Friday, 23 May 2008

'New' cold warriors simply haven't adjusted to end of the old one

The Guardian’s Jonathan Steele is amongst the most sober and sensible commentators on modern Russia. Whilst acknowledging that the country has problems as regards western notions of democracy and freedom, he simultaneously identifies sound historical reasons, both in the recent and more distant pasts, why this should be. He also emphasises the importance of a neighbourly relationship with Russia and defends its right to both chart its own path and defend its own interests on the international stage.

Today Steele focuses on EU efforts to renew the expired Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and the difficulties which are inherent in these attempts. In one particularly perspicacious sentence Steele cuts through the bellicose tone of those who suggest that relations with Russia are inevitably going to degenerate into a ‘new cold war’.

“Far from being in a "new cold war", neither the EU nor Russia has yet adjusted to the end of the old one and the past two decades' turmoil of newly released post-Soviet nationalisms.”

The idea of a new cold war is simply a symptom of attitudes which have not yet adjusted to the idea of a strong and independent Russia not comprising a threat.

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