Discussing a “New” Cold War

Rodney Yeoh’s 11th grade world history classes have been studying the Cold War. In addition to textbooks, Mr. Yeoh regularly brings in materials from the web to supplement the discussions. In a recent blog post, he asks students to comment on a New York Times article about a “new” Cold War. The post and a sampling of comments are posted below. For more comments and to see some of the other external resources Mr. Yeoh and his class are using, visit the blog.

Mr. Yeoh’s post:

Please read Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,the president of Indonesia’s article in The New York Times titled, “The World Cannot Afford A New Cold War

  • What is the main point of his article?
  • Do you agree/disagree with his point? Why? Please explain in detail.
  • Do you think we have a new Cold War going on today? Please explain.


Nicole Brownstein ’11
The main point of the article, “The World Cannot Afford A New Cold War”, is that the individual world powers, which are currently separated by countries, need to work together. The world powers today are focusing on expanding their militaries while there are more significant issues which need a lot of attention to resolve. Some of the important issues that were mentioned in the article are food security, climate change and oil prices. The article also mentions that these are “momentous challenges”, requiring all world powers to work together over a long period of time to resolve. I would agree with this point because a main part of food security, climate change and high oil prices is keeping the world environmentally sustainable. If this is ignored, the problem will only get larger and harder to resolve. All of the developments going on in the world today would lead me to believe that a new Cold War could happen in the near future. A Cold War does not necessarily mean that the world is in a state of war, but when two countries and their allies are a threat to one another. I do not believe that a new Cold War is going on today but recent events happening in Iran, regarding their nuclear development program and many other developments going on in the world today would lead me to believe that a new Cold War could happen in the near future.

Gen Minori ’11
The main point of this article is that there are more important issues than nuclear weapons facing our world, and that a “new Cold War” between Russia and the West will distract from those issues. President Yudhoyono reports that the U.S., Russia, and China are all spending quite a bit of money on the military, amking a confrontation more likly. In the meantime, the real problems for our world are “energy, food, and climate change”. He also states that we all need to work togther to solve these problems.

I agree with president Yudhoyono that we need to work on solving our energy, food, and climate change problems. We need to wean ourselves off oil because since oil is a fossil fuel, if we keep on using oil as we are now, eventually, there will be no more oil. There are cheaper energy sources such as wind, water, and electricity. Oil emits green house gases, which is making holes in the Earth’s Ozone layer and causing more heat to reach Earth’s surface. It is causing Global Warming, and is affecting us all.

I’m not sure if I see enough evidence to say that we have a new Cold War going on today. However, I am concerned about our presence in Iraq. I realize that Obama is now pulling our troops out, but the question of why we entered in the first place remains. We were told that it was because Saddam Hussein said he had Weapons of Mass Destruction, and so we went into Iraq to stop him. However, Saddam Hussein was stopped, and we are still in Iraq. Bush told us it was to help the Iraqi people rebuild and to stop any of his cohorts who might try to continue to build his Weapons of Mass Destruction. However, I have heard little news about the later of the two reasons, and as for the former, I see no evidence that we are helping/have helped them in any way. I only see damage, destruction, and the loss of innocent lives.

Colin Read ’11
The main point of this article is that the world is full of problems but we are not focusing on the worst of them. We have hunger all over the world and yet we are focusing on nuclear weapons that could destroy countries and possibly the world. We are spending more money than we ever have on military weapons when our climate and parts of our world are being destroyed because of the amount of fossil fuels that we are using. If we do not address this problem quickly then we will not be able to power the world in under 40 years because we will have no oil. Oil is what we depend on the most but it is also what we are killing our planet with.

I agree with the main point of this because it’s true that we have to turn our focus from trying to be the biggest super power to enhancing the quality of life and improve how our country operates. One in every 8 people in the world has trouble with hunger and instead of addressing this we spend trillions of dollars on war. Our priorities are off.

I am not sure if we have another Cold War going on today but it is a possibility. However we are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are trying to in our words “help” their government by introducing democracy which in a way is exactly like what happened in the wold war when the Soviet Union was trying to inflict communism on other countries. That could be seen as the beginning of another Cold War

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