The Cold War is over. Right?
February 23rd, 2014
01:02 PM ET
7 months ago

The Cold War is over. Right?

(CNN) – Gay rights, Edward Snowden, Syria and now Ukraine: They’re all recent issues in which the United States and Russia have had disagreements.

Tension has always seemed to exist between the two countries, and that’s certainly been the case for President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some days, it almost seems like the Cold War never went away.

In the latest example, Ukraine, it appears the Russian-backed government of President Viktor Yanukovych has been removed from office after deadly protests, setting up a power vacuum in a country known for Russian meddling.

The U.S. stands with Ukrainian opposition forces hoping to increase democratic reforms and decrease influence from Moscow, while Russia slams the opposition, saying they failed to honor international agreements made last week aimed at ending the crisis.

The issue is a tough one for Obama. On one hand, he needs to act tough when dealing with Putin to please those who want the U.S. to stand up to Russia.

On the other hand, the President needs to be somewhat conciliatory. Russia and the U.S. are still dealing with the host of aforementioned problems that require cooperation, and despite their struggles over the past couple decades, Russia is still a global power.

But are all these issues the start of another Cold War? Not so much, Obama indicated last week.

“Our approach as the United States is not to see these as some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia,” Obama said Wednesday at a summit in Mexico.

“Our goal is to make sure that the people of Ukraine are able to make decisions for themselves about their future.”

But Sen. John McCain, a staunch critic of the Obama administration’s foreign policy and in particular its dealings with Russia, said that Obama is the most naïve president of his lifetime and that this situation is the latest example.

"The president said this had nothing to do with the Cold War," the Arizona Republican said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.” "In the eyes of Vladimir Putin, it does. He wants to restore the Russian empire.”

But Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said that dealing with Putin is tough, especially given his background.

“Let's remember that each president tries to find a positive track, but let’s not forget that Vladimir Putin wasn't just a member of the KGB, he was the head of the secret police, the Soviet KGB. This is a man that we should take very seriously,” Durbin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Still, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, said that issues in Ukraine give Obama another opportunity to engage Putin and the Russians.

“I believe the President needs to up his game and send a clear, unequivocal, public message to Putin not to interfere in what is happening in Ukraine. To let the Ukrainian people determine their future, to ensure that there is no interference in their sovereignty, and I think this is an important time for him to do that,” Ayotte said, also on Fox.

For all of the criticism about not being tough enough on Putin, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said that the President has held his ground but that the U.S. still must be pragmatic.

"The President is very plain and very forceful in his dealings with Putin. But it's not necessary, and it's not in our interest to return to a Cold War construct which is long out-of-date and doesn't reflect the realities of the 21st century," Rice said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”


Filed under: President Obama • Russia • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Remember when Bush looked into Putin's eyes, saw his soul, and then whispered sweet nothings in his ear?

    February 23, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Tim

    On Tuesday evening a mere two members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted against meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Reps. Walter Jones and Thomas Massie, both Republicans, heeded the advice of George Washington, who advised against foreign interventionism, and Thomas Jefferson, who urged “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”

    February 23, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Why do Russians hate us but want to move to the USA ?

    Maybe it's the same reason as the Chines and the Indians .

    February 23, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. charlessmyth

    The Russians must realise that it is in their political and economic interests to co-operate in the development of a near-abroad that is not the expedient continuance of a cordon sanitaire of UN member states, populated by oppressed masses, under the authority of Moscow aligned thugs.

    February 23, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. don in albuquerque

    The Cold War never ended. One of many clues should have been the Snowden affair. However you feel about Snowy really does not matter. If you think the Russians would send him home now...well... I am certain Snowy will be forgotten one day in the vast freezing expanse of Siberia. They have already seen what he may, or may not have done to his own country and I doubt they will be in any hurry to see what he might do to them.
    That said though, we do need to learn to mind our own business. Uncle Vlad has said he can take care of Syria (of which so far they have thumbed their noses at him), and the Ukraine is his little play pen too. Let him have them both. After all, we cannot take care of our own people or even govern ourselves.

    February 23, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Toto-ks

    Our elected and RE-elected President is NOT naive! President Obama came into an awful MESS of debt debt war WAR! He is tactic wise discreet and resolute in his dealings with Putin concerning Democracy for Ukraine. Republicans thrive on money making self interested patriot act ROGUE stints, and Obama is not about to get us into a war with Russia, China or Venezuela, Egypt, Syria, Thailand! Our President promotes DEMOCRACY. He's a Democrat. Hello! Mcain lost the pres. Election. And last but best, the main reason many of Obama's attempts at bettering the 21st century is slowed is republicans sqaush all the Democratic human ideals, treating us Democrats like global rogues! Away with the new AND the old republic DEstablishment. A Congress divided will not stand! America wake up. Vote a straight Democratic ticket in Nov., even if you are enslaved in a red state. Fight a good fight with tact discretion wisdom & resolution. VOTE straight up.

    February 23, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Toto-ks

    Our elected and RE-elected President is NOT naive! President Obama came into an awful MESS of debt debt war WAR! He is tactful wise discreet and resolute in his dealings with Putin concerning Democracy for Ukraine. Republicans thrive on money making self interested patriot act ROGUE stints, and Obama is not about to get us into a war with Russia, China or Venezuela, Egypt, Syria, Thailand! Our President promotes DEMOCRACY. He's a Democrat. Hello! Mcain lost the pres. Election. And last but best, the main reason many of Obama's attempts at bettering the 21st century is because republicans sqaush all the Democratic human ideals, treating us Democrats like global rogues! Away with the new AND the old republic DEstablishment. A Congress divided will not stand! America wake up. Vote a straight Democratic ticket in Nov., even if you are enslaved in a red state. Fight a good fight with tact discretion wisdom & resolution. VOTE straight up.

    February 23, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Agent P

    Aside from the narcissist's self-delusion that they are actually capable of making heady decisions in a crisis, Obama is plenty capable... However, when stacked up against the Reality of a Vladimir Putin, that 'capability' rapidly withers into panic.

    February 23, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. ApolicemansBOOT

    Americans are slaves, we designed it this way.

    February 23, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. xdream

    The United States has started this mess, and now the media will spin it against Russia. Ron Paul warned against this interventionism.

    February 23, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Xdream – Are you saying the US started the Cold War? Do you think that the US is responsible for Russian human rights violations, Ukraine, Georgia, and more? Let me guess, Ron Paul/Putin 2016 on the bagger ticket.

    February 23, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. shuman

    Obama plays checkers, and Putin plays chess.

    February 23, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. don in albuqueque

    Agent P

    "(Not) capable of making heady decisions in a crisis"?? I think Bin Ladin, and a few African pirates would disagree with you..

    February 23, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    It was........until Obama got into the act.

    February 23, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. Judy konos

    I don't see Russia trying to Police the World

    February 23, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Judy konos

    I googled, How many wars is the US in right now and this came up, "U.S. Currently Fighting 74 Different Wars … That It Will Publicly Admit"

    February 23, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Jason Chorostecki

    At least we know the truth about Putin's background.

    February 23, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    conservative hawks desperately want to re-create the cold war. But the world has moved on. It is not perfect or safe or simple, but it has changed. This will require actual intelligent discussion, but they give only sound bites.

    February 23, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. Dicey

    The U.S. government and the EU created the problem in Ukraine, just like in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria etc. Are you people really that blind? By the way the Ukraine government was democratically elected but they wouldn't do what the west wanted so they were remove in a western orchestrated coup, I can't believe you people can't see that.

    February 23, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Gunderson

    Um Well,

    The real Cold War is over but there may be chilly spats from time to time. Putin is sorta like Walter Mitty. Living in a dream world. With What-his-name in the White House Putin sees a weak President. So it goes with weak presidents like Jimmy Carter and of course Whats-His-Name. But remember You have Putin Care!

    February 23, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. ajc1973

    this is about the missile shield that the EU and the USA want to put up in the Ukraine the Russians do not want their strategic forces to be muted. while allowing NATO's to be fully usable NATO had a coup of sorts when they wanted to put their missiles in Poland The Ukraine is a NATO commanders wet dream.

    In the last 200 years Russia had never invaded Europe but Europe has invaded Russia Three times i cant imagine why the Russians would be wary of a missile shield that would allow European powers to have cart Blanche to March to Moscow (if General Winter allows it)

    February 23, 2014 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  22. Smitty

    Putin once again will hand Obammy his backside, the excuses for Bammy get lamer and lamer every day. It has got to be hard for the people who voted for THE BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR twice. Just admit you were wrong and move on.

    February 23, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. scott

    Obama is weak and Putin realizes it. He can pretty much do as he please as our President is a weak coward, that is not fit to lead a school of fish.

    February 23, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Tampa Tim

    Do you remember when Obama slapped Russian President Medvedev on the knee and whispered into his ear to tell Vladir that he would have more flexibility after the election? Yeah, a real lefty-lefty moment there.

    Well now it is time to exercise that flexibility and allow Russia to do whatever it wants to do. Remember, Hillary Clinton and Obama hit the "reset button" on Russian relations so now they are our best buds and we should do everything we can to help them out.

    February 23, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Yet another color revolution by the US and Israel.
    The dollar is dying, we are losing reserve currency.
    Oil is being sold in gold now, Turkey.
    China is selling Irans oil.
    China trying to roll out the Yuan which will be gold backed.
    Nobody trusts us, our toxic bankers destroyed any trust that we had left.
    My God, we are really in trouble now.
    Thanks you two headed one snake party voters.
    Ron Paul was right since the 70s.

    February 23, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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