MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

Is the Cold War really over?

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By Drew Smith-Denston, Contributor

To the average person who doesn’t watch the news or read a newspaper, the Crimean Crisis may seem like nothing. They learned that the Cold War is over and that America had won. The evil Soviets were driven into the shadows of history by ‘Murica and all its glory.

If you turn on the news today, though, you see a different story.

Today we see Russian troops in full combat regalia marching through the Ukrainian streets flanking massive tanks and armored troop carriers. Russian flags wave in the wind high above the streets of Sevastopol. Crimea is now a part of Russia. At least that’s what Vladimir Putin says.

Ukraine for the most part has been crying out to the US and NATO for help and the most we’ve been giving is telling them that a few Russian oil magnates won’t be gambling in Vegas this summer.

That must be really comforting to the thousands of people being forced out of their homes to escape the encroaching iron heels of the Russian Army.

In a way, I don’t think the Cold War is over. Rather, I think Russia and the US took a break from it all, went to our separate corners, and played with our blocks for a while. I think the Russians are back and they’re jumping in guns blazing.

Yesterday in the coffee shop I saw on CNN a reporter suggest “no, Russia lost the Cold War and they’re afraid of us.” I nearly spat my coffee all over the TV screen.

If the Russians lost the Cold War, and if they were afraid of us, why would they stare us in the eye and dare us to stop them when they entered Crimea? If they were afraid of us why would the Russian defense minister be tweeting about President Obama being all talk and no show?

This is a game to them, and they love every minute of it.

To Putin this is all fun. He could take most of Eastern Europe if he wanted to. But truth be told, America is still the only thing in Putin’s way.

The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. I believe in American exceptionalism and I’m not afraid to say it (I apologize to some of my more left-leaning friends). I believe we came out of the Cold War tired of it all and ready to say we’d won. But I think we may have jumped the gun when we did.

We thought Russia was down for the count and that’d they wouldn’t try world domination all over again. The Russians are coming back though.

And while the Russians are invading Crimea, making political pushes for annexations in Estonia and Belarus, and rekindling their relationships in the former Soviet republics, they have one of the fastest growing economies in the world. They’re energy resources are second only to ours and their military is growing while ours is shrinking and spread out fighting terrorism.

And what are we doing about it? A friend of mine said we should nuke the Russians, or invade them.

I Lol(ed).

Well we aren’t going to war with Russia. Neither of us want WWIII. If war really were on the rise the Ukrainian military would fall right to the feet of the Russian war machine and I don’t believe we’re ready for another ground war in Europe, or Asia, for that matter.

But war doesn’t have to be the answer, and neither the threat of it. We should look to our leaders to find a peaceful way to end the conflict. And what I find is Vladimir Putin riding on a horse shirtless and tranquilizing a tiger while our president points his thumb into the camera and talks about healthcare for “folks.” I really like our chances.

I doubt this crisis in Ukraine will escalate to such a conflict, but it looks like another cold war is on the rise. And right now the score is one to nothing and the Russians have the ball. And if history teaches us anything, it’s that history repeats itself…sometimes sooner than later.

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