I don’t have too much time to develop this thought, so I’ll treat it like an actual blog post and just toss it out there. Scanning today’s most stubborn foreign policy challenges, I’m struck by how many of them are either deferred maintenance on unresolved post-Cold War arrangements or direct legacies of Cold War policies. The Russia-Georgia conflict driving so much tension in U.S.-Russia relations, for instance, is a result of the “frozen conflict” approach to the thorny details of a final status agreement on the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The terrorist threat emanating out of the Afghan/Pakistani FATA region is the offspring of the Cold War-era anti-Soviet Afghan policy. And in many ways, Latin American neo-Bolivarianism is a longterm after effect of Cold War-era regional policy that emphasized stability and bloc loyalty over human rights and populist aspirations.
In other words, the Cold War might be over, but the Cold Peace has yet to be formally signed.