Arbatov ‘7 (Alexei, Corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Editorial Board of Russia in Global Affairs , Is a New Cold War Imminent? 08-08)
However, the low probability of a new Cold War and the collapse of American unipolarity (as a political doctrine, if not in reality) cannot be a cause for complacency. Multipolarity, existing objectively at various levels and interdependently, holds many difficulties and threats. For example, if the Russia-NATO confrontation persists, it can do much damage to both parties and international security. Or, alternatively, if Kosovo secedes from Serbia, this may provoke similar processes in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniestria, and involve Russia in armed conflicts with Georgia and Moldova, two countries that are supported by NATO. Another flash point involves Ukraine. In the event of Kiev’s sudden admission into the North Atlantic Alliance (recently sanctioned by the U.S. Congress), such a move may divide Ukraine and provoke mass disorders there, thus making it difficult for Russia and the West to refrain from interfering. Meanwhile, U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in Central and Eastern Europe may cause Russia to withdraw from the INF Treaty and resume programs for producing intermediate-range missiles. Washington may respond by deploying similar missiles in Europe, which would dramatically increase the vulnerability of Russia’s strategic forces and their control and warning systems. This could make the stage for nuclear confrontation even tenser.