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Opinion
Liam Denning

Ukraine War Ends the World as We Know It

The kind of U.S.-led globalized economy that arose after World War II is shifting into something more familiar to history.

Not a bad time to be alive.

Not a bad time to be alive.

Photographer: TPete Souza/White House via Getty Images

Roughly half the U.S. population has little or no memory of the Cold War. Which is good; life ought to be lived without the existential dread of mushroom clouds.

Yet for many of us growing up in the West, the Cold War period was actually better than any time our ancestors experienced. We enjoyed economic growth, access to high-quality health care and education and jet-powered trade and travel. Plus peace, even if predicated on mutually assured destruction. In the post-Cold War years, when roughly half of today’s population was growing up, things turned positively fantastic. Economies boomed as trade barriers fell and Chinese manufacturing hit its stride. And there was the internet and on-demand everything. Plus peace, even if marked by occasional terrorist attacks and the odd faraway war. Nuclear weapons remained, of course, but came to seem like relics.