If there ever was a time to long for, the days of the “Red Phone” and Reagan squaring off against Gorbachev, to borrow a slogan from the first Reagan campaign, “the time is now.”
The world has certainly become a more dangerous place since the Soviet walls “came crumbling down” and the Cold War has been replaced by “hot zones.”
While the Soviet Union’s crimes against its own people deserve to be in the past, the Soviet Union offered some glue to the collective of anti-democratic and anti-American sentiment out there. It was a glue that kept some of the Soviet allies in check. As that glue dissolved, it seems that so did the check over countries like Iraq, Korea, and Iran.
There was a macabre but considerable comfort in the guaranteed mutual destruction of the globe that would have come if the EU or US were too aggressive against one of the Soviet allies or vise versa.
The time when our nation could defend its boarders by targeting missiles at command and control centers thousands of miles away in Moscow is a thing of the past. Now terrorist cells have brought destruction to our soil and those missiles and their plans are twirling aimlessly like an unanchored road sign spinning in a wild wind.
We only have to look at the unfolding of the fight against insurgents in Iraq to know that there were no effective plans to defend ourselves or fight an unconventional war. Perhaps there will never be an effective war plan against the resentment we face in Iraq—certainly not one that we can all agree on.
Thus, as we face nations that pose “threats” similar to those posed by Iraq, like Iran, we have to have the courage to admit that we are in uncharted waters in fighting such opposition.
What options do we have? We could sacrifice more lives while we experiment with tactics against these unconventional opponents, we must consider other options. Or, we could reach out with true global peace initiatives that seek to ensure the sovereignty of each nation. This might mean that a new bloc emerges in the Middle East and we enter a new Cold War. But, there would be new parameters, and while the bloc sorts its internal politics, we would strengthen our defenses at home. Can we cool off the current wave of escalating violence? If we don’t try we won’t know.