Ukraine Crisis: Echoes from the cold war

BY MATTHEW COLLINS - JANUARY 29, 2015

In light of the Ukraine crisis, which appears to still be dragging on under the constant watch of the international community, a feeling of past tensions between the west and east has crept its way back into the minds of many.

It was not too long ago when a red flag, upon the Kremlin, descended into history; a history which was riddled with fears of a war of unimaginable proportions.

It has been 24 years since the Soviet Union dissolved into a never-forgotten empire. Its history, leading back to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 on top of which Lenin would found the world’s first Marxist state only a few years later, would carry with it a conflict against those whom it had allied with during the greatest conflict in human history. It had taken up arms against a common enemy, the Nazi war-machine, in an attempt to rid the world of the destruction that Germany had brought to the Motherland, only to be plunged into a new conflict born out of victory.

With  the fall of Berlin, as a result of Nazi Germany’s asphyxiation at the hands of the western and eastern allies, a new conflict would be born into a cold world; a cold war.

With the fall of Germany, the country was divided. A separation of ideologies, namely communism and capitalism, would even divide the very fabric of Europe into what Winston Churchill famously termed the “Iron Curtain.” 

From that moment on, until the Soviet Union’s collapse towards the end of the 20th century, the West, particularly the United States, and the Soviet Union would engage in a tense game of chess, ensuring not to make a wrong move (especially in the wake of the atomic age which would soon become one of thermo-nuclear might) whilst attempting to gain superiority as the dominant superpower of the world.

Various “indirect” conflicts would ensue between the superpowers, with the Korean War and Vietnam War symbolising an attempt to halt the western-perceived threat of the communist cancer.

In showing off their military might, which at times even involved pure trickery, the east and west would lock horns on regular occasions in wishing to gain some degree of control over one another.

However, as the sands of time drained through the hourglass of history, the Soviet Union was to fall into decline. Gorbachev’s new policy shifts in the 1980’s would see an empire crumble before the world’s very eyes.

The Cold War would soon be over.

In analysing the Ukraine crisis, it is understandable to sense a great deal of similarities from a recent past. The current international pressure on Russia is coupled with the memories of days not so long ago.

Some have even sensed a dream of rebuilding a lost empire attempting to come back to life.

Whatever the reasons are for the current crisis, and whatever the outcome might be, the fact of the matter is that a cold shiver, from a distant cold war, has run its way up the spines of many in the fear of the current possibility of a nuclear confrontation emerging from heated tension.