America and Russia are in conflict

Conflict between USA and Russia : The cold fear and the war

Donald Trump was born in 1946. From 1971 until he took office as the 45th President of the United States, he headed a corporation. It is rather doubtful that he dealt intensively with international politics before 1990, the end of the era that was shaped by the Cold War. It is therefore unclear whether Trump even knows what he is talking about when he calls current relations between the USA and Russia “even worse than during the Cold War” in view of the Syria crisis.

In one decisive point, however, it meets the current mood: never before have relations between the two states been so marked by irrational behavior as they are today. And that is less due to Vladimir Putin than to Donald Trump. For the US president, confrontation with other powers is like bragging about adolescent youth in the schoolyard. Which scares more and more people today.

With a few exceptions, Soviet leaders and American presidents have avoided a direct confrontation between the two nuclear powers as much as possible. In the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Nikita Khruchchev refrained from deploying missiles in view of the blockade of the island by the US Navy - in return, the United States refrained from deploying medium-range weapons in Turkey.

After the Wall was built in 1961, Russian and American tanks were temporarily facing each other at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, until Moscow announced that it did not want to interfere with the freedom of West Berlin and John F. Kennedy made it clear to Willy Brandt that the US guarantees only applied to Berlin's western sectors and access. Otherwise, both powers tried to stir up insecurity in each other's zone of influence by infiltration - like the Soviet Union in Chile - or, like Washington in Afghanistan, to arm guerrilla movements against Moscow. In the latter case, 20 years later, it took terrible revenge.

Danger of the great war

Otherwise it was clear that there could be no direct or indirect intervention in the other's sphere of influence. The Soviet Union bludgeoned democracy movements in the GDR, Hungary and the CSSR or, as in Poland, left that to local forces. For Western Europe in particular, the Cold War, as cynical as it sounds, had the advantage of calm. It was believed that the balance of horror would keep both sides from starting nuclear war. You knew or at least hoped that your own early warning systems would still give you the time to trigger the destruction of the attacker's territory before you burned yourself in the mushroom cloud.

It was only years later that the world learned that the global overkill could have happened by mistake - if the Soviet engineer and Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov had not made a decision on his own on his night shift in a satellite monitoring system south of Moscow on September 25, 1983. The decision to interpret the alarm signal “Launch of an American nuclear missile” as a false alarm and to stick with it after four more alarms. It was not until months later that it turned out that the Soviet observation satellites had misinterpreted the reflecting rays of the sun as a rocket launch.

Today the fear that a major war could break out in Syria due to a lack of intellectual control over one's own actions is fed by the inexperienced heat of some actors, their contempt for human beings and the large number of warring parties. This is not about Syria, but about regional supremacy of forces that are completely indifferent to the fate of the people in the war zone. This war can therefore be compared with the thirty-year-old, because between 1618 and 1648 foreign powers fought for continental zones of influence on the territory of small German states.

When an ice-cold power politician like Vladimir Putin, who is also primarily concerned with military bases in the Mediterranean region, faces an uncontrolled Donald Trump, who presumably has not understood the various constellations of interests, we are gripped by cold fear - and the hope remains that 2018 will be somewhere give a second Stanislav Petrov or John Name-me, who says no at the crucial moment.

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