“Is the end of the Cold War, therefore, only the end of Part 1, just as Star Wars, the movie, promises?” said Professor Gwyn Prins in his book, ‘The Heart of War: On Power, Conflict and Obligation in the Twenty-First Century’.
If Professor Prins is correct in his use of a major popular film as a comparator for never ending scenarios then there must be another set of circumstances awaiting history to trigger it as Cold War Part 2. Is the Salisbury attack the trigger?
All it took was for the PM, Theresa May, to stand up in the House of Commons this week and accuse Russia of the attack. It seemed as if all Westminster had been waiting for was a whiff of Cold War part 2. You could almost hear the excitement hitting the ground with such a force that it sent a sort of Mexican wave of raw machismo around the benches uniting opposition and government MPs alike.
The wave of nationalistic pride would have made Nigel Farage proud were he not a Vladimir Putin fan. Condemning Russia for their alleged murder attempt via the use of nerve agents on the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, seemed to introduce a frisson normally reserved for moments when attempts are being made to oust John Bercow.
Even Anna Soubry MP, who has been fighting the PM on Brexit matters, became effusive, saying’ , “The length of breadth of this place has completely supported not just the wise words and the leadership of the prime minister but also her firm actions with the notable exception of the front bench of the opposition and that is a shameful moment”.
The “shameful” moment was provided by Jeremy Corbyn who, moments earlier, had advised caution or words to that effect over the Government firmly laying blame at the Kremlin’s door. Corbyn has since been used as a punchbag by the Russia-blamers. Politics and the media has begun to resemble the landscape of a third world weak state where any opposition is hung out to dry (not literally in Britain, not yet anyway).
The zealous nature of this haranguing of doubters along the lines of ‘if you are not with us you are a Cossack wearing nincompoop’ is deeply worrying. Isn’t democracy about rational thought over nationalist fervour even when a potential Cold War 2 tantalisingly beckons?
P/S This blog post is about our democratic process and NOT about Russia’s culpability.