ah, the good old Cold War!

At least it stayed cold.

Is it possible that some day in the distant future (if a future is possible) we will look back on the period of the Cold War as one of peace and prosperity, when compared to the period in which American power had no equal?

For half a century, the real or imagined Russian threat restrained the American and kept this nation relatively circumpect in its ventures around the world. It seems also to have worked to keep the governments of smaller nations out of the worst trouble, by serving them both the benefits and the burdens of the East-West rivalry.

Today U.S. power and greed is unchecked, except by terrorism, against which conventional weapons are virtually useless. Moreover, in the name of a cynical war against terrorism, the U.S. threatens, now or potentially, the security of every nation on the planet, including, in a peculiar reversal, that of the U.S. itself.

We should not be surprised that many nations have decided to pursue an aggressive course in the development of weapons of mass destruction as the only possible protection from what they view as the monstrous power of a rogue U.S.

[Two points may illustrate the argument. First, the U.S. is the only state ever to have employed nuclear weapons in anger, and those employments were against civiians and in a war already won. Second, there is now speculation that the reason the U.S. government has been particularly soft on North Korea is its belief that that nation already has these weapons in place. It looks like some people still think deterrence works, but unfortunately I don't think we can any longer trust our own government to understand either the stakes or the rules.]

It's not going to be a pleasant ride.

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Published on October 18, 2002 12:22 PM.

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