Whatever happens in Ukraine, America and Russia are now set for a lengthy period of intense confrontation. U.S. support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion was entirely justified. But as the fighting goes on, America’s growing involvement in Ukraine’s war effort—including huge financial and economic aid as well as heavier and more sophisticated weapons—could evolve into a wider, direct conflict between the two great powers. This new cold war might box the United States into making an unconditional commitment, as Henry Kissinger and others have warned, to goals that are horribly dangerous and contrary to national interests.
Another look at the original Cold War’s early years, when the United States found itself drawn into several such commitments around the globe, could be a useful guide to avoiding new versions of the disasters that sometimes resulted. The U.S. policy of containment toward the Soviet Union after World War II was absolutely necessary, but what became overzealous framing of that strategy led to unnecessary conflicts and dreadful suffering in many parts of the world. Even though the Cold War did end in eventual victory for the West, the long confrontation inflicted damage on the United States itself, from which it has never recovered.
Read the full article in The Atlantic.