“The common assumption that the West forced the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus won the Cold War is wrong”

I don’t believe that we are witnessing a renewal of the Cold War. The tensions between Russia and the West are based more on misunderstandings, misrepresentations and posturing for domestic audiences than on any real clash of ideologies or national interests. And the issues are far fewer and much less dangerous than those we dealt with during the Cold War.

But a failure to appreciate how the Cold War ended has had a profound impact on Russian and Western attitudes — and helps explain what we are seeing now.

The common assumption that the West forced the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus won the Cold War is wrong. The fact is that the Cold War ended by negotiation to the advantage of both sides.

That is Jack F. Matlock Jr., ambassador to the U.S.S.R. from 1987 to 1991, writing in the Washington Post. Worth reading in full.

I can’t escape the feeling that we can blame Twitter and Washington partisanship for posturing to domestic audiences and other dangerous rhetoric in foreign affairs. Then again, if you’ve over the age of 35, you pretty much blame everything bad in the world on Twitter and Washington partisanship, so that doesn’t count for much.