I remember a lot of people being worried, but I wasn’t worried at all. For one, I liked the Cold War. The world made sense and it was simple and predictable. A bipolar world is a fairly stable system. Compare it to what happened with multipolar systems as seen in Europe from the 1000s-1945, and it’s downright placid. About the worst you ever got were relatively low-level proxy wars and yeah, Vietnam and Afghanistan were low level proxy wars in comparison to what a full war between the USA and USSR and their allies would have been. For that matter even a war between a “major” USSR ally and a major American ally in which, somehow, the rest of their respective sides did not become involved would have been bigger than the actual conflicts we saw during the Cold War.
Nuclear weapons usage by the Soviets didn’t scare me.
Now we have countries like India and Pakistan with nuclear weapons, and realistic scenarios where they might decide to use them against one another. Then how does China respond? How do we respond to China’s response? How does Russia respond to our response to China?
The system isn’t nearly as stable now, and then on top of all of that the huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons created during the Cold War create a lot of potential for devices to get smuggled out to non-State entities that have none of the MAD concerns that a State actor has.
I actually wish the Cold War was still going on compared to the current state of geopolitics.