Cold War With Russia — Again?

Since moving to the D.C. area, I’ve become a wonk — yes that is an official term. While it can mean a studious or hardworking person — things I certainly hope I am, it mostly means a person who takes an excessive interest in minor details of political policy. It unofficially means the kind of person — often a female — who likes and remembers all the sticky details of a subject. Said female is often considered boring, overly studious, and generally not sexy in the least little bit.

In other words, a female wonk is the 21st century version of a bluestocking.

So when I was invited last week to Georgetown University to hear Ambassador Linton Brooks talk about the U.S. relationship with Russia, I immediately jumped at the chance.

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Being on the Georgetown campus is amazing. I love surrounding myself with all these intent young people who are firmly lodged in the realm of ideas. They are students who want to make a difference. To be in that world makes me feel young and optimistic and as if the world is a  more hopeful place.

Imagine my dismay to hear that our relations with Russia are getting worse daily. I might have my head in the clouds, but when the Wall came down, and the U.S. and Russia decided to decrease nuclear arms, I thought we were once again friends. I thought the biggest fracas before Ukraine was the style war between Raisa Gorbachev and Nancy Reagan.

Ambassador Brooks worked on both the START and START 2 treaties. He made it clear that all opinions were his own and not of any official U.S. agency.  As he went over the current situation, chills ran down my back.

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“Ten years ago no one cared about Russia as a threat. Even John McCain said, ‘Russia is a gas station’ … with atom bombs.”  But we are belatedly coming to realize Russia does matter. “Their interest is the same as ours in dealing with the issues of the Middle East. They are an important vote on the UN Security Council,” and they’re the only country that “could destroy Washington before the hour was up.”

Brooks then went on to say, “The Bush Administration said Russia is no longer a threat. Obama has tried to strengthen our relationship. But Clinton, Bush and Obama have all failed.”

Here are some of Brooks’ points in his words:

  • “The Ukraine annexation is the most important event in Russo-U.S. relations since the cold war.”
  • “It’s the first time since WWII that a country has been annexed.”
  • “It’s a violation of the Helsinki Act”
  • “But Ukraine is a symptom — the disease is much deeper.”
  • “Russians do not trust us.”
  • “Russians are misreading American character.”
  • Brooks does not believe that Putin is trying to recreate the Soviet Union.
  • “They believe we’re trying to destabilize them.”
  • “They believe we’re looking for first strike capability.” He goes on to say Putin especially believes this.

I don’t know about all of you, but this has me worried. I grew up in a world where the Cold War was real. It was the basis of a lot of great spy novels with thrilling plots and twists and turns. However, I’d give up every bit of the pleasure of reading those adventures for this not to be a repeated reality.

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While I don’t have answers, and neither for that matter does Brooks, it’s important we understand the issues, that we know what is going on beyond our boarders, and that our new President, whomever that might be, will be knowledgeable and able to make inroads toward peace.

Despite his major faults, Nixon, a man not known for his social skills, single-handedly was able to convey the spirit of friendship to Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese people who, to this day, revere him and remember him with incredible respect. Even in the Beijing Dirty Market (now known as the Antiquities Market since the Beijing Olympics) I have often seen statues, pictures and even watches with Nixon’s face on them right next to identical souvenirs featuring Mao, who until this day is greatly loved.

Hopefully one day there will be similar things in the Russian stalls honoring the U.S. President who understood peace can only begin with trust.

About Diana Belchase

I am an author, who won the Golden Heart for my suspense novel Spy in the Mirror and was a Golden Heart finalist, once again, for my second novel, Spy in the Harem. I am also a triple Daphne Du Maurier Award for Mystery and Suspense Finalist for three other books. Please follow me at my website: DianaBelchase.com, or friend/follow me on facebook and twitter. I blog on KissandThrill.com. See you there!

Posted on September 8, 2015, in Diana Belchase and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. What a wonderful and interesting life you lead, Diana. It sounds like an amazing day although I dread the thought of living through the Cold War again. Although I was in preschool, I still remember the air raid drills, fallout shelters, and scary images on TV. I just pray we don’t have to do this again.

    Great recap! 🙂

  2. Thank goodness I didn’t have to go through air raid drills. But I remember so many people suffering — the total shut down of ideas and suspicion. I thought those days were past. And with nuclear technology as advanced as it is, I worry about how easy it is to wipe another country off the face of the map.

  3. I lived and worked in DC in the 80s and then in Russia in the early 90s, so I can appreciate your identity as a “wonk” as well as your interest in Ambassador Brooks’ analysis. These are interesting times we live in and one would hate to see us repeat history. Thanks for sharing and best of luck with the new book!

  4. You know this is timely for me, Diana. I am NOT thrilled with any increase in tensions and a reemergence of the Cold War, but my next Evidence book has a Cold War-era US submarine as a submerged archaeological site and I’ve been researching both the history of the Soviet Union and current events in Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula, and Russia, as all play important roles in the story.

  5. Excellent article. A return to the days of hiding under a desk with your arms over your head scares me, too. From what Ambassador Brooks says, it sounds like more of the same – without the desk drills. (I always used to wonder how hiding under a desk would protect me from an atom bomb. Besides, the boys would peek under our skirts.)

  6. Compelling post, Diana. And I personally love that you are a bluestocking! As for Russian relations being tense, that is certainly scary. I’ve always wondered what happened to all of the Soviet Union’s missiles after the Cold War supposedly ended. Sobering.

  7. So many of them are unaccounted for, or stored improperly and are leaking. It’s really a tragedy waiting to happen.

  8. Sorry to be late to the party, Diana! What a fabulous blog post ,although I’m the ostrich-in-the-sand cliche, and don’t want to know that reality is so bleak with our relations. It’s frankly quite sad that we moved past the Soviet Union and our paranoia era just to come right back around WITHIN a generation and have the same issues. Men! Play nicely! 😦

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful WONK day with us!

  9. Fascinating, Diana! Thanks so much for sharing bits of your interesting visits to DC’S most fascinating places. I’ve been following the developments in our ongoing frenemy relationship with Russia. I hope you’re wrong about a new cold war. But I fear you’re right. 😦

  10. Is the statement about a country being annexed, correct?. I thought only Crimea was annexed? Crimea is a part of the Ukraine.

  11. Fascinating, if worrisome, Diana. I definitely don’t want to return to the Cold War. It’s been disappointing to witness the Iron Curtain fall, only to see things slowly disintegrate over the last 25 years.

    Thanks for sharing what you learned!

  12. Reblogged this on Cecily Nabors and commented:
    Diana gives us some interesting insights into the direction the world might be going and a tip about what might be very important part of our pending Presidential election.

  13. Thanks for reblogging, Cecily!

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