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Friday, April 18, 2014

Is the 'Cold War' returning? [Opinion]

Something funny, yet sad, happened to me today; does it suggest an irrevocable shift in thought?

On The Apocalyst Twitter feed I posted a link to a USA Today story titled, "Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine." When you consider the recent history of the Jewish people in Europe the implications of the report left me almost speechless, thus I felt noting it was important.

As I often do before discussing any story I did some research before posting; even when it is just a link on my feed and not a fully fleshed-out story for The Apocalyst I try to vet it as much as possible, finding multiple sources to back it up. I do this because I want to maintain the highest level of professionalism possible, for if a site continuously posts unverified, manipulative, or erroneous stories trust in that site is quickly eroded.

I began my research by pulling up Google and started by keying in "Soviet Uni--" before stopping myself, suddenly realizing what I was typing. I couldn't help but briefly chuckle to myself over the absurdity of it; of course, the Soviet Union no longer exists, has not existed since the early 1990's, so a search with the words "Soviet Union Ukraine Jews" would have undoubtedly brought up some obscure historical references, not in any way related to modern events.

Here is what unsettled me about this, and altered my amusement into a sense of sadness: I did this without conscious thought, of any kind. In my 2014 mindset it not only seemed perfectly natural for me to type in 'Soviet Union' when thinking of Russia, it was nearly an automated response.

When I considered this I could not help but note how dramatically my thought processes have shifted in the last few years. It was merely six years ago, during the 2008 Summer Olympics, when I found myself - for the first time in my life - very publicly rooting for Russia in an event. It was due to the cavalier manner the US Women's basketball team dismissed Becky Hammon, and the fact she was welcomed by the Russian team; add to that the perception of arrogance projected our own team, and I quite impulsively found myself wanting the team of our former enemy to win in that one event.

Those thoughts seem alien to me now, damned near traitorous. A lot has changed since that time, changed even just in the last year or so, with the veil of global civility which Russia had been hiding behind ripped away by Vladimir Putin's heavy hand. The Russia of today much more mirrors the tyrannical Soviet Union of previous days, and due to weak-willed leaders across the globe there really is no one to stop them from reclaiming their former status... along with their 'lost' republics.

All of this can lead a once-hopeful writer to subconsciously apply a once-ominous title to a once-evolving nation... a nation without which we cannot even put astronauts into space, due to our sickening dependency. The 'Cold War' days appear to be returning... at least in the deeper regions of the mind, at any rate; whether this manifests in the physical world remains to be seen.

Note: The nature of the story above has shifted in the last few hours; the headline now reads, "Leaflet tells Jews to register in East Ukraine," which suggests this was not an official document, nor a document tied to Russia (at least not openly, anyhow). It seems to be the work of one anti-Semitic group, which has chosen the current events in Ukraine [in conjunction with the holy week of Passover] to target Jews with their hatred; while this is still an unspeakably vile act, to know it is not an official policy makes it marginally less onerous.

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