Will the American Victory in the Cold War Be Reversed?

This piece appeared in newspapers in early February, 2024.


At its heart, the Cold War was a battle between Tyranny and the Free Society.

(Capitalism vs. Communism was not the heart of the issue. The state-run economy was but one part of the way the Soviet tyrants insisted on dominating the society.)

Happily, it was the Free Societies that won. America’s greater economic might enabled it to outspend the more sluggish and stagnant Soviet Union, with its single Party telling everyone what to do. And American dynamism gave the United States continual technological advantages.

The West celebrated that it was free societies that had what it took to win that “long twilight struggle.”
But apparently it was premature to declare the issue between Freedom and Tyranny decided. Tyranny did not disappear from the world. Russian tyranny in particular would soon return.

The present Russian tyrant — Vladimir Putin – has again raised the old Cold War question: How much of the world will be governed according to ideas of human rights and the sovereign power of “the will of the people,” and how much of it by tyrannies in which unchecked rulers can jail or assassinate those who oppose them?

In 2016, this this Russian tyrant hit the jackpot in his effort to reverse Tyranny’s defeat in the Cold War when he back an American presidential candidate who turned out, as President, to act as if working off a Putin wish-list. (Like undermining NATO and weakening Ukraine.)

Where the Soviets challenged the U.S. in head-to-head arms race, Putin has worked to overcome Democracy within the American power structure.

An American political force has been partially taken over by forces allied with Putin and tyranny. The political force that celebrates the fascistic dictator of Hungary (Orban) has also — as what Liz Cheney has called “the Putin wing of the Republican Party” – lately blocked crucial aid to Ukraine, on the frontline in defending Democracy against Tyranny, to protect Putin from being further humiliated by his profound blunder.

But the biggest attack on Democracy is how the Russian tyrant is again working (as in 2016) to help elect a President who has become increasingly explicit about his intentions to move America toward lawless dictatorship.
America won the Cold War – on behalf of free societies everywhere, one might say. But it turns out that free societies have vulnerability our Soviet rivals never exploited. Putin has worked for a generation to poison minds in various Western democracies. His efforts have fortified political parties more aligned with Putin’s fascistic, tyrannical ways.

In alliance with certain American political groupings, Putin clearly has hopes of toppling democracy in the mighty, victorious “leader of the free world,” to be replaced by a more Putin-like regime that’s above the law, and governed by the most noxious of human impulses.

Putin’s apparent allies in Congress — what Liz Cheney called “the Putin wing of the Republican Party” – have blocked vital military from reaching Ukraine, which has been dealing the Russian tyrant an embarrassing and potentially fatal failure. Ukraine—the frontline in the battle against the aggression from Russian tyranny.

The greatest potential victory for Tyranny, however, lies not in these American powers helping the Russian tyrant in his fascist aggression against democratic Ukraine, but Tyranny itself coming to power in America.

That’s what it would mean if, in the election in 2024, Americans were to put the power into the hands of a man who is being quite out-front about the fascistic and tyrannical way he intends to use the Presidency. E.g. using “Law Enforcement” to go after those who oppose him (just as Putin does), and staffing the government with people who will be loyal to him rather than to the Constitution they’d have taken an oath to defend.

Somehow, enough Americans have been enlisted in support of Tyranny that the nation may be taken over by the ethos of tyranny (top-down coercion) over that of democracy (cooperation and majority rule).

In the present re- running of battle at the heart of the Cold War, Putin has been helped by an American vulnerability that the Soviets never exploited – though likely that vulnerability did not exist back then.

Over the past generation, a force has taken over the Republican Party, and led it to take dozens of actions unprecedented in our history – each of which worked to discredit and undermine democracy. (Like rejecting the goal of cooperating to get good things accomplished, and like refusing to consider anyone the President from the other party nominated for the Supreme Court.)

All supported by a major segment of the American people.

Where the Soviets sought to beat the United States in an arms race, Putin has made his attack through some vulnerability in the American people. The arms race favored the technologically superior United States. But this Cold War Replay has been directed at the political consciousness of the American people.

If Tyranny – growing out of the American power system, and fortified from the outside by the fascist Tyrant in Moscow — can persuade enough citizens in America to support a political force hostile to the good values embedded in the Constitution, then Tyranny can defeat “the leader of the free world.” Thus reversing this nation’s hard-won victory in the Cold War.

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