Global Dynamics

Inteligence Profiling

  1. Introduction

The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States began slowly at the end of World War II, “Many observers have suggested that the start of the cold war occurred with the death of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. His successor, Harry S. Truman immediately rounded on the Soviets and informed Josef Stalin that he would take a much harder line with them.” (A Swish Theme) Relations between the United States and Soviet Union continued to deteriorate through the late 1940s, the actual cold war started with the Berlin Blockade “By 1948, the cold war had begun in earnest and the Berlin Blockade only served to emphasize the tensions between east and west. This was the first major post war crisis and the first to directly result in casualties. Post war Germany was under multi-national control but the Soviets were looking to take sole leadership of the capital Berlin so they blocked the Allies’ railway which in turn curtailed supplies into the city.” (A Swish Theme) The cold war is an interesting case of international relations in that, although several proxy wars were fought between the major powers, at no point was there an actual shooting war between the nations.

The Cold War began when the Soviet Union “was determined to have a buffer zone between its borders and Western Europe. It set up pro-communist regimes in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania, and eventually in East Germany.” (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum) To prevent the continued spread of communism the United States, “embarked on a policy of containment to prevent the spread of Soviet and communist influence in Western European nations such as France, Italy, and Greece.” (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum) The Soviet Union’s attempts at spreading communism and the United States efforts to contain communism lead to several proxy wars between the United States and the Soviet Union (including the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Soviet War in Afghanistan). However, there was never a direct conflict between the Soviets and the United States.

Much to everyone’s surprise, the Cold War came to an end with a whimper instead of a bang when “in August 1991, there had been an attempted coup and the world held its breath as tanks rolled onto the streets of Moscow. President Gorbachev was held a virtual prisoner by his own government.” (Brinkworth) Shortly after these events the Soviet Union ceased to exist and the United States because the undisputed winner of the Cold War and last remaining world superpower.

However, the last word may not be written on the Soviet/Russian attempt to once again become a world super power by restarting the Cold War. In March of 2014 the Russian Military entered into the Crimea Region of the Ukraine and “Invoking the suffering of the Russian people and a narrative of constant betrayals by the West, President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that Russia was within its rights to reclaim Crimea, and then signed a treaty that did just that.” (Englund) Russia has now annexed Crimea and is now engaged in armed conflict with the Ukraine.

The Ukraine was seeking closer ties with the rest of Europe and was seeking entrance into the European Union (EU). Russia was threatened by these moves based on the fact that the Ukraine serves as a buffer between Europe and Russia. In an attempt to keep the Ukraine from joining the EU, Russia took military action. “A pro-Russia rebel leader boasted of receiving 30 tanks and 1,200 troops from Russia. Alexander Zakharchenko, who took over the largest rebel group last week, announced on August 16th that "At present, moving along the path of this corridor  [from Russia] . . .  there are 150 items of combat hardware, 30 of which are tanks" as well as "1,200 individuals who underwent four months of training in the Russian Federation." (Beauchamp & Fisher) These events have received widespread condemnation by the international community and sanctions have been levied against the Russians by the U.S. and the UN.

Actions taken by the Russians certainly appear that they(the Russians) are taking steps to close its borders and spread the authority of the Russian government “Western nations and Russia have been hitting each other with sanctions, and Moscow has upped the ante by saying it may block the airspace over its vast territory, all nine time zones of it. And in another modern echo of the era that ushered in the Berlin Wall, Ukraine is planning a 1,000-mile-long wall along its land border with Russia. The start of construction was announced, in a sign of the times, by Ukraine's security forces on their Facebook page.” (Conant) All of this indicates steps are being taken toward a new/renewed cold war.

  1. Research Question:

Is Russia in effect attempting to recreate the heyday of the Soviet Empire with the annexation of Crimea and the invasion of the Ukraine. Is the Russian government using these actions as examples of the fact that the Russian military is strong enough to cause regions (by force) to accept Russian Rule and also to demonstrate that the Russian military is well-armed enough to counter military action by the U.S. /UN

  1. Hypothesis:

The actions that the Russian government has taken with the annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Ukraine are indications that they (the Russian government) are attempting to recreate the Soviet empire of the Cold War. These are early steps to insulate Russia from the rest of Europe.

  1. Literature Review

The fall of the Soviet Union took place due in a large part due to an economic collapse, “The collapse of the Soviet economy that began in 1989 was not a “transformational” recession; there was a recession, but little transformation. The economy collapsed when the stability conditions required for a successful command system, that had been present in the Soviet Union for seventy years, ceased to hold” (Harrison 2001) Starting in the 1980s with the presidency of Mikhail Gorbachev steps were being taken to open the Soviet Union to the west through a process known as “perestroika” (“restructuring”) and “glasnost” (“openness”) this process “introduced profound changes in economic practice, internal affairs and international relations”. (A&E Television Networks) Gorbachev was attempting to open the Soviet Union up to the west with attempts to introduce a capitalist economic system to the Soviet Union. These attempts failed. “Between 1989 and 1992 Soviet GDP per head fell by approximately 40 per cent”. (Harrison 2001)

This drop in the Soviet GDP were caused by the fact that “in applying this to Russia at least there turned out to be three illusions. First was the belief that Russia’s capital resources were sufficiently malleable that little time would be required for their realignment. In fact the economy’s capital resources were highly specialized in the production of socialist goods, so the decline in output of socialist goods could not be accompanied immediately by a rise in the output of capitalist goods. Rather than gliding along the frontier, the Russian economy would have to spend substantial time in the interior with its resources underemployed in order for reallocation to take place.” (Harrison 2001) The Soviet economy was supposed to take a slight downturn and then begin to transform into something closer to a capitalist economy. This every occurred and eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to “splintered{ing} the USSR into Russia and 14 other independent republics. Since then, Russia has shifted its post-Soviet democratic ambitions in favor of a centralized semi-authoritarian state in which the leadership seeks to legitimize its rule through managed national elections, populist appeals by President Putin, and continued economic growth. Russia has severely disabled a Chechen rebel movement, although violence still occurs throughout the North Caucasus.” (Central Intelligence Agency)

The information that has been presented this far is meant to give the reader background information that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and a brief insight into why it would appear to be in the Russian Federation’s best interest to allow the Ukraine to enter into the European Union (EU), however, there are additional considerations as to why losing power over the Ukraine would have a negative impact upon the Russian Federation “It is very important for Russia to keep Ukraine under its influence because of Ukraine's exceptional strategic location. In the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Russia, with a subordinated Ukraine, becomes an empire, and without it, ceases to be one.” (U.S. Government, Locations 64-66)

There are multiple reasons as to why the Ukraine is of vital importance to the success of the Russian Federation. The first reason that Russia is interconnected with the Ukraine is economic “Russia and Ukraine are of equal importance to each other . First, Ukraine and Russia are economically interdependent. The biggest disparity lays in Ukraine's vast dependence on Russian energy sources. However, Ukraine transports the majority of Russian oil and natural gas to Europe, making Russia almost equally dependent on Ukraine in commercial terms. Both countries are major trading partners.”(U.S. Government, Locations 66-69) The Ukraine is a consumer of Russian oil in addition; the Russian’s require free access to the Ukraine so that they can ship oil to Europe. The inability to ship Russian oil through the Ukraine would have an extreme negative impact on the economy of Russia. The second reason that Russia and the Ukraine are interconnected in strategic “in commercial terms. Both countries are major trading partners. Second, Ukraine serves as a buffer separating Russia from an expanded NATO.” (U.S. Government, Locations 69-70)

The Ukraine serves as a buffer between Russia and Europe. Also, the Crimea region of the Ukraine is of vital strategic importance to Russia, this is due to the fact that the Black Sea Fleet based in the Crimea is the only warm water port the Russian Navy operates. “The Soviet Navy (Voenno-Morskoi Flot) consisted of four fleets. The Black Sea Fleet was the third largest, and constituted of "26 percent of the former Soviet Navy ships and 7 percent of its submarines, primarily based in Ukrainian ports of Sevastopol and Odessa, with smaller bases in Poti, Georgia, and Novorossiysk, Russia." (U.S. Government, Locations 869-871) A large portion of the Russian Navy is based out of ports in the Crimea; if Russia were to lose access to these ports they would lose access to its only warm water port and has the potential to lose a portion of the Russian Navy. The issue of Russian military placement in the Ukraine has been an issue of contention between Russia and the Ukraine since the demise of the Soviet Union. The Ukraine wanted the former Soviet Fleet broken down into a Ukrainian Fleet and a Russian Fleet. Finally an agreement was reached:

“Finally, after almost five years of disagreement, on May 28, 1997, Moscow and Kiev finally settled their dispute over the Black Sea Fleet. The two sides decided to divide the BSF property and that Russia would lease Sevastopol facilities for the BSF. Russia and Ukraine split the ships 50-50, with Russia then buying a part of Ukraine's share. The two states agreed that Russia would rent three ports for warships and two airfields for a twenty-year period. Russia also agreed to station "no more than 25,000 military personnel at the bases, and that it would not place any nuclear weapons at the leased facilities." 328 On March 24, 1999, the Parliament of Ukraine ratified the three intergovernmental agreements signed in May 1997. Currently, the BSF consists of "some 80 vessels and 15,000 servicemen in Ukraine." (U.S. Government, Locations 931-937)

This lease is set to expire shortly, this has the potential to block the Russian military from access to the Black Sea Fleet and is another reason why the Russian government has taken steps to annex Crimea and is currently engaged in military action with the Ukraine.

It would appear that the Russians are taking steps to annex the nations that are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which include “: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.” (Commonwealth of Independent States) Due to their strategic positions in relation to Europe and Central Asia.

International security organizations such as NATO have a fear that the military action that Russia has taken against the Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea may indicate that Russia has plans to push for a new cold war, one where Russia is able to insulate itself from Europe, this has the potential to destabilize the security condition in Europe:

“Russian actions in Ukraine have prompted a reassessment of post-Cold War efforts to build a Cooperative relationship with Moscow. As noted above, NATO suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia on April 2. In the words of NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, “For 20 years, the security of the Euro-Atlantic region has been based on the premise that we do not face an adversary to our east. That premise is now in doubt.” According to some analysts, Russia’s annexation of Crimea validates the concerns long expressed by some NATO member states, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, regarding Russia’s commitment to partnership, its unpredictability, acts of hostility toward NATO and its partners, and perceived attempts to sow disunity within the alliance. On the other hand, while Russian actions have succeeded in drawing uniform condemnation from across NATO and the European Union, many in Europe and the United States emphasize that Europe’s long-term security will depend on cooperative relations with Russia. As noted above, some NATO members in Western Europe have expressed concern that a military response to Russian actions could significantly hinder future attempts to boost cooperation with Russia.” (Belkin, Mix, & Woehrel 2014)

NATO was established to prevent the spread of communism across Europe. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has been re-tasked to assist with the GWOT (Global War on Terror). Without an international security force in Europe it would be easy enough for Russia to attempt to expand its land holdings. This appears to be occurring in the Ukraine.

The issue of an independent Ukraine and the Russian attempts to maintain control over the region began with what is known as the Orange Revolution “Over the next 17 days, through harsh cold and sleet, millions of Ukrainians staged nationwide nonviolent protests that came to be known as the "orange revolution." The entire world watched, riveted by this outpouring of the people's will in a country whose international image had been warped by its corrupt rulers. By the time victory was announced--in the form of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko's electoral triumph--the orange revolution had set a major new landmark in the post communist history of eastern Europe, a seismic shift Westward in the geopolitics of the region. Ukraine's revolution was just the latest in a series of victories for "people power"--in Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s and, more recently, in Serbia and Georgia.” (Karatnycky)

At this point the Ukrainians were protesting in an attempt to elect a Pro-European leader and break away from the control of Russia. Russia took steps to block this attempt. “Russian political technologists imported anti-American conspiracies into Ukraine, alleging that the United States was behind Melnychenko and Kuchmangate. One of these was the Brezinski Plan, which claimed Kuchmagate was a U.S. backed provocation that aimed to topple Kuchma and replace him with Yushchenko.” (Kuzio 2005) In an attempt to turn the Ukrainian population away from a pro-European leader the Russian government used disinformation that indicated that a pro-European government would be a U.S. puppet government hoping that this information would change the feeling of the population and turn them against the desire to form an alliance with Europe.

Steven Pifer has served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and as a senior official in the State Department and the White House National Security Council. He is now director of the Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative at the Brookings Institution. Mr. Pifer was interviewed by USA Today about the potential for a new Cold War with Russia. This interview in part said:

Q: Is a new cold war coming?

A: We certainly are headed toward perhaps the rockiest period in U.S.-Russia relations since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. … Unless the Russians change course, we're going to be in a very difficult time.

Q: Where does this go?

A: The Russians fundamentally have a choice to make. They could choose the diplomatic off-ramp; at least get into the negotiating process, which I think would take a long time. It would be at best some time before Ukraine could reassert sovereignty over Crimea, if ever. But that would at least get the negotiating process underway that might find a solution without being a real crisis in U.S.-Russia relations.

But if they were to go the route of annexing Crimea, then I think you will see some fairly stiff Western sanctions, including financial sanctions, applied jointly by the United States and the European Union. (Susan)

U.S officials are viewing the annexation of Crimea and an invasion of the Ukraine the first steps toward a potential new Cold War with the Russian Federation. However, that bridge has not been completely crossed, yet. There is still the potential that the Russians will withdraw from the Ukraine and allow the country to decide for it if it does desire to become a member-state of the EU. Also the international community has the benefit of history on their side. World leaders may find a better solution to the Russia situation than allowing another Cold War to start.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made statements that he has no desire to annex any other regions of the Ukraine and that the only reason that Crimea had been annexed was due to the fact that it was the will of the Crimean people to be ruined with the Russian people. “Treaty on Tuesday making Crimea part of Russia, but said he did not plan to seize any other regions of Ukraine. In a fiercely patriotic address to a joint session of parliament in the Kremlin, punctuated by standing ovations, cheering and tears, Putin said Crimea’s disputed referendum vote on Sunday had shown the overwhelming will of the people to be reunited with Russia.” (2014) Actions speak much louder than worlds. While President Putin says that he has no desire to annex any other regions of the Ukraine the fact that the Russian Military has invaded the region is telling a different story.

Again, with history on the side of political leaders there may be attempts to head off Russian aggression before it fully takes route. However, given current events this does not look promising.

The situation in the Ukraine seems to be devolving. More Russian troops seem to be entering the area on a daily basis and insurgents have taken to shooting at civilian aircraft. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was “{shot} down over territory held by pro-Russian rebels, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.A separate Dutch air crash investigation concluded this week that the plane was hit from the outside by numerous high-energy objects, but stopped short of calling it a missile strike.” (CBS Interactive) The fact that civilian aircrafts are now being targeted indicates that the security situation in the Ukraine is degrading quickly. It does very much appear that Russian authorities are attempting to take over control of the region, regardless of what statements President Putin make.

  1. Methodology and Research Strategy

In this situation, when discussing the potential for a new cold war starting between the Russian Federation and the United States it would have been best to travel to the Ukraine to attempt to gauge the feelings of the citizens (how much anti-American/anti-Russian) sentiment is actually taking place. However, traveling to that region would be extremely dangerous at this time and improbably just to gather information to use for this research report. With that in mind, the method used for this research project was case studies.

There has been much written by the mainstream media about the events unfolding in the Ukraine and have offered a wealth of information about the situation. With so much information floating around it wasn’t difficult to find information, it was more difficult to weed out the fluff pieces and balance information between liberal and conservative news outlets. In addition to this, there have been several articles written in peer reviewed journals that discuss the events in Russia and the Ukraine. As should be obvious information is evenly split between scholars that believe that the U.S. and Russia are headed toward another cold war and those that believe that some sort of agreement can be made between the governments that will prevent another cold war.

Again, there is a ton of information around that discusses the issues in Russia; the problem becomes weeding out useless information and attempting to balance the biases of written information. Every attempt has been made to present options regarding the Russia/Ukraine hostilities.

  1. Analysis and Findings

Are the United States and Russia heading toward another cold war? That question is difficult to answer. Taking all information into account it would appear that both nations are in fact heading toward the cold war part II.

At the close of the first cold war, the U.S. sat back and enjoyed their position as the undisputed world super power. There were no more enemies to develop against; there wasn’t another economic super power to challenge the power of the U.S. As such, the U.S. stopped. Without having to continuously prove that the U.S. was stronger both politically and economically than the Soviet Union, the U.S. slacked off and stopped attempting to achieve bigger and faster.

On the other hand Russia continued to rebuild their fractured society and now is in a military and economic position to challenge smaller nations that has previously been within their sphere of influence. While Russia may not be in a position, militarily of economically to bring war to other parts of Europe/Central Asia, it has become obvious that they do have the ability to bring hostilities to regions that are within a relatively close distance to Russia.

The Ukraine is the first step in attempting to establish dominance over former satellite states of the Soviet Union due to the fact that the Ukraine is of vital importance both economically and militarily to the Russians. Russia needs the Ukraine to buy Russian produced oil, also Russia needs access to the Ukraine to transport Russian oil to other parts of Europe, without access to these shipping routes the Russians would have difficulty in transporting their goods to locations in Europe and would have a negative impact on the Russian Economy. Add to this the fact that the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the only Russian Navy warm water port is located in Crimea means that the Ukraine is also of strategic importance to Russia. The navy needs access to a warm water port. Without the Black Sea Fleet the Russian Navy would be crippled due to the fact that a large chunk of the Russian Navy would no longer belong to Russia. In addition if an agreement is made to split the Navy in two would mean that in terms of military power the Ukraine and Russia would be evenly matched.

The Ukraine has also sought entrance into the EU. This is an event that the Russians would not allow to happen because the Ukraine is the buffer between the Russians and the rest of Europe. If the Ukraine were to join the EU the Russians would no longer have that buffer and could potentially see a push by citizens to adopt a more European world view (government/economy). All situations that the Russians would not allow to happen.

Finally President Putin has said that he doesn’t have any desire to annex any other regions in the Ukraine, however, his actions are speaking much louder than words. The annexation of Crimea was a bloodless endeavor. A vote was taken and citizens agreed to once again become part of Russia. The same cannot be said about the invasion of the Ukraine. Conscious choices were made to invade the Ukraine and attempt to take the region by force.

Does this indicate that Russia is 100% seeking to restart the cold war? No. However, there is more than enough evidence to indicate that Russia will take the Ukraine by force and is seeking to expand its borders. How the international community responds to these actions will impact the cold war part II.

What the international community has to take into account before determine how to proceed with this situation is the fact that NATO has been re-tasked and is now deployed in Afghanistan in support of the GWOT. This means that there isn’t a large enough security force in Europe that would be able to check the spread of Russia across Europe. This may be why the Russians waited until this point to attempt to take over the Ukraine. The Soviet Union also fought a war in Afghanistan, that was prolonged and ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian leaders may be looking at the same thing occurring in the United States, a prolong war in Afghanistan with no end in sight as well as the re-tasking of NATO in support of the mission. Now is the perfect time to attempt to regain control of former satellite states. There isn’t a security organization that would be able to check the spread of Russia. Also, the United States due to a prolonged war in Afghanistan also is not in a position to do much (militarily) if Russia does attempt to take over the Ukraine by force. These actions do seem to be calculated on the part of the Russians to take advantage of a demoralized United States.

  1. Conclusion

For 40 years the Soviet Union was the one dominate threat to the stability of Europe and the security of the United States. No other nation was in a position to challenge the U.S. militarily. Part of the reason that the cold war between the Soviet Union and the U.S. never went hot was due to the concept of mutually assured destruction (MAD) both the Soviet Union and the U.S. had enough nuclear missiles that if a war were to start and go nuclear both nations had enough warheads to assure the destruction of the other nation.

Eventually the Soviet Union ceased to exist due to economic failure and the cold war was over, without a shot ever being fired. The U.S. did not have a challenger; Because of this the U.S. sat back and enjoyed being the undisputed world leader, while Russia worked to rebuild society. Allowing this situation to occur has also allowed Russia to become strong enough militarily and economically to challenge the safety and stability of nations in Europe. The first step toward doing this was the annexation of Crimea. While President Putin has said that Russia does not desire to take over the Ukraine, the simple fact that the Russian military has invaded the region seems to prove that these statements are false. Russia is very much attempting to regain some of its lost land and lost power.

VIII. Works Cited:

2014. "Putin signs Crimea treaty, will not seize other Ukraine regions." Regional Today 4. Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed September 14, 2014).

Belkin, Paul, Derek E. Mix, and Steven Woehrel. 2014. "NATO-Russia Relations." Congressional Research Service: Report 12-13. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed September 14, 2014).

Kuzio, Taras. 2005. "Russian Policy toward Ukraine during Elections." Demokratizatsiya 13, no. 4: 491-517. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed September 14, 2014).

Susan, Page. n.d. "A new cold war? Why Crimea crisis matters." USA Today, n.d. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed September 14, 2014).

U.S. Government (2014-02-28). 2014 Ukraine and Crimea Crisis: The Crimean Tatars and Their Influence on the Triangle Of Conflict - Russia - Crimea - Ukraine, History of Crimea, Sevastopol, Russian Black Sea Fleet. Progressive Management. Kindle Edition.

Commonwealth of Independent States. "About the Commonwealth of Independent States." Commonwealth of Independent States. (accessed September 14, 2014).

Beauchamp, Zack , and Max Fisher. "Did Russia just invade Ukraine? What we know and don't know." Vox. (accessed September 14, 2014).

Brinkworth, Malcolm . "The Soviet Union's Last Stand." BBC News. (accessed September 14, 2014).

Conant, Eve. "Is the Cold War Back?." National Geographic. (accessed September 14, 2014).

Englund, Will . "Kremlin says Crimea is now officially part of Russia after treaty signing, Putin speech." Washington Post. (accessed September 14, 2014)

Harrison, Mark. Are command economies unstable?: why did the Soviet economy collapse?. Coventry CV4 7AL : University of Warwick, Department of Economics, 2001.

Karatnycky, Adrian . "Ukraine's Orange Revolution." Global. (accessed September 14, 2014).

CBS Interactive. "Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster's "most likely" scenario revealed." CBSNews. (accessed September 14, 2014).

A&E Television Networks. "Perestroika and Glasnost." (accessed September 14, 2014).

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. "The Cold War." John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. (accessed September 14, 2014).

Central Intelligence Agency. "The World Factbook Russia." Central Intelligence Agency. (accessed September 14, 2014).

A Swish Theme. "What year did the Cold War start?." History of Russia. (accessed September 14, 2014).