Remember how dangerous, how destructive, how divisive and how wasteful the Cold War was? Probably not. I think most people are clueless. No doubt, some of you are aware, but that it clearly just a tiny minority. I would have been just as clueless if I hadn't written this fascinating book about the Cold War.

I know what you are thinking. Just another guy plugging another book -right? Wrong. You don't need my book to understand the Cold War. Find your own reading list. Do your own research. All I am trying to do is to make a point to an audience that is clueless. That is in fact the only reason I have "plugged" my book.

And what is the point I want my clueless audience to understand?

The point is, history is repeating.

I am talking about a time when the doomsday clock was not even as close to midnight as it is today. Do you remember that? I'm sure many do. But how many of you know that the clock is two and a half minutes to midnight today?

In the 1960's, when we were on the verge of nuclear destruction, we noticed. Today, our right-wingers are urging us to drive over the cliff. In the 1960's, our right-wingers opposed Castro to bring us to the verge of nuclear destruction. Today, they are opposing Asad and we are prepared to drive over the cliff on the pretense that we will obliterate ISIS. In the 1960's, John F. Kennedy contained the damage. Today, there is no such constraint in sight and nobody knows what is in fact happening -it's classified, isn't it?

In the above context, we should not be isolating -we should be talking to Putin.

This is why, on August 30, 1963, John F. Kennedy became the first president to have a direct phone line to the Kremlin in Moscow. The hotline was designed to facilitate communication between the president and Soviet premier.

The establishment of the hotline came in the wake of the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the U.S. and U.S.S.R had come dangerously close to all-out nuclear war. Kennedy's administration had discovered that the Soviets had planted missiles capable of launching nuclear warheads into the U.S. on the island of Cuba. Fear of future misunderstandings led to the installation of an improved communications system. Today, we are calling anybody who communicates with the Putin administration a traitor.

In particular, those who are deluded by the delusion that Russia has the capacity to alter an Americann election result need a rest. But we certainly do understand the motivation of John McCain and his cronies routinely spread propaganda in effort to win the Cold war -nothing has changed yet.

The point is, we are confusing the difference between patriots and traitors. Some people evidently have it backwards and in at least this narrow sense, Donald Trump has acted like a patriot while his his critics sound like traitors. The dangerous of course is that Donald Trump will also be blinded by right-wing fanatics/warmongers like Henry Kissinger's puppet, John McCain, and if they claim his ear, then nothing will change.

How can we all be so wrong? What is the source of this massive misunderstanding? Self-deception is evidently a far more serious problem than we have ever realized and that is the essential point of thie piece.

I am certainly not immune. As late as November 19, 2016, I wrote and spread the following nonsense: "Truth generally lies in the coordination of antagonistice opinions." How could I have possibly been that silly? Aren't we all that silly? Isn't that what we have all been taught to believe and why we in fact think the way we do? Isn't that why everything in the media is almost always about right versus left and we have come to believe if we give two lunatics the opportunity to air their bullshit we are being fair? Wow, talk about division and how we make it absolutely inevitable.

It has consequently become clear to me that what many of us currently believe unthinkingly is all wrong. Synthetic interpretations without perspective or evaluation are essentially a fraud. We crave and need authenticity, not the bias confirmation we get in the media.

Is it therefore any shock or surprise that our foreign policy is being driven by the very same warmongers who falsely presume to be the winners of the first Cold War simply because Gorbachev proved to be more compassionate than we are? Are these not the very same people who are feverishly trying to "win" the second Cold War? Isn't that their agenda and why the world is slowly moving towards a path of mutuall assured destruction?

If powerful adversaries do not cooperate it is only a matter of time before each pursues a divergent path from which it is impossible to deviate without dangerous confrontation -we managed to diffuse such a conflict over Cuba but we have thus far been unable to do the same over Syria and are currently surviving unacceptable risk.

What we need today, more than ever before is open "hotlines" with all our so-called enemies to avert the threat of nuclear war. What we do not need is the escalating, mutually threatening arms race that we have today.

What have we become as opposed to who we were in 1963? I quote liberally from this typical lament written by eighty year old, Victor Porlier, a Berkley graduate and member of the Kennedy administration:

I am struck by the level of neurotic sound and fury, vitriol, misinformation, general ignorance, and pontifical certainty that is prevalent today in much of our body politic. Especially so as I observe the ongoing debate about the nature and varieties of Islam and the related US refugee resettlement policies that is happening between, on the one hand, the many Islamophobiacs on the Right and, on the other hand, the many Islamophiliacs on the Left, as well as the muddled opinions of those in the middle of this spectrum of views.

This is true not only on these troubling questions, but for virtually every other public policy question, foreign and domestic, facing us today. Politically correct silencing, strident shouted chants, and death threats based on an underfed base of knowledge do not advance a civil dialogue, it only angers and then inflames opposing parts of the body politic.

A civil discussion about any public concern today is increasingly problematic given the rancor, snarky put-downs, cherry-picking of facts (even creating them), screaming ever coarser language, and even riotous property destruction and thuggish violence against persons on the streets of our radically fracturing and litigious country? When critical cognitive vigor is replaced by the intellectual feebleness of the Power of Positive Pigeonholing and community organized emotive agitprop tactics, the end will not be pleasant.

Now in my 80th year, I often wonder how America's public square for civil discussion got to this point. Clearly, the political, social, and moral world around us is profoundly different from what I remember from the first half of my life in growing up, going to college, working in JFK's and LBJ's State Department in DC and embassies in Turkey and India, traveling in other foreign countries, and teaching Middle East Politics and International Relations at Antioch University in Seattle. There has always been conflict to be sure (I was a young man in the 60s), but nothing like that of today.

Liberals blame the intolerable and deplorable bigots, racists, misogynists, gun nuts, white supremacists, Nazis, Bible clingers, patriarchs, Fox false newscasters, and moralistic puritans they find hiding behind every tree.

Conservatives and populists variously blame bureaucrats, an imperious judiciary, college professors, jihadophile snowflakes, the mass media, Hollywood's occultic sexual depravity and violent blood lust, partial birth abortuaries, Gaia worshippers, coastal elites, the UN, the Federal Reserve, and the Trilateral Commission.

But 'Our' value judgments, whatever they may be, should trump those of the 'Others', period! Is that not correct?"

Of course it is so, get off your exclusive bandwagon and fix yourself because you are probably a bigot -from the left or from the right -and you might not even be aware.

What saved the world in the 1980's? Ironically, the key to that question is probably found in USSR Minister of Foreign affairs, Andrei Gromyko's press conference in Moscow on April 2, 1983, when he said:

"The Soviet Union has unilateraly assumed an obligation not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. It did not wait for the consent of other powers to that. This was a resolute and bold step. I think everybody present here will probably agree with this."

The Cold War was not won or lost. The Cold War paused because it was allowed to pause. It is now time to end it because it cannot possibly be won. It can only lead to mutually assured destruction.


Next:Evil, inexcusable brutality.