By Joe Lane
According to the history books, the Cold War ended in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. Despite the implementation of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and President Richard Nixon’s attempts to approach global communism with a relaxed attitude, the thawing of the war during his administration was halted when Ronald Reagan took office. Under Reagan’s philosophy that the spread of communism was a threat to freedom everywhere, the Cold War reignited and lasted through the early ’90s.
I believe, however, that the history books are wrong.
At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist ready to close myself off in a bomb shelter, I believe that — as long as the U.S. and our enemies have sizable nuclear arsenals — the Cold War will never be over.
Last week, high-ranking members of the Trump administration — though, according to an interview recorded by a number of networks, probably not Trump himself — authorized the dropping of a MOAB, which, in truth, is an acronym for Massive Ordinance Air Blast but has been colloquially referred to as the “Mother of All Bombs.” At 21,600 pounds, the MOAB is the United States’ most powerful non-nuclear bomb, according to CNN, and has never before been dropped. This bombing of ISIS follows another bombing in Syria conducted by the Trump administration just the week before last. There are no bombs left, in terms of strength, between the MOAB and nuclear weapons. Let that sink in for a moment.
Meanwhile, as the Trump administration continued to seemingly blindly attempt to blow the Middle East to smithereens, North Korea attempted — but failed — to launch a test missile last week. Moreover, just this week, Vice President Mike Pence told North Korea to not test the United States or President Trump.
I always have a sense of jingoism when officials make these sorts of statements. But as much as I love pounding my chest and waving the flag, there needs to be more strategy to the actions of the Trump administration. Trump may continue to occupy himself with cakes at Mar-a-Lago as the world plummets into war if he so pleases, but top security officials should present to the American public a plan behind their actions lest we continue a Cold War that never truly ended.
It is now common knowledge that North Korea’s (unstable and egocentric) dictator Kim Jong-un has brought the country to nuclear prominence. While I would never argue the United States government should cower in fear from Kim, or any other dictator for that matter, it is worth noting if North Korea is capable of producing nuclear ICBMs — which it soon may be — then Kim’s threats cannot be solved with a statement from the vice president.
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of a cold war is an “intense economic, political, military, and ideological rivalry between nations, short of military conflict; sustained hostile political policies and an atmosphere of strain between opposed countries.”
The term Cold War may have come of age in the ’70s and ’80s (and ’50s and ’60s), but the reality is that while the United States and its enemies continue to have nuclear weapons at their disposal, the Cold War always has potential to rear its ugly head, and it may be doing just that right now.
It would be impossible to eliminate nuclear weaponry from the world. However, to address these issues, we must be willing to own up to the instability of the world today.