This is Not Your Father’s Cold War

It all has such a familiar feel. Russia is once again our primary enemy in the world. Implacably, tyrannically, cunningly, it plots our downfall, engineers our destruction, and prepares for war without ceasing. It’s déjà vu all over again, we even catch ourselves referring to them as Soviets, and Godless Communists, which is silly, they are no more Communists than Trump is a Republican. But the thrill is the same as it used to be, the thrill of the monster under the bed, the nameless, faceless dread from which only Mom, or Saint Ronald of Reagan, or The Donald, can save us.

Nothing that feels so right and familiar has to make sense, and that must be a good thing, because none of this does. Start with the fact that the $600 billion elephant (that’s what America spends on “defense” every year) is pretending to be terrified of a $50 billion mouse. That’s right — The Donald’s proposed increase in military spending for the next budget equals the entire annual Russian defense budget.

The Russians have one — count it, one — aircraft carrier, so old and decrepit that when they “deployed”it to Syria last year they sent a tugboat along in case the carrier crapped out before it got home. We, on the other hand, have 19 carriers and just launched the world’s most expensive and most technologically advanced warship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt. Which crapped out in the Panama Canal on its maiden voyage and had to be towed to a nearby naval base for extensive repairs.  Um, where were we? Oh, yeah.

Listen,  granted the Russians have a formidable air force, nuclear weapons, a ton of tanks, and about half the people under arms that we do. But that does not explain why the mouse is suddenly terrorizing the elephant. Most likely, something is going on in the elephant’s mind. So let’s review how we got here:

  • During the election campaign, The Donald expressed a mystifying and definitely non-Republican admiration for Vladimir Putin. But most of what Trump said was mystifying, and he never pretended to be a Republican.
  • In the final stretch of the campaign, some emails came to light that were somewhat embarrassing for the Clinton campaign, and some fake news stories were circulated that were even more so, and these were alleged to have come from Russian sources.
  • When, to everyone’s astonishment, Trump actually won the election, the only explanation that made sense to HIllary’s people was that the Russians did it. To say that Trump was smart enough to have done it, or that Hillary was dumb enough to have blown it, made no sense to them. So for them and their friends in and out of government, “the Russians hacked the election.”
  • Now, it is being revealed that the Trump Campaign had an amazing number of meetings, before and after the election, with Russian officials. The Trumpits are first denying, then failing to remeember, then reluctantly admitting to these contacts, which colors them all nefarious whether they were or not.

What does all this amount to? Probably much less than meets the eye, although it compares favorably with the new season of Homeland for entertainment and diversion (if not yet for firefights).

But one thing is sure — the Cold War is on again. The armed men and tanks that we shipped home from Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union are going back. The defense budget that withered after our detentes in Iraq and Afghanistan is headed back up. Pretty soon we’ll be having “duck-and-cover” civil defense exercises in elementary schools again.

Why? Forget Trump’s election. Whatever the Russians tried to do on his behalf had roughly the effect of trying to turn a hurricane with a snowplow. Forget Putin. He is, as Obama correctly labelled him, the leader of a regional power who loves to pretend the Soviet Union is back. It’s not. If we did with Russia what we finally learned to do with Sarah Palin, and just ignored it, we could soon forget it altogether.

The old Cold War was about empire, about world domination. The Soviets lost because they could not afford to continue, let alone win. Now we are intent on world domination, and we are going to lose this quest, regardless of what Russia does, for the same reason. We can’t afford it.

If you want to understand why we have gone so far back to the future, why our world is focussed once again on the Cold War, you must ask qui bono? Who benefits?

The arms dealers, the builders of aircraft carriers, warships, airplanes, tanks and guns, the makers of ammunition and caskets, the provisioners and suppliers of war and war preparations. They are having their way with us again, and we’re letting them do it.

And this time, in this Cold War, there is and will be no moral high ground. It will not be the side that invades sovereign countries, and executes regime change when it feels like it, and kills civilians and women and children, and ignores the rules of civilized warfare, torturing people and putting them in concentration camps and assassinating people who end up on its lists; while the other side preaches democracy and treats everyone well and strives for peace, good will on earth.

No, this is not your father’s Cold War.

New Cold War

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11 Responses to This is Not Your Father’s Cold War

  1. Tom says:

    Eisenhower’s warning was too late to avert the Miltary/Industrialists’ capture of the government in order to keep their “market share” of the forced taxation on the citizenry. It’s so corrupt now, it’s a wonder we even have elections. The “deep state” is in deep shit, whether they realize it or not, but I think they “know” things are not going well, despite all their propaganda and 24/7 weaponized advertising to dull us into a collective coma, because REALITY is impinging on their fantasy world, involving everything from the most vile and depraved human behavior coming to light (and all that implies about the control structure to ensure this status quo nightmare continues) to financial make-believe like printing money out of thin air and pretending things are just ducky while day after day their are lists published of animals, fish, wildlife, even coral dying off at an astounding rate (and it’s increasing)!.

    This is without even broaching the subject of climate change, sea level rise, earthquakes, volcanic activity – hell, now there are MULTIPLE cases of earthquakes AT active volcanoes (wtf!?) –
    and all the rest of the on-going environmental degradation and pollution.

    The myth is thinking that someone or some small cabal “controls” anything beyond the immediate acts they do. All the reverberations, reactions and the dissipation of their initial actions (like fomenting a war, say, or financial manipulation) on the overall global web of interaction we live in can’t be foreseen, and compounding this by the innumerable things that are being acted on by similar players all over the world couldn’t possibly be contained in an easy to grasp “formula.” Besides all that, “natural disasters” continue to surprise and ‘throw a spanner into the works’ – even when we know what’s coming!

    In any case it’s becoming painfully obvious that the direction we’re going, as a species, won’t last long – ie. “we’re gonna run outta road” and the bridge is out up ahead.

    Thank you Mr. Lewis. Well said, and I appreciate your perspective.

    • Rob Rhodes says:

      Eisenhower’s warning came eight years to late; he had given Allen Dulles a free hand with the CIA for eight years while his brother John Foster Dulles was Sec. of State. They were a pair of Wall St. lawyers turned spy/diplomat who never quit serving their clients. In this context his warning can best be understood as a mea culpa.

    • Thank You Tom for sayieng just what I was about to say. I`m almost 80 and going to take my last trip to Europe just to see how things are , I´ll spend my last crop in it , and when back I`ll seclude in the ranch where I hope not to see the mushroom cloud til my time comes

  2. Melissa says:

    It seems to me that Russia suddenly became the “Evil Empire” again after Ukraine/Crimea, as well as, their role in Syria against ISIS. The Obama administration began vilifying Russia and Putin then and intensified the vilification during the presidential campaign and after. Now the Russians are going to be used to topple this presidency if at all possible.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      But wait: regime change in Ukraine,instigated by the United States, deposed a Putin surrogate; Crimea’s reunification with Russia was supported overwhelmingly by referendum; not sure how this makes them evil again. And their role in Syria was not to attack ISIS but to support Assad. Putin has chastised the West for replacing dictators with utter chaos, and does he not have a point?

      • Melissa says:

        Sorry not being a writer I didn’t express myself clearly. I do not believe that Russia is the evil empire, but I do believe that was the message that the state department put forth after the Crimean referendum and after Russia was invited by Syria to assist in the war there.

      • JungleJim says:

        And then there’s Turkey.

  3. Rob Rhodes says:

    I certainly think you are correct that Russia -whose economy is the same size as Spain’s- is no threat to the US, except to the absolute hegemony that has been the neo-conservative aim.

  4. JungleJim says:

    Russia is surrounded on all sides by NATO and Nuclear tipped spears pointed straight at its heart. Economic sanctions are an act of War. Imagine Russia with bases in Canada and Mexico. Russian Naval task forces plying N Americas East and West coast. Do they have the capability create “mischief”? Yes. The only reason to make Russia a “monster” is to distract.

  5. Surly 1 says:

    Rob Rhodes has it right, IMO. And this: “Now we are intent on world domination, and we are going to lose this quest, regardless of what Russia does, for the same reason. We can’t afford it.” How the world endds is we go broke, after impoverishing ourselves on behalf of military Keynesianism.