After years of disarmament, Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula has created speculation that a second nuclear arms-driven Cold War could be afoot.
"Mr. Putin is showing us that the rules don't change just because you go out and say the tide of war is receding," James S. Robbins, commentary writer for USA Today and senior fellow for National Security Affairs on the American Foreign Policy Council told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"The same rules that apply for thousands of years and the rules are of power. If you don't have power well then you have to suck it up."
If the ongoing showdown does turn into a nuclear arms race, Ukraine will be the worse for having disarmed after the Cold War, Robbins wrote in a Wednesday column.
"Well, now Ukrainians are learning that, hey, maybe that wasn't such a good bargain," Robbins said.
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Robbins chastised President Obama's push to draw down nuclear arsenals around the world. That drawdown, driven by the 2010 New Start treaty with Russia, has weakened the U.S. and made it harder to promise protection to its allies, while emboldening Russia, Robbins said.
"Now here's a test case: Russia says, 'okay, we're going to invade and rip off part of a neighboring country that you have given security guarantees to, and what are you going to do about it?'" Robbins said. "And our answer is, 'well, we're going to put devastating sanctions on seven people.'"
Russia took hold of Crimea because it is heavily populated by ethnic Russians. And while the Ukraine-Crimea situation has raised the possibility of a second Cold War, the real test could come if Russia sets its sights on nearby Estonia, which has an even higher percentage of ethnic Russians, Robbins said. Such a move could force to take military action in retaliation.
"Estonia is a NATO ally," Robbins said. "So suppose Russia nips of the northeast corner of Estonia... well, according to article five of the North Atlantic Treaty, we're obligated to defend."
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