Sunday, August 24, 2008

No New Cold War on its Way

With Russian army’s invasion of Georgia, has the post-Cold War period ended: has a ‎new Cold War begun? This is the question that was repeated asked in the international ‎media and state officials were subjected to responding to it. The specter of a new Cold ‎War and the possibility of returning to a period that had apparently ended about 20 years ‎ago is opening a new chapter in the minds of the generation that witnessed the Cold War.‎

The key issue of articles published in prominent media on this subject is a warning to the ‎West that in a uni-polar world it may again look for another rival and create another ‎period of anxiety over a possible nuclear war. This is the West’s horror. But the Cold ‎War is not just a political and historical concept. For my generation – that came after ‎World War II and during the Cold war – the reference to another Cold War invokes a ‎different set of memories. It speaks of a world which like the original black and white ‎films, every person belonged to one of the camps of good or evil. It was as if life had not ‎yet become multi-colored, and it was not full of shades like it is today. At least this is ‎how it is viewed in the Third World.‎

It was the end of the Cold War that catapulted dissidents ranging from Lech Walesa to ‎Nelson Mandela to the presidential palace. During the Cold war this could have only ‎been accomplished through a coup d’etat or the rolling of the tanks. It was this new ‎atmosphere that enabled Giddens, the most prominent sociologist of this generation, to ‎shake the House of Lords, unlike philosopher Bertrand Russell, None of this could have ‎happened without the coloring of the world after the Cold War, the end of idealism and ‎the end of the war between the devil and the angel.‎

Thinker Arthur Koestler has an episode in his book Sleepwalkers which is quoted by ‎Andre Fontaine, a French writer and intellectual in a chapter of his book that deals with ‎nuclear games during the Cold War. In it he says, “No other period, no matter how ‎decaying and decadent, had as many tools to completely annihilate mankind or to ‎manipulate nature as we do today. The peculiarity of our period is that the rapid and ‎unprecedented growth of material power has joined hands with the unparalleled ‎intellectual revolution” [loose translation into English].‎

This unmatched intellectual revolution is the reason why the 60-years generation view the ‎world as empty and absurd, when compared to the beginnings of the 20th century. This is ‎why idealist long for the days of the Cold War. This is why with all its blood, drugs, ‎revolutions, coups that the Cold War (and its ideals of the sixties) still are the dreams of ‎the older generation. ‎

At no other time has man pursued peace, human rights, women’s rights, battled the ‎population explosion, and consumerism, nature and the fights against the environment, ‎the struggle against the proliferation of the atom, the struggle against poverty and hunger ‎more vigorously than during the sixties. These events existed during the Cold War years ‎along with the political struggle between the camps, and Iran too the joy of the Third ‎World over the possible return of the Cold war is perhaps because they have seen that the ‎constitution and rules of the savage world in which when the vultures, the bears and ‎crocodiles get into a fight, the deer get a chance to breathe a fresh air and experience ‎some peace.‎

But it is still too soon for idealists to be singing the song of victory and return for the ‎Cold War because, as Lenin once said, history does not repeat itself, and if it does then it ‎is merely a comedy. Because of today’s mass communication and telecommunication ‎means and the rapid exchange of information through means that are available to ‎everybody, events similar to those during the Cold War will not be similar in their ‎workings. As one can see, despite the images that Western caricatures draw of Putin and ‎present him as a demagogue and wicket, he is far from a Stalin or even a Brezhnev. ‎

Fidel Castro, one of the old guard from the days of the Cold War, knows this too well that ‎the old days are gone forever and will not return. In one of his letters to Khrushchev, ‎Castro wrote that he understood the period to be one in which the weak were fried so that ‎they could be easily swallowed.‎

One of the reasons why the Cold War days will not return is that when the famous in the ‎realm of politics rose to power, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, Mussolini, Adenauer, de ‎Gaulle, Marshal Petain, Chamberlain, Nehru, Nkrumah, Titov, Brant, Palme, etc, have ‎made or written remarks and observations that have become parts of the human ‎civilization today. Even if the midgets of the gray era bring back the ambiance of the ‎Cold War, things will still not be the same and they will have a different meaning and ‎interpretation.