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Fear, anxiety and sleepless nights. The cold war terrors have returned | Van Badham

Perestroika and detente were supposed to remove the shadow of nuclear conflict from generation X. Now its back with a vengeance

The brand-new nightly ritual is this: weve made a agreement not to check social media in bed. I get my dollops of US news on the couch ahead, shared from American pals on Facebook and usually captioned in tints of worldly disgust, tired sadness or nauseated collapse at how the US president is wielding his weapons of war.

Political commentators on Twitter are at least preserving a thunderousness to their reporting, but its the acts of the president that echo in my psyche. The mother of all bombs pounded into Afghanistan , truly? A casual obliteration of a Syrian airfield , youre sure? Menace to North Korea? North Korea ? And Thursday, Trumps out provoking Iran.

So each night, the try is to fold “the worlds” into the rubber flap of my iPhone case and somehow fall sleep. Anxiety, however, doesnt pack away so well. Since the election of the members of Donald Trump, my brain passes electric with potential catastrophe even as it should just fade to black.

Im not alone because an Essential poll published in the Guardian this week has panic of aggressivenes by our own ally, America, freaking out Australians more than the manoeuvrings of an expansionist Russian government, or the empire-building Chinese.

Why wouldnt we freak out? Its not only because weve invest decades recruiting ourselves to the American military madness of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Weve known since 2012 that North Koreas missiles might be pointed at us, and trusting “the member states national” security to US leadership who cant get our own presidents name right seems … foolhardy.

Of course, foolhardy is the Trump administrations clearest foreign policy theme. The entire world known to tweets in his own sleepless hours of the darknes. The tweets are emotional and bombastic, and now hes president, hes actually the president they have consequences.

The fear of so many is not of falling asleep, but of waking up to discover Trumps digital bellows felled a city, or that his plays with new military toys have enacted a hostile play that can never be reversed. Can anyone believe that protecting human life on Earth is the priority for someone who claims that climate change is a hoax? Or who threatens nuclear North Korea with something unanswerable and then poppings off to Mar-a-Lago for some golf?

My sleep is now so illuminated that if my phone buzzes, I bolt upright in bed. At my age , notifications at midnight should elicit the crazy were afraid that dear old-fashioned mum has had a fall not that the New York Times may be announcing the outbreak of nuclear war.

I resisted Donald Trumps election, and passionately, but the extent of my present dreadful rancour isnt because hes a climate change denier( though he is ), a misogynist who calls females pigs( though he has ), or a kleptocratic slumlord spending big-hearted on fancy agency draperies while cutting Dinners on Wheels( though this is the observable nature of the man ).

Its because the cold war is supposed to be over. Perestroika, glasnost, strategic arms limitation treaties and nuclear detente initiated to subdue the terrifying childhood of generation X. Before the fall of the Berlin wall, our childhood was invested writing notes, pleading for global leader to disarm. Terrified, we packed petroleum bug-out suitcases for cruder backyard fallout shelter, and heard in the tone of all sirens the doom foretold byThreads on TV, or endless films like The Day After, or journals like Z for Zachariah , or the graphic novel Where the Wind Blows which we read not as a comic but printed prophecy of our imminent annihilation.

And now it turns out that when Trump promised to induce America great again, the age hes sought to retaking is pants-shitting were afraid that dogged “the worlds” for two decades that followed the Cuban missile crisis. And while his deceits of his electorate are already many, and so many of his contradictory campaign promises impossible for him to fulfil, it is his sellout of a impression that the nuclear darknes had extended us that should denounce him eternally if he does not actually manage to kill us all.

Pundits will debate what one bombing campaign means, or a brand-new menace means, whether its bluster or cliff, whats strategy and whats accident, whether its sabre-rattling or some semblance of a scheme, whether it are now working, whether it wont, what will happen next. Perhaps everything all talk. Perhaps saner managers will prevail; they have before.

But I cant sleep for what I check, whether I shut down my phone or not. Its a man with no government experience placing his government on a footing for a three-front conflict. A human whos never invested a period in public service obliging that public to give its sons and its daughters to haphazard conflict. An administration so careless of record, it doesnt bother itself to acknowledge the world-changing magnitude of tragedy seemed by the Jewish victims of such Holocaust.

Anxious, wide-awake, huddled in my cottage in the night, the two partners alleviates me and recurs: Were safe here. Were safe.

I no longer feel it. Do you?

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