If you have been reading the blog, you know I went to a conference in Singapore entitled, “Unlearning Cold War Narratives.” The idea is to look beyond the traditional two power, great man, way of looking at the topic. My research says that people on the Northern Great Plains used the event for their own benefit economically, despite making themselves a nuclear target. Not to brag, but my presentation was generally well received.
This was a great conference. I met a lot of great folks who had different ideas about the Cold War, kind of like me. We determined that when you start looking at local issues within the context of the Cold War, things get complicated. Sometimes, these local issues are not really Cold War issues at all. Each presentation was great, but the one I will probably remember was given by a scholar from Chile, who argued that the Peace Corps initiative from the perspective of some people it was supposed to serve was not flattering. Peace Corps volunteers came from America with ideas to organize communities around the world to help themselves, but brought no resources to do it with. The scholar argued that villages in Chile had organization skills, and lots of people willing to help out, but what they lacked was resources. The young people coming down to his country were actually kind of insulting, insinuating that the people were too incompetent to figure out how to help themselves. The university was absolutely beautiful, but organized a little differently due to the tropical climate. Hallways are not air conditioned, just the rooms and offices.