The planet still puzzles over this question: Is the United States in a new Cold War with Russia? President Obama already told journalists this week that there is no new version lurking. Maybe it’s just a Cool War now. Or even a tepid one.
True to his “no drama Obama” motto of yore, Mr. Obama is carefully meting out aggressive postures. And historians like to point out that in the era of asymmetric warfare, most nations are not up to the long term economic challenge of mounting an intense, old school Cold War.
A barb from afar takes issue, though.
Russian parliamentarian Alexei Pushkov declared in a startling tweet in the aftermath: “Obama will go down in history not as a peacemaker - everyone has forgotten about his Nobel Peace Prize already - but as an American president who launched a new cold war.”
He could reflect the views of Russians themselves, who recently gave President Vladimir Putin an 83 percent favorability rating, and now appear much at home with a big footprint on the world stage.
“Russians largely back their country’s tough stance on Ukraine, which earned Russia more economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe this week. Nearly two-thirds of Russians surveyed before the latest round of sanctions believe Russia needs to have a ‘very strong position’ in relations with its neighbor,” notes a new Gallup poll that tallied the opinions of 2,000 Russians in face-to-face interviews.
Still, there are nuances - and the long memories of those who remember the old days. “Majorities in all segments of Russian society, regardless of gender, age or education, almost uniformly back a strong position on Ukraine. Russians aged 60 and older - who remember Ukraine as part of the Soviet Union for most of their lives - are the most likely of any age group to support good relations with Ukraine by all means,” the Gallup analysis states.