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Catching The Cold War: The Culture of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Posted November 28, 2011 to photo album "Catching The Cold War: The Culture of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
The Cold War paranoia that permeates TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY was a focus of a series of fascinating books and films created in post-war Europe and America.
Cold War Meltdown: THE FOURTH PROTOCOL
With the “détente” U.S.-Soviet policies of the 1970s and the 1979 SALT II nuclear treaty negotiated by President Jimmy Carter, the Cold War appeared to be limping to a close. Then came the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the election of President Ronald Reagan, and an escalated military build-up and arms race. It would be another decade before historians would formally call it a wrap on the Cold War, but it was already clear that there would be politicians, spooks, and the military-industrial complex who would miss the profitable conflicts of superpower rivalry. All these issues are explored in THE FOURTH PROTOCOL, John McKenzie’s adaptation of the Frederic Forsyth novel. The titular “protocol” is said by Forsyth to be part of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and it bans non-conventional delivery of nuclear devices. In THE FOURTH PROTOCOL, Michael Caine plays a weary British intelligence agent banished to the unglamorous detail of monitoring ports. He begins to suspect that nuclear materials are being smuggled into the country, uncovering a conspiracy by the KGB to stage a nuclear event in Britain and reignite the diminishing embers of the Cold War. And while the story’s larger themes revolve around U.S.-Soviet conflict, the idea of smuggling nuclear materials through ports is still alarmingly relevant. Wrote Rita Kempley of the Washington Post at the time, “Forsyth's story is based on the latest in terrorist technology. You can build a small bomb in your basement if you want to nuke the dog who digs up the garden. The screenwriter also reduces world politics to a series of career moves, a sort of international yuppism, complete with double agents, death threats and atomic skulduggery.”