Inside the Beltway: Hot Air over a Cold War

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 28, 2014 | Go to article overview

Inside the Beltway: Hot Air over a Cold War


Byline: Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

There has been much clever talk among journalists about President Obama and his no-drama "Cool War" with Russia. Mr. Obama himself, meanwhile, insists there is no "Cold War" in the making, reasoning that contemporary Russia is no Soviet Union with hulking and aggressive ideology. But wait. The citizenry think otherwise. Half of Americans now say the U.S. is headed back to a genuine Cold War, this according to Gallup. And those who "lived through" the original Cold War are more likely to say it is returning. And of course there is a partisan divide. Gallup found that 67 percent of Republicans say the Cold War is on a comeback, compared to 44 percent of Democrats.

Among those folks of a certain age -- 50 and up -- who may recall the old "duck and cover" exercises, baleful air raid sirens, dank fallout shelters and B-52s on high alert, the numbers range from 54 percent to 64 percent.

"The Cold War, from roughly 1945 to 1991, was a watershed moment in American history. This period redefined America's defense system and led to decisions to enter into military conflicts in Korea and Vietnam," explains Gallup analyst Rebecca Rifkin. "While the U.S. and the Soviet Union never directly engaged in battle, this competition led to an unprecedented arms race between the two nations. The icy tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union affected countries worldwide for decades."

Everyone, it seems, has something to say about icy tensions. Some foreign policy analysts stress the fact that China will keep Russia in order, thank you very much. Others warn against the influence of "Cold War dinosaurs" who relish the idea of its return. Their institutional knowledge intact, those very same dinosaurs gaze back steadily and whisper "peace through strength."

But Cold War fixation is a phenomenon, and here is its chilly press narrative for now: "This isn't the return of the Cold War, it's worse" (National Review), "Dusting off the language of the Cold War" (New York Times), "Old Cold War blocs won't work (The Daily Beast), "How to win Cold War 2.0" (Politico), "All this virile Cold War talk won't force Putin to slink back " (The Guardian), "The big chill" (Foreign Policy), "The Cold War is NOT back" (Huffington Post), "Tell me comrade, when did Russia go bad?" (Reason).

BLOCKING THE SPORTS MERCENARIES

"Well, it has happened. Liberal progressive socialists have struck at my favorite sport: college football. The decision has just been made by a regional labor relations panel to approve the suit filed by Northwestern University football players to unionize. Northwestern is in the Chicago area, any surprise? I do believe schools should provide a small stipend to athletes during their season. However, 'unionized', no, they are there for an education, not employees of the university, or 'sports mercenaries'. This may fly at Northwestern but not in the Southeastern Conference."

-- Allen West, in a personal Facebook post.

ANOTHER SUNDAY MUST-SEE

On the radar: Fox News debuts "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo" on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET, showcasing the svelte and very smart business journalist herself, plus industry leaders and newsmakers intent on connecting the dots between commerce, news and politics. Of interest: Ms. Bartiromo intends to provide viewers with an inside look at how to prepare financially for the future. Hurray. And thanks. The network, meanwhile, has confidence in her prowess.

"Maria's renowned expertise covering financial markets, job forecasts and the economy has helped define her as one of the finest business journalists in the industry," says executive vice president of news Michael Clemente.

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC

Go ahead. Turn on the lights, throw a margarita in the blender or dance around while an industrial-sized sound system plays '80s music. …

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