Cold War part deux

From Heather Cox Richardson today:

President Joe Biden addressed the nation to update us on the threat of Russia’s launching another invasion of Ukraine. He emphasized that we and our allies stand behind Ukraine and pledge to continue diplomatic efforts to prevent a war, and yet will deliver “massive costs on Russia should it choose further conflict.” He urged Russia “to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”

Political scientist and journalist David Rothkopf tweeted that Biden is speaking as the leader of the free world. “It has been a long time since a U.S. president filled that role. His remarks were concise and pointed…and underscored Western resolve. But the headline: He is convinced [that] Putin has decided… to invade.”

I really don’t want us to go to war with Russia. I grew up during the Cold War, where nuclear destruction if/when the US and Russia started lobbing bombs at each other was the existential threat every child learned about. People built bomb shelters and stockpiled iodine (for radiation exposure). I remember being taught to get under my desk in the case of an attack (it was called “duck and cover” – yeah, that sounds effective). For years I had nightmares about nuclear attacks, and in college I took four semesters of Russian language because I thought I might work for the CIA. Then Russia failed/fractured economically, the Berlin Wall came down and Communism was no longer a threat. Until Putin.

Russia under an autocrat/oligarch like Putin isn’t quite the threat that Russia under the Communist Party was. Putin has a a self-interest that Party leaders didn’t have, and that self-interest can be used as leverage in negotiations. I hope that Putin’s self-interest and business sense outweighs his ego and need for a warm water port.

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