Mikhail Gorbachev said in an op-ed in Time Magazine that, “The World is preparing for war.” NATO and Russia are stockpiling troops in preparation to destroy each other, more and more troops and equipment are being sent into this Second Cold War in Europe. For what purpose? Freedom? Democracy? Most nations in Europe, discluding Belarus and Russia, are completely free capitalist states. The US threatens sanctions, Russia supports Separatist Rebels in the Donbass region of Ukraine. There is a back and forth that is going on where the only way is up.
It was not always this way. In the height of the Cold War in the 1960’s, the United States elected a young, exuberant man named John F. Kennedy. In his inaugural address he promised a New Frontier, saying, “Beyond that frontier are uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered problems of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus.”
JFK entered office hoping to eradicate poverty, and take America to heights that it had never been. It is no coincidence that he promised to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade in 1961. It is no coincidence that the Peace Corps was created in 1961. JFK sought to restore America’s reputation abroad, and return America to it’s rightful place as the leader of the free world and as the arsenal of democracy.
This sense of purpose, this moralistic diplomacy, this sacred mission has been ground under the feet of moneyed interests and the most militaristic of our society. America is leading the world with the barrel of a gun, not an outstretched palm. It is important that the United States stand up to Russia and fight for our interests, but this will not be achieved by force. What is required is pragmatic, peaceful negotiation, and the understanding that both parties are equally matched. The only victor in a war between NATO and Russia would be death and China.
It is the duty of the next President after Donald Trump to assume this mantle, and carry out the task of ensuring that this escalation is halted. Even under one of the most militaristic and misguided leaders in our country, Ronald Reagan, the US nuclear arsenal was somewhat reduced, because he negotiated with the Soviet Union for them to reduce their arsenal with the United States. The next President must reach an agreement with Russia lest we enter into the largest conflict in human history.