Deterrence & Cold War: How US seeks to 'contain' Putin's regime in Ukraine

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Feb 14, 2022, 03:24 PM(IST)

Russia and the West have been at loggerheads ever since reports came out that over 100,000 Russian troops were deployed near their neighbour’s borders. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The term was widely used during the Cold War between the former Soviet Union and the US as both sides sought to keep the other in check with the threat of nuclear war looming.

NATO had recently said it was set to bolster troops in the Baltic Sea region in order to ensure "deterrence" against Russia as the European military alliance decided to activate its Response Force consisting of 40,000 troops.

NATO has enhanced the Response Force in 2014 as Russia annexed Crimea and deployed 20,000 troops on high alert. The White House said on Sunday that US President Joe Biden and  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had agreed on diplomacy and "deterrence" as means to take on Russia with thousands of troops stationed on the border with Ukraine.

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US Secretary of state Anthony Binken has insisted the US and its allies have been "building deterrence and building defence" to ensure Russia does not move against Ukraine even as President Biden sent 1,000 soldiers to Romania and 2,000 to Poland to bolster NATO's eastern flank amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

What does 'deterrence' mean?

The term was widely used during the Cold War between the former Soviet Union and the US as both sides sought to keep the other in check with the threat of nuclear war looming. 

Deterrence is used as a tool of international diplomacy when both sides are equally balanced in terms of arms and ammunition leading to "mutually assured destruction” if war breaks out with neither side being victorious. 

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The concept famously came into play during the Cuban missile crisis in 1961 as the former Soviet Union realised that a nuclear war would lead to unimaginable losses on both sides as it removed missiles from Cuba.

'Deterrence' during Ukraine crisis

The ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia has once again brought "deterrence" to the fore as the US has repeatedly said there could be heavy losses both for Ukraine and Russia if war breaks out.

Estonian PM Kaja Kallas waded into the debate asserting that "NATO has been right to bolster its defence and deterrence posture in the eastern flank," amid threats from Russia even as NATO chief said it was considering more long-term "adjustments" to its posture in the eastern part.

The West has been seeking a "military balance" with Russia as several Baltic nations feel threatened by Russia's military manoeuvres.

The situation on Europe's eastern region has become unstable ever since Russia annexed Crimea and has been threatening Ukraine with the deployment of thousands of troops at the border.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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