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  • Writer's pictureJose Arrieta

On the Alien Logic of the Cold War

I am a pacifist, it was hard not to while growing up in a country without and army. But I do believe in peace, broadly speaking. That said, I do understand why during the second world war, fission bombs were invented. Genocide is a crime against humanity and back then atom bombs were a way the criminals.

Afterwards though. Crazy stuff happened that I do not really understand. See, after the genocide stopped, the winning nations continued building weapons of mass destruction. Weapons tens of thousands of times strongers than the ones that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I am a Millennial and when I look back at the reason that led to the accumulation of enough weapons to destroy all of humanity, I just cannot understand how my grandparents' generation made decisions.

The thing is that these weapons were built because people in the US and the USSR just did not like that the people in the other country enjoyed doing. Russians disliked that individuals owned firms in US. Americans that the USSR government was the sole owner. But the people in each country were happy. And each model was popular enough that others liked to imitate it. So it was not that either was dojng something inherently inhuman (except for Stalin).

My point is that the general happiness in both countries was found by the people in my grandparents generation as unacceptable and worth the chance of annihilating the whole of humanity. Isn't that strange? As in, why? They were just doing their thing. You be you, no? #YOLO, no?

The most absurd is that the USSR collapsed. And it is probable that even without their full engagement in trying to build weapons to destroy the American dream, the USSR would have collapsed anyways. Thus it is unclear what good the creation of the weapons did.

Well, one minuscule benefit is that this instinct for disregarding and punishing self determination can help us explain other trails of my grandparents generation. And since the US only elect people of that generation to office, then we can use this weaponized morality as a way of explain other things that I normally find absurd.

I will give one example but many more are simple extensions. In the US, a geriatric court just told women that they cannot control what happens on their bodies. This makes no sense within my Millennial brain and value system. But for people of the Silent generation it makes perfect sense. They made the laws, they do not like it when women take control of their bodies and they would rather have women be in risk of a botched abortion than allowing them to do what they want.

Not allowing women to choose what happens to their bodies nor the Russians to choose what happens to their economy share a similar value based logic. A logic that is so foreign to me that often blurs my thinking about why history happened. History is a weird thing.

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