International Relations

Question One: Russia, the United States, and the New Cold War

The New Cold War is undoubtedly one of the widely used terms in discussions of world politics today, especially when referring to the sour bilateral relations between the United States and Russia. Journalists, politicians and commentators keep debating on the existence and appropriateness of this notion, especially after Vladimir Putin has ascended to power in 2000. A huge proportion of people has approved the relevance of this phrase explaining the foreign policies of the two countries. Supporters of either side blame each other for initiating and continuing the new Cold War. The primary aim of this essay is to analyze the history, the present and possibly the future of the new Cold War between the United States and Russia. 

In the recent years, it has become apparent that the Russian-United States relations are intense. In the United States of America, there has been a significant rise in anti-Russian attitude. Between 2014 and 2015, the proportion of Americans considering Russia a critical military threat increased significantly from 32 to 49 percent (Stent, 2015). Today, 18 percent of Americans believe that Russia tops the list of America’s external enemies ahead of Iran, North Korea and China. In a similar manner, anti-Americanist sentiments have continued to grow among Russians, whose attitudes towards Americans have changed sharply in the last couple of years (Stent, 2015). Even though this surge of mutual negativity is still regarded by many as a deviation from the norm, people aware of the Russia-United States relations come up with confusing conclusions about what will result from the stalemate between the two super powers in future.

Today, the Russia-United States relations are in a critical state. Many events in the recent past such as Ukrainian civil war, Iran’s nuclear deal, and Russia’s presence in Syria have fueled the deadlock whose solution is unknown. The enmity between Russia and the United States has continued to mount resulting in each of the two superpowers considering the other the worst external enemy. Recently, while addressing the 52nd Munich Security Conference held on February 2016, Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, made a statement evidencing that the Russia-United States rivalry is nowhere near the end (Aljazeera, 2016). Making a speech to around 600 delegates and leaders congregated to discuss the realm of the international security policy, Medvedev expressed his sentiments about the world being on the verge of a ‘new Cold War’. According to him, the strains between Russia and the West have resulted in a global tension. He notes that because of Russia’s support of the Syrian government and Ukrainian conflict, NATO has initiated unfriendly policies against Russia (Aljazeera, 2016). The Prime Minister describes how Russia is often accused of instigating security threats against the NATO, Europe, the US and other countries.

The sour relations between Russia and the United States can be traced back to 1933 when the first Soviet Union-United States bilateral ties were established (Cadier & Light, 2015). Soon afterwards, the two states found themselves in a diplomatic contention. The United States were unable to cope with the totalitarian nature of Joseph Stalin’s regime that created a barrier to establishing friendly relations with the West (Stent, 2015; Library of Congress, n.d). The conflict widened during the World War I when the Soviet Union and the United States took different sides. In the World War II, they became allies fighting against the Nazi Germany and the Axis powers. However, in a dramatic turn of events, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States shifted their cooperation to a bitter superpower rivalry that was driven by a complex interplay of ideological, political and economic factors (Betts, 2015; Library of Congress, n.d). For decades, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States maintained distinct political systems that made it cumbersome for the two sides to reach a mutual understanding on critical policy issues (Stent, 2015). Undoubtedly, all the tragedy was caused by the United States when they opposed the decisions of the Soviet Union leaders to enter into the Soviet Union-German Pact (Betts, 2015). Besides, the United States opposed the communist ideologies that the Soviet Union was spreading with the aim of dominating the world (Cadier & Light, 2015). Moreover, the Soviet Union led an aggressive and anti-democratic policy in Eastern Europe. The events fueled new tensions that lasted for years.

For almost three decades, the Soviet Union and the United States stayed far apart. However, in the 1970s, Russia lean toward the United States seeking increased economic cooperation and disarmament negotiations. Nevertheless, Russia’s maintenance of a tough policy on human rights along with the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 caused a new tension (Betts, 2015). These continued until a dramatic change in between 1989 and 1991. A collapse of Russia’s communist system opened a possibility for new relations between the United States and Russia, as well as with other nations of the former Soviet Union (Stent, 2015). In 1991, Russia accepted all treaties signed by the former Soviet Union to stop the war and the use of nuclear weapons. However, what was anticipated to be a lengthy journey of peace between Russia and the United States did not last long. Through the years, their bilateral relations have gone through ups and downs signified by hatred and intolerance toward each other. Events such as the bombing of Kosovo in 1999, Iraq War of 2003, the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, Syrian civil war of 2011, and Ukrainian crisis of 2014-2015 among others remain the fundamental reasons behind the current standoff (Stent, 2015; Betts, 2015). Today, the world continues to experience aggressions and provocations between the two states. In the recent past, Russian leader, Vladimir Putin announced that he was acquiring more nuclear missiles and building a new generation of non-nuclear armaments in preparation for the strikes on the United States. The United States continues to make similar threats to engage in similar endeavors. Apparently, the new Cold War is beginning, which will devastate the world unless the two superpowers come to term.

In conclusion, the paper considered the rivalry between Russia and the United States describing the start of the stalemate, the guilty parties, peaceful moments, and the reasons why the two superpowers were unable to find a common ground to solve their differences. The paper notes that the hostility started in 1933 after the first Soviet Union-United States relations driven by a complex interplay of ideological, political and economic factors. Therefore, different opinions on foreign policies and recent conflicts remain the key reasons of the stalemate.

Question Two: International Affairs at the Time of United Arabs Emirates’ Independence

The United Arabs Emirates (UAE), a federation comprised of seven states, is situated in the Persian Gulf in the Middle Est. The states, namely Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaymah, Umm Al-Quwain, Dubai, Ajman, and Fujairah, formerly protected by British, gained independence on 2nd of December, 1971 (Fullard, 2016). The states neither struggled for independence nor sought it. It happened when the British government suddenly decided to withdraw its protection from these sheikhdoms. Regional leaders, who had relied on the British political, diplomatic and military powers for a long time, were challenged with determining and securing their destinies (Fullard, 2016). These states had little preparation for independence and thus, faced challenges that worsened with a series of international affairs happening both regionally and globally. As a result, the United Arab Emirates found itself in a tremendous confusion soon after gaining independence. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to describe the international affairs that were trending regionally and globally while the United Arab Emirates emerged as a nation. It will consider the rivalry between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Israel-Arab and Israel-Palestine conflicts, the oil market crisis, and the emergence of the Third World Movement. 

For decades leading to the period around 1970, the United States and the Soviet Union had been involved in a longstanding stalemate. After the end of the World War II, a Cold War started resulting in the division of the world into three distinct camps namely the NATO camp, the Warsaw Camp, and the nonaligned camps (History, 2016). Among these, the NATO and Warsaw Camps attacked each other in a battle seeking to become the leaders of the world weaponry. The NATO Camp was led by the United States and eleven other Western nations while the Warsaw Camp was led by Russia and other communist countries in Eastern Europe (History, 2016). The alignment of the European nations to either of the two conflicting pacts strengthened the political divide. It also established a basis for the Cold War period from 1945 to 1991 (Grenville, 2005). When the United Arabs Emirates emerged as a nation, the two sides had cooled down towards each other. By the 1970s, they were both interested in creating a stable and predictable international system with the aim of reaching common goals. The Soviet Union and the United States held two conferences with the aim of deliberating the issues of use and control of weapons. Eventually, they signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which intended to nurture peaceful bilateral relations (Grenville, 2005). These events influenced the global politics arena at different levels. As such, the United Arab Emirates emerged as a nation when the Cold War had become universal directly affecting international stability.

Conflicts between the Arabs and Palestine were considered the most profound and protracted conflicts of the twentieth century in which various Arabic countries and Palestine waged war against Israel. The conflicts reportedly started in 1948, when five Arabic nations invaded a former territory of Palestine just after Israel was declared an independent state (Haynes, 2013). In May 1948, the Great Britain’s Palestinian region was divided into Arabic and Jewish states. It was declared that Jerusalem and it surroundings would remain under the United Nations. Nevertheless, the Arabs rejected this plan claiming that it was fair to the Jews but discriminatory to the Arabs that would remain in the Jewish territory under the partition. These disagreements sparked conflicts between the Jewish and Arabic groups in Palestine. Fighting resulted in a series of unending wars including the 1948 Palestine War, the 1956 Suez War, the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1969-70 Attrition War, and the 1973 Yom Kippur War (Grenville, 2005). These wars made the Middle East become one of the most unstable and unruly regions of the global political system after the end of the Second World War. Therefore, the United Arab Emirates emerged as a nation in a volatile, violent and one of the most dangerous places in the world as a result of these conflicts. Specifically, the emergence of the United Arab Emirates coincided with the 1969-1970 Attrition War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which had a significant impact on the regional peace and stability of the Middle East and the whole world respectively.

The third event was the global oil market crisis of 1973. Between 1969 and 1976, a period of the 1969-1970 Attrition War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) imposed an oil embargo against the United States (US Department of State Office of the Historian, 2013). OAPEC was retaliating against the decision by the United States to resupply Israel military with arms to leverage the post-war peace negotiations. The embargo also affected other nations such as Portugal, Netherlands and South Africa among others, which assisted Israel in the war. Arabic countries blocked the exportation of petroleum to the targeted countries and cut oil production. After years of embargo implementation, severe effects started to emerge. The United States’ economy that had grown dependent on foreign oil acutely worsened (US Department of State Office of the Historian, 2013). Besides, oil prices significantly increased globally. By the end of this embargo in 1974, oil prices had risen from $3 to $12 per barrel globally (Grenville, 2005). These events adversely affected both regional and global politics and economies. The newly formed United Arabs Emirates also suffered from stagnant economic growth.

Finally, the Third World Movement arose during the Cold War with the aim of attributing the countries that remained unaffiliated to either the NATO camp or the Warsaw camp. The Third World countries comprised many states with colonial pasts in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania (Grenville, 2005; Haynes, 2013). Many of these countries were extremely underprivileged and non-industrialized. In the period of 1970s, the Third World Movement had tuned into a political movement calling for transnational solidarities. Economic needs of emerging countries made them vulnerable to foreign influences and pressures. Most of the resources necessary for economic development were secured through political and economic ties with the Western powers and the Soviet Union (Haynes, 2013). Therefore, the Soviet Union and the United States vied with each other seeking to capture the political support of the newly independent countries. As such, the United Arab Emirates emerged as a nation at the wake of the Third World and non-alignment movements that were especially influential in the 1960s and 1970s.

In conclusion, the paper described the international affairs that were trending at the time the United Arab Emirates gained independence on 2nd of December, 1971. The Trucial States formed the Federation of the United Arabs Emirates when various influential regional and global affairs having a significant impact on the world politics and economies were happening. The paper described four events including the Soviet Union-United States rivalries, the Israel-Arab and Israel-Palestine conflicts, the global oil market crisis and the emergence of the Third World movement.