Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cold War Kids

I would consider myself one, having been born on October 31, 1980--before Reagan's first inauguration. True, I was too young to fully appreciate the daily possibility of mutually assured destruction via nuclear brinksmanship (unlike say, Sarah Vowell, who has written about it and was born a decade before me). But I definitely remember reading about it in the papers--and yes, I did read them. My parents worked the night shift at the Los Angeles Times, stuffing inserts, and so I was always reading the news since the age of six or seven till...this morning.

I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall, I remember Gorbachev, I remember Yeltsin--everything!

By the time I started studying political science in 1996 (I started taking college classes early), international relations and security was still taught the Cold War way in terms of polarity in distribution of power--specifically, bipolar, U.S. and Russia (formerly U.S.S.R., we were reminded). It eventually changed to a multistate model, but by and large, it was very much centered on the nation state.

By the time I was TA'ing U.S. Foreign Policy and Global Security and Cooperation, it was one month after 9/11. And that changed everything, in particular in terms of how international relations was taught (outside the foundational "what is a nation state/what is systems theory" course).

Still, I consider myself a Cold War Kid. And look! Now there is a band called by such a name, and a pretty rocking one too.

Enjoy the flashback, and this time you know it's not the white flash of a nuclear detonation--it really is the blast into the past!


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