The Cold War seems to have receded from our memories much more quickly than we might have expected. For many, it is now almost impossible to understand how the Cold War framed practically every aspect of life for over four decades from 1945. With scholars and practitioners now concentrating on the threat from Islamic extremism and the apparent multiple threats posed by radical terrorism, the significance and character of globalization, or the multifarious threats posed by global environmental change, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its alleged threat to dominate the Western world through the spread of Soviet-style Communism (a threat which never successfully materialized) has a quaint, almost fusty air about it - like meeting a dimly remembered yet once very formidable maiden aunt.
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