A New Cold War?

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A New Cold War?

With Lithuania implementing conscription, Latvia conducting mock drills and Russian nuclear capable missiles being based in Kaliningrad, the headlines of 2016 read like those belonging to the Cold War era.

The West, especially in the light of the Trump election, will have to seriously consider how willing it is to defend its allies on the eastern flank, and how robust this defence ought to be. Nevertheless, such questions over defending interests and allies give rise to the additional question over if it wise to do so. This is underpinned by John Herz’s theory of the ‘security dilemma’. A security dilemma forms when a country improves its defence, to the alarm of its neighbours which take this to be a threat. Thereby, the likelihood of conflict is severely heightened.

However, in 2016, there has been a rise in the emergence of ‘proxy’ or ‘hybrid’ wars. Hybrid warfare employments a mixture of conventional and cyber forces, whilst proxy warfare is relatively short and never seemingly a sustained effort. This is probably down to new capabilities open to armed forces and different ways of conducting foreign policy and warfare, rather than traditional state-on-state affairs.

When considering what has been previously discussed do you think that the Cold War never went away, and is a case of ‘old wine in new bottles’ or is that an unhelpful way of thinking and that the rise of proxy wars changed the dynamic all together?

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