The first level of any war on the strategy scale, and a cold war is technically a war, as not all wars are violent, is politics. All wars include
politics, and most if not all of them are brought about by politics. Just like the Cold War was partly about politics, a 2nd version would be no
different. The one thing that was seen during the Cold War was a massive arms race, and this was partly why it was a war in the first place. Military
grand strategy, or even lower levels of military strategy, can bring about victory in a war without a shot ever being fired. The strategy of building
nuclear arsenals played on the theory of mutually assured destruction, and thus was a deterrent to violent war, which was the main reason the war was
Nuclear weapons stockpiles have been reduced since the time of the Cold War, yet each nation understands that there are still enough nuclear
stockpiles to bring about the destruction of the majority of human life in the warring countries, either directly or indirectly, meaning as a result
of nuclear fallout, which would cause a decrease in the food supply, potentially the climate, among other drastic possibilities. There have been many,
many non-nuclear wars and conflicts fought since the last nuclear weapon was used in 1945, and perhaps these events have acted as a "warm up" exercise
for a larger war between two superpowers. Or what I mean is that perhaps a nuclear state would actually wage a conventional war against another
nuclear power. During the Cold War this did not seem very likely, although I am not sure a war would have started with the launching of nukes,
precisely because of mutually assured destruction.
I do not think we have to worry about one nuclear nation launching a nuclear attack on another nuclear nation, again because of the threat of
annihilation on both sides. But I have often pondered whether such nations would get involved in a conventional conflict, would they allow things to
progress so far? I think not, because most of us realize what would happen. In such a conventional war there is likely to be one side who gets the
best of the other side, and the losing side will be much more apt to launch a nuclear attack. So it would not make sense for one nuclear nation to go
to war with another nuclear state, even if they knew they could win a conventional war, precisely because of the threat of a nuclear last ditch
effort. Every nation has such a plan. Israel has the Samson Option, which may have been more of a second-strike strategy, I'm not sure, while the USSR
had a system called Dead Hand, designed to automatically retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack on their country. The term in military doctrine is
called "massive retaliation." Although this has more to do with the idea that the state who is fired upon with nuclear weapons will fire back with a
much larger number of nuclear weapons.
And everyone who talks about nuclear disarmament, while they have a point, have to realize what has been common knowledge in military doctrine for
many decades now. If you mathematically model, using Game Theory, the nuclear scenarios via a Nash Equilibrium, it becomes readily apparent that a
nuclear state has ZERO incentive to do two things: launch an attack against another nuclear nation, or disarm. Again, this common military knowledge,
and it could be argued common sense, is known and understood by the military leadership of all nuclear nations. Where am I going with all of this? I
just want to establish that any modern war between nuclear states is much more likely to be a "cold" war as opposed to a violent, or "hot" war, which
if war is inevitable, gives a little more credence to the idea presented by the creator of this thread. If a war or conflict is to be violent it is
much more likely that the violence will be initiated through proxies, or forces that are not linked to the military apparatus of one of the nuclear
nations. This is why the US was always arming all these different groups of fighters.
Something people do not understand, even they they often have a point, is that all military leadership studies military strategy. And it has come to
be realized that morals and military effectiveness often clash with one another. So while some see military actions as inhumane and brutal, they are
justified in terms of military strategy. Not morally justified, but strategically justified. Although something I feel that many forces have failed to
grasp, or have failed to effectively put into practice, is when using immoral strategies or tactics actually hurt your grand strategy or political
strategy in the long run. For instance, the overwhelming success of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor played a large part in them losing the war.
While successful on a tactical or maybe even operational level, when it came to politics it was a horrible move, as this is what motivated the US to
demand unconditional surrender in my opinion. Another example would be what is going on with the US in the Middle East. US military leaders have
failed to grasp that certain actions hurt them in the long run, as it motivates more civilians, local or otherwise, to join in the fight as combatants
against the US.
Anyway, the main question, whether we are headed for another Cold War, is interesting and difficult to answer. I have deduced that it is plausible,
but unlikely, if we are talking strictly about a repeat of the real Cold War. If it happens today it will likely not be a nuclear arms race, as we
won't be developing new nukes, and it probably won't be building more nukes either. If anything it will be a space-based race or something similar,
but not to achieve "firsts," but to establish space-based weapon systems. I still think that is unlikely however, or it is not a top priority or
anything, as neither the US nor Russia likely feels like war is as imminent as it was during the Cold War. War is not on the horizon like it was then,
despite what is going on in Ukraine. I think this war will be one of economics and proxies. As well as strategic positioning. Such positioning is
partly why Russia annexed Crimea. You can win a war via strategy and positioning without a shot being fired. You place yourself in an advantageous
position, and the enemy is forced to sue for peace, withdraw, etc. But I definitely do not see a weapons race like was seen in the Cold War. I
personally do not feel that tensions between the US and Russia are very high at all, and the geographical and political situation is quite different
from what was present during the Cold War before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. I think we will not see things get as terrifying as they did
during the Cold War. I do not think things will escalate to such a degree. I mean we came this-> .. close to a nuclear war on two or three occasions.
If we could avoid nuclear war at times such as those, when west hated east and vice versa, we can EASILY avoid a nuclear war now, which means that
cold war is not likely to occur at all. If anything we will see a new type of cold war, one that is, again, designed more to hit at the economy and
politics of another nation. I mean we have so much technology now. Perhaps we will see a cold war centered around more covert activities such as
digital espionage, or digital attacks. Times have changed, and so has the nature of war between modern nuclear states to a limited degree.
edit on 9/5/14 by JiggyPotamus because: (no reason given)