- - Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Cold War was called that because there was no “hot” artillery. It was pretty much a staring contest between America and the Soviet Union that’s been going on since the end of World War II. And we just blinked.

I know, I know. There is no Soviet Union. The Cold War supposedly ended in the 1980s. And, we didn’t actually just blink.

We blinked several times in the past six years since President Obama was sworn in. These are mere technicalities, I would argue, because I would also argue that the Cold War never ended.

The term “Cold War” is traced back to George Orwell’s 1945 essay “You and the Atomic Bomb.” Like Orwell’s other works, this essay can be called prophetic. In it, he describes what the world would look like if the atomic bomb, although costly and complicated, was accessible to all regimes. He describes countries as living in a perpetual state of “cold war” with their neighbors in a time of “peace with no peace.”

The Cold War started immediately after World War II, when former allies began to clash in ideology. In one corner, you had the WWII Western allies, represented by the United States of America. In the other corner, you had the Soviet allies, represented by the USSR. Because of its oppressive ideology, the USSR’s rise in power was seen as a threat to democracy and to our national sovereignty. Thus began the weapons race. Thus began the era of peace with no peace.

Although the Cold War is said to have ended in the ‘80s, the staring contest did not. Both sides fixed their gaze on each other as they figuratively put down their guns. Neither side really stopped the weapons race. And Russia continued (continues) to develop strategic partnerships with Soviet allies, such as Cuba and China, in ways that fortify its stance on the world stage. Over the past few decades, both sides continued to closely watch the other to see who would flinch first.

Now, as the news about the shot-down Malaysian airline unfolds, and speculation about Russia’s involvement escalates, this is what is on my mind. Will President Obama’s stare be as strong as President Kennedy’s or President Reagan’s was during critical junctures in the Cold War?

As we learned that at least one American was among those tragically killed, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the shot that was heard around the world. If so, I’m deeply concerned, and you should be, too.

Do you remember in 2012, when Mr. Obama leaned over to then-Russian President Medvedev and whispered that he’d have more “flexibility” after his re-election? The body language said it all. Mr. Medvedev simply sat back in his chair and told the cowering Mr. Obama that he would relay the message to his successor.

The whole thing reminded me of a scene in a gangster movie where the quivering underling is pleading for more time before his fingers are chopped off. Lording his power over the poor chump, the mob boss simply says he’ll relay the message.

Even now, Mr. Obama still flinches and blinks whenever there’s a need to stare down the enemy.

News reports claim Mr. Obama had harsh words for Russia during his statement on Ukraine and flight MH17. But actually watch his remarks. Pay attention to tone and body language. Then, compare that statement to one of Kennedy’s or Reagan’s when they addressed conflict with the Soviet Union.

They looked past the camera and directly to the world leaders. They stared down our would-be enemies with a death gaze that not only held our position as a Superpower, but also instilled a sense of safety in the American people.

Someone was in charge.

2016 can’t get here soon enough. Until then, get on your knees and pray.

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