Beijing, London, Moscow- An intensifying arms race and deployment of missile defense systems have added to the continued tensions shared between the United States, Russia and China, alarming forecasts on a nearing second Cold War.
The world faces cold war era threat levels, Sir John Sawers, the former head of MI6, has said, due to the West vacating the stage in Syria and failing to recognize that the growth of Russian military power over the past 15 years required the development of a new strategic relationship with Moscow.
“We are moving into an era that is as dangerous, if not more dangerous, as the cold war because we do not have that focus on a strategic relationship between Moscow and Washington,” Sawers told the BBC on Wednesday.
Sawers’ interview came shortly after UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, called for demonstrations outside the Russian embassy in London.
Sir John was Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), a position he held from November 2009 until November 2014.
In the interview Sir John argued that the West had not caught up with the consequences of a change in the balance of power in the past 15 years, including a Russian and Chinese decision to invest in full spectrum military power.
Tense relations between Russia and the U.S. have left the world on a “dangerous threshold” and the threat of the use of nuclear weapons remains strong, according to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
“I think the world has approached a dangerous threshold. I would prefer not to suggest any particular schemes, but I want to say: we need to stop,” he told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
On the other hand Russia’s Major General Igor Konashenkov warned U.S. military planners to “carefully consider the possible consequences” should U.S.-led coalition planes choose to strike Russia-backed regime territory in Syria.
“Today, the Syrian army has effective S-200, Buk and other air defense systems, which have undergone technical renovation in the past year,” Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said.
“I remind U.S. ‘strategists’ that air cover for the Russian military bases in Tartus and Hmeymim includes S-400 and S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, the range of which may come as a surprise to any unidentified flying objects,” he added.
Russian air defense troops would not have time to identify the flight path of incoming rockets or aircraft that fired them, and would respond immediately, Maj. Gen. Konashenkov added.
More so on Russian attitude towards international threats of war, Dmitry Kiselyov, head of Russia’s government-owned news agency, warned that Moscow has already confirmed it has started moving nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles into the Kaliningrad, an act Poland said it considers a matter of the “highest concern.
Mr. Kiselyov said there had been a “radical change” in the relationship between Russia and the U.S. in recent weeks.
“The loud talk in Washington of a ‘Plan B’ for Syria. Everyone understands what this means: direct military force in Syria,” he said.
During Monday’s program a Russian defense ministry spokesman also warned U.S. bombers not to target the Syrian army. “We’ll shoot them down,” commented Mr. Kiselyov.
With all that being said, the possibility of preparing for a World War III does not seem like the stuff of fiction. Great power nations are constantly making earth-shattering declarations, especially after the Russia-U.S. talks on Syria had come to a pause on Oct.3 as the ceasefire brokered by the two powers failed.
Political analysts say that an all-out war might be economically not possible for Russia.
Nonetheless, other experts see two inevitable scenarios, one of which is an agreement of sharing power through Yalta- inspired pact, while the second being the bloodcurdling scenario in which Russia follows the teachings of an old saying “If you see that a fight is inevitable-strike first.”