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The End of the Cold War (and other clichés)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2018

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The cold war is over." By 1972 this phrase has become a cliché, perhaps especially among knowledgeable people. In other times there would be nothing very wrong with this: for there are many clichés that are by no means untrue. (Where there is smoke there is fire.) Unfortunately, the movement of ideas has become so predictable, because of their total involvement with publicity, that clichés no longer merit even partial trust. (Where there is smoke there is smoke; and where there is fire there is fire.) For years I have borrowed Wilde's admirable aphorism about people who pursue the obvious with the enthusiasm of a shortsighted detective, until I found that, no matter how funny, it is no longer applicable: for the public cogitators and public prophets of our time have captured the obvious with all of the calculation that a farsighted young associate professor, in pursuit of a profitable academic career, can muster.

Research Article
Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 1972

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