U.S. President Joe Biden recently delivered a speech full of the Cold War mentality in Warsaw, capital of Poland. In his speech, Biden spent considerable time in his speech discussing the victory of Western countries, including the U.S. in the Cold War and tried to play up ideological confrontation, attempting to show the world the so-called solidarity between the U.S. and its allies and the deterrent effect of the economic sanctions and military deployment of the “Western world”.
U.S. President talked about practically everything in his speech, but only failed to mention how to stop the war and realize peace, indicating that certain U.S. politicians have never abandoned their Cold War mentality even though the Cold War ended more than 30 years ago, some media outlets pointed out.
The Russia-Ukraine tensions have evolved into a war exactly as a pernicious consequence of America’s sticking to the Cold War mentality and continuously pushing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) eastward.
According to British scholar Martin Jacques, the U.S.’s post-1991 hubris resulted in two disastrous decisions: to remake the world in its own image; and to treat Russia as a defeated nation.
The U.S. has promoted NATO’s enlargement through five rounds of eastward expansion, leading to seriously imbalanced regional security. As a result, Ukraine, which should have been the bridge of communication between the East and the West, was gradually transformed into an outpost for major powers confrontation.
George Kennan, former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, pointed out that the decision to expand NATO up to Russia’s borders “would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era” and may be expected to “restore the atmosphere of the Cold War to East-West relations”.
Today, as Ukraine remains mired in turmoil and the embers of conflict rekindle on the European continent, facts prove again that the Cold War mentality is the greatest threat to global peace and stability.
Since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the U.S. has pursued its geopolitical goal with a Cold War mentality, rather than fostering peace negotiations. The country, which believes that it can exploit the Ukraine crisis to provoke ideological confrontation and deepen Europe’s dependence on America, has been enthusiastically escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, fanning the flames of discord, and forcing other countries into taking sides.
Besides taking aim at Russia, the U.S. has also continued to propagate disinformation to defame China and misrepresented China’s responsible stance on the Ukraine issue: promoting dialogue and peace talks.
As Iliya Kusa, a political analyst with the Ukrainian Institute of the Future, pointed out, China has played a constructive role in the Ukraine crisis, while the U.S. is still focusing its attention on what it can do to weaken China.
Although the U.S. has frequently claimed that it does not seek a “new Cold War”, the country has taken advantage of any chance to suppress China and Russia. Regarding the two countries as its top strategic competitors, it has made arrangements to gain at their expense.
Obviously, America’s insistence on the outdated Cold War mentality is the root cause of the escalation of regional and global security tensions.
“I know that eliminating Russian gas will have costs for Europe, but it’s not only the right thing to do from a moral standpoint, it’s going to put us on a much stronger strategic footing,” said Biden during his visit to Europe. The remarks exposed the true colors of the U.S., a hypocrite that stops at nothing to create crises, shift its burden of crises onto others, and utilize crises to maintain its hegemony.
As the world’s major exporter of natural gas and oil, the U.S. can certainly put on sanctified airs and understate the consequences of obstructing the supply of Russian natural gas, for it does not have to suffer the consequences.
Though the U.S. promised to ensure supply of natural gas to Europe, its allies, after learning how unreliable and untrustworthy it can be from lessons in the past, have deep concerns over its strategic purpose behind the promise.
The origin of the Russia-Ukraine conflict lies in NATO, and Europe would only get hurt if it waded into muddy water with the U.S., noted Klaus Ernst, a senior member of the German federal parliament.
The Ukraine crisis has helped various sides see clearer how harmful the Cold War mentality can be. As a well-known quote from Albert Einstein goes, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Since the deep-seated Cold War mentality of the U.S. is the root cause of the Ukraine crisis, the country will only make it more difficult to solve problems for the current crisis as long as it still sticks to the mentality.
As a Chinese saying goes, “He who tied the bell to the tiger must take it off.” In order to settle the Ukraine crisis, relevant countries must discard the Cold War mentality, the attempt to maintain their own security at the cost of others’ security, and the practice of pursuing regional security by expanding military blocs. Instead, they should seek the establishment of a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security mechanism through dialogues and negotiations on the basis of attaching importance to and respecting the legitimate security concerns of various countries.
The U.S. needs to realize sooner rather than later that the Cold War is over, and a “new Cold War” will not get any support.
The world wants peace, justice, and cooperation, rather than war, hegemony, and confrontation. If the U.S. truly wants to de-escalate the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, it should face its responsibility for the current situation in Ukraine, stop pursuing selfish gains from the crisis, respond to the legitimate concerns of all parties, and take practical steps toward world peace.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)