OPINION: Who really won the Cold War?

Everyone on Earth is touched by war in some way. From the soldier on the front line to the mother raising her child on the other side of the world, war is omnipresent, even when the general population is unaware.

Most people would have little trouble defining what war is, but the issue is that they would likely describe a “hot” war. While they’re not wrong, many citizens of the newer generations and even older generations may not understand the social ramifications of a “cold” war.

To put it generally, hot wars generally involve active hostilities — two sides engaging in violent conflict to assert some form of dominance and will upon the other. Cold wars are much more subtle, engaging in surveillance, disinformation campaigns, public threats, and swaying public influence. There is still hostility, but without the overt and definite violence involved.

 The most famous one in modern history, commonly just called The Cold War, was a battle of ideologies between the capitalist United States and the communist USSR. What some forget is that this was a three-way battle including a still-communist China.

 While they had similar forms of government, China, under Mao Zedong, would denounce the USSR’s approach to government and take a step back from a conflict that would eventually last decades.

 This ended up being the smart move. While the United States would focus on “The Red Scare” coming from the USSR, China would continue developing its own industries virtually unimpeded despite its ideological views being similar.

 Fast forward to today, and the global dynamic has shifted dramatically.

 Russia is now in a position where it has a seemingly uninhibited disinformation campaign constantly running in the United States. The president of the United States is basing his statements off of claims of dictators more often than America’s own senior intelligence officials. And, China is tightening its grip on America’s First-Amendment rights that we thought were sacred.

 In recent years, we saw smaller examples of this take place in Hollywood which has only grown at an alarming rate. Even a kid’s movie has recently become political. The movie “Abominable” specifically mentions a disputed ocean mass as the South China Sea, which caused it to be pulled from Vietnam.

 Why would an American company make extra steps to make this claim in an American movie?

 We’ve seen multiple examples of this take place very recently. American company Blizzard took down a livestream of a championship announcement when the game’s winner shouted in support of Hong Kong’s protest. The player was subsequently stripped of his title and the prize money and was banned from the game he was playing for six months.

 The NBA and even players like Lebron James made public announcements that favored mainland China and made emphasis on the “dangers” of saying something political. Because human expression is always political.

 The show “South Park” was taken completely off of Chinese websites after recently releasing an episode that was extremely critical of the Chineese government. While the show’s creators have been vocal in their positions against these actions, they are in the minority when it comes to businesses and products with an international reach.

 In many ways, China is the current influential superpower. While Hollywood still influences some perspectives of Western culture, it’s becoming more and more funded by China. When companies are taking measures to stay on the good side of a foreign country, we know where their interests lie.

 I am not calling for a further escalation of any war, cold or hot. Some analysts speculate that we are already in another one.

 But I will say that if we are, the United States is already losing.