Cold War Redux

Collage of appropriated images Sally Edelstein "Supersizing the Superpower"

Are we off on the cold war arms race again?

As the supersizing of the superpowers begins anew, let the nuclear sabre rattling begin .

With Putin boasting about his powerful invincible nuclear weapons and Trump wanting to ramp up America’s nuclear arsenal for fear we’ve fallen behind, this nuclear arsenal ambition is déjà vu. all over again.

The big chill of the cold war seems a bit too close for comfort.

Supersizing the Superpower

For those of us who grew up during the 1950’s and 1960’s the cold war culture of  an arms race  was a subtext of our lives. It was a time when most Americans assumed the Unites States and the Soviets stood continually on the brink of nuclear war.

With the threat of  nuclear attack breathing down our necks, and our misguided fear of a gaping missile gap, we needed to build up our arsenal of nuclear  weapons, pronto.

When it came to Super Powers, American’s have long  believed in supersizing.

Land of Good and Plenty

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(Detail) Supersizing the Superpower collage of appropriated images by Sally Edelstein

After all, mid century American’s  were the most envied people on the planet. You couldn’t help but stand and admire us and our technological know how and might.

Running rings around all others, no other country so accented the march of new ideas. Big trends begin in America. The USA stood ever ready with a more confident answer to all the demands of modern living.

Whether bombs, breasts or Buicks, bigger was better.

The magicians of Madison Avenue were working their magic in tandem with the MAD  men of the Military Industrial Complex working double time fusing a double set of desires for the nuclear family for more weapons of mass destruction and more ease of living-  Mutually Assured Destruction and Mutually Assured Consumption.

How Do You Rate?

With more bounce and zoom in every step, we could run faster, jump higher and win more often.

And in the dawn of the space age, it was to be America, naturally, who would steer us into space braving the dangers of the cosmic frontiers, safeguarding the cause of universal peace and freedom.

Off to the Arms Race

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(Detail) Supersizing the Superpower collage of appropriated images by Sally Edelstein

However, in 1957 when the Russians successfully launched Sputnik, the first man made satellite into space, we were shaken to the core. The very thought of Soviet technological supremacy in missile supremacy sent off a chain reaction of panic, ring fear levels and soaring defense spending. We would pay any price, bear any burden to fill any Missile gap.

Play Your Hunch

In the age of post war plenty, we had plenty to fear.

At a push of a button, a turn of a dial… Presto…it could all disappear if we didn’t defend them properly. It was critical to deter a nuclear war by keeping nuclear superiority. To live in peace, the cold war credo went we must have power.

Beat the Clock

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( Detail) Supersizing the Superpower collage of appropriated images by Sally Edelstein

Like  contestants on the Game Show “Beat the Clock” we were thrust into an arms race with the Russians. By successfully launching a man made satellite into space, the Soviets had won the first lighting round and moved into the bonus stunts winning that challenge with the development of the ICBM.

Win Lose or Draw

Smugly the Soviets boasted: “Maybe next time will be your time to “Beat The Clock.”

Now like two contestants with fingers on the buzzer the first hot headed cold warrior to push the button- ding-ding-ding, would be “Winner Take All!” Of course in order to beat the clock we would first be playing “Break the Bank.”

Nuclear weapons both to protect and threaten became  the icons of the Cold War.

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2018.



  1. Reblogged this on Rcooley123's Blog and commented:
    When I saw that Putin had pulled a Trump and bragged about his new and improved nuclear weaponry, I knew that we were now going to face yet another round of nuclear arms race with Russia that will no doubt dwarf the tiff Trump has been having with North Korea. Yet another excuse ramp up our already bloated Pentagon budget.

    Can’t wait to hear what our trigger-happy President has to say about the size of his nuclear button now. Will he decide to continue ignoring Putin’s authoritarianism and treating him as a “friend” (or at least not a threat) as opposed to his expressed belligerence towards towards North Korea and Iran?

    Congress needs to stop refusing to do its Constitutional duty and keep our imperial President accountable on military matters before things spin out of control all over again (or should I say still?). – RJC


  2. I got that same tightness in my gut that I got when Reagan announced his Star Wars program. We need someone controlling that man in the White House a lot better. His random reactions to stimuli will endanger us all.

    Putin sees his opening, the weakness of that man in the White House, and will continue to push that advantage till Congress wakes up to its responsibility to the oaths they took on assuming office to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that [we] will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that [we] will take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that [we] will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which [we are] about to enter.”

    How soon they forget this oath and get mired in power struggles based on party allegiances rather than the existential threats to America!


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