The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America's Grasp
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I was alive for the last decade of the Cold War although i don't remember all that much. Mostly i remember the movies and books about Cold War tensions (Tom Clancy springs to mind) that filled shelves in bookshops and video stores but which no longer made much sense post 1991. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, some in the West foolishly proclaimed “victory” while others believed that now the world could embark on a truly peaceful future. However, since the fundamental causes of the Cold War – indeed, of all of the conflicts of the bloody 20th century – remain little understood and, therefore, unresolved, it is hardly surprising that we find ourselves in the second decade of the 21st century once again in a time of rising inter-state tensions aggravated by extreme nationalists. Instead of building bridges, or reinforcing those that exist, far too many seem determined to blow them up once again. US president FDR had lived into the post-war era so that he could have continued to develop his relationship with Soviet leader Stalin in implementing their wartime agreements;
The strongest aspect of the book overall is its depiction and analysis of the global impact of the Cold War. (This is to be expected, since the author is an expert in this area.) The Non-Aligned Movement, especially major players Nehru of India and Nasser of Egypt, are discussed at considerable length. Regions that were more peripheral to the conflict (compared to Europe and Asia), such as Africa, also receive plenty of attention. Frustratingly, like the Gaddis book, coverage of the main events of the Vietnam War is brief and muddled--it gets a chapter of its own, but a third of that is taken up with matters elsewhere, and the conclusion of the war waits in a later chapter. Therefore it’s hard to see the progression of how the U.S. blundered into the quagmire, and eventually retreated out. On the other hand the chapters that cover how the Eastern bloc and shortly after the USSR itself unravelled are done well. Gorbachev gets his due as the key figure in all this, and is depicted partly tragically, as he loses control of his reforms and ultimately even the Soviet state. For those who lived through the Cold War or, like me, became adults during the tail end of it, Odd Arne Westad's book is a reminder of a different era. The Taking of K-129: How the CIA Used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Operation in History (Hardcover)I couldn’t have enjoyed this book any more if I’d tried. Believe me. If you’ve ever been a fan of, or even ever heard someone say they’ve been a fan of the classic Spy Fiction writers, then this is for you - and them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to questions from a live audience and those submitted by text, electronic mail, telephone, and…As one born in 1943, I remember many things about that time vividly: how in grade school we were instructed that, in the case of a warning siren or sudden flash of light, we were to kneel next to our desks and cover our heads; riding in the family car in the early 1950s and peering closely at a small house we were passing, hoping to get a glimpse of the mysterious person – a “communist” – that my father said lived there; and fearing, one beautiful autumn afternoon in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, that we were on the brink of a nuclear war.