- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2014


Grim “duck and cover” exercises in schools, baleful air raid sirens, dank fallout shelters, Operation Looking Glass and B-52s on high alert: those were the cultural hallmarks of the Cold War at one point in history.

Is the United States embarking on another one as the Ukraine matter continues? That depends on who you talk to. The majority of Americans say yes, this is the case. President Obama, however, insists there is no Cold War in the making, reasoning that contemporary Russia is no Soviet Union with a hulking and aggressive ideology, and that the circumstances have changed.

The citizenry think otherwise. Half of Americans now say the U.S. is headed back to a genuine Cold War, this according to Gallup. And among folks 50 and up who “lived through” the Cold War era, the numbers range from 54 percent to 64 percent.

Of course there is a partisan divide. Gallup found that 67 percent of Republicans say the Cold War is on a comeback, compared to 44 percent of Democrats.

“The Cold War, from roughly 1945 to 1991, was a watershed moment in American history. This period redefined America’s defense system and led to decisions to enter into military conflicts in Korea and Vietnam,” explains Gallup analyst Rebecca Rifkin.

“While the U.S. and the Soviet Union never directly engaged in battle, this competition led to an unprecedented arms race between the two nations. The icy tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union affected countries worldwide for decades,” she adds.

Everyone, it seems, has something to say about icy tensions. Some foreign policy analysts stress the fact that China will keep Russia in order, thank you very much. Others warn against the influence of “Cold War dinosaurs” who relish the idea of its return. Their institutional knowledge intact, those very same dinosaurs gaze back steadily and remember that “Peace is our profession” was the motto of the old Strategic Air Command. “Peace through strength” was an unofficial variant.

But Cold War fixation is a phenomenon, and here is its chilly press narrative for now: “This isn’t the return of the Cold War, it’s worse”(National Review), “Dusting off the language of the Cold War” (New York Times), “Old Cold War blocs won’t work (The Daily Beast), “How to win Cold War 2.0” (Politico), “All this virile Cold War talk won’t force Putin to slink back” (The Guardian), “The big chill” (Foreign Policy), “The Cold War is NOT back” (Huffington Post), “Tell me comrade, when did Russia go bad?” (Reason).

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