It may have been decades since the end of the Cold War but increasingly tensions between the US and Russia seem to escalate.
Only weeks ago former USSR president Gorbachev hinted that things were returning back to their old ways as relations between the west and Russia continue to deteriorate and the possibility of new sanctions against Russia from the US have added fuel to the debate that we are once again entering a period of huge international political instability and insecurity.
Reports of Russian submarines and planes entering international airspace in recent weeks have only heightened the already precarious international situation.
This week the news from the White House is that President Barack Obama is expected to sign a bill authorising further sanctions against Russia in response to its activities in Ukraine.
According to Reuters: “This is something that has been the source of some discussions at the White House over the last several days,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One.
In the White House the issue of the Ukraine is one that is causing some serious worries and it is hoped that further sanctions against Russia will help to persuade President Putin to withdraw from the east of the country.
According to Reuters, Obama had said previously he opposed further sanctions on Russia unless Europe is on board. The administration had also held off supporting lethal military aid for the Kiev government, which is also authorised in the bill.
Congress has already passed the “Ukraine Freedom Support Act”, which is seeking to put more pressure on President Vladimir Putin through the new sanctions which will effect weapons companies along with high tech oil projects.
But the final word on how the US will continue to work to send out a clear message to Russia through sanctions can only be made by the President himself. This means that President Obama will have the opportunity to put in place the sanctions he sees to be most necessary and omit those he is not comfortable with.
According to Reuters, the bill authorises President Obama to apply sanctions on state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport and other defence companies that Congress says contribute to instability in Ukraine, Georgia and Syria.
These new sanctions go well beyond those imposed previously by the EU and US back in September.
The White House is not talking about a new cold war but increasing sanctions such as these certainly indicates a move in that direction.