The refusal of the United States to halt the installation of the anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, and the mounting aggression between Washington and Moscow, gave the impression that a new Cold War atmosphere has come over International Relations.

DUE TO THE RECENT DECISION IN WASHINGTON to install nuclear missiles in Poland, relations between Russia and the United States have reached a freezing point in recent weeks, which has made a return to the prevailing atmosphere during the Cold War when the two superpowers decided and threatened the future of the planet. Also bringing back the tensions that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis that brought the world to the brink of a third (and final) world war.

The deployment of Soviet rockets in Cuba provoked a strong North-American reaction to avoid a nuclear threat in their own backyard. President Kennedy was prepared to arrive at a hostile nuclear confrontation and he did not permit the Soviet Union to put their nuclear threat at the doorstep of his country. The easing of tension that was reached was based in a compromise of not installing nuclear bases within range of missiles in the so-called security zone of the other global power, and the promise to dismantle the Soviet bases installed in Cuba, as well as the missiles the United States had based in Turkey.

This tacit rule of the Cold War –which avoided a direct confrontation between the two superpowers-, was put into question by the last decision of President Bush to place 10 nuclear missiles in Poland and radar station in the Czech Republic, which was perceived as a direct threat to Russia.

In this way, it now seems that we are reliving a new phase of missile crisis´, but wherein the initiative was not on behalf of Moscow, but of Washington, and no one had to wait long for Putin´s response.


Before his meeting in Moscow, October 12th with Condoleeza Rice, the United States´ Secretary of State, and Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, the Russian president threatened to abandon the INF Treaty (of intermediate range missiles) signed in December 1987, and the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty if Washington does not reconsider its policy of constructing Anti-Missile Shields in Europe.

The INF Treaty was revolutionary in its time because it not only proposed the elimination of rockets of intermediate range (900 to 4,500kms) but also those of short range (less than 900 kms), named tactical armaments.

“Rice: «There has been regression of democracy over the past few years in Russia, and the Kremlin has an excessive concentration of power»”

This last category of weapons has the purpose of destroying the aggressive warlike capacities of the adversary by attacking nuclear silos. It is true that their destructive power is less devastating; however, they are extremely precise (within 50 meters) and are capable of targeting an area as small as a nuclear launch base. The Strategic Nuclear Armament (ICBM, or Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) are weapons with a range of more than 8,000 kms (with a margin of error of roughly 5 kms) but with the destructive power many times greater than the Hiroshima bomb. Their purpose is the massive destruction of populations; or in other words, the total annihilation of the adversary.

CFE stands for the agreement signed during the time of Gorbachov, that limits the presence of ground troops either Soviet or North-American, or of NATO troops on the European continent, and in particular in proximity to Russia.

The signing of the INF agreement which is about to reach its 20th anniversary, was conceived for the United States and the former Soviet Union, but its spirit, according to Putin, should be of universal nature, and it should include other countries, in addition to the two superpowers. The anger of the Russian president is reflected in his abandoning of protocol when he left the two United States Secretaries waiting for 40 minutes with the opening of a press conference, prior to his meeting behind closed doors with the two responsible North Americans.

His hard position with relation to the American negotiators is related to Rice´s prior declaration, before her arrival to Moscow, that there has been regression of democracy that has taken place in recent years in Russia, and the Kremlin has an excessive concentration of power.

“The Russian leader, in large discourse, threatened to break the INF Treaty if it does not include other States, obviously referring to neighboring countries”

At the international level, it is impossible to avoid the Kosovo question, which continues to be a point of contention between the two countries, in the sense that Russia does not accept the independence of the Albanese province in Serbia. According to Rice, relations between Washington and Moscow are not enjoying good times, without going so far as to talk of the Cold War.

For his part, Putin´s answer was given in front of the press. The Russian leader, in large discourse, threatened to break the agreement of 1987, if it does not include other states, in clear reference to Russia´s neighboring countries (without citing them), who are contemplating entering into the so-called Defence Shield, which Washington wishes to construct near Russia. Additionally, the Russian President compared the policies of Bush to the Third Reich.

If we are incapable of reaching an agreement, it will be extremely difficult for us remain under the terms of this treaty, in a situation where other countries are developing similar armament systems, some of these countries are located in our proximity insisted the Russian commander.


The Russian threat was clearly directed towards the Security Shield which Washington plans to deploy near Russian borders, but Rice and Gates seemed to think that the Putin´s speech targeted Iran. We have an ambitious agenda regarding themes of security that concern both parties, including, as he suggested, the development of missile systems on behalf of others in proximity to Russia, particularly in the case of Iran, Gates pointed out.

Contrary to the position of Washington, according to Moscow, Iran is not a rogue state. In fact, the Shanghai Cooperative Organization (SCO) invited Iran this past October 6th to observe of military maneuvers. The members of the SCO are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, and as observers Mongolia, Iran, India, and Pakistan.

“The thought of returning to assemble in sixth months clearly shows that the positions of the two nations remain fragile

Even though, the official works of the SCO are to maintain regional security and to combat terrorism and drug traffic, it is obvious that it has been suggested as a strategic axis to counterbalance NATO. In addition, the SCO has activities similar to the UN peacekeepers. With the support of the new issue, Moscow can challenge the western world, which seems to be the position of Putin.

In this way, the later meetings between the Ministers of Defence of the two countries, Robert Gates and Anatoli Serdyukov, and of Foreign Relations, Condoleeza Rice and Sergei Lavrov, were unable to advance the points of view of the two superpowers. The plan to meet again in six months clearly shows that the positions of the two nations remain fragile. In this way, Rice´s response has been conclusive: The United States must be capable of being at the forefront of the use of defensive technology, and that’s what we’re going to do. She said at the press conference after the meeting, meanwhile according to Lavrov the North-American initiative will return the world to confrontational times.

With their positions firmly in place and the North-American refusal to back down with its plan to install its anti-nuclear missile shields in Poland and the Czech Republic, a new Cold War climate has descended amongst the power relations between the two superpowers.