Cold War: Round 2? Security expert analyzes Russian actions


BRISTOL, Va - Under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, the Russian economy is growing. And growing strong. "They see themselves as having had to retreat in the post Cold War era and are now trying to basically get back what they think belongs to them," said Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, directory of the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies. Fitsanakis said those exports make up about 60% of the Russian economy. With a growing economy comes a desire to be a major playing in global politics. "A superpower does not have to just project its strength in its immediate region, but at the furthest corners of the earth," said Fitsanakis. A military needs money to project power on a global scale. Money to invest in troops, weapons and hardware, like planes and ships. Dr. Fitsanakis says Americans should not be overly concerned by Russia's recently announced plans to fly long-range bomber patrols in the Gulf of Mexico. "These are old Soviet heavy aircraft, propeller driven..{..} The Russians, I think are just trying to basically sort of remind us of their presence," said Fitsanakis. "So for now its not very threatening." What is concerning is that NATO confirmed the presence of Russian troops in Eastern Ukraine. "We have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine," General Philip Breedlove, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe said last week. "We are now facing, directly, a Russian military intervention on Ukrainian soil other than Crimea," Fitsanakis told News 5. Ukraine was the agricultural center of the Soviet Union and home to much of the Soviet military. "If you look at this in the long run," said Fitsanakis, " first has to reassert itself as a dominant force in its immediate region before it starts thinking about more ambitious plans for world supremacy." Speaking at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, President Obama said sanctions against Russia may not stop. " If he continues down the path that he is on, violating international law, providing heavy arms to the separatists in Ukraine, violating an agreement he agreed to a few weeks ago, the Minsk agreement, that would have lowered the temperature and the killing in the disputed areas and provided us a pathway for a diplomatic solution, then the isolation that Russia is currently experiencing will continue," said The President. Dr. Fitsanakis says there has been some discussion of Russia reactivating cold war era bases in Cuba, but he says as long as Russian planes stay in international air space, their presence near the US is perfectly legal.