Russian double-headed eagle against the sky.

Yes, It Is a New Cold War. What Is To Be Done?

April 25, 2018
Raymond Smith
This article originally appeared on War on the Rocks.

What a Cold War looks like depends to some extent on where you sit. From where I sat on the State Department’s Soviet desk during the early 1980s, it looked like telling Shirley Temple that she could not invite the Soviet consul general in San Francisco to her home for Thanksgiving. During the low points of a Cold War, not much is going on between the countries involved except the enforcement of reciprocity, which boils down to treating the other country’s diplomats the same way they treat yours.

I had the job of enforcing U.S. reciprocity toward the Soviet Union. Our open society made it tough to go toe-to-toe with the closed Soviet society. Ambassador (ret.) Temple had phoned me because she knew (courtesy of the Consul General himself, who had, no doubt, also given her my telephone number) that she lived in an area closed for travel by Soviet diplomats, closed in reciprocity for the many areas the Soviet Union forbade our diplomats from accessing.

Continue reading at War on the Rocks. 


Raymond Smith

Raymond Smith is a former U.S. foreign service officer.

Photo by Daphne mesereum shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.