Cold War: Rivalry Renewed

Over the past two decades, a state of political and military tension between Russia and the US and EU has developed. In more recent years, the relationship between these two geopolitical power-blocs has rapidly deteriorated into outright hostility, leading many commentators to draw parallels with the Cold War. Like the original Cold War stand-off between the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc led by Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union, this new confrontation is a complex web of espionage, diplomatic manoeuvering, military posturing and proxy war, incorporating 21st Century elements such as cyber warfare, digital propaganda and pipeline politics.

Featuring subject matter expert

Daniel Finkelstein
Daniel Finkelstein

Columnist at The Times

Daniel Finkelstein, appointed to the House of Lords in 2013, writes a weekly column for The Times. Previously, he was adviser to Prime Minister John Major and Conservative leader William Hague.

What was the significance of the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008?

It was the first indication that if the Russians decide to push their nationalist interests, the West might find it hard to do anything about it. From that moment you can note a determination in the West to use diplomatic and political pressure, as military pressure was simply not effective.

Course Overview

  • Reflect on how the 9/11 attacks and the War on Terror initially resulted in improvements to US-Russian relations, which were ultimately short-lived.
  • Consider how NATO's expansion and the proposed anti-ballistic missile shield in Eastern Europe became major sources of tension between the superpowers.
  • Examine the unsuccessful attempts by President Obama to strike a different tone with Russia and establish a constructive relationship based on shared interests.
  • Investigate the complex web of proxy wars, disinformation campaigns, espionage and a renewed arms race that have sparked claims of a new Cold War.
Course content
  • 8 Full HD Video Lectures
  • Downloadable Course Handouts
  • Knowledge Assessment Quiz
  • Interactive Group Discussion Task
  • Q&A Session with a Subject Matter Expert
  • Certificate of Achievement





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