BERLIN | The Cold War is back.
Russia’s military seizure of Crimea and preparations for a possible annexation of the southern Ukrainian province have revived fears, calculations and reflexes that had been rusting away since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Whether the crisis triggered by President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to prevent Ukraine, a strategic former Soviet republic, turning to the West, becomes a turning point in international relations like the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks on the United States or the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, is not yet certain. There are still some steps to play out.
But policymakers and strategic analysts are thinking through the consequences of a potentially prolonged East-West tug-of-war. And states in the middle such as Germany and Poland are starting to weigh uncomfortable adjustments to their policy.
The standoff is already posing tricky questions about the balance between sanctions and diplomacy, setting loyalty tests for allies and raising the risk of spillover to other conflicts and of possible proxy wars.
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