Decoder: With war in Ukraine, spectre of nuclear war returns

Decoder: With war in Ukraine, spectre of nuclear war returns

Three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has revived dormant fears of a catastrophic nuclear war. Russian missile launchers, capable of firing nuclear warheads, in Red Square in Moscow, Russia, 9 May 2016 (AP...

The world’s optimists thought the era of Mutually Assured Destruction was over with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stirred fears of nuclear war – anxieties that many young people around the world have never experienced. Harvey Morris takes a horrific topic – what he calls “a suicide pact between the superpowers” – and examines the irony of the nuclear age: that to ensure there would be no nuclear war, the United States and the Soviet Union both had to have weapons of mass destruction. He offers a highly readable introduction to the harsh realities of the nuclear age – realities that all generations are compelled to live with.

Exercise: Ask your students to debate the resolution: “The best way to ensure there will never be nuclear war is to ensure adversaries have recourse to nuclear weapons.”

Ukraine poses most serious East-West confrontation in years

Ukraine poses most serious East-West confrontation in years

Reminiscent of tensions during the Cold War, the Ukraine crisis represents the most serious East-West confrontation since the end of the Soviet Union. A Ukrainian guard patrols the border with Russia near Hoptivka village, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, 2 February 2022. (AP...

For a deeper dive into the history leading up to the war in Ukraine, consider this report from Daniel Warner, a political scientist, lecturer and expert in international organizations. While diplomatic negotiations have failed, the article provides an overview to decode historic ties between Russia and Ukraine, NATO’s actions, the potential impact on energy supply chains and thoughts on the future of the security architecture of international alliances.

Exercise: This article was written three weeks before the conflict began. Ask students to compare the theoretical discussion of conflict to what is happening in reality. What do they think was the tipping point for Russia to invade?

The Olympic Games: Tarnished but clinging to their ideals

The Olympic Games: Tarnished but clinging to their ideals

Dogged by corruption and politics, the Olympic Games may seem outmoded. But their ideals survive, and the Games motivate athletes and excite fans. Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou lights the Olympic Torch, Athens, Greece, 19 March 2020. (EPA-EFE/ARIS MESSINIS / POOL)...

Paul Radford has covered 17 Olympic Games, and he displays his vast experience in this “decoder” that shows why the global sporting event still matters. Radford acknowledges the scandals and politics that have tarnished the image of the modern Games and made skeptics of many fans, while examining the high ideals that led to their creation. Like the Games, youth today are torn between idealism and skepticism born of frustration with their elders’ inability to resolve the world’s biggest problems. As Radford writes, it’s a tricky balance between idealism and skepticism.

Exercise: Organize a debate in class on the resolution, “The Olympic Games Should Be Abolished”.

Tag: Cold War