The War in Syria has severely damaged relations between Russia and The United States. Tony Burman writes:
Not since the darkest days of the Cold War, we are being told, are the dangers of a catastrophic conflict between Russia and the West so genuine.Last Sunday on Russian television, Dmitry Kiselyov, an influential current affairs host, warned that U.S. military action against the Russian-backed Syrian regime could provoke a world war: “Offensive behaviour toward Russia has a nuclear dimension.”This week, Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, wrote that today’s global situation is “more dangerous” than the Cold War. And former Soviet leader and Nobel winner Mikhail Gorbachev warned that “the world has a reached a dangerous point” because of the deepening Russia-U.S. clash over Syria.
But there are differences between the standoff which followed World War II and today's standoff:
Putin may strut, may preen and may bluster — and, like the KGB operative he once was, he is skilled at manipulating the optics of a situation. But like Trump, his comrade-in-arms in the U.S., Putin is a phoney. When all is said and done, he doesn’t have the economic or military firepower to deliver on his threats. Compared with the Soviet Union, Russia’s economy is strikingly weak and integrated with the West. If tensions ever escalated to the point of actual war, Russia would be annihilated. And Putin, above all, knows that.Russia’s sabre-rattling is unnerving the West. It is messing with the heads of American and European politicians, military leaders and opinion-makers. In response, NATO and its member states, led by the U.S., are embarking on their own military buildup, particularly in countries neighbouring Russia. They are using the Russian threat, exaggerated as it is, as a pretext for challenging Russia in its own backyard. That’s a recipe for disaster. Putin isn’t the only threat here: our leaders also need to be watched.Even though Trump will likely crash and burn on election day, Nov. 8, the poisoned American political system will still be with us. And it’s a system increasingly corrupted by money. Regardless of who resides in the White House, there will be many Republican members, perhaps a majority, whose political success is tied to America’s war machine. This is reflected in those military bases and military jobs that reside in their districts. Even though the Pentagon itself admits that the American military is bloated and over-resourced, it is in the interests of these politicians to keep this war machine growing.
And, should Hillary win, we're told that Putin loathes her. The West is in a tight spot. It's easy to get into a war -- much easier than it is to get out.