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Duck! .... and Cover

I sat down this morning with the Frederick News-Post as always. I like to skim through the Associated Press section (you have to ignore the front page as it has been filled with gloating over the Black Book 'victory') and then browse on over the the letters to the editor to see which religious fanatics have written today. But the World section made me pause with this banner headline:


Actually, it just said "Russia boasts of future weapons", but the effect was more or less the same. As it turns out, "Russia successfully tested a space vehicle that could lead to weapons capable of penetrating missile defenses..."

But...isn't America the only country pursuing the creation of a missile defense system? "Uh oh," right?

Some Russian General said, concerning the weapon, that, "it was a a hypersonic vehicle - one that moves at more than five times the speed of sound - that could maneuver in orbit." "Uh oh," indeed.

Remember back in the 50's...and the 60's, 70's, and 80's how we were afraid that Russia would find a way to launch a nuke right into the U.S. Or worse - several nukes. Well, to counter the threat we matched it by creating a nuclear stockpile of our own - enough to establish the concept of MAD - Mutual Assured Destruction.

Well thankfully we intimidated the Russians until they could not continue the weapon stock pilathon any longer. So they converted to a democracy, and we lived for a decade or so on pretty good terms - a wiser, more cooperative people.

Then we ticked them off.

After September 11th, 2001, we attacked Afghanistan with Russia's help. Then we rushed off to Iraq. Russia didn't. And our total blow-off of the U.N., followed by a refusal by the U.S. to grant reconstruction contracts to Russia put them in a very anti-Bush mood.

Now Colin Powell has visited Russia, and returned with concerns that their democracy may not remain so democratic. Apparently Putin is beginning to lean toward autocracy. There have already been some questionable actions taken by the Russian government against political threats and the Russian media.

They didn't like that Powell criticized them. And now they, "have proven that it's possible to develop weapons that would make any missile defense useless."

This almost sounds like intimidation, sort of like how President Bush's State of the Union Address boldly stated that we will not wait for a "permission slip" to attack possible threats.

I sure hope we're not on the verge of the Cold War II, because that's what this is looking like. Even after agreements to dispose of nuclear arms, both Russia and the United States still have enough warheads pointed at each other to destroy the Earth. Yeah, literally.

I was happy not to live through the heat of the Cold War (oops, I punned), and I'd be just fine not living through a sequel. Unlike terrorists who just target the U.S., Russia and the other former world powers, like China, could still be a much greater threat, and on a world scale.

I think we need to get back on the U.N.'s good side and show some faith in cooperation, rather than childish bullying, in our foreign affairs. I do not wish to see my fake headline above ever printed again.

Read other articles by Scott Zuke