Another Superpowers Face-off: Cold War 2.0 Loading

by Eli Mshomi
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“If Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I’m prepared to take further actions to respond. It is my responsibility as president of the United States to do so.”

(President Joe Biden)

 

Sanctions, retaliations, and putting diplomacy at a halt are the words that describe the USA and Russia relations in these times.

The US intelligence report bombshell has sparked a fire in the think-tanks of the two superpowers, as the report accused Russia of meddling in the US 2020 Presidential elections and trespassing on US cyber property.

Amid the persisting tussle between the USA and Russia, the relationships have deteriorated further, as the diplomatic relations between both countries have taken a sharp turn in a series of events.

As President Joe Biden perceived “Russia’s harmful foreign activities,” he expelled ten Russian diplomats along with enacting other sanctions on the country. In a tit-for-tat move, Russia also retaliated and expelled an equal number of American diplomats, further straining the relations.

This diplomatic war is even more severe than the traditional weaponry tussle, so both countries have no other choice instead of rehabilitating diplomatic engagement with each other.

If both countries fail to engage with each other, this negative engagement has the potential to kick off another cold war, which will push the world into more chaos.

What are the sanctions being used by both the countries on each other, and how can these sweeping measures damage the already strained relations at a time when the US was trying to bid for a greater foreign engagement across the globe? Let’s see.

USA and Russia Flags

USA and Russia Flags

Tit-for-Tat Measures to Screw Each Other: The USA and Russia In Action

When Biden himself was asking for “de-escalation,” a series of sanctions against Russia was surprising, considering the sanctions often escalate the foreign crisis. 

The latest US intelligence report evinces that while China stayed out of the US presidential elections, Russia intended to change the outcome in favor of Donald Trump. The report said,

 

“(The Russian president) influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US.”

(US Intelligence Report)

 

Despite Russia’s ambitions and attempts for election meddling, the country failed to break into the voting machines during the United States elections, hence not impacting the end result at all.

Then came the SolarWinds cyberattacks of the Russian intelligence agencies, which tried to break into email accounts of the Trump administration’s Homeland Security department.

This cyber fraud attempt, along with election intervention, are the primary reason for the US expelling the Russian diplomats.

While these sweeping diplomatic sanctions seem ambitious, they are never the solutions. 

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin: The Presidents of the USA and Russia respectively.

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin: The Presidents of the USA and Russia respectively.

Expelling Diplomats will Escalate Tensions and not Heal Them
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Diplomacy is the only solution of the modern world that can solve the persisting crisis among the countries.

At times when Russia was already inclined toward improved relations with China, which is furthering making a nexus with Iran, expelling diplomatic teams may not be a long-term answer.

Considering the track record of Russia in election intervention and cyberattacks, enacting better safeguards for the US individuals, companies, and government agencies would have been the top-notch priority of the government beforehand.

Having the best technology in the world, the US needs to take proactive measures to avoid cyber intrusions from foreign nations ready to exploit US security all the time.

Diplomacy is the modern-day weapon, and both the USA and Russia need to understand this at their earliest convenience. 

There is no doubt that Russian ambitions are always vague, but the US should push Russia to sign an agreement not to intrude in each other’s cyberspace. 

Halting trade and exiling each other’s diplomatic organizations will only strain the relations further as the sense of distrust will prevail this way.

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As no country can afford to take military action against each other, at the end of the day, both the USA and Russia have to call each other’s diplomats back. Hence, the diplomatic missions that are bound to be back later on should be rejuvenated right now, so both countries must not waste time in the senseless sanctions.

 

Final Thoughts

This is not the first time that Russia has tried to intervene in the United States presidential elections.

While signing executive orders by Biden is an immediate response by the United States to the crisis, the US administration needs to be proactive in this regard.

Seeing the pattern, the Democrats needed to push Republicans during the Trump presidency to stop Russia from doing so. 

It is never too late, and Russia is once again likely to meddle in the next elections as well. So, the Biden administration should be active diplomatically to find avenues of mutual interests with Russia so that the relations between the two erstwhile cold war foes can be mended to the greater possible extent. 

Any attempt to expel the diplomats is bound to crack the relations even further, which neither the United States nor Russia can afford.

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