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HandWiki. Cold War (General Term). Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 14 June 2024).
HandWiki. Cold War (General Term). Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 14, 2024.
HandWiki. "Cold War (General Term)" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 14, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, October 26). Cold War (General Term). In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Cold War (General Term)." Encyclopedia. Web. 26 October, 2022.
Cold War (General Term)

A cold war is a state of conflict between nations that does not involve direct military action but is pursued primarily through economic and political actions, propaganda, acts of espionage or proxy wars waged by surrogates. This term is most commonly used to refer to the American-Soviet Cold War of 1947–1991. The surrogates are typically states that are satellites of the conflicting nations, i.e., nations allied to them or under their political influence. Opponents in a cold war will often provide economic or military aid, such as weapons, tactical support or military advisors, to lesser nations involved in conflicts with the opposing country.

cold war espionage propaganda

1. Origins of the Term

The expression "cold war" was rarely used before 1945. Some writers credit the fourteenth century Spaniard Don Juan Manuel for first using the term (in Spanish), when dealing with the conflict between Christianity and Islam as a "cold war". However he used the term "tepid" not "cold". The word "cold" first appeared in a faulty translation of his work in the 19th century.[1]

At the end of World War II, George Orwell used the term in the essay "You and the Atomic Bomb" published on October 19, 1945, in the British magazine Tribune. Contemplating a world living in the shadow of the threat of nuclear war, he warned of a "peace that is no peace", which he called a permanent "cold war".[2] Orwell directly referred to that war as the ideological confrontation between the Soviet Union and the Western powers.[3] Moreover, in The Observer of March 10, 1946, Orwell wrote that "[a]fter the Moscow conference last December, Russia began to make a 'cold war' on Britain and the British Empire."[4]

The definition which has now become fixed is of a war waged through indirect conflict. The first use of the term in this sense, to describe the post–World War II geopolitical tensions between the USSR and its satellites and the United States and its western European allies (which in practice acted as satellites of the opposing force) is attributed to Bernard Baruch, an American financier and presidential advisor.[5] In South Carolina, on April 16, 1947, he delivered a speech (by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope)[6] saying, "Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war."[7] Newspaper reporter-columnist Walter Lippmann gave the term wide currency, with the book Cold War (1947).[8]

2. Tensions Labeled a Cold War

Since the US–USSR Cold War (1947–1991), a number of global and regional tensions have also been called a cold war.

2.1. Second Cold War

The Second Cold War,[9][10][11] also called Cold War II,[12][13] Cold War 2.0,[14][15] or the New Cold War,[16][17] is a term describing post-Cold-War era of political and military tensions between the United States and China or Russia .

2.2. Middle East

Malcolm H. Kerr first coined the term "Arab Cold War" to refer to a political conflict inside the Arab world between Nasserist republics defending Arab socialism, Pan-Arabism, and Arab nationalism led by Nasser's Egypt, against traditionalist monarchies led by Saudi Arabia.[18]

An Atlantic Council member Bilal Y. Saab,[19] an writer Primoz Manfreda,[20] an Iranian scholar Seyyed Hossein Mousavian and a Princeton University scholar Sina Toossi,[21] journalist Kim Ghattas,[22] Foreign Policy journalist Yochi Dreazen,[23] Brookings Institution researcher Sultan Barakat,[24] and Newsweek journalist Jonathan Broder[25] use the term "cold war" to refer to tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In February 2016, a University of Isfahan professor Ali Omidi dismissed the assumptions that the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia would grow tense.[26]

2.3. South Asia

A commentator Ehsan Ahrari,[27] a writer Bruce Riedel,[28] a political commentator Sanjaya Baru[29] and a Princeton University academic Zia Mian[30] have used the term "cold war" since 2002 to refer to long-term tensions between India and Pakistan, which were part of the British India until its partition in 1947.

2.4. East Asia

A Naval Postgraduate School academic Edward A. Olsen,[31][32] a British politician David Alton,[33] a York University professor Hyun Ok Park,[34] and a University of Southern California professor David C. Kang[35] used the term to refer to tensions between North Korea and South Korea, which have been divided since the end of World War II in 1945. They interchangeably called it the "Korean Cold War". In August 2019, North Korean government said that further US–South Korean military cooperation would prompt North Korea to "trigger a new cold war on the Korean Peninsula and in the region."[36]

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng,[37] The Diplomat editor Shannon Tiezzi,[38] and The Guardian columnist Simon Tisdall[39] used the term to refer to tensions between China and Japan.

2.5. China and the Soviet Union

British writer Edward Crankshaw used the term to also refer to the relationship between China and the Soviet Union after the Sino-Soviet split.[40]

2.6. China and India

Imran Ali Sandano of the University of Sindh,[41] Arup K. Chatterjee of the Jindal Global Law School,[42] journalist Bertil Lintner,[43] writer Bruno Maçães,[44] politician-lawyer P. Chidambaram,[45] politician and journalist Sanjay Jha,[46] and some others[47][48] use the terms like "new cold war" to refer to growing tensions between China and India.


  1. Simon Dalby; Gearoid O.u Tuathail (2002). Rethinking Geopolitics. Routledge. p. 67. ISBN 9781134692132. 
  2. Kort, Michael (2001). The Columbia Guide to the Cold War. Columbia University Press. pp. 3. 
  3. Geiger, Till (2004). Britain and the Economic Problem of the Cold War. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 7. 
  4. Orwell, George, The Observer, March 10, 1946
  5. Gaddis 2005, p. 54
  6. Safire, William (October 1, 2006). "Islamofascism Anyone?". The New York Times. 
  7. "This Day on History - April 16, 1947: Bernard Baruch coins the term "Cold War"". A+E Networks. 2009. "Full quote in the context of industrial labor problems in the United States of America in 1947 which could only solved, according to Bernard Baruch, through "unity" between labor and management which in return would give the United States the power to play its role as the major force by which, in the words of Baruch, "the world can renew itself physically or spiritually.": "Let us not be deceived-we are today in the midst of a cold war. Our enemies are to be found abroad and at home. Let us never forget this: Our unrest is the heart of their success. The peace of the world is the hope and the goal of our political system; it is the despair and defeat of those who stand against us. We can depend only on ourselves."" 
  8. Lippmann, Walter (1947). Cold War. Harper. Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  9. Mackenzie, Ryan (3 October 2015). "Rubio: U.S. 'barreling toward a second Cold War'". The Des Moines Register. USA Today. 
  10. Bovt, George (31 March 2015). "Who Will Win the New Cold War?". The Moscow Times. 
  11. Trenin, Dmitri (2 March 2014). "The crisis in Crimea could lead the world into a second cold war". The Guardian. 
  12. Dmitri Trenin (4 March 2014). "Welcome to Cold War II". Graham Holdings. 
  13. As Cold War II Looms, Washington Courts Nationalist, Rightwing, Catholic, Xenophobic Poland, Huffington Post, 15 October 2015.
  14. "Cold war 2.0: how Russia and the west reheated a historic struggle". The Guardian. 28 October 2016. 
  15. Eve Conant (12 September 2014). "Is the Cold War Back?". National Geographic Society. 
  16. Simon Tisdall (19 November 2014). "The new cold war: are we going back to the bad old days?". Guardian News and Media Limited. 
  17. Philip N. Howard (1 August 2012). "Social media and the new Cold War". Reuters Commentary Wire. 
  18. Kerr, Malcolm H. (1967). The Arab cold war, 1958-1967 : a study of ideology in politics. Malcolm H. Kerr (2nd ed.). London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-631824-6. OCLC 278293765. 
  19. Saab, Bilal Y. (18 October 2016). "Why an Iran-Saudi Arabia Conflict Is More Likely Today Than Ever Before". 
  20. Manfreda, Primoz. "Iran and Saudi Arabia—Middle East Cold War". 
  21. Mousavian, Seyyed Hossein; Toossi, Sina (19 September 2016). "Ending the Iran-Saudi Cold War". 
  22. Ghattas, Kim (15 July 2015). The Saudi Cold War With Iran Heats Up. Retrieved 18 October 2016.  (Subscription content?)
  23. Dreazen, Yochi (27 March 2015). "In Yemen, the Middle East's cold war could get hot". 
  24. Barakat, Sultan (22 June 2016). "Is the Iranian-Saudi 'cold war' heating up? How to reduce the temperature". Brookings Institution. 
  25. Broder, Jonathan (11 January 2016). "The Loser of the Cold War Between Iran and Saudi Arabia May Be Obama". Newsweek. 
  26. Omidi, Ali (February 2016). "Five reasons why Iran-Saudi conflict won't escalate". 
  27. Ahrari, Ehsan (21 June 2002). "Similarity breeds contempt: India and Pakistan". 
  28. Riedel, Bruce (26 May 2014). "Indian and Pakistani Leaders Seek to End Their Cold War, but Will the 'Deep State' Allow Peace?". The Daily Beast. 
  29. Baru, Sanjaya (October 2016). "An Indo-Pak Cold War". 
  30. Mian, Zia (7 December 2016). "Kashmir, climate change, and nuclear war". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  31. Olsen, Edward A. (1992). "Korean Security: Is Japan's 'Comprehensive Security' Model a Viable Alternative?". The U.S.-South Korean Alliance: Time for a Change. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. 140. ISBN 9781412840866. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  32. Olsen, Edward A. (2013). US National Defense for the Twenty-first century: Grand Exit Strategy. Routledge. pp. 115–116. ISBN 978-0-7146-5098-2. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  33. Alton, David; Rob Chidley (2013). "Marshall Aid for Korea". Building Bridges: Is there hope for North Korea?. Lion Hudson. p. 185. ISBN 9780745957685. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  34. Hyun Ok Park (2015). The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea. Columbia University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-231-17192-2. 
  35. Kang, David C. (31 December 2010). "Korea's New Cold War". 
  36. Maresca, Thomas (22 August 2019). "North Korea warns of a new 'cold war'". 
  37. "China Lashes Out at Japan's New Defence Plan, Says Tokyo Maintaining 'Cold War Mentality'". Associated Press. 21 December 2013. 
  38. Tiezzi, Shannon (25 January 2016). "The New Cold War: China vs Japan". 
  39. Tisdall, Simon (17 January 2005). "Sino-Japanese 'cold war' stirs new tensions". 
  40. Crankshaw, Edward (1963). The New Cold War: Moscow v. Pekin. Harmondsworth: Penguin. OCLC 271427323. 
  41. Sandano, Imran Ali (29 October 2017). "Threat of new cold war looms". 
  42. Chatterjee, Arup K. (29 June 2017). "Are India and China heading towards a cold war over railways?". 
  43. Lintner, Bertil (December 2017). "India, China Conflict Is New Cold War in the Indian Ocean". Businessworld (Interview). Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  44. Maçães, Bruno (14 February 2018). "India and China's dangerous tug-of-war for the top of the world". 
  45. Chidambaram, P. (1 April 2018). "Across the Aisle: One-man band cannot make music". 
  46. Jha, Sanjay (7 July 2020). "India-China face-off: The Asian cold war has been sparked off, writes Sanjay Jha". The Free Press Journal. Mumbai. 
  47. Korybko, Andrew (13 June 2017). "The Chinese–Indian New Cold War – Conclusions". 
  48. "After US–Russia Cold War, Are India–China Headed Towards the Same Path?". 2 April 2018. 
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