Next week, in Geneva, Switzerland, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Are we at the start of a new Cold War between Russia and the United States as was evident when President Harry Truman’s Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, met in Paris in June 1949 with several European foreign ministers and Russian Foreign Minister Andrey Vyshinsky?
On Jan. 9 and 10, 2022, U.S. and Russian diplomats will discuss the current crisis involving Ukraine, where some 100,000 Russian troops are massed in at least four locations bordering the former Soviet republic.
Presumably the lead negotiators will be U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. To prepare for these discussions, Blinken should study carefully Dean Acheson’s experience as described in the late Robert Beisner’s massively detailed biography, “Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War.”
In 1949, Truman and Acheson faced down the Soviet Union when it came to that Communist nation’s role in postwar Europe and, especially, Germany’s future. The Soviet Union’s leader, Joseph Stalin, fearing a unified Germany, initiated a blockade, later partitioned Berlin and made East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) one of its satellite states.
Germany remained divided until the Berlin Wall fell on November