How to Prevent Another Cold War: Change Everything We’re Doing

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the world was fighting a new Cold War, warning of grave consequences for the West if it didn’t cooperate with Russia in Syria and elsewhere.

“We have slid, in essence, into times of a new Cold War,” Medvedev said in a speech Saturday to senior international officials at a marquee security conference in Germany.

Actually, issuing a threat, as Medvedev did, does not constitute cooperation. Leave it to the representative of a fascist dictatorship to mix up the two.

To understand the modern-day Cold War with Russia, let’s take a look at the last one. For decades, from the 1950s through the 1980s, America and Russia came close to the brink. In the 1970s, America decided to follow the policy that Medvedev, in 2016, now recommends. The policy was led by Richard Nixon, ironically enough, who had built his career on anti-Communism.

The more we signed agreements with Soviet Russia in the 1970s, the worse things got. It culminated in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (yes, that Afghanistan) in 1979, which at the time some thought could be the beginning of World War III.

Fortunately, there was no World War III. In fact, the Cold War came to an end only after the United States (led by Reagan) and Great Britain (led by Margaret Thatcher) built up their defense and morally denounced the Soviet regime for the cruel dictatorship it was. Reagan and Thatcher’s policies were not perfect, and not without contradictions. However, their basic message was clear, particularly when compared to the “detente” that preceded them. “We are the good guys and you are the bad guys. We will build our military defense even stronger than it was before. Take your peace talks and shove them; we saw what those got us.” And these words were, by and large, backed up in practice.

Back then, people who opposed Reagan and Thatcher said their policies would not end the Cold War; they said, in fact, those policies would lead to war. They were completely wrong, not just about Soviet Russia, but about the very nature of human evil. You do not stand up to evil by making deals with it, and concessions to it. You don’t give into their threats, as today’s fascist Russia demands that we do. Sadly, once Reagan and Thatcher were gone, and the new threat became Iran and Islamic totalitarianism (a threat to today’s Russia, as well), we went right back to our old ways.

The only way to win a Cold War is through achieving peace through strength. America is not the world’s policeman, and should not engage in nation-building. At the same time, we ought to have ten times the military strength of anyone else, not because we want war, but because we value peace. “Peace” is not some intrinsic end in itself. Peace is valuable because freedom, the rights of the individual and the material prosperity of capitalism are all worth preserving, and the only things which make life on earth feasible and enjoyable.

I do not know or care what Secretary of State John Kerry or President Obama have to say to Russia in response. These officials have already demonstrated the opposite of peace through strength, time and again, not only with Russia but with our even greater enemies such as Iran, ISIS and all parties committed to the political ideology of Islam (and yes, Islam is political). I do not know if Kerry and Obama actually care about the United States, or for some perverse motive want to see its destruction; regardless of motive or intention, I know their policies will lead us to destruction.

Donald Trump has the right goal: Make America great again. The problem is how? Two solutions come to mind. One, a return to economic prosperity; only capitalism and free markets will give us that. Without prosperity, there’s no means for having a strong defense, and there’s precious little to defend, anyway. Two, peace through strength. Only a strong, defense-oriented military with an emphasis on weaponry (yes, that includes nuclear weapons, the best we can build) will achieve that.

To prevent another Cold War, we need a 180-degree reversal in both our economic and military policies. And fast.

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