These are bleak times. I’ve been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors – those who know but don’t need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried.
– Pepe Escobar
This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me:
The propaganda attack against Putin equating him with Hitler is so extreme that you have to think that the Russians cannot believe their ears and cannot trust the United States anymore under any circumstances.
I cannot believe how we could have gotten ourselves into this situation to protect the looters in the Ukraine that Putin would have rid the Ukraine of, and even had the gall to place in a leadership role one of the worst of the thieves. But that is history. What is certain is that MAD [mutually assured destruction] is not a deterrent today when both sides believe the other will use nuclear weapons once they have the advantage and that the side that gains a decisive advantage will use them. MAD is now over.
That may sound somewhat extreme – but it’s a perfectly logical extension, further on down the road, of what the Russian president intimated in his already legendary interview with Germany’s ARD in Vladivostok last week: the West is provoking Russia into a new Cold War. 
Mikhail Gorbachev just stressed a few days ago the new Cold War is already on. Princeton’s Stephen Cohen says the Cold War in fact never left. The Roving Eye reported about Cold War 2.0 months ago. Brits – still stranded in the 19th century new Great Game – prefer to spin the “strident toxic personality” of “diminutive Putin”;  he is the “ruthless, charming and ultimately reckless” man who “put the cold war back in vogue”. The Council on Foreign Relations, predictably, mourns the end of the post-Cold War world, blasts the current “disorder”, and dreams of the good ol’ unchallenged exceptionalist days. 
For arguably the best detailed background on how we came to this perilous state of affairs, it’s hard to beat Vladimir Kozin of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies.  Read him carefully. And yes, it’s Cold War 2.0, the double trouble remix; between the US and Russia, and between NATO and Russia. …