Two very different books have recently done their best to remind me that nobody knows just when ?the new normal? became the very handy cliché it is. But it sure fits how quickly the Cold War went from potentially apocalyptic confrontation to historical curio once the Berlin Wall fell, Germany reunited and the Soviet Union (huh, whuzzat?) vanished from the geographical lexicon. Even to people who lived through it, the whole 44-year mishigoss reverberates very little today; the elephant left the room, and that was that. Well, at least once its hideous, messy Balkan aftermath was safely behind us too.
At least to Americans, as historian Jon Wiene
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