Is the Next Cold War Heating Up?

What with Caitlyn Jenner and the Drake/Meek Mill dustup, the presidential auditions (oops, debates) and the True Detective finale, you can be forgiven for missing that a new Cold War may be looming. As with the first, it would be deeply ideological, less about pitting the US and Russia against each other politically or militarily
than it is about competing visions of human flourishing, of ways of life.

From an article in Harper’s, in which author Masha Gessen relates the fear she heard from a Finnish novelist at a conference last year, and contrasts the Russian bluster heard later:

Three weeks later, Alexander Dugin, a once marginal philosopher whose ideas now seem to form the core of Putin’s politics, addressed a large crowd in Helsinki. He spoke of the threat that Western civilization poses to humanity and argued that Finland had a choice to make. It could stay with the West, which would increasingly pressure it to accept what he called a “posthuman,” and “postgender” reality, or it could side with Russia, which alone among the world’s powers was working to protect the traditional way of life. Dugin, whose long gray beard and dome-shaped forehead suggest a Russian Orthodox priest in civvies, stressed repeatedly that the choice would be Finland’s to make. “I am not advocating the annexation of Finland,” he said over and over again. “If I were, I would tell you.” If such a reassurance has ever calmed anyone, this was not the occasion.

Dugin is the author of that wonderful bedtime reader, Last War of the World-Island: The Geopolitics of Contemporary Russia, and apparently an increasingly influential thinker in Russia’s geopolitics. He’s aggressive, and if a recent book is right, dangerous. (H/T: Micah Mattix, Prufrock)

Whether the threat of Dugin’s Eurasianist “theology” is real, it underscores the very real challenges ahead for Western civilization. And if that weren’t convincing enough, we’re getting regular signs that Russia and Iran have some common goals.

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One thought on “Is the Next Cold War Heating Up?”

  1. All reports make Dugin out to be a rather scary dude (I haven’t read anything by him – has he written in English?), and I have low hopes for Russia’s thriving in our lifetimes. But lemme throw three points out there:
    (1) Militarily, what we have to fear is treaty entanglements leading to another devastating land war in Europe. We’ve seen two of those, but they are still an elective surgery for us: the United States could conceivably liberate Crimea, but Russia absolutely couldn’t liberate SoCal.
    (2) Culturally, it’s laughable to think that Russia could capture American hearts and minds, but the reverse isn’t true. (Whatever Pussy Riot is, it’s not a natural expression of Russian Orthodoxy.)
    (3) If there’s a second cold war, the sides will be changed: the United States on the left, and Russia on the right.

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