Cold War II

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Cold War II is a phrase mainly used by academics and journalists to speculate the possibility of tensions between two current sides. Usually, it is exemplified with tensions between the United States and Russia or between the US and China. Interchangeable terms are the new Cold War, Second Cold War, and Cold War 2.0. It should not be considered the successor to the original Cold War.

Reference to the original Cold War

  • Fred Halliday, in The Making of the Second Cold War (1982, ISBN 978-0860911449), in reference to the later phases of the original Cold War.
    • p. 23: The military threat contained within the Second Cold War therefore makes it a far more ominous confrontation than was Cold War I.
    • p. 173: Cold War I coincided with a boom, Cold War II with a recession.

Russia–The West relations


From Foreign Policy (12 March 2018)

  • Headline: "I Knew the Cold War. This Is No Cold War"
    • Viewing today’s troubles as a new Cold War downplays the role that human agency and bad policy decisions have played in bringing the United States and Russia to the current impasse, distracts us from more important challenges, and discourages us from thinking creatively about how to move beyond the present level of rancor.
    • The current situation [between the US and Russia] is bad. But to call it a “new Cold War” is misleading more than it is enlightening.
    • Thinking of the current conflict between the United States and Russia as a new Cold War exaggerates its significance and distracts us from the far more serious challenge we face from a rising China. Even worse, it encourages us to take steps that are actively harmful to our own interests.

From New Statesman (14 March 2018)

  • Headline: "Putin's New Cold War"
    • Cold War 2.0 deserves the designation because it might turn hot. That is the risk that demands attention.
    • Cold War 2.0 has been shaped by the internet.
    • Does Cold War 1.0 provide any guidance for how we should cope with Cold War 2.0?

From The Self-Genocide of the West, Foreign Policy Journal (26 December 2018)

  • The military/security complex has resurrected its Cold War enemy so necessary for its outsized budget and power and intends to keep Russia as The Enemy. The Democrats have an interest in the villification of Russia as “Russiagate” explains Hillary’s loss of the 2016 Presidential election and gives Democrats hope of removing President Trump from office. The media lacks independence, knowledge, and integrity and is the tool used by the military/security complex to control explanations...
  • As strategic and Russian studies are largely funded by the military/security complex, the universities are also complicit in the march toward nuclear war. Republicans are as dependent as Democrats on funding from the military/security complex and the Israel Lobby.
  • All of this self-serving is driving America and its vassals to war with Russia, which might also mean with China. The war would be nuclear and be the end of the West, an act of self-genocide. The US national security establishment is so crazed that Trump’s efforts to get off the war track and onto a peace track are characterized as treason and a threat to US national security.
  • The Russians are aware that the accusations and demonization that they experience are fabrications. They no longer see the problem as one of misunderstandings that diplomacy can overcome. What they see now is the West preparing its populations for war. It is this perception for which the West is solely responsible that makes the situation today far more dangerous than it ever was during the long Cold War.

Other academics

  • From "Is the Cold War Back?" by Eve Conant, National Geographic (12 September 2014)
    • Mark Kramer: You have to put cold water on the faddish idea of a 'second Cold War'
    • Archie Brown: Calling this [the situation between Russia and the US] a second Cold War is an exaggeration, even if elements of it are reminiscent of the real Cold War.
  • A directionless administration in Washington is giving allies and adversaries the jitters by seemingly putting in place all the ingredients for the start of a Second or a New Cold War just precisely when the world was looking at ways to strengthen ties economically and commercially.
  • Russian policy towards Ukraine since late 2013 in this sense also indicates that actual and latent conflicts in Eastern Europe have entered a qualitatively new and more dangerous phase, frequently described as a new Cold War yet far from the hegemonic stability that then prevailed in this part of the world.
  • Calling twenty-first-century great-power tensions a new Cold War therefore obscures more than it reveals. It is a kind of terminological laziness that equates the conflicts of yesteryear, which most analysts happen to know well, with what takes place today.
  • Coordinated response will not start a new Cold War between Russia and the West. It will restore guidelines and common expectations about future behavior in a more complex international system than existed during the Cold War.
  • This appears to be one of the beginnings of a second Cold War, which we have been seeing so many manifestations of around the globe in the recent decade.

Article headlines (Russia–The West)

  • "Welcome to Cold War II" by Dmitri Trenin in Foreign Policy (4 March 2014)
  • "As Cold War II Looms[...]" by Nikolas Kozloff in Huffington Post (15 October 2015)
  • "We’re on the road to a new Cold War" by the Washington Post editorial board (31 July 2017)
  • "Travel Barriers Are the Worst of the New Cold War" by Leonid Bershidsky in Bloomberg (1 September 2017)
  • "White House backs UK in Russia crisis as Cold War Two looms over Salisbury poisoning" by Richard Hartley-Parkinson in Metro (15 March 2018)
  • "The New 'Cold War' With the West Heats Up" by Pavel Felgenhauer in The Jamestown Foundation website (15 March 2018)
  • "Russia v the West: Vladimir Putin's new cold war" by Daniel McLaughlin in The Irish Times (29 December 2018)
  • "Venezuela crisis: Putin's new Cold War on America's doorstep?" by Nathan Hodge in CNN (2 February 2019)
  • "Cold War 2.0? Russia suspends nuke treaty after US decision" in The Times of India (3 February 2019); original: Associated Press
  • "The New Cold War’s Warm Friends" by Chris Miller in Foreign Policy (1 March 2019)

Peter Savodnik


From Vanity Fair (9 August 2017)

  • Headline: "How Comrade Trump Unleashed a Cold War in America"
  • Quotes:
    • For at least a decade, Americans have been obsessing over the new Cold War about to break out between Russia and the West.
    • There is not going to be a new Cold War because the real Cold War was, at its essence, a clash of ideas.
    • One detects in all this public hand-wringing about the new Cold War a thinly veiled desire to return to the old one.
    • We are not waging a new Cold War with Russia, but Russia, as always, forces America to confront itself.
  • The US is a force for division, not for cooperation... It's a force for trying to create a new cold war with China. If this takes hold - if that kind of approach is used, then we won't go back to normal, indeed we will spiral into greater controversy and greater danger in fact.
  • The US lost its step on 5G, which is a critical part of the new digital economy. And Huawei was taking a greater and greater share of global markets... The US concocted in my opinion, the view that Huawei is a global threat. And has leaned very hard on US allies... to try to break the relations with Huawei.
  • Do I believe that China could do more to ease fears that are very real? I do.... The big choice frankly is in China's hands. If China is cooperative, if it engages in diplomacy, regional cooperation and multilateralism…. then I think that Asia has an incredibly bright future.

Simon Tisdall


From The Guardian (19 November 2014)

  • Headline: "The new cold war: are we going back to the bad old days?"
  • Quotes:
    • Newspaper headlines from Moscow to Washington and Sydney to Kiev all agree: the cold war is back. Well, maybe.
    • Any new cold war-type confrontation would differ in scope and range from the worldwide frozen conflict that dominated the latter half of the 20th century.
    • A new cold war would lack other key features that distinguished its forerunner.
    • [Vladimir Putin] is the man who put the cold war back in vogue.

Quotes from other journalists and columnists



  • We should also pay attention to those who warn against plunging into a new Cold War as a knee-jerk reaction, without consideration for what happens next.
  • Marco Rubio: (referring to the US) "[...]barreling toward the second Cold War." ([1])
  • [F]irst, the two presidents [Putin and Donald Trump] must publicly come clean regarding the 2016 election campaign. Otherwise, there will be no breakthroughs, and Cold War Two will continue with no end in sight.
  • We are starting a new Cold War. We seem to be sleepwalking into this new nuclear arms race. [...] We and the Russians and others don’t understand what we are doing. I am not suggesting that this Cold War and this arms race is identical to the old one. But in many ways, it is just as bad, just as dangerous. And totally unnecessary.
  • My point of view is that the individuals that have said that a new Cold War has started are not analysts. They do propaganda.
  • There's no question we're in a new chapter of the Cold War with Russia.

Others (Russia–The West)


China–US relations


R. Jagannathan


From "Is the Cold War really over? Well, Cold War II is here", Firstpost (24 August 2011)

  • Just in case nobody has noticed, Cold War II has begun.
  • [U]nlike Cold War I, Cold War II will bring instability, not stability.
  • [T]he world is multi-polar now. Which is why Cold War II will be less stable and more uncertain for everybody. It might also be less peaceable.
  • Cold War II is now upon us. It is fundamentally different from Cold War I.

Subhash Kapila


From "United States Can't Afford Two Concurrent Cold Wars", South Asia Analysis Group (25 February 2016)

  • China foisted Cold War II on the United States in the first decade of the 21st century[...]
  • It would be strategically erroneous to attach linkages of China’s ongoing Cold War II with the United States to fears of United States revival of Cold War I with Russia.

Article headlines (China–US)

  • From a July 29 Xinhua article: "New Cold War looms large in North-east Asia as Seoul accepts THAAD"
  • Matt Novak from Gizmodo: "Book Review: Asia's smile diplomacy disguises a new Cold War"
  • Cary Huang from SCMP: "Trump vs. China: Is This the Dawn of a Second Cold War?"
  • Sofia Lotto Persio from Newsweek: "China's Xi Warns Trump of New Cold War—Again"
  • Ishaan Tharoor from The Washington Post: "Under Trump, U.S. enters a new 'Cold War' with China"
  • Christopher A. Preble from CATO Institute: "A New Cold War with China?"

Others (China–US)

2. A second cold war would likewise weaken ongoing efforts to deepen integration under the nascent African Continental Free Trade Area.
Hippolyte Fofack, Chief Economist and Director of Research of African Export–Import Bank, in "Africa Cannot Afford a Second Cold War", Project Syndicate (4 January 2022)
  • If certain prognosticators are to be believed, the United States is now facing a new cold war with China. But it seems unlikely that this cold war will produce any sort of high-culture renaissance.
    Beverly Gage, an American professor of Yale University, in "The Art of War", Foreign Affairs (January/February 2022)

Other meanings