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On the verge of Cold War v. 2.0
Posted Oct. 20, 2006

Katherine Hillier
Editorial Director

Last week North Korea shocked the United States as well as the world when it took the nuclear war threat to new levels and tested a weapon. As if blindsided, the United States was dumfounded and spent several days trying to find out if the nuclear bomb test was really nuclear – well, it was.

Over the weekend the United Nations decided to impose sanctions on North Korea, but as the world attempts to tiptoe toward a solution to this seemingly insurmountable crisis, I can’t help but fear what the future has in store for my generation. I don’t remember what it was like during the Cold War when the United States and Russia danced barefoot over hot coals of tension, but I do know that living in an era of fear greatly affected the state of politics in our nation.

As whispers of nuclear war sweep through smoky coffee shops and suburban condos, a new thread of fear is growing in America, and if we’re not careful it may string a whole lot of chaos along with it. Talking about this issue is important and fruitful; talking is the only way to get through this issue and find the “real” road map to peace.

Once North Korea was stamped onto the axis of evil, the country knew it had to do something. Since we invaded Iraq, a country lacking in nuclear weapons, it probably became clear to North Korea that they might as well acquire them anyway. And knowing that the U.S. was occupied with another war, they probably thought it was a safe time to go nuclear – and they were probably right.

This is an unfortunate situation for the United States. We are currently spreading ourselves too thin, and are showing holes of vulnerability. Despite this, the president still manages to go ahead and act as if he’s got it covered. Well, I don’t think so. We’re spending an enormous amount of money on a war with a country that to our “surprise” didn’t even have nuclear weapons. So i’m afraid when a country, with an active army of about 1 million fully trained soldiers, actually acquires and tests their nuclear capabilities right in front of our eyes and we are reluctant to act in any way.

The once-mission-accomplished, “minor” war with Iraq has bled into many more serious directions and it is those extra strands of threat – North Korea and Iran – that keep me awake at night worried about the future situation of the world we live in. All of a sudden, our “empire” has been confronted with a triple threat, and I just want to know what all this bluffing on our part is about.

Nuclear weapons are a serious issue, that’s why we put countries that have them on axises – so we can display our enemies to everyone. But what about when these threats to our nation begin to take a more serious turn? Are we ready for nuclear war? I don’t think anyone is ready for this, and that is why it is important that we remember how to prevent wars, and that’s through talking – always talking.

When we stop talking to these countries, because we deem them uncivilized, we are actually becoming the cause of our own wars. Negotiations stop wars and the blocking of communication starts them. How could we blame anyone but ourselves – they can’t get our attention any other way.

I hope we try to keep talking to countries like North Korea and Iran. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson from situations in Iraq where a simple lack of communication created a monstrous loss of innocent life. Let’s hope that that doesn’t happen again; let’s keep talking.

Katherine Hillier, a senior journalism major, is editorial director of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at khillier@ulv.edu.