‘In domestic Russian terms, Vladimir Putin could well have had his “finest hour” ’ Premium

03 April 2014 | by Peter Hennessy

As a historian, I’m not a “history-repeats-itself” man. Yet I am with Mark Twain when he said, “History doesn’t repeat itself but sometimes it rhymes.” Does the Ukraine/Crimea crisis have a touch of the Mark Twains about it? Is it a rhyming couplet with the Cold War? Yes and no. But we need firstly to distinguish between two Cold Wars. The first is what I would call the High Cold War, which generated a 40-year-plus confrontation between East and West from 1947, the year of my birth, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.We children of the uranium age know what a nuclear exchange would do: the destruction of ourselves and our world in a single afternoon of flash, explosion, heat and radiation in unimaginable quantity and ferocity, particularly once the

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