Once we used an atomic bomb for the first time, the US, perhaps on an epic guilt trip, became hyper-vigilant because we knew that “nukes” would be a new target of every nation.
As children left their classrooms to line the hallways and lean on the back of another child they had never met with an arm over their eyes, or to do the “duck and cover”, our fear of nukes was born. We weren’t worried about a bomb from Germany. Germany was defeated. We weren’t worried about a bomb from Japan. Japan was defeated
Our parents were feeling quite ebullient with our soldiers home and the economy booming. Who was the enemy now? Why were kids doing bomb drills if the US was the only nation with an atomic bomb?
That ended up only being the case for about five minutes (at least it seemed to happen very fast) and then the USSR had figured out how to make nukes. They had very good spies. From being a rather reluctant ally in WWII, because everyone who saw the threat of Hitler had to be on the other side, the USSR became our national nightmare, our “fear factor”. They were Communists; we were Capitalists. Antagonism between our two nations escalated as the nuclear stockpiles grew. Communism and Democracy fought to divide up the world the way the English and Spanish once vied for gold with such imperialistic fervor.
When the USSR “won” in Cuba and established a Communist country right on our doorstep America was in shock. The Bay of Pigs crisis is described in great detail by historians and was covered at the time by the media, although much was secret. JFK had a lot of plans that seemed ridiculous and laughable when they were revealed. But when, without any actual fighting, it was all over, the two countries sort of stood down from the worst of the hostilities and agreed to lead separate lives. It was still the Cold War, but it did not get colder, and the dreaded “nuclear winter” seemed less imminent once again
Then the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain parted to reveal a USSR in need of economic assistance. It seemed as if we might get to a peaceful coexistence but under Vladimir Putin that was not to be. That old Cold War feeling is back and seems unaffected by whatever global warming is going on. Nukes are in the news again with even smaller, saber-rattling nations getting involved (Iran, North Korea).
Just as we begin to wonder if the world will dissolve into chaos unless we pitch in to deal with climate change, or if it will be turned into a radioactive wasteland by madmen with power, the President of America turns out to be a guy who seems to love Russia and wants to use our nukes in a possible first strike against North Korea. In addition, this guy in our White House does not believe in climate change and wants to use up every fossil fuel resource everywhere on the planet to bring back the Industrial Age and those dramatic old polluted sunsets.
Just at this moment, and in spite of the decades of antagonism and fear the American people have learned to feel about Russia and about nukes, we get a President who spends almost two hours meeting with Vladimir Putin at a G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany without any American media present because he doesn’t trust the American press and he doesn’t really realize that he is not America; he only represents America. This meeting was an outrage and also exactly what we expected to happen. There is no outlet for our anxieties except to use our words..
As to the media, I wonder how many years it will take to make us distrustful of all of our news sources. Some of us like to think that this cannot happen to us but there are no guarantees. Given enough reasons to question the veracity of every possible source of information, given a really intensive campaign against the media, we may all knuckle under and lose our ability to trust our own senses.
So are we really expected to do a 180 degree turn on Putin because 45 likes him and thinks we should be friends? Should we prosecute his team for conspiring with a foreign nation which has been our sworn enemy since almost immediately after WWII and for getting the Russians involved in messing with an American election? Or should we form a cyber security coalition with a nation who has built an entire apparatus to hack into America’s computers and is so good at it that we are beginning to think we should go back to the old days of paper records? Will the Russians kill the internet? What does Putin have to offer us? We don’t need oil but Donald might need more money. Although freedom does not always make life easy (and is never absolute), I cannot come to love a country that uses fear to control its citizens, although that may be where America is headed.
DT is the President of America and now he is trying to make us love a nation that we were taught to be wary of for our entire lives. Let’s get on with these investigations into Russia and America and the Trumps and the 2016 election. Even talking about this for too long is toxic and puts Putin too squarely in the limelight on the world stage. Those children in those bomb drills are still inside of us and they are not at all happy about this strange turn of events in America
This is a view from the cheap seats.