This song is a criticism at the idea of war for entertainment purposes. At the same time there is a note of optimism that maybe the tide is turning, giving a glimmer of hope in this unpromising world.
There was supposed to be another verse to this song, but it was removed because Waters was worried about lawsuits. He did, however, sing the last 2 lines of it during some live concerts. He sang: "Now the past is over but you are not alone, together we'll fight Sylvester Stallone, we will not be dragged down in his South China Sea of macho bulls--t and mediocrity." Earlier in the song Waters had also referred to Stallone when he sung "The tide is turning, Sylvester." His criticism of Sylvester Stallone was because at the time, the actor was renowned for his super-patriot, anti-communist film roles such as Rambo, and Waters disliked the way Stallone's movies glorified violence.
The album Radio KAOS tells the story of a disabled boy who can receive radio waves in his head. Waters uses the narrative to attack Reagan, Thatcher, monetarism and nuclear war.
This was the concluding song on the album. Waters added it when his record company told him that the album was too downbeat.
Waters performed this as the closing number at his July 21, 1990 "The Wall Live in Berlin" concert at the site of the Berlin Wall. The cold war was over, and he was optimistic, full of hope. Among the all star cast on the live version were Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, Van Morrison and Paul Carrack.