Emmanuel Todd, a historian, political scientist, and sociologist from France, has long forecast the fall of the Soviet Union. That prophecy came true 15 years later, and now he’s made another ominous prediction: that Russia’s present invasion of Ukraine has already sparked a world war that’s about to turn into an existential cold war between the East and the West.
Todd claims that in addition to being geopolitical, the confrontation between Russia and the West has taken on “existential” significance for both parties. This means that neither side can concede without suffering serious consequences, making it challenging for the Biden administration to find a workable solution to this escalating conflict. China’s escalating animosity toward the West, a conflict that benefits other Asian nations at the expense of America, is adding fuel to the fire.
In addition to these economic problems, those countries are cut off from one another by cultural differences. As Todd points out, a lot of non-Western nations look to Russia for moral conservatism, which is at odds with Western norms. This intellectual aspect of the cold war—the collision of cultures—might be more challenging to resolve than any political or economic differences.
Whether or whether this ultimately escalates into a full-fledged cold war remains to be seen, but it is obvious that tensions between Russia and the West will continue to rise absent drastic action from both sides. It’s still uncertain how this situation will develop over the next few months because the Biden administration is faced with difficult choices and no obvious course of action.