POLING: Brrr, who let in the Cold War? | Opinion

Ahhhh, nuclear armageddon is in the air. I feel like a child again.

I haven’t felt this young since Rocky Balboa beat Ivan Vasilyevich Drago in the Soviet Union and Rocky said these moving words: “During this fight I saw a lot of changes, the way you feel at my topic, and how I felt about you Here was two guys killing each other but I guess it’s better than 20 million I guess what I’m trying to say is that if I can change, and you can change, everyone can change.

And sometimes things go back to how they were before all this change.

In recent weeks Vladimir Putin has threatened to use nuclear warheads in response to his botched invasion of Ukraine. President Joe Biden responded by basically saying my nuke is bigger than yours.

Brrrr, it sends shivers down the spine, who let the cold war come back?

For the younger generations, it’s new.

For the past two decades, nuclear policy has been to prevent Iran, North Korea and some other countries from developing a nuclear program.

But for older generations, the rhetoric is all too familiar.

America against Russia. The art of the nuclear tightrope…like being a teenager on a Saturday night.

It was something everyday for everyone from the 1950s until around 1990.

In the event of a nuclear incident, school children would drill under their desks in hopes that those old contortionist furniture and all that dried gum and snot under the desk would survive a radioactive blast.

The nuclear standoff has permeated our entertainment. “The Day After” was a 1983 film about what America would look like after a nuclear exchange. We were thrilled that James Bond repeatedly stopped Soviet threats. We laughed at the comedies, such as “Spies Like Us” and “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,” thwarted the Soviets. And Sylvester Stallone hit Russia in the previously mentioned “Rocky IV.”

In song, Sting hoped “Russians love their children too”, Elton John sang of “Nikita” love from behind the Iron Curtain, The Beatles were “back in the USSR”

Pro wrestling had Russian and Soviet villains, which were usually guys with bad accents from America or other non-Soviet countries.

The news was filled with proxy wars. American and Soviet-backed troops are fighting all over the world. There have been stalemates and missile crises. Mutual Assured Destruction, or MAD, was the concept that if the USSR or the US attacked first, the other would retaliate, ensuring that both nations would be destroyed in a nuclear war.

The stuff of our childhood. Sweet memories. How invigorating.

The Armageddon nuclear comedy “Dr. Strangelove” has a subtitle: “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

The film was released in 1964; the same year that I was born. It’s a black comedy like nuclear armageddon comedies tend to be. The film is perhaps best known for actor Slim Pickens riding a falling nuclear warhead like a rodeo rider smashing broncos.

But this subtitle has partly reason to grow during the Cold War. “Love” is not the correct word; “living with” might be a better phrase: how I learned to stop worrying and live with the bomb.

Hopefully, we won’t have to “love” or “live with” such a long-term threat anymore.

I don’t know if my nerves can handle feeling this young any longer.

Dean Poling is editor of the Valdosta Daily Times and editor of the Tifton Gazette.