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US, Russia 'Lucky' if Only Reach Cold War Level Tensions - Former Official

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Former Pentagon Office of Strategic Competitiveness Director Daniel Gouré says that the era of the Cold War may be overshadowed by current levels of tensions between the United States and Russia.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The era of the Cold War may be overshadowed by current levels of tensions between the United States and Russia, former Pentagon Office of Strategic Competitiveness Director Daniel Gouré told Sputnik.

“Frankly, I think we’ll be lucky if we’re only back in a Cold War,” Gouré said on Thursday referring to the escalation of responses on both sides of the Atlantic to perceived security threats. “This game is now set.”

Both the US and Russian leadership are forced into security situations where they feel they have to respond, Gouré noted. Russian President Vladimir Putin may react to NATO’s expansion of bases and troop rotations into Eastern Europe as an honest provocation and react, the former Pentagon official said.

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In the United States, President Barack Obama began his term in office by cancelling the fourth phase of the European ballistic missile defense system, and winning a Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to nuclear disarmament. “This administration is finding itself unable any longer to avoid responding,” Gouré warned.

Asked what he expects to occur in a dynamic where both the US and Russia feel their national security interests are jeopardized by one another, Gouré commented. “In some respects, you can’t know,” he said, but added that both sides in the Cold War “had all kinds of luck” that confrontations never erupted into a shooting war.

The United States are Russia are currently undergoing modernization programs for their respective nuclear triad. Each country invests about 4 percent of its annual Gross Domestic Product in military expenditures, according to World Bank data.

Daniel Gouré is vice president of the Lexington Institute, a think tank in Arlington, Virginia, and is also member of the US Department of Homeland Security’s advisory board.

 

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