who announced an end of the cold war period on Malta Island in December 1989, failed to sign a sort of a peace treaty, although Gorbachev received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1990 even without this.

"Meanwhile, cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union and eventually Russia developed with variable success during all these years. It will suffice to recall the joint efforts for the struggle against terrorism in Afghanistan, mutual work on the Iranian nuclear program, the nuclear weapons non-proliferation and the joint exploration of outer space," the expert said.

"President of Russia Vladimir Putin and US President George W. Bush sought to develop and expand bilateral relations. In the early 2000s, the Primakov-Kissinger group was at work for three years to develop an algorithm of cooperation but failed to succeed. After that, the Ukrainian crisis and the current differences between the United States and Russia over Syria have pushed the bilateral relations decades back," Kremenyuk said.

However, the scientist categorically disagrees with the experts who say that a cold war between Russia and the West has restarted with the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis in February 2014 and the imposition of anti-Russian sanctions.

"The cold war that lasted 40 years was characterized by ideological confrontation and military stand-off and the aspiration of the USSR and the USA for supremacy in the world order. This no longer exists today, although some elements, such as mutual distrust and even animosity and the arms race that has restarted remind the events of the cold war times," the expert in American studies said.

"Similar to the situation in 1962, when US President John Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev found the willpower to overcome the Caribbean crisis that threatened to grow into an armed stand-off between the two nuclear powers, the heads of Russia and the United States are now agreeing on the division of skies over Syria to avoid ‘friendly fire’ and prevent further deterioration of bilateral relations. But neither Moscow nor Washington will go for direct military confrontation over Syria," the expert said.

"At the same time, there are politicians in most countries of the world who have failed to make conclusions from the past cold war. That is why, the states’ funds are spent on new generations of tanks, missiles, aircraft and submarines rather than on rescuing ill children and providing support for the elderly, building roads, schools and hospitals. Someone makes profit from this and someone builds a political career. Despite the undoubted progress of culture and knowledge, humankind continues moving along the closed circle of violence," Kremenyuk said.

"While great powers exist, there will always be rivalry among them for the spheres of influence. This is like in business where the closest partners are always on guard with each other," the expert said.

"However, in order to prevent a repeat of the cold war, Russia and the United States insistently need to strive for searching a balance between rivalry and cooperation. This is what was not achieved by John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, and also the subsequent Russian and American leaders. Nevertheless, the balance of rivalry and cooperation has no alternative and this is what leading US and Russian scientists are saying and writing about," the expert said.

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