Tensions continue to rise between the West and Russia as a result of a recent poisoning of a former Russian double agent. Does this mean a new Cold War? Not yet. But something will have to change to .
Just now Russia announced that they will be retaliating by expelling over 130 foreign diplomats, including 60 from U.S. Is the new Cold War starting? It doesn’t seem so just yet, but it’s going to be a long time until the relationships can be fixed.
What happened and what’s next?
Russian double agent poisoned in Salisbury, UK.
On March 4, former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned in UK using a nerve agent that was developed in Russia. UK demanded an explanation from Russia giving them a 24-hour deadline, which they failed to deliver.
As a result, UK expelled 13 Russian diplomats, while Russia retaliated by doing the same. However, in solidarity with the UK, many other countries beyond European Union expelled Russian diplomats, including 60 from U.S.
Not surprisingly, Russia mirrored the actions from other countries expelling over 130 diplomats and closing a U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg while denying any allegations towards the poisoning.
So, what’s next?
What are the alternatives?
As much as it pains to say, it’s great that UK, U.S. and the whole Europe is standing together. Yes, it damages the dialogue between the western countries and, arguably, one of the most aggressive countries in 21 century. But it’s not like there was much dialogue to begin with.
Dialogue with Russia would usually go only two ways. Either everyone submits to the Russian position or Russia becomes a 5-year old, one minute nodding in agreement, turning around and continue doing whatever it wants.
Like the military interventions in Georgia or the annexation of Crimea. The position of Russia has always been ‘it’s not us, but if it were, we still would have the right to do it because historically the land belongs to us’.
Even with the sanctions many have criticized European Union for taking a soft stand when Ukraine was invaded. So, while nobody wants another Cold War, Europe standing in solidarity and showing some strength was long overdue.
The Future of Europe
It’s not like the dialogue is over completely. Keep in mind, that a lot of businesses run between Russia and Europe. Even after 60 U.S. diplomats leave Russia, there are astil over 600 left.
But something has to change. Europe has showed that it’s not a pushover and that ‘it wasn’t me’ excuses are not going to fly anymore. Also, as an answer to Russia’s military drills, Europe is also looking to soften the bureaucracy for more swift movements of the military between European countries.
It’s a lot like playing slots, at this point. If you play on any slot machine apps, you’ll know what we mean. You have been playing for a bit too long and you are down. So, you have two choices, you either continue, risk bigger losses for a potential jackpot, or quit now and accept that today wasn’t your day.
Unfortunately, the current political situation is much grimmer than casino games. But something will change. Either Russia, due to sanctions and tariffs, will be forced to soften their position, or another, even a small incident could cause complete shut down of dialogue between them and the West.