"Some say we are in a new cold war right now. We may be. We are also in a period of asymmetric warfare, with enemies who are right here among us."
It started before the last shot was fired during World War II. One of our allies in this long and bloody war, was starting to show its true colors. And those true colors were that of oppression, conquest and brutality. Kind of like the enemy we had just defeated. This was the beginning of the decades long Cold War. This was the war, the period of time, which stretched from 1947 to 1991. It was a time when humanity was often only minutes away from annihilation. It was truly, a most dangerous time.
A while back on the History Channel, I saw a very good segment on the Cold War. Because it was so long, and so much happened in the background, it really became part of our landscape. So long as it stayed cold, it was easy to ignore. That is, unless you were one of the Cold Warriors who served during that time. Yes, even though we had flare up with hot wars with Korea and Viet Nam during that time frame, many who served during the period of 1947 to 1991 were Cold Warriors. And I was one of them.
When I was serving, I said more than once, the only thing worse than serving during the Cold War, was serving with a high level clearance. Normally, when there is strife between countries, the average citizen only sees the "iceberg". Meaning, 90% of what is going on is happening where you don't see it. Where you are not aware of it. You only see the 10% which is being reported. Having a high level clearance allows you to see more of the 90% - more of what is unseen to the average citizen - and that can be very un-nerving.
Some day, I am hoping that everything which happened during the Cold War will be declassified. Why? I think it is important for all to know just how close we came to the edge. And yes, that happened more than one time. When people think about nuclear close calls, they think about the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Berlin Air Lift. Yes, they were close calls. But that was not all of them. Basically, it is a miracle that we made it through that period for the most part, unscathed. Truthfully, it was NATO and the Soviets, playing with matches in a room filled with TNT.
It was a blessing the Cold War ended with a whimper instead of a bang. At the end of the day, NATO just out spent and out tricked the Soviet Union. Besides all of which, that stubborn thing called freedom was making its way under the iron curtain. It was time for this monolith to break down. For the Berlin Wall to come down. Thanks in part to millions of cold warriors, and the courageous leadership of Ronald Reagan and Lady Thatcher, in 1991 the Cold War joined the dust bowl of history.
Some say we are in a new cold war right now. We may be. We are also in a period of asymmetric warfare, with enemies who are right here among us. Will we ever be able to live in a time of peace? Where there is no war, be they hot or cold? I hope so. For our kids, our grand kids, and those who follow.