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Monday, March 25, 2013
The Cold War is dead. The Soviet Union dissolved more than 20 years ago. The Cold War mentality, however, is very much alive.
To explain this, one must update some Cold War terminology and place it in today’s context.
The Cold War, a contest for world dominance between the communist East and democratic West, was divided by a boundary called the iron curtain. American foreign policy was based on several assumptions.
Since Communism is evil, it must be contained. Such containment will be maintained by a massive stockpile of weapons, which created the arms race. This was paired with the domino theory, which stated that the fall of any nation to communism would, inevitably, lead to the fall of all its neighbors.
Hence, our wars in Korea and Vietnam.
Today’s domino theory involves guns. The National Rifle Association would lead us to believe that the ban of any gun would lead to the eventual ban of all guns. In this scenario, the government is evil and its power must be contained. It is us versus them — a race to stockpile weapons for the coming Armageddon.
The final Cold War term is “brinksmanship,” and it has the largest implication for our times. It states that one cannot reason with evil and must, therefore, stand eyeball to eyeball against all enemies. No compromise is permitted, no quarter is given.
This belief goes way beyond the NRA, reaching the highest levels of our government. There must be no compromise between the Republicans and Democrats. Compromise shows weakness. The other side must give in.
The problem with all this gamesmanship by the powerful is that innocent people are being hurt. But dogma is dogma, and driving over a fiscal cliff just causes unfortunate collateral damage.
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