Ukraine, Russia, Soviet Union discussed on Bloomberg Law


From Bloomberg radio As Russia's invasion of Ukraine heads toward the two week mark the stakes are escalating Russian president Vladimir Putin said again on Sunday the war will continue until Ukraine accepts his demands and halts resistance Are we in danger of a new Cold War Joining me is Michael Doyle a professor at Columbia law school and Columbia school of international and public affairs Start by telling us about the Cold War and when it ended Well whenever we say the word Cold War everyone in my generation the ones before and the one after of course thinks about the Cold War which is the conflict and the contest between the Soviet Union and the United States the Soviet Union supported by the Warsaw Pact the U.S. by NATO It starts up in 47 and ends roughly with Gorbachev somewhere about 1990 So that's a vehicle more And it's a contest between two superpowers the U.S. the USSR divided by two polar opposite ideologies of communism and capitalism also different political systems of dictatorship and democracy That's sort of vehicle war But what I think we should realize is that there are many other conflicts in international history that are special even if they're not identical And what makes them special is that their contest that are not just over a different interest at stake Who controls that province or this province or who can get the most out of a trade deal and become wealthier There are conflicts about legitimacy Wherein one partner or one state regards the other as in some form or another illegitimate that is that it holds territory that it should not or that its political system is violative of the principles of the rival So I think we need to expand the meanings of Cold War to take into account those conflicts over legitimacy And there are a number of them and the danger is that we may be entering a new one today In which the U.S. and its liberal capitalist democratic allies face off against China and Russia as nationalist autocracies that are also corporatist in their economic orientation And there's a danger of that that's emerging today What would you say the situation between the U.S. and Russia has been for the last let's say two decades I would go back sort of just three decades That is the Cold War ended in 1990 And then there was ten years roughly when Russia was unfortunately in a bit of crisis under president yeltsin economically and politically But nonetheless was verging in a direction of shared universal values as Gorbachev has announced And movements toward elections and democracy and more of a free market And that era was one of very considerable cooperation though not equality in the 1990s Starting around the period of 20 years ago we began to see some deterioration Russia itself experienced failures in democracy very problematic movements moving towards a party that was more hegemonic and less tolerant of dissent At the same time as we saw the emergence of mister Putin a strong man who built a coterie of oligarchs and party officials around himself determined to reverse the losses that the Soviet empire had experienced with its collapse in 1990 And so starting then and then peaking about 2012 the full Putin regime was put in place a regime in which the state controls media controls overall corporate activity and is able to extract rents for it for its cronies And manipulates the elections that do occur such as there's no real accountability and adopts of quite aggressive foreign military policy in places like Georgia Syria and then of course most recently in Ukraine Do you have a theory about why Putin now decided to invade Ukraine and start this war I think it was an opportunity He saw the west that is the NATO allies of being both weak and quite divided increasing dependence upon Russian gas that he thought would deter any united front He just came off a very successful military campaign in which he propped up Assad in Syria and routed those who were trying to overthrow Assad So this is a great deal of confidence on the military side A sense of vulnerability looking into Western Europe which appeared divided to him and he was also I think concerned that mister zelensky the then newly elected president had the capacities for mobilizing Ukraine in a way that made him very far from the kind of clients that he had previously experienced in the Kyiv And so we saw Ukraine slipping away He saw the west disunited and he just come off a very successful military campaign that made him quite confident in the capabilities of his army So it looked like an opportunity to him Are we entering another phase of a Cold War or might it even be worse Because he's threatening to use Russia's nuclear capabilities My own view is that for the past ten years we've been inching towards a Cold War in suspicions cyber war industrial warfare with both Russia and China that have been boiling under the surface for quite a long time We had a little proxy war in Syria which is so to speak the west lost Partly because we had no idea which side we were fighting for frankly We certainly weren't fighting for ISIS which was the major opponent of Assad So that we're in that kind of a different world where we've been edging towards a Cold War I suspect that this will solidify it in very significant ways In the same way that the coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and the war in Korea solidified the first Cold War this will solidify not an iron curtain but a very significant disarticulation splitting up of the world a long ideological lines.

Coming up next