Cold War

I have this political cartoon posted outside of my office door; as a kid growing up, I recall thinking that I would not live long enough to see adulthood. During those early 3rd – 5th grade years, the Soviet Union was not a stable state. It seemed that the office of the premier was a revolving door. As a kid, I often constructed mental maps of the world with my hand tracing lines from Moscow to various United States cities. Each line represented a nuclear missile; I would even draw a mushroom cloud marking the destruction of a city. And, the 1983 movie The Day After did not help my fears. Warning: Watch this clip at your own risk. I show it every year in my history classes. In honor of Gorby and the end of Communism, I offer this great Pizza Hut commercial.

I was even lucky enough to hear him speak while an undergraduate at Harding University. With his commercials and lucrative speaker fees, I am sure he does not miss Communism.


22 thoughts on “Cold War

  1. I really like the way you incorporated that cartoon to how you feel about these days. I say that from the point of view of someone who, yes, was not around to experience the cold war but, these rough times the world is facing has not nearly been as bad 10 years ago, so I can understand your point about how the cold war seemed more like a mere suburban riot compared to the agony and suffering going on in Iraq and with the parents dealing with it.

  2. I agree with that comic simply because I’d really like to know who our enemy is.

    There’s hope in my mind if we know any country that attacks us will have 100 times as many nukes launched back at them, but it scares me to know that if we get attacked by some small minority inside a set of countries we will do nothing mainly because there would be nothing to do.

  3. I do think we know who our enemy is, but I am not sure if we know what they have. We did during the cold war. I remember The Day After. Scary world.

    Walker stated “it scares me to know that if we get attacked by some small minority inside a set of countries we will do nothing mainly because there would be nothing to do.”

    What do you mean?

  4. You know, it is interesting that I was compelled to try and contact you today, and I decided to check your blog. This entry reminds me of a clip of Fox news I was watching, in which they referred to the recent developments in artic exploration as a five-way cold war. It actually made me think about the amount of effort placed in the consumption and harvesting of oil.

    Anyways I’ll take this opportunity to float a bunch of stuff by you.
    1) I remember a distinct lack of Spain in my Euro class last year, but my new Euro teacher (John Tone, nice guy) has apparently written two books on the fact that the Spanish actually existed and fought during Napoleon’s campaign. I just wanted to highlight this revolutionary breakthrough in historical thought, and thought you might be progressive enough to include some controversial ideas. Seriously though, he really seemed to know his stuff, and I thought you find his works interesting, though I have yet to read them. He’s an assosiate professor here. website:
    2) you been following Georgia Tech football? we may be faltering a little, but we’re on the up! we’re gonna trash Army this weekend! Tashard Choice for Heisman!

  5. David, if you read you would have known that Spain was a part of the conflict with Napoleon’s France, as was the rest of Europe at that time. I pick my spots with Spain. I will look at the link. I have not followed Ga. Tech football; I am more of a Razorback man. Ga. Tech is an ACC school, you better beat Army. I hope classes and grades are going well.

  6. I’m with you, Walker.

    I think America is having a hard time not having a Tokyo or Berlin to march toward in the fight against terror or militant Islam. We are shredding our opponents when we find them, but that is not as finite to the public as taking cities and territory.

    Terrorists go for our underbelly all the time (regular citizens). Unfortunately, one of the most effective means of dealing with guerrillas is going for THEIR underbelly. Right now, I don’t think our enemies believe we would turn the nuclear key, but I think we might… even if it is a known associate or host country to the group that did it.

    Man, I hope that never happens.

  7. Matt S,

    Watchout for Walker. It is scary knowing that our enemies have the advantage. This will surprise both of you: I am okay with the government ease dropping on citizens, as long as there is just cause.

  8. To Stan,
    What I mean is if a Muslim extremist group sneaks in a nuke and detonates it in one of our cities, we can justifiably do very little. What are we going to do, invade a country that has that group in it? That’ll just end up like this war. Our modern enemy would have very little consequences for whatever they might do. That is very different from the ICBM parade that would occur with somewhere like Russia or China.

    They only have the advantage because we let them. It’s this “peaceful war” we’re being forced to fight. And that dreadful little word appeasement…

  9. A difficult strategic and moral question: if a Muslim extremist group detonates a weapon of mass destruction in an American city with severe loss of civilain life, should the United States drop a weapon of mass destruction on a Muslim city or area…whether there be terrorists there or not?

  10. That is not a difficult question…it is a troubeling one that I have no answer for in terms of our government’s response. Under no circumstance should a nuclear bomb be used as a tactic of counter aggression. Even those who were a part of the Manhattan Project expressed regret at what happened to Japan. I am not opposed to conventional attacks in this situation. This entire thought scares me. Have you seen the movie The Sum of All Fears? Scary.

  11. I was still rather young during the cold war (I was born in ’78) but the fall of the Berlin wall, and the end of the Soviet Union made a real impression on me. I remember feeling like the rug had been pulled from under me. It didn’t make any sense. The maps I had on my wall were now wrong. And the enemy, who had appeared to be our equal in strength (in the mind of a 12 year old the soviets were the Magneto to our Xavier), to fold so instantaneously (seemingly) was more than a little weird.

    Now, it’s even weirder. We’re totally consumed in one war in Iraq, and that isn’t even supposed to be the MAIN war, and our government is on the lookout for more. Maybe we’re the Magneto … saved only by our ignorance of it.

    The terrorists are a serious threat, and they have to be dealt with. But, we currently are doing everything we can to create another cold war, but on a scale that is far beyond what the world has ever seen.

    Things did seem far simpler with the USSR.

  12. “The Sum of All Fears” was a completely different situation:

    1) It involved two nuclear super-powers that COULD destroy each other. If a terrorist group attacked us, they could only hit us once or twice, most likely. A nuclear response could be delivered tit-for-tat without the skies filling with warheads.

    2) The movie (and reality) worked because the United States and the Russians understood “mutually assured destruction.” I’m not sure the Middle East uses the same math, particularly in the case of Israel. If Iran destroyed Israel and was itself destroyed, Muslims might call that a net win.

    If the Cold War and the threat of WMD attack worries you, aren’t you glad President Bush made sure Iraq didn’t have any? 😉

    The designers of “the bomb” may have fretted over their creation, but it can be argued it saved a lot more lives than it took in World War II. The Japanese had fought to the death defending the islands of Peleliu and Okinawa in the late stages of the war, understanding their only chance was to bleed the U.S. so much they cried “uncle.” The invasion of Japan would have been a bloodbath by going with conventional warfare.

    A conventional attack in response to a nuclear attack is weaksauce, and that’s exactly how our enemies would see it.

  13. Carson,

    I was in sixth grade living in Kansas City (where the movie was filmed and set)when ‘The Day After’ was shown on ABC. Freaked me out. To see all these familiar landmarks (like the Liberty Monument and JC Nichols Fountain) blown away was quite traumatic for my 10-year old brain. I thought every plane I heard at night was a Russian missile or bomb coming to blow up Kansas City and I always made sure I was right with God.

  14. I don’t think we have any clue what other nations have . . . I think we should be very concerned about Bush and his current bullying with Iran. He’s heading for a nuclear war. Be very sure that the rest of the world won’t sit idly by . . . this will bring on the big boys.

  15. Bullying Iran? The same Iran that takes foreign hostages in broad daylight? The same Iran that is supplying arms to the insurgents in Iraq? The same Iran whose leadership denies the Holocaust and gives speeches on how Isreal should be wiped off the map? America is the thug here? Riiiiiight…

    The rest of the world is going to come to the rescue of innocent, poor little Iran? C’mon. Russia likes talking smack to the U.S., but I don’t see them interfering here when push comes to shove. Which it will. Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed a nuke. Even the president of FRANCE warned of military action to prevent AquaVelvajad from gaining possession of “the bomb.”

    By all means, let us explore all diplomatic avenues. Iran is teetering economically, and most of their population is rational. There are some pressure points we can use before releasing the dogs of war.

    Anyone talking about that pre-nuclear site Israel destroyed some days ago… in SYRIA?! Whatever the rest of the world does or does not do, be very sure that Israel won’t sit idly by.

  16. May 1. Plan for it. Bully Bush will attack Iran. AND Russia WILL retaliate. The U.S. will become Ground Zero. It’s the Kurds that are causing the problems. This is the same Kurds that Hussein was tending to when the U.S. rushed in to “liberate” them. It’s way past time for the U.S. to stay out of everyone else’s business.

  17. I am going to agree with Matt on Iran. He seems to be the only one here who is really takining the time to think think this out logically.

    Are we condoning genocide osipov?

    Hector brings up a really good point.

    Carson, are you speaking for all those who worked on the Manhattan Project. I you really wanted me to I could go find a list of many who expressed no regrets including the pilot of Enola Gay. I am just to lazy.

    You also forgot to mention the role of Ronald Reagon in ending the Cold War in your first post.

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