This Is Almost a Full Return to the Cold War Era*

*Editor’s note: On March 4, Russia enacted a law that criminalizes public opposition to, or independent news reporting about, the war in Ukraine. The law makes it a crime to call the war a “war” rather than a “special military operation” on social media or in a news article or broadcast. The law is understood to penalize any language that “discredits” Russia’s use of its military in Ukraine, calls for sanctions or protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It punishes anyone found to spread “false information about the invasion with up to 15 years in prison.

Dmitry Drize — on the topic of the American president’s Middle Eastern tour

U.S. President Joe Biden is going on a visit to the Middle Eastern countries. First, he’ll visit Israel, then perhaps Palestine, and then Saudi Arabia. It’s believed that Mr. Biden’s goal is to convince the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase its oil production, therefore stabilizing oil prices. At the same time, information surfaced that Iran is preparing to send Russia a shipment of modern military drones. Kommersant’s political columnist, Dmitry Drize, thinks that the real goal of the tenant of the White House is to broaden the coalition for the support of the Western world.

The main goal of the U.S. president’s Middle Eastern tour is to bolster his coalition against the “dark forces.” In the American view these are, first of all, Russia and China. The starting point of the American president’s voyage is Israel, the main ally of the West in the region. Ideally, he wants to try once more to bring the Jewish state to the peace table with the Palestinians and, through that, get closer to the Arabic world, particularly to Saudi Arabia.

The latter, just like Israel, hasn’t been on good terms with Iran. There’s an endless war tearing apart Yemen and Syria, and Tehran is one of the main players there. Russia, however, is also present on Syrian soil. In other words, Mr. Biden’s primary goal is to prove to everyone else that being partners with the West is beneficial, respectable and important, while teaming up with the enemies of the West will lead to nothing but further isolation, oblivion and economic collapse.

But dealing with the Middle Eastern countries does not necessarily mean that the U.S. should abandon all its principles and look the other way when democratic values are ignored. The task, most likely, is to urge U.S. partners to walk the straight and narrow. And only afterward could we call that a new Ronald Reagan-esque era of low oil prices, more help to Ukraine, the strengthening of the Western positions in the world and so on.

It’s very hard to believe that Biden’s mission will be successful. However, it’s also unlikely that the Middle Eastern monarchs will just simply show the U.S. the door, since they have their own interests in such a partnership. After all, it was the U.S. who, back in the day, saved them from Saddam Hussein. And history is sometimes prone to repeat itself, right?

It’s interesting to note that U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reported that Iran will ship many military drones to Russia. Sullivan, by the way, is tacitly considered to have moderate views on Moscow.

This information surfaced almost at the same time as reports of President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to Tehran. It’s as clear as day that if the U.S. is trying to build a coalition, we’ll build our own in response. Or, perhaps, it’s a message to Washington to try and make peace with Tehran. Or at least not to abandon the idea of peace altogether and ultimately not to brand Tehran as an enemy.

It’s curious that Iran is under sanctions, and yet it produces modern weaponry. And it seems to prove effective, too, as the attacks on Saudi oil facilities demonstrate. Why don’t we have drones like these? Or do we simply not have enough?

But that’s another story. We can’t rule out, though, that Riyadh will, to some degree, listen to Biden, since you never know what Yemen can do next.

In any case, now we can already talk about the full-fledged return of the Cold War era. All these processes taking place are very interesting: new coalitions, sanctions, the struggle for global power, the recruitment of allies, the attempts to influence global economy to political ends. One can only hope that this cold standoff will not enter its hot stage on a global scale.

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About Artem Belov 65 Articles
Artem Belov is a TESOL-certified English teacher and a freelance translator (Russian>English and English>Russian), currently residing in Russia. He is working on a number of projects, including game localization. You can reach him at

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