Who says the Cold War is dead?
Yesterday Koman Coulibaly of Mali made a judgement call that deprived the US World Cup Soccer Team of the winning goal over Slovenia.
Now, Koman isn’t evil. But after Mali gained independence from France on June 20, 1960, Modibo Keïta, the country’s first elected president, quickly established a one-party state. He adopted an independent African and socialist orientation with close ties to the Soviets.
Was Koman nervous? Or was he conditioned and socialized to expect aberrant behavior from the United States?
According to John Lewis Gaddis, in a Cold War context, social psychologists distinguish between what they call dispositional and situational behavior in interpreting the actions of individuals.
Dispositional behavior reflects deeply rooted personal characteristics which remain pretty much the same regardless of the circumstances in which people find themselves. One responds inflexibly — and therefore predictably — to whatever happens.
Situational behavior, on the other hand, shifts with the circumstances. Personal traits are less important in determining what one does.
I don’t know Koman, so I don’t want to assign responsibility for his actions based on my own prejudices.
Maybe it’s more appropriate to ask: Was the perception and misperception that led to suspicion and mistrust in East-West relationships during the Cold War period at work once again yesterday in South Africa?
What do you think?