The Cold War (1947-1991) ended more than two decades ago. But the big, unreported (by mainstream media) story of 2013 was the resurrection of Cold War-like tensions and the specter of global conflict.
From Syria to the South China Sea, from the mean streets of Kiev to the blood-soaked streets of Cairo, the United States seems locked in an escalating power struggle with post-Communist Russia and its ally, Communist-in-Name-Only China, the reasons for which elude almost all Americans, including, even, veteran observers of international affairs.
U.S.-Russia relations are especially bad--mysteriously so. Moscow's foreign policy clearly isn't imperialist (and arguably hasn't been since Stalin's death). In contrast with the dictator who was bent on increasing the power of the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin is committed to preserving his country's power. There is a huge difference between pushing back--in Syria, say, or in Ukraine-- and overturning the status quo.
But Washington inexplicably acts as if Putin is another Stalin (with whom the U.S. allied in World War II in order to defeat the common fascist foe) and countries like Ukraine are still in need of liberating from Communist rule.
That none of this--neither the steadily worsening relations with China nor the steadily worsening relations with Russia--is debated or seriously discussed in the U.S. boggles the mind. So-called liberal media outlets simply accept the dangerous downward slides as inevitable or unworthy of critical examination. Press release rewrites and talking points parroting pass for reporting.
In August, 2014, the world will mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, a horrific waste of human life that defies understanding to the present day. What caused the conflict? Was it imperialism? A system of alliances? None of the answers offered up by historians over the years makes much sense. What matters most is that great power relationships reached a boiling point, resulting in some 10 million deaths on the battlefield and the loss of 20 million people to hunger and disease caused by the war.
Must another boiling point be reached?
Time will tell.
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