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Post-Cold War Cliches, vol. MCLXVI

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Good grief.

“As an old Cold Warrior, one of yesterday’s speeches almost filled me with nostalgia for a less complex time,” Mr. Gates said. He paused for effect before adding, “Almost.”

I understand the futility in suggesting this, but could we dispense at long last with the notion that the cold war was in any fashion a “simpler” or “less complex” era? It’s a useful fantasy, I’m sure — in the same sense that the cold war made many Americans nostalgic for the “simplicity” of previous decades — but it’s just embarrassing to hear it coming from public officials who should, at least in theory, know better. Not to belabor the obvious, but perhaps when he gets a spare moment, the Secretary of Defense could explain just how lacking in complexity all this was.

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