If you’re old enough, you might have taken part in the mandatory exercise in grade school of ducking under your desk when the “practice” alarm bell sounded.
The fear of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union hung in the air for decades, until the dissolution of the communist empire in 1989. Americans, and presumably Russians, were afraid that incidents such as the Cuban Missile Crisis would spiral out of control and lead to the launching of nuclear missiles.
There was, to be sure, a short-lived “honeymoon” between America and Russia, in part because of our alliance during World War II. But when it became apparent that Uncle Joe Stalin had no intention of letting the overrun countries of Eastern and Central Europe regain their pre-war freedom, Washington realized that we were in for a long struggle.
We didn’t repeat the strategic mistake of voluntarily disarming that followed World War I. If we had, we might not have kept Travis Air Force Base open. But, as we all know, the “end of history,” as Professor Francis Fukuyama predicted, did not occur.
Starting with the hijacking of commercial airliners as a “strategy” of intimidation by the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1970s, we shifted our defensive focus from a war with the Soviet Union to a futile attempt to combat terrorism.
The wake-up call, as if we needed one, was, of course, the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Future generations will remember that date, along with Dec. 7, 1941, as another day that shall live in infamy. The atmosphere changed from a focus on Russia to the much more complicated world of suicide bombers and new nuclear powers.
There are probably very few Americans who are not aware that we live in a dangerous world in which we cannot be sure which enemy will try to strike. It could be North Korea, Iran, Pakistan or any other hostile country that has, or will have, nuclear weapons.
Unfortunately, our secretary of state, former Sen. John Kerry, sees the world differently. Just a few days ago, in a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, the boy wonder said that “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction” was – what would you guess?
Disease, floods, drought or maybe all those things caused by – tah dah – global warming! Oh, wait, I almost forgot; the ecofreaks don’t use the phrase “global warming” as a headline anymore; they now talk about “climate change.” That means that any unusual weather event, such as the record freezing temperatures that blanketed more than half the continental United States, can be attributed to climate change.
Climate change – no surprise – is caused by selfish corporations spewing massive amounts of pollution into the atmosphere. And John Kerry believes in all this.
Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected]