This is a cold war article.
The cold war of poisonous Soviet-American feelings, of domestic political hysteria, of events enlarged and distorted by East-West confrontation, of almost perpetual diplomatic deadlock is over.
The we-they world that emerged after 1945 is giving way to the more traditional struggles of great powers. That contest is more manageable. It permits serious negotiations. It creates new possibilities – for cooperation in combating terrorism, the spread of chemical weapons and common threats to the environment, and for shaping a less violent world.
True, Europe remains torn in two; but the place where four decades of hostility began is mending and changing in complicated patterns. True, two enormous military machines still face each other around the world; but both sides are searching for ways to reduce the burdens and risks. Values continue to clash, but less profoundly as Soviet citizens start to partake in freedoms.
The experts who contributed to a two-month series on the Op-Ed page called ”Is the Cold War Over?” agreed, with variations in emphasis and definition, that Soviet-American relations are entering a new era. They differed over whether Mikhail Gorbachev can last and whether his policies can outlast him, and over how much the West can or should do to help him and what to ask in return. But these questions are the stuff of genuine policy debate, not grist for old ideological diatribes.
In his four years of power, what has Mikhail Gorbachev done to bring about this reconsideration of the cold war?
Words that I didn’t know:
Perpetual : continuing or enduring forever.
Deadlock: a state in which progress is impossible, as in a dispute, produced by the counteraction of opposing forces.
Diplomatic: engaged in diplomacy.
Mend: to repair something that is broken.
Mikhail Gorbachev: Soviet political leader: generalsecretary of the Communist Party 1985–91; president of the Soviet Union 1988–1991
Grist: grain to be ground.
Diatribe: a bitter, sharply abusive denunciation, attack,or criticism