Wasn't one enough? Really?
For almost a half century we, the West, and the Russians/Soviets poured mountains of money down the drain preparing for a war none of us would have survived had it come to that.
Underground missile batteries, fleets of nuclear missile submarines, strategic (nuclear) bombers, nuclear-capable strike fighters, mobile battlefield (tactical) nuclear missiles, massive tank armies ready to mix it up in the Fulda Gap on short notice. An ocean of gasoline just looking for a match.
How many trillions of dollars were squandered on this global, nuclear make-work project? What might we have accomplished with that vast fortune?
Make no mistake, that money was squandered. Pissed away. It didn't have to be that way. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, we could have taken a well-earned reward from the investment of all that money and all those lives. We could have turned sacrifice into peace.
Lasting peace. It was ours for the taking. We could have implemented peaceful approaches to East Europe and Russia. That didn't happen. Instead we treated Russia as a vanquished foe. As the Warsaw Pact dissolved, we eagerly snapped up its member states, brought them into the NATO fold, and marched triumphantly to Russia's very borders.
We said we were going to be peaceful, at least that's what we told Moscow. But they've heard that from the West before and, instead, what they got was war. Napoleon, Hitler - real object lessons.
We said we wanted peace. George H.W. Bush promised Gorbachev that NATO would not expand beyond the borders of a unified Germany. They believed it. We lied. That sort of thing left scars and primed Russia for strongman rule.
We let Russia know we wouldn't hesitate to attack. We even positioned anti-missile batteries on their borders with the unconvincing cover story that they were to protect Europe from an Iranian attack. And all this stealth technology? It's aimed at two countries, China and Russia. It's intended to take down their sophisticated air defence networks to pave the way for their aerial subjugation. The Americans have even done full-scale dress rehearsals that revealed our willingness to strike without notice, pre-emptively if you like. We've shown the Russians - and the Chinese - they need their own stealth squadrons.
Today the Cold War that never really ended, not really, is returning to business as usual. Putin has commissioned the deployment of new, long-range ballistic missiles; a new strategic bomber; new warheads and new submarines. As Vice reports the undersea arms race is really heating up.
Last week what was believed to be a Russian sub had the Swedes chasing their tails in the Stockholm archipelago. This week it's Latvia's turn. They've got the wind up after spotting what appears to be a Russian sub tender in their waters.
It's a good thing we've got six CF-18 jets defending the airspace over the Baltic nations, again on Russia's doorstep, because Moscow is giving them plenty of warplanes to keep them hopping. Let's just hope those RCAF Hornets never have to go head to head with Russia's Su-35s.
When the White House discovered in recent weeks that its unclassified computer systems had been breached, intelligence officials examined the digital evidence and focused on a prime suspect: Russia, which they believe is using its highly sophisticated cyber capabilities to test American defenses. But its tracks were well covered, and officials say they may never know for sure.
They have no doubt, however, about what happened this week on the edges of NATO territory in Europe. More than two dozen Russian aircraft, including four Tu-95 strategic bombers, flew through the Baltic and Black Seas, along the coast of Norway and all the way to Portugal, staying over international waters but prompting NATO forces to send up intercepting aircraft.
Taken together, they represent the old and the updated techniques of Cold War signal-sending. In the Soviet era, both sides probed each other’s defenses, hoping to learn something from the reaction those tests of will created. In 2014, cyber is the new weapon, one that can be used with less restraint, and because its creators believe they cannot be traced and can create a bit of havoc without prompting a response.
From Bush to Clinton to Bush and, now, Obama, we've kept the embers of Cold War burning and now, quite predictably, we're back in business. All that danger, all that money, all those lives - and it was all for nothing. I know, maybe we can tell ourselves all this is "noble."