2018: The dawn of the new Cold War?

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Two superpowers at each other’s throats, equally matched in technology and power. Nuclear war lingering in the shadows of everyone’s minds. Sound familiar? That’s because just over 25 years ago the Cold War was fought in Germany, with Russia and America staring each other down, waiting to see who would make the first move. Well, now (with the threat of Russia still potent of course) a new, more secretive enemy has risen from the ashes of the USSR in the form of North Korea. For many readers, my writing might be overlooked as simply scaremongering, but is it really?

Since the elections of Kim Jong-un, as the Supreme Leader of North Korea, and Donald Trump, as the President of the United States, the global political landscape has changed dramatically. From Trump’s 100 day ban of Mexican and East Asian immigrants to Kim Jong-un’s nuclear tests, the world has watched in awe and horror, as the saga of political irony continues. But these two somewhat “comically”-described leaders are anything but, because with every tweet Trump sends, with every rebuttal North Korea delivers, tension tightens and is almost palpable between the two nations. But is it enough to be a Cold War?

If Trump wakes up angry at North Korea, he can send a Tweet saying so!

Though we may not realise it, because of recent distractions by brutal terrorist attacks across the world and the constantly changing media coverage, we haven’t been able to calculate how wild our situation is. Primarily, this is because of Trump’s rash outbursts at North Korea, like when typing on Twitter that “Little Rocket Man” hadn’t seemed to get the message after a ballistic missile test commissioned by North Korea. The problem of Trump’s outbursts seems to be that when we are online we become braver, and suggest (and say) things that we wouldn’t dare to when face-to-face. And because of this, we are in a situation deeper than the Cold War – just look at the facts… In the 1960s, every comment, TV appearance and speech was meticulously edited to make sure that no comment would be too harsh or too provoking to the other side. Now look over in 2018. If, one morning, Trump wakes up angry at North Korea, he can send a Tweet saying so. Literally overnight, America’s relation with North Korea can snap within an instant!

Not only this, but nuclear weapons are much more accessible today than in the original Cold War. Kim Jong-un has already fired many test missiles into the ocean. What’s to say he won’t take the next step? It’s not as if America is holding back either, with Donald Trump repeatedly expressing the ease of using military force against Jong-un. So what’s stopping them? In an article written by The Council on Foreign Relations, they speculate that North Korea owns 20 nuclear weapons, with their new model, the Hwasong-15 ICBM, able to hit an impressive altitude of 4,475 kilometres (higher than the International Space Station) and an incredible range of 13,000 kilometres. The United States, on the other hand, has a total of 2,363,675 men and women in active military service. Their militaristic capabilities also include a huge 6,800 nuclear warheads and 14 ballistic missile-capable submarines. This means that any provocative move from either side would result in global oblivion and, today, means the two sides are in a complete deadlock. But the scariest thing about these figures isn’t their already immense size, but the fact that they might be bigger…

Not much is known about the totalitarian-ruled northern peninsula of Korea. Take a stroll into Google maps and you will find a limited vista, with deserted streets and shopfronts. It isn’t known if any of the intelligence agencies across the globe have infiltrated North Korea, but what we do know is that the regime near Beijing is ruthless. Even in today’s golden age of technology, with spy cameras and observational spy tricks, we don’t know what enemy we are facing, and how prepared they are in comparison to us. Should we be scared? That’s up to you…

Not a forgiving regime

So, the ultimate question is: “has the dawn of the Cold War II arrived?” Obviously, this scenario is all down to a matter of opinion but, personally, I think it has. Whereas in the Cold War, the two titans were restrained, here we see them broken free from those chains which kept them apart. The two leaders, one a mystery, the other a man with orange hair, are abrupt and unpredictable, with the full might of each country stacked behind them. And it’s not as if we are fighting on one side either, as the battlegrounds with Russia, Syria and Isis are all smouldering with war. In summary, the deadlocks of the Cold War have been resurrected, but not without outbreaks from either side. With this resurrection, a wave of questions has been brought through. Will there be war? We will have to keep a lookout on the political reactions of both sides for that to be answered. Either that or it’s just fake news.