New Cold War, or World War III?

February 26, 2022
New Cold War, or World War III?

Jameel Altheyabi

IT will not be a war in the sense of its predecessors, the First and Second World Wars. But it could be a world war of a new kind, which the world has not known before.

Certainly, Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine created unmistakable new facts on the ground: He undoubtedly imposed a new world order.

It is completely different from the world order imposed by the West on Russia after the end of World War II.

It is a system that has nothing in common with the old system except Russia's commitment to what was known as the "Woodrow Wilson Theory", which allows any country the right to block whatever it sees as a threat to its national security.

Putin saw the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in the independent Soviet republics, and the countries of Eastern Europe neighboring his country, as a serious threat to Russia.

A different Third World War? Yes. It will not develop into an all-out war between the West and Russia.

It certainly will not turn into a nuclear war; all nuclear powers fear the imbalance of nuclear deterrence, lest the experience of the US nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which put an end to World War II, be repeated. This time it will be a global economic war.

The West is still mobilizing to sanction the greatest economic damage on Russia. It is a war that can theoretically have a winner and a loser but strategically speaking it is a war of losses.

As Europe and the United States will be affected by the boycott of Russia, financially and economically, to the same extent that Russia will be harmed. At the forefront of the major losses are global energy supplies, especially oil and gas.

It can be said that the homes in Europe, without the Russian heating gas, would suffer greatly from the cold and snow.

So it is a Third World War that will redraw the map of the old continent, which lost its will, whose interests conflict, and the goals of its regimes and ruling parties are multiple (France is on the verge of presidential elections. Germany has an interest in the Russian gas supply pipeline, and Turkey, a member of NATO, has the same eye on the missile defense system that it purchased from Moscow).

It is a map that Putin will redraw with "the law of force", not with "the force of law", as long as his Western opponents are unable to confront him with the force he used.

US President Joe Biden has confirmed that his country's forces will not go to fight in Ukraine. NATO announced that it would not put its forces in Ukraine, as it is not a member state.

It is clear that Putin intended his military operation in Ukraine to include the two pro-Russian separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, and to seal the regime of President Zelensky in Kiev, and install a pro-Moscow regime there.

The Russian Putin realizes that this is the ultimate goal that he can achieve without a Western will to confront him in Ukraine.

But if he tries to revive the former Soviet Union, by including the countries that revolved in Moscow's orbit until the collapse of the former union in 1990, Putin will face a hell that he will not be able to face, because most of those countries have become members of NATO and the United Nations.

This is what prompted President Biden to warn Russia that it will defend every inch of the territory of the NATO countries if Putin invaded or attacked them.

There is no doubt that the consequences of what the Russian president did will not be limited to the old continent alone, but will change the map of global alliances after the invasion of Ukraine.

The West will find that it is facing a new anti-bloc that includes Russia, China, and most likely Iran, North Korea and some Latin countries, and it almost exists now. It is without a doubt a nightmare for all countries of the world.

However, the permanence of the "fait accompli" policy imposed by the conditions for ending World War II is impossible. If such an alliance crystallizes, the nature of the security threat to the West will change as well.

On top of that, how will the West seek to re-secure its vital interests in the Middle East? How will the West try to block the influence of the Sino-Russian alliance in Africa, Asia, and South America?

Certainly, those who predicted the outbreak of a Third World war will be disappointed. Not because it won't break out, but because its nature will be completely different from what preceded it in the wars of the great powers.

After imposing the latest set of sanctions on Russia, Biden admitted that sanctions are a weapon whose effect will only appear in the medium and long term.

To the same extent, the impact of that boycott and sanctions at the same time on the West will be painful in the short term, as oil prices began to jump at an unprecedented and accelerating pace.

Gas prices in Western countries will also rise to a point that makes inflation one of the most dangerous diseases of the Western and global economy.

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