Tuesday, October 14, 2008

By: Kathleen Wilmes
Posted: 10/9/08

It is apparent the state of tension between Russia and the United States is not alleviating in any way, and perhaps even worsening since the conflict between Russia and Georgia.

It isn't the tension in itself between the two countries that surprises me, but rather the point to which it has escalated. It is very reminiscent of another time and another conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union that is eerily similar to the situation we are experiencing today - the Cold War.

This conflict between the two countries is spilling over in other areas of state interest as well, most notably the six-nation Iran talks, which include the members of the United Nations Security Council P5 (China, Russia, the United States, Britain and France) and Germany.

Russia's threat to remove itself from the Iran talks over Iran's nuclear energy program is, essentially, Russia making a stance and saying it is by no means appropriate for the United States to continue with the level of isolation toward Russia. It also makes a point to the United States that Russia is needed in regards to conflict and international issues.

And that's not all.

It seems as though Latin America is a top Russian priority right now, and Russia is by no means being shy about its spending in the region.

With the United States leaving the relationship with Venezuela cold at best, it has allowed huge connections to be made between Venezuela and Russia, as well as with other Latin American nations. This is a means for Russia to help reduce U.S. influence in the international community and make a statement it is a world power not to be stepped on - and what a huge statement this is.

These connections Russia is making do not just stop at Venezuela either, but has touched Nicaragua as well as others in an effort to revamp and modernize the Latin American countries' military, defense, and energy programs.

This is what is so strikingly similar to the Cold War. Russia is making connections with other countries, most notably Latin American countries, and increasing spending in these regions.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice comments on this by pretty much stating as Russia becomes more aggressive, the country will become more isolated and irrelevant internationally.

However, I don't really think this will be the case when it comes to relevance. Russia is very much relevant in the international arena, and it is ridiculous for us to think Russia would take this lightly at all.

Russia might not be the biggest world power, but she is still powerful nonetheless.

I do not think this tension between the United States and Russia will ease anytime soon. I also think it will escalate, but hopefully not to the same degree as the United States and the Soviet Union's tensions during the Cold War era.

However, I feel this will hurt the entire stability of the international community, especially in regards to Iran and other situations that might arise similar in nature.

The United States and Russia are two leading members, and often clashing members, of the United Nations Security Council's Permanent 5. These two nations, along with the other three, lead the entire world and dictate international policies. These two nations set the direction and the pace on world issues.

Without one, as in the case of the Iran talks, or with these two countries clashing, things will not be as smooth as they once were, and not as much progress will be made.

This tension does not just hurt the United States, nor does it just hurt Russia. This conflict between the two is affecting the entire international community.