♪ God made man in harmony
Man against man in World War III
We’re fighting in East
They’re killing in the West
Everybody wants to be the best ♪
— As countries rush for weapons, cold war kids have never lost that easy.1
When Uvular petitioned this community for Weekend Politics Thread header topic requests, he received exactly one (1) reply. No one wins the Foghat tickets, but Miss Rim does get her wish to read about “Cold War stuff.” Because Uve has always said if he can make even a single Politicado happy, well ... first time for everything.
Before that, though, please indulge a diversion devolving from lateral thinking about the term “cold war.” Temperatures plunge in Ottawa during February. Fascists have occupied several downtown blocks of that capital of the Confederation2 for several weeks. Police finally cleared the shantytown, in Uvular’s mind singing this all-timer from Indigenous half-Canadian chanteuse Buffy Sainte-Marie:3
♫ You’re not a dream
You’re not an angel
You’re a man
I’m not a queen
I’m a woman
Take my hand
We’ll make a space
In the lives that we planned
And here we’ll stay
Until it’s time for you to go ♫
So, how about that actual Cold War, huh? It sure looks like 70-plus years of proxy conflicts in arenas from the Korean Peninsula to Panama and Syria, to say nothing of nuclear near-misses over Cuba and noise on early warning radar screens, have come to a head in eastern Ukraine.
Your WPT host will not speculate on when or if NATO forces will start trading mortars and airstrikes with Russian troops. His powers of prognostication pale in the presence of paid pundits who persists in proclaiming, “We don’t know dick about shit.” He does, however, contend that current U.S. President “Not Uncle” Joe Biden has done an excellent job so far of calling Vladimir “Stalin for Time” Putin’s bluffs and revealing the falsity of flags planted throughout Donetsk and Luhansk.
Uvular can also confidently opine that we got here because one side never stopped fighting the Cold War. Imagine, if you can, white people in the former Confederate States of America refusing to accept their defeat at the end of the U.S. Civil War. Picture, as much as it beggars belief to do so, the U.S. federal government permitting resentments to fester for decades while antebellum policies of racial apartheid and terror reasserted themselves. Think, against the very pretense of rationality itself, what could happen to the U.S. experiment in multiracial representative democracy if the South did, indeed, rise again.
Now, all that exists as so much wild speculation. No one could ever ignore such an existential threat until a full-blown shooting war became a near inevitably. Could they?
Chilling stuff. Of course, framing the current crisis in eastern Europe/western Asia as the result of a failure to act in a timely manner raises the fair question of what someone should and could have done. Realizing Putin really did intend to reconstitute the Soviet Union of his youth would have helped. Turns out Mitt Romney got exactly one (1) thing correct during his 2012 presidential run when he called a revenant Russia the greatest threat to the U.S. and the world. That cri de coeur4 came nearly two decades too late.
Clinton’s “peace dividend.” W’s looking into Vlad’s soul and espying a decent man. Obama’s pivot to China. Certainly, going into present-day Volgograd guns a-blazing would not have helped. But neither has allowing the FSB to wantonly assassinate Kremlin critics domestically and abroad. Closing oligarchs’ bank accounts, shutting off high-end real estate markets from money launders, actually impeaching Trump over his collusions—stuff like that would have hamstrung Putin.
But looking back only helps to the extent that such reflection informs better future decisions. Through this weekend and several months hence, we must weather a Cold War heating up faster than the Siberian permafrost. Stay frosty, folks. Have each other’s sixes in the comments.