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
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
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
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.