By Mohammad Mazhari

We have entered new Cold War: research scientist

July 3, 2022 - 14:39

TEHRAN – An executive director and principal research scientist at the MIT Center for International Studies says that the globe has entered a new Cold War in light of the Ukraine war.

“It’s a challenge because of Russia’s nuclear weapons and the likelihood that we have entered a new Cold War,” John Tirman tells the Tehran Times.

 “The effects of the war include high oil prices and food insecurity for large parts of the world. These are acute effects and could become chronic,” Tirman adds. 

He also says, “Putin’s ambitions are difficult to discern and this is worrisome, too.”

When NATO leaders met in Madrid on June 29-30. They discussed important issues facing the military alliance. The summit has set the alliance’s strategic direction for the future, ensuring that it will continue to adapt to a changing world and keep its one billion people safe.

They also officially invited Finland and Sweden to become NATO members. The summiteers also reaffirmed commitment to NATO's open-door policy for aspiring members.

Finland and Sweden, two Nordic states which had not been seeking to join any military bloc, requested to join NATO after Russia launched war on Ukraine on February 24.

It seems that NATO expansion can lead to a new phase of the Cold War between Russia and Western powers.

Following is the text of the interview with Tirman:

Q: How do you see the Ukraine war? Is it a challenge or opportunity for the Biden administration?

A: It’s a challenge because of Russia’s nuclear weapons and the likelihood that we have entered a new Cold War. The effects of the war include high oil prices and food insecurity for large parts of the world. These are acute effects and could become chronic. Putin’s ambitions are difficult to discern and this is worrisome, too. So far, Biden has handled the situation well. 

Q:  New countries (Finland and Sweden) are going to join NATO. Do you expect such expansion lead to a more serious confrontation between Russia and the West?  

A: I doubt that it will be a trigger for a wider conflict. More significant would be direct U.S. involvement. One can hardly blame Sweden and Finland for wanting protection. They have taken free riding to high art. 

Q:  What are the main fallouts of the Ukraine war and sanctions on Russia for global economy?

A: Oil and food prices, falling most catastrophically on the poor, as usual. Even food availability is in jeopardy. So add this to the misery inside Ukraine. Once again we see the consequences of not developing renewable energy technologies more aggressively. Such negligence will result in the early death of millions. 

Q:  Don't you think the sanction policy led by America is going to create new blocs in Asia? For example, Iran, Russia, and China are moving toward closer partnership.

A: Iran will certainly seek such cooperation. China marches to its own drummer. Russia was a second-rate economy before the war and will weaken further.  Its value to China is sole as an oil supplier. Iran can use Russia’s status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. But only China operates from a position of strength. 

Q: To what extent does America need to activate alternative energy suppliers like Iran and Venezuela and appease certain Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia to pump more oil to compensate for the oil embargo on Russia?

A: Oil politics will be very interesting and consequential in the coming months. The U.S. has coddled the Saudis for many years and now we will see if such a slavish policy will pay off. Among the demands from Saudi Arabia for higher oil and gas production could be ending the JCPOA. It’s not a pretty picture.
 

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