Friday, January 15, 2016

On Why the Cold War Never Ended

On Why the Cold War Never Ended: Europeans were ecstatic when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and again when East and West Germany unified in 1990. But the birth of the Russian Federation in 1991 did not seem to precipitate the same kind of jubilant response. In general, nobody really knew what the "Russian Federation" signified. It was not until 1993 that something resembling a "constitution" was even in place to govern this newly democratized country. And with dual executive positions (Russia has both a President and a Prime Minister), people became confused over where the political power to govern actually resided. In fact, for the past fifteen years, the President (currently Vladimir Putin) and the Prime Minister (currently Dmitry Medvedev) have essentially swapped positions. With this kind of political back-and-forth (spoils system), many foreign observers continue to remain skeptical, as Russia's executive functions appear not-so-different than that of the Soviet politburo. Yet what's particularly troubling are Russia's recent military advances in the Ukraine and Syria. For if there's one thing Putin understands it's power (he's a realist), and he knows the United States lacks the political will to confront Russian aggression.

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