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Curious, this

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

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Curious, this

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So when I was in my teens, this song (which is titled 'Dancing With Tears In My Eyes', and is by a band named Ultravox) had a poignant relevance. It just happened to come up on shuffle and I am stunned by how little relevance it has to the world I live in now.

Wow. Do I have to say 'thank you, Ronald Reagan, for ending the Cold War', or can I just lay the blame for the irrelevance at the feet of Mikhail Gorbachev? Because the scenario in the lyrics stopped being probable in the late 80s.
Nearly 20 years ago.
I remember living with the thought that at any point, my life could end at 17 minutes' warning as the ICBMs rained down on the west coast of this continent. It actually is telling about the world being better now than it was in the past that this song was, at the time, a top-40 hit, and is now merely cringingly irrelevant.
  • Oddly enough, Reagan actually does deserve some credit here. He resisted the urging of a number of hawks in the Pentagon - particularly Pearle, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz (yes, they'd actually been knocking around since the Nixon Administration) who vehemently advocated military brinkmanship over talking with the Russians. They kept at the same philosophy on into the second Bush administration in regards to North Korea, Iran, etc.; hence the recent attitude that you just don't talk with enemies. Thankfully, unlike G. W. B., Reagan would have none of it. He was certain that if he could just talk with Gorbachev, they could work things out, somehow, which, of course, turned out to be true.
    • ...very, very good point. I actually just read a staggeringly interesting interview with Gorby @ bbc.co.uk: it's here: credit to andstillitmoves.
      Really, really worth reading for anyone who remembers Gorbachev's regime.

      Also, isn't it weird what we took as the status-quo as teens that we now look at and go '...that's just not gonna happen'? I know I keep being staggered by that.

      Edited at 2009-09-21 11:03 am (UTC)
    • Yeah, Reagan gets some points for Not Fucking It Up. He didn't really do much to *create* it, but when the opportunity to screw things up was offered he ignored the neocons. After Bush II, this looks like a much more considerable achievement.
  • Yeah, Reagan did do some good things in office. Reaganomics isn't one of them, but a lot of the Berlin Wall coming down was him.

    I'm also sad that people have to be told who Ultravox is; Midge and company were very big a few decades back.
    • Oh, I was trying to spare at least one person who I knew was up to read this when I wrote it: he's got limited bandwidth what with being in Australia, and I figured if he knew the band and song title, he could just skip the video if he already knew the song. ;) I mean, Midge is a member of the OBE, at this point- they're clearly something of a big deal still.
  • It does boggle me that all that is *over* and that the world has changed so much from the terror I grew up steeped in.

    I keep meaning to collect my favorite Cold War songs into a mix. Haven't done it, or if I did I forget.

    I really admire Gorbachev, having heard him speak, and give him a lot of credit for the success of it all.

    But the Wall really came down because of a bureaucratic error: a memo that was meant to say 'one gate sometimes' got garbled and then it all came down in a glorious chaos.
  • The video seems to be about a nuclear reactor explosion, not bombs? An explosion that just billows the curtains a bit...
    • Nobody was worrying about a nuclear reactor explosion in 1984 (which I THINK is when this song came out- it's been a while), as far as I remember...
  • Well, except that the weapons remain, near-accidents continue to happen, and we still have an adversarial relationship with Russia. Maybe not one quite as existential as it was portrayed during the Cold War-- our posturing about democracy aside, it's more nakedly obvious that the Cold War was as much about pure power conficts as it was ideology --but as long as the weapons continue to exist, you can't really stop worrying. It only takes a few minutes to retarget the things.

    In the 80s I read an article commissioned by Brookings or some group like that, which concluded that conventional warfare between nuclear powers would always escalate to nuclear warfare-- one side or the other would eventually be in a weakened position and have no resort but to go nuclear, and they simply would not let themselves be defeated when they had this option to draw upon. So yeah, fun.
    • Yeah- while sure, the option doesn't not-exist now, it's nice to have people negotiating well shy of that chunk of brinksmanship.
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