Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

August 9, 2013

LEFFLER: Is President Obama reviving the Cold War?

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Like anyone over the age of 30, I grew up under an imminent threat of a nuclear holocaust brought upon by the big bad Russians.

I learned that the Russians hated us for our capitalism. And that their primary goal in life was to convert us all into communist socialist Bolshevik Leninst Marxists … or something. If they couldn’t do that, then they’d resort to the nuclear thing. I learned that if hid under my desk with my head between my knees, I could survive the bombs that were undoubtedly about to be dropped on my elementary school without warning.

Fast forward about 30 years and the Cold War has been replaced by the War on Terrorism. Russians have been replaced by religious extremists. They still hate us for our capitalism — or freedom, depending on who you ask. And duck and cover has been replaced by duct tape and plastic sheeting … in case of a Sarin gas attack.

So maybe it’s no wonder President Barack Obama seems hellbent on restarting the Cold War. It was much less stressful than the War on Terror.

I’m being somewhat facetious about the president bringing back the old Red Scare … but I have been shaking my head at some of his sabre rattling and posturing in his dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Just Wednesday, the White House announced that the president has canceled his Moscow visit with Putin next month. This is in response to a litany of issues the U.S. has had with Russia over the past few months, culminating in Russia offering asylum to Eric Snowden, who has become Public Enemy No. 1.

Obviously the most logical thing to do when you’re upset with someone is to refuse to discuss the things you’re upset about. Ask anyone who’s ever gotten divorced.

The president said earlier this week that the Putin administration occasionally slips into a “Cold War mentality.”

I think canceling scheduled meetings in order to emasculate the other party — which many political strategists have said is Obama’s strategy — is a return to a Cold War style of thinking.

What’s worse is that the political strategists I’ve read have been in lock-step agreement that Obama’s strategy is a good one. Apparently they miss the Cold War.

I, for one, would prefer that we show some leadership and learn to deal with people we disagree with instead of taking our ball and going home, which is pretty much the equivalent of what we’re doing here.

Scott Leffler is a Cold War kid with fond recollections of duck and cover drills. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.

Scott Leffler is a Cold War kid with fond recollections of duck and cover drills. Follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.