Is The Cold War Heating Up Again?

Russians have no shortage of wars to commemorate. Today is Defense of the Fatherland Day. They honored their military heroes at the Kremlin, CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports, and in Russian schools, there were mock drills.

But there's now a very real and aggressive rhetoric coming from Russia these days.

Earlier this month, President Putin accused America of using overwhelming military force and threatening to plunge the whole world into conflict.

In an exclusive interview with CBS News, Russia's last Cold Warrior, Mikhail Gorbachev, agrees.

"The last straw was when Defense Secretary Gates said America needs large armed forces to defend itself against the unpredictability of Russia and China," Gorbachev says. "It seems that America sees us an enemy again."

Russia's generals were furious with U.S. plans to put radar bases into the Czech Republic and a new missile defense system into Poland. They were so angry that Russia has threatened to build new missiles and point them at Europe.

U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley is in Moscow to cool the rhetoric, but defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer says it won't be easy.

"After 9/11, Putin believed in exchange for supporting the U.S. and personally, George Bush, in the fight against terrorism, the West would grant us our sphere of influence," Felgenhauer says.

Putin believed the U.S. wouldn't interfere in what Russia thinks of as its own backyard. Instead, NATO, the European-American military alliance, has crept right up to Russia's borders.

"That makes Putin and his cohorts in the Kremlin very, very angry," Felgenhauer explains.

No one believes Russia is actually angry enough to go to war, but this confrontation has already spilled over into business. Russia's national airline, Aeroflot, has announced it has suspended negotiations to buy 22 new passenger jets from Boeing, worth $2.5 billion.
  • Melissa McNamara

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