Just two weeks ago I told my world history class that I am pretty sure we will never have another global war — nothing to the likes of WWI and WWII; I am not backing off of that comment. The world is at an apex that has created the greatest social and economic interdependence in world history. After showing students the 1983 made for TV nuclear war movie The Day After, I told them that I felt the world had moved beyond the Cold War days in which we all feared the reality of a nuclear war.
As a kid growing up in the early 1980s, I often feared nuclear destruction; by 1987 my fears had greatly subsided as did the fears of most other people. Russia’s Premier Vladimir Putin, who has clearly been frustrated with the United States’ imperialist foreign policy over the past decade, has been showing signs of renewing the old Cold War days. On the other hand, the U.S. over the past decade has accused Russia of backing off of democratic reforms. Two years ago Putin announced that Russia was stepping up its military efforts to show its might and economic strength. Clearly the signs have been present since the U.S. invaded Iraq; the two powers have been on opposite ends of each other. I do believe that Putin is blowing this way out of proportion; however, in looking at this from his end, he is seeing the aggressive nature of a former foe that has made utter but subtle threats toward Russia for its shift from democracy. Moreover, Bush argues that a missile defense system is designed to protect Eastern European nations from Iran, a state that at one point had an alliance with the USSR (ok, it was not part of a balance of power alliance).
Here is my fear: After the G8 talks, Putin and Bush are scheduled to meet in Maine to discuss democracy and the missile defense system. I do not think the U.S. can afford to cancel this meeting if Putin’s language towards the use of nuclear missiles continue; my true fear is Russia ending such talks. This could possibly be the start of a new Cold War.