Do any historians consider the Cold War, or Cold War II, to be going on?

I'm asking because some features of the Cold War still exist, such as an antagonism between Russia and the Western world, and the war in Ossetia, which reminds of the Cold-War proxy wars.

  • Not even celebrity historian Niall Ferguson in The War of the World: History's Age of Hatred argues that the Cold War as such is still going on (hence his alternative book title).
    – Drux
    Dec 29, 2012 at 9:23
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    Hmmm It took a mere 2 years for this question to be put "on hold." By the way, how is this opinion based? The cold war is over@! no nuclear threat. zilch. gone. nada remains.
    – Dale
    Aug 10, 2013 at 4:16

4 Answers 4


No! The Cold War was the standoff between the Capitalistic USA and Communistic USSR. Communism lost. What remains is corruption within the former communist country (Russia). The War in Ossetia was over oil (a distinctly capitalistic move) not ideology (spreading Communism) as it would have been were the Cold War still ongoing.

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    +1. The Cold War was about Communism vs Capitalism more than Warsaw Pact vs NATO. Oct 13, 2011 at 22:38
  • Agreed, if you look at how the term was used it was the state of affairs between Communism and Capitalism. Whatever else is going on now is basically "diplomacy by other means".
    – MichaelF
    Oct 14, 2011 at 12:00
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    Wasn't ideology just a pretext for gaining power?
    – Lev
    Oct 14, 2011 at 12:22
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    Virtual -1 (not enough rep for real). War in Ossetia was about geopolitical drive by Russian Empire to move its borders away from militarily indefensible borders of core Russia and reassert influence over historical Imperial territories. Oil was a fringe benefit - the war would have happened without it.
    – DVK
    Nov 20, 2011 at 1:30
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    I would have said the cold-war was a state of open hostility but "we can't have a shooting war because it's got too dangerous" there have been similar cold wars in europe in history. I wouldn't say there is a current 2 bloc system that big anymore
    – none
    Mar 29, 2012 at 15:38

No, the Cold War has stopped. If you think that the 'Cold War' is still going on because there is still slightly antagonistic relationships between Russia and Western Europe, then you have to remember that there has always been antagonism between Russia and Western Europe. Just look at The Great Game (between Russia & UK), or French invasion of Russia in 1812. If you can call the current geopolitical situation "Cold War 2", then you shouldn't have called it the "Cold War" in the first place, you should have called it "Great Game 2" (so we can call the current situation "Great Game 3").

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    There has always been antagonism between the powers, e.g., between England and France. But in the Cold War, all of the Western Europe and the US were united against Soviet Russia, and this is still true.
    – Lev
    Oct 14, 2011 at 12:21
  • Not all of Western Europe were united against Russia, e.g. Yugolavia, Ireland, etc. Oct 14, 2011 at 15:07
  • @Rory - It's Yugoslavia (from "Slav" root), and it is Eastern Europe. Moreover, Yugoslavia, while nominally in "Non-Aligned Movement", was a lot more USSR oriented than NATO oriented.
    – DVK
    Nov 20, 2011 at 1:36

If you go by official definition (e.g. on Wikipedia), then yes, Cold War – defined as geopolitical conflict between USSR-led communist block and Western democracies – was officially over December 25, 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR.

However, if you see Cold War merely as a specific manifestation of a generic geopolitical conflict between Russian interest to create a defensible empire, and US interest to prevent a creation of a powerful Eurasian empire combining Russia's natural resources and European resources, then you will see why current events show a marked resemblance to the Cold War. Because the geopolitical conflict didn't change at all even though specific political/economic regime in Russia was gone to a certain degree.

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    -1 This is a redefinition of the term "The Cold War" which referred to the conflict between the USA and the USSR and allies. Nov 20, 2011 at 17:19
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    @Sardathrion - sorry, but I very clearly stated what the view is from official definition, AND provided a larger pictire view that specifically addressed the second part of the question outside the definition
    – DVK
    Nov 20, 2011 at 18:05
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    @Sardathrion, I agree with DVK. I see the term "cold war" as more of a euphemism for something more difficult to define: a series of what would have been otherwise isolated regional conflicts if not for the interference of the two major world powers at the time. This kind of conflict is totally unlike a "hot" war in the fact that the latter have more easily stated goals and determinable outcomes. Yes, there was an ideological dimension, and arguably the cold war is over. However, elements of the conflict remain with no real ideological "winner" due to the complexity of both concepts. Mar 29, 2012 at 13:33

Yes, the Cold War continues. There are still numerous Communist, Socialist and just left-leaning regimes in the world, even after Russia turned to Capitalism. All these regimes are enemies of the US to greater or smaller degree.

If you take a look at the recent objects of US military campaigns, You'll see that the victims of the US politics are mostly left-wing regimes which somehow position themselves as being "socialist":

  • Socialist Yugoslavia

  • Arab socialist Iraq

  • Socialist Libya

and Arab Socialist Syria is scheduled. Note that Syria is the last remaining country in the Arab and the whole Muslim world that positions itself to be somehow "socialist", the other two (Iraq and Libya) have been already annihilated.

That said I think the main target of the current US geopolitical offensive is China which is currently the opposite pole of the current cold war (although the confrontation is mostly one-sided with China mostly conducting a peaceful policy now).

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    Your answer takes all the often quite varying forms of socialist philosophy, and even progressive liberal ones, and assumes that not only are they equivalent, but that any government that can be said to be guided by any of these "left" philosophies is an automatic enemy of the US. Your answer is quite invalid in terms of factual basis as the US has not only been allies with left European governments, but had a close alliance with the Ba'ath party in Iraq (going so far as to provide chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein) and were seeking to normalize relations with Libya before the revolution. Mar 29, 2012 at 13:44
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    You're wrong on way too many counts, sorry. As the best example, the main "exporting" left wing regime to day is Venezuela which US (especially the last 4 years) is in VERY non-hostile relationship with. Yugoslavia was never an exporter of Socialism - and generally a lot more "non-socialist" that then rest of Soviet sphere of influence, starting with Tito's time. Iraq started out Socialist but USA had no major beef with them till their pan-Arabistish invasion of Kuwait. Libya, USA didn't even get involved with in the last 15 years if not for French and other European meddling. @BrotherJack: +1
    – DVK
    Mar 29, 2012 at 13:47
  • DVK, I was not talking about "exporting" regimes. I was talking about all left-wing, leftist and "socialist" to various extent regimes all of which get attacked the recent years. Regarding "good relations between the US and Venezuela", I very much doubt in it especially considering not so far the US tried to orchestrate a coup d'etat there to oust the president. Regarding Libya, yes there was a role of the allies of the US but this only proves that the cold-war block NATO still acts united.
    – Anixx
    Mar 29, 2012 at 14:14
  • @BrotherJack, the US-Iraq alliance was far ago when the USSR was still existing. Saddam was a stronghold against Communism but after the USSR disintegrated, the Iraqi regime became to seem too left for a new order (just only take their nationalization of oil industry!). Regarding Libya as I know, the invasion was prepared far before the revolution under a "friendly" facade.
    – Anixx
    Mar 29, 2012 at 14:21

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