Will This “New Cold War” Between the U.S. and Russia Last Longer Than the Last Three?

How It Works
June 5 2014 10:02 AM

Will This “New Cold War” Between the U.S. and Russia Last Longer Than the Last Three?

Tell us what you really think.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

As Presidents Obama and Putin are both scheduled to be at what may be a very awkward event in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day tomorrow, the Financial Times reports that Russian opinion of the United States is at an all-time low:

Seventy-one per cent of respondents in the poll, conducted last month, described their feelings towards the US as “basically bad” or “very bad”, the highest number since Levada started polling such sentiment in 1990. The number of those feeling very negative towards America jumped by 10 percentage points compared with the previous poll in March.

Meanwhile, amid new economic cooperation with China, Russian opinion of China has shot up to an all-time high of 77 percent.

One thing to keep in mind is that U.S.-Russia tenion is cyclical. The Russian public’s bursts of anti-Americanism tend to be fairly short-lived, as this chart from the Levada Center shows. The blue line is positive sentiment toward the United States, the red is negative:


The previous big red spikes correspond with the 2008 war in Georgia, the Iraq war in 2003, and the Kosovo war of 1998–1999. Once the fireworks fade, hostility to America seems to revert to the mean.

U.S. opinion of Russia, as tracked by Gallup, has followed a fairly similar pattern:


Could this era of bad feelings be similarly short-lived? My guess is that tension is going to stay high for longer this time. Just today there’s news that the now Russia-less G7 is talking about further sanctions in Moscow, and the U.S.  is discussing beefing up its military presence around the Black Sea. Overall, the Russian factor seems to be looming much larger in virtually every U.S. security decision.

In Ukraine the threat of an outright Russian invasion has faded, but the violence continues and those involved certainly see larger geopolitical ramifications. One prominent separatist leader told the New York Times, “Everyone understands that this is a war between Russia and America, and we must be for one side or for the other.” 

 It doesn’t seem like this “war” is going to fade as quickly as previous crises.

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:58 AM Does this Colorado Poll Show Latino Voters Bailing on the 2014 Election?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 18 2014 9:34 AM How to Order Chinese Food First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Sept. 18 2014 8:53 AM The Other Huxtable Effect Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?