09:20 GMT23 October 2020
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    The Cold War 2.0 between Russia and the West is pushing the world towards a global conflict, and is threatening the hard-won agreement in the strategic nuclear arms race, Fred Weir warns.

    For more than a year Russia and the West have been deadlocked over the ongoing Ukrainian crisis. And as the temperature of the rhetoric rises, concerns are beginning to emerge that the present standoff may ultimately recreate a new version of the 40-year-long Cold War, threatening "hard-won agreements" in the nuclear arms field, Canadian journalist and Christian Science Monitor correspondent Fred Weir warns.

    Quoting Viktor Kremeniuk, deputy director of the official Institute of USA-Canada Studies in Moscow, the journalist emphasized that although the ongoing political conflict between Russia and the West "so far has been mostly just for show," it "is starting to take on a life of its own," and there is a possibility that it may become "unmanageable."

    Indeed, Moscow and NATO have already broken off ties, and while NATO has launched a series of provocative war games in close proximity to Russia's borders, the Kremlin, in response, has kicked off its military exercises.

    Fred Weir underscored that this week "the temperature of the rhetoric jumped," bringing the sides closer to permanent military deployment on their borders.

    "[T]he hard-won agreements that once reined in the strategic nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR are coming under strain," the journalist warned.

    To make matters worse, the Pentagon did not dismiss reports that the United States is considering a plan to "pre-position" its heavy weaponry in Eastern European states, which border Russia.

    Predictably, Moscow strongly opposes the decision, stressing that the plan would seriously violate a post-Cold War status quo and "understanding that those former Soviet-controlled areas would remain demilitarized."

    While the sides' strategic arms still remain under control in accordance with international treaties, "the situation is far more threatening when it comes to medium- and short-range nuclear missiles," according to the correspondent.

    In response to the deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe, Moscow is considering installing its nuclear-capable short-range Iskander-M missiles in Russia's western city of Kaliningrad. From this point Russia's missiles could reach Warsaw, Berlin, and Copenhagen, Fred Weir remarked.

    And since the idea of deploying nuclear-armed missiles in European territory is now openly mooted by Washington, the hard-won Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) accord may one day fall apart at the seams.

    "If the INF treaty should be canceled, Europe could return to the nuclear standoff of the mid-1980s, in which virtually all European capitals faced less than 8 minutes' warning from Soviet SS-20 and US Pershing-II medium range nuclear missiles," Fred Weir stressed.

    It is obvious that no one is interested in abolishing the deal, but it seems that the people "who never left the Cold War mentality behind" will try to grasp the opportunity to aggravate tensions in order to push the world towards the brink of conflict.

    "Unless leaders on both sides call a halt to this deterioration, the basic pillars of European security — which people worked so hard to put in place — could get knocked away," the journalist highlighted, citing Viktor Kremeniuk.

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    Tags:
    NATO, confrontation, new Cold War, nuclear weapons, Iskander-M ballistic missile systems, Cold War, European Union, Kaliningrad, Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Moscow, Russia, United States, Pentagon
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