Only Dame Judi Dench could utter such a line with so much panache.

We’re watching the new James Bond movie, and it occurred to me that perhaps the Bond enterprise has somewhat surprisingly adjusted to today’s geopolitical reality better than our own government.

Even though Bond’s traditional nemeses lost their entire raison d’etre when the Soviet Union fell, the character has nonetheless continued undaunted. The bad guys are always so damn bad – except now they’re freedom fighters who use international banking to fund terrorism. And the girls are always so damn beautiful, and today they’re even allowed to be brainy. And evil to boot (except I think Vesper really does love him!)

James Bond doesn’t miss the Cold War. He has plenty of bad guys to fight, and beautiful girls to woo. He doesn’t need the black and white rubric of baddies and goodies to tell him what to do.

But in America, we do miss the Cold War. We have tried so hard to find new enemies to justify the military expenses of the end of the Cold War. It was so much easier just to have one enemy to fight, an enemy with a country that had boundaries and a national government and ambassadors. Not these days. We have new, amorphous enemies, ones who don’t play by the rules of the game.

Even in 1962, when we were the closest we ever got to armageddon, Kennedy and Khrushchev still wrote each other letters. Can you imagine George Bush doing that, or calling up Bin Laden on the special red telephone? I don’t think so.

It’s a very warm and confusing world out there. James may have adapted, with his clever use of cell phones and GPS, but in this case pop culture is well ahead of the game.

And Christ yes, we do miss the Cold War.

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