On February 13, 2016, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took the stage at the Munich Security Conference and announced, almost in a formal manner, that a new cold war has begun. He went on to say "Sometimes I wonder if this is 2016 or 1962" - a subtle, yet unmistakeable reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Medvedev's remarks in Munich come after NATO conducted a simulated war game involving a conflict in the Baltics leading to a war between Russia and NATO (which did not end well for the Baltic states), prompting a negative response from the Kremlin. Recently, the United States had multiplied its military spending in Europe, and Russian submarine activity had increased to levels unseen since the First Cold War - in fact, the French Navy located a nuclear-armed Russian sub off its coast in the Bay of Biscay. Espionage efforts have also increased, with a Russian banker having been arrested in NYC accused of participating in a Russian spy ring - charges which he has since plead guilty to. "The Nuclear Arms Race Is Alive and Well", say some analysts, and indeed it seems so - Russia plans to test 16 ICBMs this year, 14 of which will be new missiles entering service for the first time. The United States has upgraded its B61 nuclear bomb, announcing that the new B61-12 will enter service in Europe - which Russia claims is a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and vows to respond. In February, the United States displayed a show of force to Russia by test launching two Minuteman III ICBMs in the same week from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Mediterranean Sea - which has been controlled solely by NATO since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 - has also become a point of contention, with Russia re-establishing a permanent air and naval presence on the coast of Syria. Ever since 9/11, the Mediterranean has played a vital role in the War on Terror, with allied forces using the sea to launch cruise missiles and airstrikes at terrorist targets in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. Allied success in the War on Terror has been greatly supported by NATO's ability to roam the Mediterranean Sea alone - but with Russia now re-entering the region for the first time in a quarter of a century, there is a greater risk of miscalculation and potential naval conflict. Also worth mentioning, Russian naval access to the Mediterranean places every NATO capital - and indeed, almost all of Europe - within striking range of Russian submarines. And indeed, as tensions between NATO and Russia grow colder, the rhetoric is heating up. NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Philip Breedlove, names Russia as an "existential threat" to the Western world, and claims that NATO is "prepared to fight and win World War 3". Public perception also continues to worsen: According to a Gallup poll, in 2015, the percentage of Americans who consider Russia a "critical threat" increased from 32% to 49%; unfavourable ratings of Russia increased to 70%, while favourable ratings plummeted to 24%. Meanwhile, in Russia, positive views of the US fell to 13%, while negative views of the US shot up to 81% - the worst perception of the US since the Stalin era. Positive views of the EU fell to 20%, with negative views of the EU increasing to 71%. Statistics for 2016 are not in yet, but are expected to continue along this pattern. There is simply no denying now that Cold War II has officially begun, and it is well underway. But, when, exactly, did the Second Cold War start? Answer in the poll, and feel free to discuss!