May 29 2008
Sometimes a trend is very disturbing but potentially of strategic importance to the next race to space, so it cannot be ignored. The possibility of a new cold war is the perfect example.
In the 1950s, Cold War pressures between the Soviet Union and the United States played a major role in stimulating the first race to space (see Politics-Wave Guide 3, and Global Conflict-Wave Guide 9). It was the unexpected 1957 launch of Sputnik that almost instantly stimulated a nationwide crisis in education at all levels in America, the founding of NASA, and the inspirational 1961 commitment by President John F. Kennedy to land a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.
It isn’t just that last August President Putin started long-range patrols with strategic bombers that hadn’t occurred since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. And, it isn’t just that Putin attended the NATO Summit this March seeking to discourage deployment of missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. It’s not even “Putin’s torture colonies”, as described by the Wall Street Journal (2/12/08), that were toned down under Yeltsin, but sadistically reinitiated when Putin came to power.
According to Edward Lucas, who’s covered Eastern Europe for 20 years for The Economist, it’s all these things and more, in his new book The New Cold War. Russia’s current Soviet-style issues include: return of the KGB, pressuring former Soviet satellite states, intimidation of journalists, repression of internal dissent, and the global threat of Russia’s huge oil and gas reserves.
Today, we already have the War on Terror. Superimposing a new cold war on this situation would be extremely dangerous. A new cold war would hugely impact the 2015 Maslow Window, and make this decade more like the 1960s than anyone would want it to be.