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Proud Prophet was the codename of a secret 1983 Pentagon war game played out in Washington by 200 top officials of the US military establishment, all the way up to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, to see how well American doctrine for responding to a Soviet invasion of West Germany would play out. The game was designed by economist and deep state genius Thomas Schelling. Participants engaged in 12 full day sessions (each one spaced out a week or so apart to let them have time for their real jobs) reflecting a hypothesized World War III in Europe from August 30 1986 to September 8, 1986.

The final report (presumably by Schelling) was marginally declassified in 2012. You can sort of read the report here, but the vast majority of the text remains redacted with a black marker.

This war game assumes that crises in Pakistan and Yugoslavia in 1985 lead to movement of US troops to the southeast to deal with them, which leads to dissension among NATO nations over the proper response. In 1986, the Warsaw Pact build up troops in East Germany for their annual summer war game (the physical kind, not the paper kind like Proud Prophet), but is this a menace or a distraction from the real problems in Pakistan and Yugoslavia?

It turns out that Pakistan and Yugoslavia are the distractions, as Warsaw Pact tanks in late August 1986 make rapid advances into West Germany. By Day 6 of the invasion, Hamburg in the North has fallen and, judging from the map, Frankfurt in the South is either captured or encircled.

Apparently, that’s when things get really bad. The U.S. then, following the then-standard war plan of “escalate to de-escalate,” then used a limited number of tactical battlefield nuclear weapons to slow the Soviet offensive. Unfortunately, the hypothesized Soviet leadership didn’t say, “Oh, wow, the Americans are serious. Guess we’ll just have to call World War III off before somebody gets really hurt.”

Yale professor Paul Bracken, author of 2013 book The Second Nuclear Age, summed up what happened next in the war game:

In June 1983 a war game named Proud Prophet went all the way . . . all the way to nuclear catastrophe. In this game a half-billion people died from the initial salvos, and most of Europe, the United States, and Russia were destroyed because the secretary of [defense] [Casper Weinberger], and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff —both of whom were participants in the game—simply followed the strategy laid out in actual U.S. war plans.

The lesson Secretary Weinberger learned from Proud Prophet was that we were woefully unprepared to deal with a crisis because we didn’t really understand the dynamics.

This ancient history seems worth recalling.

 
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  1. Might be a good time to rerun “The Day After”.
    Oh wait, we don’t have a Republican in the White House.

    • Agree: Kronos
    • Replies: @Wilkey
    , @mmack
    , @vinteuil
  2. JimDandy says:

    C’mon, it’s so worth blowing up the world for that sexy Zelensky’s right to join NATO and give his feisty lil Ukies nukies. Cowards!

  3. Wilkey says:

    The book Red Storm Rising, by the late Tom Clancy, seemed to lay out a perfectly conceivable scenario for how World War III might have actually played out. In real life, when push comes to shove, no one is going to want to start a nuclear war – not even most Russian leaders.

    Russia today, unlike the USSR of yesteryear, is not run by corrupt bureaucrats but by corrupt capitalists, who are even less supportive of going nuclear than the bureaucrats would have been. I guess that’s one thing in capitalisms favor: capitalists are more interested in getting filthy rich than in obtaining glory by sending millions of men to their deaths. Even if Putin himself doesn’t mind going nuclear, there are lots and lots of people around him telling him not to – including the ones who keep him in power.

    Our job as Americans is to not elect a president who will say something stupid that might back him into a corner.

    Oh, wait…

  4. Wilkey says:
    @Redneck farmer

    The funny thing is that the Republican presidents the Left presented as the most jingoistic – Reagan and Trump – never even tried to start a real war. Trump even set us in the path to end one of them. Reagan had some excursions in Grenada and Libya, but that was about it. It was the two “moderate” Republicans who most betrayed their voters who gave us the full scale wars.

  5. reflecting a hypothesized World War III in Europe from August 30 1986 to September 8, 1986

    Nb: this was in the quaint old days when things like Mach-12 hypersonic thermonuclear missiles were outside the realm of possibility.

  6. Anonymous[233] • Disclaimer says:

    More recently during the Obama administration, some of the current Biden admin senior staffers were involved in a war game in which they decided to nuke a 3rd country, namely Belarus, in order not to escalate too much and directly antagonize Russia.

  7. If this type of talk goes on for a while, there’s a chance post-apocalyptic pop culture might make a comeback.

    • Replies: @Random Anonymous
  8. Do they wargame the following:

    After setting up leaders to be murdered via Ka-Bars plunged into rectums (and similar) the United States gains an international reputation for particularily brutal statesmanship. After thwarting a nuclear dictator’s regional adventures, and said dictator decides “Well, pressing that red button seems better than a cutco in the asshole” what is the next move in the wargame?

    Behind closed doors, they have unquestionably been discussing Putin’s “removal from power” and Biden, with his senior tourettes, unveiled this fact a few days ago. Whether Putin hangs like Saddam, or gets thrown of a helicopter like Bin Laden, or goes like Khaddafi, or whatever, it is clear that they want this guy dead. As long as he has the command-and-control structure in place, Putin would presumably make sure that nuclear war happens before he has to face such longstanding US diplomatic techniques.

  9. J.Ross says:

    First of all, make this movie, it would sweep every demographic which can quote The Hunt for Red October, and I would see it in a theater. Only don’t let Hollywood touch it. Maybe a good project for a Russian filmmaker?
    Second of all, Reagan was still right to trap the collapsing Soyuz between credibility and might. People are probably reading this and thinking oh crap this proves that Miracle Mile and that commercial with the kid wishing on a star were right all along. Wrong. What Reagan did and what Weinberger were different, and the threat of force was appropriate in one situation and wrong in another. What Reagan did in real life saved us from what Weinberger could do, because of Russian humanity.
    Third of all, this should have been kept secret and maintained as a kind of initiation ritual for deep state creeps. Let them all in their first year have a good thorough scare about the stakes and about the fact that you never control or fully understand the other side.
    Fourth, the American doctrine of escalate to de-escalate? Am I the only one who remembers Steve attributing this to Evil Russians nuking Coventry, in describing an 80s novel, not incorrectly but also not completely? A lot of sanctimonious judgment of Evil Russians boils down to ignorance about war.

    • Replies: @Gordo
  10. Indeed.

    Former Secretary of Defense William Perry believes the danger is greater today than during the Cold War.
    Not, as he said, because either side would deliberately start a nuclear war, but because either side might blunder into one.

    President Kennedy put it in his characteristic fashion:

    “Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or madness . . .”

  11. Rob says:

    The logic of MAD is that we (and they) are ready for an all-out strategic attack so we don’t have to ever have to actually launch. Supposedly, because of the risk of all-out nuclear war, no one would begin escalating. By the logic of we can’r fight or we have a nuclear war, one side can say, “i can conquer the world because the other side won’t escalate, in order ti avoid nuclear war. The side that advances first can conquer the world while the other side avoids escalating. That’s no good! So, at any stage of escalation, we have to escalate! So, we are on a path to inevitable nuclear ear, cuz here’s how people (maybe just men) seem to think:

    [Side A does a provacative action]
    Side B: “i can’t back down. If i do, i look like a fag whose shit is all retarded. Why do we spend all this money on the military? I have to escalate. Side A does not want nuclear war. He will see reason and de-escalate.” [He escalates]
    Side A: We can’t de-escalate. I don’t want to look like… We did not win Great Patriotic War to surrender to a country populated by English-speaking Germans. Side B does not want a nuclear war. He will see reason and de-escalate. If not, we can fight a limited war with a nuclear-armed nation.[He escalates
    Rinse and repeat
    Stage n: “i can’t surrender now! We did not lose all these Side A/B lives just to back down. I have to launch a full strategic nuclear launch. No one wants nuclear Armageddon. Side B/A will not launch a counter strike. Not only do they not want the earth to be a wasteland, but they don’t want us to use our second second strike weapons. [He launches everything, except a reasonable second-strike capacity. He’s not a madman. He wants the other side to see that the only rational course of action is to accept nuclear devastation. Can’t I push the button, after all]
    Then the other side launches everything, save a reasonable second strike capacity so as to deter the other side from a second strike]

    You know how people end up bidding way more in an auction than they went in thinking they’d be willing to pay? Well, war is like an all-pay auction, an auction where every bidder pays, whether they won the auction or not. Whoever “wins” a war takes whatever damage the loser inflicts, and vice-versa. The smart thing to do is to not bid at all, but if everyone does that, then one “irrational” bidder wins for a very low bid. Putin (one might think) was treating this “Mykraine” war that way. But we’re bidding too!

    [MORE]

    It does not help at all that our idiot mainstream media gives Kennedy a near-constant tongue bath over escalating in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Thing was, that might have been reasonable. The Soviets would have come out of the nuclear exchange in much worse shape than the US would have. But now? The “winner” gets trashed beyond repair! Biden, not a bright man to begin with, might just think, “Kennedy got a great reputation from his nuclear brinksmanship, so I will, too!”

    The only nation that could broker a peace is China, but they’ll be the winner if Russia nukes us.

    Oh, the 5 year (so far) near-constant demonization of Putin does not help, either. Maybe it does not matter. The Jews running the country (into the ground) don’t need a propaganda campaign to hate Russia. Can Biden get away with letting Putin have even a partial win?

    Oh yeah, with the demonization of Russian people, not just the country by the progs and the left means they owe 1942-America a big apology. They wonder how FDR could intern Japanese people living here for what the government of Japan did? They can answer that by asking themselves why a Russian conductor here was forced to condemn Putin. They laugh at”victory measles”? Do they laugh at universities cancelling lectures on Russian literature. They feel oh-so superior because they didn’t place all Muslims after 9/11? They think smart people are so dumb thinking blacks are criminals? They should simply ask themselves what they think of Russians.

  12. we were woefully unprepared to deal with a crisis because we didn’t really understand the dynamics

    This ancient history seems worth recalling.

    Nooooo Steve, we all need to show Moscow Gollum whose boss! We must obey the Booda Pest Memo Random! Uh, pocka lips now! Release the Sardoo Car! I am the voice of reason! HA HA HA HA

  13. Polistra says:
    @Wilkey

    I guess that’s one thing in capitalisms favor: capitalists are more interested in getting filthy rich than in obtaining glory by sending millions of men to their deaths.

    Our “American” ((oligarchs)) respond: “Is there some reason we can’t do both? We’re talking mostly white guys, right? ”

    • Replies: @Veteran Aryan
  14. Anon[271] • Disclaimer says:

    Mr. Puttin,

    You have overr 6,000 nukes. Please save 100 of these to target where your intelligence agencies think Western oligarchs will hole-up at if they can provoke a nuclear war. I’d suggest a good 10 for New Zeland alone. You have plenty of spies Vladimir. Make sure no oligarical banker families, Zuckerberg, Bezos, World Economic Forum/Bilderbergers, Gates, Bloomberg, Soroses, and other attendant elites allied with them, including several “Royal” families die no matter what, come Armageddon. Might save about 300 nukes on second thought. Gotta be sure.

  15. Anon7 says:

    Interesting guy, Thomas Schelling:

    “Stanley Kubrick read an article Schelling wrote that included a description of the Peter George novel Red Alert, and conversations between Kubrick, Schelling, and George eventually led to the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

    Schelling is also cited for the first known use of the phrase collateral damage in 1961.”

    • Replies: @duncsbaby
    , @slumber_j
  16. Batman says:

    There are enough stories of Soviet officers who singlehandedly prevented a nuclear launch, like Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov and Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov, that you have to wonder how much human element is baked into the protocols. Maybe apocalypse is inevitable if SecDef plays it by the book and they all know that which is why it hasn’t happened yet.

  17. J.Ross says:

    OT but huge: Detroit’s own John Lott (More Guns Less Crime, professor at many top universities, former Chief Economist at the Sentencing Commission) has a peer-reviewed paper proving more than enough excess Biden votes to rubbish the 2020 election result.
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3756988
    Absentee ballots were key.
    Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary about ballot mules is still coming but those who have seen it say it’s devastating.
    Republicans are facing real proof that a massive crime was committed and that action must be taken.

    • Thanks: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Moses
    , @Thea
  18. Danindc says:

    Steve,
    You’re doing the Lord’s work. Thank you.

  19. @Wilkey

    I get the sense that the Russians are just ignoring Biden and whatever crazy thing vomits from his mouth. They just wait for the inevitable response from USG’s Deep State to know the USG’s actual position. The Russians know what we know, that Biden’s a front man who doesn’t have much real power. I saw somewhere that they’ve taken to calling him grandpa.

    This idea doesn’t reassure me. It means that the various factions of USG have free reign to play their own individual games. Worse, his replacement is an even bigger non-entity with less control over USG and a tendency to repeat meaningless, vague drivel that could be interrupted multiple ways. Better the direct crazy jerk without credibility than the rambling affirmative action hire. (Frankly though, I’m not really sure if any of the potential Presidential successors inspire anything in me aside from loathing or questions about who these people are.)

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  20. Kronos says:

    One of my favorite Cold War (turned hot) strategy games has to be “World In Conflict.” You could control American or Soviet military units on a tactical level. Maybe not terribly realistic on the strategic level but the story mode was decent. See what happens when Walter Mondale wins the 1984 presidential election! (Just kidding!)

  21. Alfa158 says:

    On the real world occasions of false alarms I know of where the US or Soviets thought the other side had launched a first strike, neither side followed the prescribed procedures for retaliating. (obviously since we’re still here). The horror of a nuclear war is so great that no one wanted to believe it was really happening or that anyone could be that crazy so they stalled launching until it became clear it was a false alarm.
    When I was in SAC the bases I was stationed at were only 10 minutes away from annihilation by sea launched ballistic missiles. We sometimes deployed to alert pads at bases in Utah which I thought odd because it would only buy us an extra, like, 5 minutes. I always slept just fine anyway because real life nukes were so scary, and winning a nuclear war so impossible, that I thought there was a higher chance that I would get hit by a streetcar than die in a nuclear war.

    • Thanks: Humbert Humbert
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    , @Muggles
  22. SafeNow says:

    I think humans are wired to give great attention to specific examples and previous events. (A caveman survives who remembers that a previous caveman came to harm when he entered a certain area.) For example, take what I will call “The power of a medical anecdote.” Uncle Fred tried treatment X and what do you know, it failed. We are now considering treatment X for ourselves We can think broadly, reading journal articles about treatment X and analyzing outcomes of the subgroups. But we have to strongly resist the temptation to absurdly give great attention to the single ancdotal example of uncle Fred. When there’s a military crisis that has been previously war-gamed, the war game is uncle Fred.

  23. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    I recall you were one of the folks on an earlier post promoting political violence.

    I remind all others: Fed, or idiot.

    Carry on.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
  24. Dr. X says:

    The difference between the clowns of today and the leadership of the 1980s was that Cap Weinberger, et al. were sufficiently intelligent and introspective enough to test their own plans by war-gaming, and modify those plans when they failed.

    Today’s jackasses are so stupid and so arrogant that only seven months after the humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan, they want regime change and proxy war with nuclear-armed Russia.

    But by God, they sure celebrated Pride Month at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul two months before the withdrawal… that’ll really show Putin how tough ‘Murica really is, won’t it?

  25. @Wilkey

    Wilkey, President Reagan was called “Ronnie Ray Gun” by the left back in the day. After a few years of his cajoling Congress into building up the military and pushing the bluff (at the time) of the Star Wars anti-ICBM system, the Cold War was won. Did anyone on the left ever admit he had been full of it? Nope. Never happens.

    Piltdown Man, thank you for the Morning Dew. That one was written by Canadian Folk singer/songwriter Bonnie Dobson back in 1962, 3 years before The Dead was The Dead.

    • Thanks: The Anti-Gnostic
    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
  26. Mr. Anon says:

    C’mon man, what are you? A Russian stooge? What’s the weather like in Moscow right now, comrade?

    Talking about the dangers of nuclear war? That’s Russkie-talk – a Putin talking point.

    Don’t think about what might happen! We’re trying to defend democracy here. Voldemort Zelensky* is the warmest, bravest, kindest, most wonderful human being we have all ever known.

    So why don’t you get with the program and come on in for the big win!

    *By the way, President Elensky now wants to ban the letter “Z”.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/german-states-outlaw-letter-z-displays-ukraine-asks-world-criminalize

    So no more fascist movies, like this one:

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065234/

    • LOL: J.Ross
    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  27. What of our precious bodily fluids?

    • LOL: p38ace
    • Replies: @Abe
    , @Mr. Anon
    , @Prester John
  28. Sean says:

    The US was going to blow its own brains out to save Europe? Britain has US supported nukes because ‘The threat of an incredible action is not a credible deterrent’, and America going nuclear over Europe was never really going to happen outside games. Enoch Powell’s argument was assuming the Soviets had attacked, and done as well as was ostensibly believed by Nato, the US would have initiated the use of nuclear weapons and ascended a ladder of escalation (lower rungs of which would have destroyed Germany) all the way to strategic nuclear exchange?; not a chance. Indeed we now from Kissinger that when brought in to give Ronald Reagan the nuclear weapons talk he advised Reagan never to initiate the use of nuclear weapons in a conflict. No first use, end of story. The reason is perfectly obvious, as Powell noted a completely successful conquest of Europe by the Soviets would be the begining for them of a global war against the the greatest industrial and economic power in the world and that was a war America would be the only winner in.

    An article in a journal is not doctrine, and even if it were, what the Russian military thinks is of little interest because their status is deliberately kept low and they do not take decisions. If you read Kamel Galeev in Russia the military are regarded with suspicion by a regime that sees them as to be kept firmly under the thumb of the rest of society. In multiple cases, the Russian mafia were demanding and getting protection money from Russian soldiers including NCOs and officers, especially ones who have seen action in Syria because they get extra payments. Even some of the special troops that are in charge of guarding nuclear weapons were found to be paying protection money to the Russian mafia. The police would not be of much help because of this official attitude to the army. Russian leaders become especially suspicious of combat-experienced armies because by virtue of being compelled to operate effectively in real action they adopt quick practical methods of command and control rather than the extremely procedurality enforced on the every aspect of the Russian army. A Patton-style commander is the Russian government leadership’s worse nightmare because he could get his men to obey orders to stage a coup d’etat. So after theUkraine war is over all those formations most engaged will be broken up and and commanders, even or particularly the best ones, can expect to see their careers stall, be dismissed or even jailed or shot on some pretext. Russia keeping their Army’s status low and enforcing a combat leadership phobia is an anti military coup feature rather than a bug.

    Nikita Khrushchev was actually there in WW2 and at the top level. When the West Germans were given a little bit of a finger on the nuclear trigger, Khrushchev was terrified; he was privately panicking about the West German tanks being at the gates of Moscow within a few weeks. I read of a German general who said back at the peak of Soviet power in the early 8o’s that clodhopping Russian peasants would need far more that the 5:1 superiority that they actually did have to defeat Nato. Another objection was the north German plain had become so urbanized and the supply column ‘tail’ would be so huge that an offensive would end up in a huge traffic jam. Mearsheimer published a similar opinion back then: that the Warsaw Pact would find it all but impossible to roll into Western Europe.

    Before the Ukraine invasion an official Nato game concluded that Russia could overrun all of Poland within a few days. What we were told about the Russian forces by the acknowledged experts on them has been shown to be seventy years of ever wilder speculation being taken as proven fact, and that is the charitable explanation. The Germans were never worried enough to build a gigantic tank force they just relied on the US for the defense of Europe, oerhaps because the US was doing it virtually free of charge? . Nato now has 4:1 in conventional forces against Russia,

    https://bostonreview.net/articles/nato-and-the-road-not-taken/
    This call to station even more American troops and armaments in Europe is curious considering that European countries’ combined GDP (\$15.3 trillion) is more than ten times Russia’s (\$1.5 trillion). Moreover, Europe boasts world-class tech companies and many top-grade defense industries—in short, ample wherewithal for self-defense. What Europe lacks is political will, and that owes to the iron-clad U.S. defense guarantee that endures even thirty years after the Cold War. The watchword in Washington remains that the United States must maintain its status, as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright put it, as “the indispensable nation.” Part of that role involves serving as the protector par excellence for European countries that recovered from the ravages of World War II decades ago to become competitors of the United States in the global marketplace.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  29. @Wilkey

    The funny thing is that the Republican presidents the Left presented as the most jingoistic – Reagan and Trump – never even tried to start a real war.

    The anti-nuclear (energy) crowd was in a pickle. The top four presidential candidates supported atomic energy. But only Reagan and Libertarian Ed Clark opposed subsidizing it, with Carter (a nuclear engineer) and John Anderson (a Swede, after the French the most pro-nuke ethnicity) gung-ho for it.

    They were stuck with fifth-place Barry Commoner. Who garnered a quarter of Clark’s fourth-place vote.

  30. rexl says:

    Why does “redacted” mean you cannot read the darn thing? It’s the Freedom of Information Act, not the “you cannot read the f–cking thing Act. Get Real.

  31. Kronos says:

    The anti-nuclear (energy) crowd was in a pickle.

    Were they pretty much all stooges for the oil industry?

  32. newrouter says:

    “Macgregor overlays the economic battle both domestically and geopolitically with the currency war and talks about economic repercussions for the U.S., NATO countries, Ukraine and Russia. As noted by Macgregor when the Biden administration turned favorably toward Iran the Saudis immediately realized it was in their best interest to withdraw strategic support for the U.S.”

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2022/03/29/col-douglas-macgregor-gives-his-updated-opinion-on-current-status-of-ukraine-russia-conflict/

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  33. Anonymous[386] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rob

    Many foreign policy crises ago I saw the Sidney Lumet flick “Fail-Safe” which is like the Salieri to Kubrick’s Mozart (also credit to Terry Southern there of course). Spoiler, at the end POTUS nukes Manhattan in order to “de-escalate” things. Even as a kid I thought this was total bunk. Probably the real-life version would have some bribes, well, every bribe really, to make up for Moscow’s recent renovations. I don’t think MAD has ever been in the same universe of how actual people react to any dire situation. It seems so autistic and of its techno-worshiping time (see also Kubrick’s “2001”), definitely overdue for a re-appraisal now that we have realized academia has no commitment to rationality, manners, basic decency and so forth.

    • Replies: @Wilkey
  34. @Sean

    … he was privately panicking about the West German tanks being at the gates of Moscow within a few weeks.

    Khrushchev didn’t panic when German tanks were at the gates of Kiev, Kursk, and Stalingrad. Perhaps the opposite in WWII.

    That was memorably (and likely fictionally) depicted on film, by the late Bob Hoskins.

    • Replies: @Sean
  35. Cato says:
    @Wilkey

    The funny thing is that the Republican presidents the Left presented as the most jingoistic – Reagan and Trump – never even tried to start a real war.

    Reagan facilitated a bloodbath in Central America.

    • LOL: Coemgen
    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @anon
  36. Proud Prophet

    Do you think the West could, for once, have a decent codename for its wargames?

    These “games” are supposed to represent people killing and being killed, yet I cannot recall ever hearing a single codename for them that did not invite immediate ridicule (Proud Prophet, Able Archer, etc.)

    How about “Groin Kick” for the next outbreak of make-believe?

    • Replies: @Abe
  37. @Achmed E. Newman

    Piltdown Man, thank you for the Morning Dew.

    AEN, here’s a killer nuclear ‘morning’ song:

    [MORE]

    Quite Unusual

    The sun went down, the ground started sort of… grinding
    A blinding lightning tore the sky
    A cyclone swept the landscape out and left it
    Completely flattened out
    And several twirls of smoke unfolded like gigantic… flowers

    The way the morning broke was quite unusual (x4)

    I should have woken up at once
    But this was no concern of mine
    So I kept on dreaming
    My eyes roamed over the burning ruins

    In less time than it takes to tell (x3)

    And I felt like
    And I felt like being numbed, I felt like… mesmerized

    And I felt like
    And I felt like
    And I felt like being numbed, I felt like… mesmerized

    The way the morning broke was quite unusual
    (More than words can say)

    In less time than it takes to tell

    • Replies: @anon
  38. Schelling also did this per Wiki:

    Micromotives and Macrobehavior (1978)

    Schelling published articles dealing with racial dynamics and what he termed “a general theory of tipping.” In these papers he showed that a preference that one’s neighbors be of the same color, or even a preference for a mixture “up to some limit,” could lead to total segregation, thus arguing that motives, malicious or not, were indistinguishable as to explaining the phenomenon of complete local separation of distinct groups. He used coins on graph paper to demonstrate his theory by placing pennies and dimes in different patterns on the “board” and then moving them one by one if they were in an “unhappy” situation.

    White Flight. This would support the idea that only forced integration by the government is keeping segregation from happening.

    • Thanks: Gordo
  39. Abe says:
    @Bardon Kaldlan

    What of our precious bodily fluids?

    In 2022 advanced particle physicists finally announced a solution to the Fermi Paradox. “For every intelligent species it is inevitable that, upon discovering nuclear energy, it is only a matter of time until they then invent Twitter.”

  40. the only winning move is not to play

  41. Abe says:
    @Captain B.

    Do you think the West could, for once, have a decent codename for its wargames?.. (Proud Prophet, Able Archer, etc.)

    The codename for the operation to use nuclear weapons to stave off a humiliating defeat in Vietnam was Fracture Jaw- which is somehow apt, as it conjures up an image of some darn fool stubbing his toe and then instead of calmly and dignifiedly soaking up the injury, instead flailing around like an idiot until he self-inflicts a much greater one.

  42. @Rob

    The side that advances first can conquer the world while the other side avoids escalating. That’s no good! So, at any stage of escalation, we have to escalate!

    It’s funny you should say that, because this is a pretty accurate summation of the Soviet philosophy of nuclear war (or at least how it was explained to me).

    Think of tactical nukes as cream pies and ICBMs as axes. The Western outlook was largely, “Well, I should hit you with the cream pie, first, then use my axe if you don’t stop.” However, the Soviet outlook was always, “If I do not use my axe, right now, how do I know you will not use yours before I use mine?”

    Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. However, when viewed in the above terms, the Soviet way of thinking makes more sense (even if it does mean the end of the world).

  43. duncsbaby says:
    @Anon7

    Yes, he was interesting. I don’t think we’ll get too many UC – Berkeley graduates like him again. His family was majorly pozzed though:

    Schelling’s family auctioned his Nobel award medal, fetching \$187,000. They donated this money to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that fights hate, bigotry, and advocates for civil rights through litigation.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Schelling#Honors_and_awards

  44. Anonymous[542] • Disclaimer says:
    @J.Ross

    Republicans are facing real proof that a massive crime was committed and that action must be taken.

    It will be ignored like WTC7, unless TPTB decide they can’t risk Biden and don’t like Harris. I think. Can they even change president at this stage?

    BTW Steve, you may have whiffed a few recently but this one is in the stands. Well done. I feel like no one realizes just how “shit” the world would be with even a European theater armageddon. It’s like COVID… sounds pretty cool, like a movie, until you live it for a couple of years and all the extra work it requires. Markets, devastated. Supply chains. What does China do? All sorts of questions.

    People need to watch The War Game, Threads, and other such movies. Nausicaa, which I didn’t realize came before the end of the Cold War, but now I realize it, is a metaphor for nukes. Also Akira. A lot of nuclear-realism from Japan. Watch Nausicaa if you can before the below, don’t wish to ruin it. But we are now a people who have kind of forgotten the nuclear threat, as that movie portends.

    Yes, “I am become death, destroyer of worlds” secretly sounds cool. Watching Trinity and Beyond is cool too. But the reality is going to suck. Big time. In all sorts of unpredictable ways.

  45. Moses says:
    @J.Ross

    Lol we’re beyond any report proving massive election fraud mattering. It just doesn’t matter.

    The MSM and GOP cucks (most of the GOP) will ignore it. Normies will never hear about it or believe it’s a nutty “conspiracy theory.” Nothing will happen, just like nothing is happening to “intelligence comminity” hacks who lied publicly about Hunter’s laptop.

    If you want to see the future, envision a leftist bluehair/poc boot stomping on a White face…forever.

    It’s over.

    • Agree: Thea
    • Replies: @J.Ross
  46. Dumbo says:

    America is nominally governed by a senile old man elected by fraud who has to read from note cards to make any sense and needs to be manhandled so that he doesn’t sniff some small girl’s hair. No wonder so many there hate Putin, who is a normal man.

    “Proud Prophet”? The names of the CIA psyop “games” are almost as stupid as the games themselves. What was the name for the Covid one? Oh yes, Warp Speed. LOL.

  47. War games, like any model, are at best “garbage in, garbage out.” And if the logical model itself is flawed to begin with, then it’s “anything in, garbage out.”

    Here, however, nothing is disclosed about the model itself – e.g., the information available to both sides, the alternatives choices available to both sides, or how “winning” was defined for both sides. Without all that, the alleged outcome of a 1983 game isn’t really worth anything.

    It would, however, be intetesting to replay such games with modern computer technology like machine learning and Monte Carlo statistical analysis. If applied to all the potential rule variations, and run thousands of times for each assumption, the results might shed some light on what variables or informational asymetries are most likely to lead to Armageddon. (OTOH, one side or the other might interpret the results as disclosing a viable strategy for “winning” a nuclear exchange, and thereby be emboldened to give it a go.)

    • Replies: @Muggles
  48. @J.Ross

    Kramer: “Now I’M drivin’ the worm”

    Hahaha, I totally heard it through their voices. Thanks.

  49. Wilkey says:
    @Anonymous

    Spoiler, at the end POTUS nukes Manhattan in order to “de-escalate” things. Even as a kid I thought this was total bunk. Probably the real-life version would have some bribes, well, every bribe really, to make up for Moscow’s recent renovations.

    Have never seen the movie but I remember reading the book in 9th grade. I actually remember picking it up off my grandfather’s bookshelf. At that age I didn’t give much thought to the plausibility of the ending, but I suspect that in reality the president wouldn’t nuke Manhattan. He would probably nuke Charlotte, or Jacksonville, or Houston or even Salt Lake City (if it weren’t upwind of the rest of the United States). But there is absolutely no way in hell he would nuke Manhattan. People in Manhattan are important.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  50. Two things are true:

    1) Atomic/hydrogen bombs have been overrated and hyped for 3/4 of a century now. The destruction they will do outside a paper-wall Hiroshima environment is less than the old photos show.

    2) A nuclear exchange would throw all of us back to Middle Eastern Arab -slash- Stone Age existence for a while, because it would break the supply chain and really cause actual workers not to work.

    These two facts yield the following conclusion: Nuclear bombs aren’t quite as extinction-producing as people think, but still, their use on anything but a small scale would make our lives miserable for a long time, so lets’ not use them, okay?

    As long as groceries are in store,
    And my dollars still buy more

    As long as I have my hands and feet,
    And my wife still looks sweet

    I will go about my life,
    And I won’t care about your damned war.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    , @Right_On
  51. @Wilkey

    ‘The book Red Storm Rising, by the late Tom Clancy, seemed to lay out a perfectly conceivable scenario for how World War III might have actually played out. In real life, when push comes to shove, no one is going to want to start a nuclear war – not even most Russian leaders.

    ‘Russia today, unlike the USSR of yesteryear, is not run by corrupt bureaucrats but by corrupt capitalists, who are even less supportive of going nuclear than the bureaucrats would have been. I guess that’s one thing in capitalisms favor: capitalists are more interested in getting filthy rich than in obtaining glory by sending millions of men to their deaths. Even if Putin himself doesn’t mind going nuclear, there are lots and lots of people around him telling him not to – including the ones who keep him in power…’

    The difficulty with your arguments is that they also tend to explain why the First World War didn’t happen.

    People get caught up in processes where they find themselves all but involuntarily forced to take successive steps that add up to catastrophe.

    • Agree: Paul Jolliffe
    • Replies: @SIMP simp
    , @Paul Jolliffe
  52. @newrouter

    when the Biden administration turned favorably toward Iran the Saudis immediately realized it was in their best interest to withdraw strategic support for the U.S.”

    Duh, right? It’s almost like Trump knew what he was doing in currying favor with the world’s largest (actually, only) swing producer of energy. But the lack of mean tweats over the last year has totally been worth it!

  53. @Rob

    ‘…Oh, the 5 year (so far) near-constant demonization of Putin does not help, either. Maybe it does not matter. The Jews running the country (into the ground) don’t need a propaganda campaign to hate Russia. Can Biden get away with letting Putin have even a partial win?’

    If so, that’s a pity, because all the scenarios I see for this having a palatable outcome involve letting Putin have a partial victory.

    …but then how will the Biden administration distract us from their domestic policies?

  54. @SimplePseudonymicHandle

    I remind all others: Fed, or idiot.

    We know, we know, but enough about you! sheesh

    I recall you were one of the folks on an earlier post promoting political violence.

    This is the exchange (#85, a short fisking) you whined about, originally calling me “a Fed. Or an idiot.” Your transparent trickster FUD text is in bold:

    Someone who verbally or behaviorally ideates violence:

    You’re confused. You conflate impotent threats of violence with willingness to do actual violence. Actual violence often works. Ask Kyle Rittenhouse.

    Full non-violence people.

    For those desiring to end up in cattle cars, sure, that’s good advice.

    I guess you’re not keen on self-defense, at least for some people, if you’re clucking at Kyle Rittenhouse for committing “political violence”. What’s your game, SimplePseud? 😐

    • Agree: PhysicistDave, bomag
  55. @aNewBanner

    ‘…Worse, his replacement is an even bigger non-entity with less control over USG and a tendency to repeat meaningless, vague drivel that could be interrupted multiple ways. Better the direct crazy jerk without credibility than the rambling affirmative action hire. (Frankly though, I’m not really sure if any of the potential Presidential successors inspire anything in me aside from loathing or questions about who these people are.)’

    I’ve come to the conclusion that we just have to work through them; get rid of them one at a time. Biden, then Harris, then Pelosi…who’s after that?

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    , @Jim Don Bob
  56. Mr. Anon says:
    @Bardon Kaldlan

    What of our precious bodily fluids?

    Haven’t you been paying attention the last two years? Our bodily fluids are no longer precious. Human beings are icky, germy disease-vectors – walking sacks of contagion and death. We must be isolated from one another, swathed in gloves and masks, and kept behind plastic barriers. The high-priests scientists have told us. It is the will of science.

  57. J.Ross says:
    @Moses

    Biden is objectively massively worse than Trump not only in every way but in those specific ways in which he was supposed to be better, including stairs. I think it’s possible that the theft was allowed in the belief that we could have normality with one cheat. Now everything’s on fire, including the Democrats’ chances in the midterms, unless they can have one more cheat.

    • Replies: @Moses
  58. David M says:

    Both sides have to believe in MAD for the deterrence to work. This guy makes a compelling case that the Russians don’t necessarily buy it, and have been investing in their nuclear forces as an asymmetric counter to the US. The video is posted on some prepper website I’ve never heard of, so I almost ignored it, but it’s actually a really eye-opening video.

  59. J.Ross says:
    @Cato

    Not the same thing, plus if the Communists take over a place, the first thing they do is a blood bath (witness effectively uncontested Dan Ortega in Nicaragua a few years back order state-riots to silence protesters, and more recently sentence people who attempted to run against him in sham elections).

  60. Deep in another thread, I posted the fact that Newsweek has run a story stating that the US Defense Intelligence Agency and other military sources believe that the claim that Russia is systematically targeting civilians is a lie.

    This is crucial, because this is a major basis for the Western virtue-signalling in support of the Kiev regime and for dragging the US further into the war.

    The good news here is that the Deep State is not monolithic: the Pentagon are the guys who will have to fight (and die) if the US gets pulled into this mess. Evidently, they decided it was time to shoot down some of the lies rather than actually shooting at the Russians.

    From a source in the Defense Intelligence Agency:

    “The destruction is massive,” a senior analyst working at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) tells Newsweek, “especially when compared with what Europeans and Americans are used to seeing.”

    But, the analyst says, the damage associated with a contested ground war involving peer opponents shouldn’t blind people to what is really happening. (The analyst requested anonymity in order to speak about classified matters.) “The heart of Kyiv has barely been touched. And almost all of the long-range strikes have been aimed at military targets.”

    “I know it’s hard … to swallow that the carnage and destruction could be much worse than it is,” says the DIA analyst. “But that’s what the facts show. This suggests to me, at least, that Putin is not intentionally attacking civilians, that perhaps he is mindful that he needs to limit damage in order to leave an out for negotiations.”

    “I know that the news keeps repeating that Putin is targeting civilians, but there is no evidence that Russia is intentionally doing so,” says the DIA analyst. “In fact, I’d say that Russian could be killing thousands more civilians if it wanted to.”

    And from a retired US Air Force officer:

    “We need to understand Russia’s actual conduct,” says a retired Air Force officer, a lawyer by training who has been involved in approving targets for U.S. fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. The officer currently works as an analyst with a large military contractor advising the Pentagon and was granted anonymity in order to speak candidly.

    “If we merely convince ourselves that Russia is bombing indiscriminately, or [that] it is failing to inflict more harm because its personnel are not up to the task or because it is technically inept, then we are not seeing the real conflict.”

    “They’ve been signaling,” the retired officer says. “Western airfields [at Lutsk, L’viv, and Ivano-Frankivsk] were hit because they were the most likely steppingstones for donated fighter aircraft coming in from Poland and eastern European countries. When those targets were prepped,” he adds, “there was also talk of a western no-fly zone where those [western] airfields might have been essential.

    “And the so-called peacekeeper training ground [in Yaroviv] was hit because it was the place where the ‘international legion’ was to have trained,” the officer says. “Moscow even announced that.”

    My personal anecdotal experience, as well as what I have seen in the media, is that guys who have actually seen combat tend to be much saner than all of the chickenhawk armchair warriors.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Thanks: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @Paperback Writer
  61. @Buzz Mohawk

    Buzz Mohawk wrote:

    A nuclear exchange would throw all of us back to Middle Eastern Arab -slash- Stone Age existence for a while, because it would break the supply chain and really cause actual workers not to work.

    These two facts yield the following conclusion: Nuclear bombs aren’t quite as extinction-producing as people think, but still, their use on anything but a small scale would make our lives miserable for a long time, so lets’ not use them, okay?

    Yeah. There was a lot of talk back in the 1980s about a “nuclear winter”: the scientific consensus eventually became that, no, a massive nuclear exchange would not destroy the biosphere.

    There has been a lot of war-gaming on this. And we know what happened in Horishima and Nagasaki the hottest isotopes die out fairly fast in terms of fallout.

    With a little bit of luck, it might not be any worse than WW II: i.e., the US ends up like Japan was in 1945. So, in a few decades, life is back to normal — for the people who survived.

    With less luck, well, my guess is it knocks us back to, maybe, 1700. The initial problem, after the immediate destruction, is that none of us actually knows how to live in 1700. Afghanistan might do better than Belgium The knowledge for an industrial civilization would still exist… but it would take a while.

    And quite a few of us posting here and the people we care about would die.

  62. Caspar the Friendly Republican ended up as Secretary of Defense not because of any particular military expertise, but because it was a promotion from his previous political appointments

    • California Republican State Chairman 62-64 [Nixon was candidate for CA governor]
    • Federal Trade Commission Chairman 69-70 [Nixon]
    • Office of Management and Budget Chairman 72-73 [Nixon]
    • Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare 73-75 [Nixon/Ford]
    • Secretary of Defense 81-87 [Reagan]

    Caspar was pardoned by Bush 41 on December 24, 1992, less than four weeks before he left office. As an aside, Bush only issued 77 pardons, the least for any president who completed a term since John Adams.

    It is unclear what Caspar did for a living during the Carter administration, but he worked for Forbes during the Bush 41 and Clinton administrations.

    • Replies: @Anon
  63. @Mr. Anon

    Hm.

    What would Zorro do?

    And lots of things are banned in Germany. They never had an American style free speech.

    Interesting, the only time I ever saw a large swastika was painted on a house visible from a train I took in Germany. Very illegal.

    Maybe we get fewer Nazi symbols in the US because they are NOT banned, and don’t have the allure of the forbidden.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Mr. Anon
    , @Anonymous
  64. @PhysicistDave

    The population of the world was about half a billion back in 1700. It is about 8 billion now.

    So yes, many people would die if we were technologically thrown back to 1700. Especially since modern industrial countries don’t know how to survive, as you pointed out. The population of the earth may even fall below half a billion.

    I think the Amish, survivalists, hippie farmers and the like would do best in the US. The vast majority of the rest of us would die.

    The billionaires and other oligarchs have planned out ways to survive. Look up billionaire bunkers in New Zealand for example.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @Wilkey
  65. bro3886 says:

    Partially leaked, uh huh. Translation: give us more money.

  66. @Alfa158

    I always slept just fine anyway because real life nukes were so scary, and winning a nuclear war so impossible, that I thought there was a higher chance that I would get hit by a streetcar than die in a nuclear war.

    It is not easy to draw a conclusion from what you experienced. What we can say is that this system did work. And it did not drive you – as one of its operators – nuts. The risk is there. The benefits too. I am greatful for your work, even though it did scare me, because it scared everybody enough to make the positive outcome possible.

    The scary material realisation of the principles of reason and rationality under the premise that world dominance by military power should be impossible. – Is that as good as it possibly can get?

  67. Gordo says:
    @J.Ross

    Coventry and Minsk both got nuked from memory.

    Lets hope no-one else has read it as those would be suitable targets for hitting the main ally.

  68. @Wilkey

    AHEM. The JFK president nukes Manhattan, where his wife is visiting. Knowing what we now know, maybe the President would have made that trade.

    • LOL: Wilkey
  69. J.Ross says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    And Danzig Baldaev, in his Encyclopedia of Russian Criminal Tattoos, does not pretend that Nazi imagery represents Hitlerism; he explains the frequent iterations as stubborn contrarianism, since Nazism is the Soviet and Russian equivalent of the 19th century conception of the Devil.

  70. mmack says:
    @Redneck farmer

    As I posted at another site:

    “But then again I’m old enough to remember the cries and snark of his opponents that a doddering old fool of a President shouldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes and that he’d start WW3 and get us all nuked.

    Good times, good times. Maybe I should stream “The Day After” to get myself in the mood of the times.

    P.S. Anybody seen Code Pink lately?”

    Boy, when it’s a Republican President wanting to go to war or talking tough to a rival nation The Left is up in arms and marching in the street. President Puddinhead wants to get us fighting in Ukraine? Crickets 🦗.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  71. anon[266] • Disclaimer says:
    @Cato

    Reagan facilitated a bloodbath in Central America.

    a backyard BBQ.

  72. anon[266] • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Are you able to follow the Red Team?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  73. Sean says:
    @PiltdownMan

    When the Nazis were at the gates of Moscow Stalin had hundreds of his army’s commanders shot–along with their families. The Soviet Union had powerfully allies against Germany in WW2. Russian WW2 logistics?; they got 400,000 trucks from the US. Fighting Germany one on one would be a very different kettle of fish, and Khrushchev knew it. One of the main grounds for Khrushchev being deposed as leader was an apparent offer he made (using his son in la as emissary) to unite Germany if it was neutral. The Cuba crisis was all about Germany and the plan to give them some sort of say in Nato nukes. Khrushchev was a bit like Putin inasmuch both were fearful of Russian fragility in the face of the West and embarked on a risky gambit to break out of what they saw as a trap closing on Russia

    Nuclear weapons are a deterrent to nuclear war. But neither side in the Cold War acted as if they really believed the threat of an incredible thermonuclear act was going to be a credible deterrent against a conventional offensive. Hence the fortune spent of all those tanks by both sides.

  74. Brutusale says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Nah, if I’m going all science fiction on the subject, I’m sending in the Pak Protectors. They get stuff DONE.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pak_Protector

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
  75. @Reg Cæsar

    Greenwald’s follow-up tweet is good too.

    Horseshoe Theory validated. Again.

    • Agree: Hunsdon
  76. Perhaps whoever is running this thing of ours ought to give the original (unredacted) report another look eh?

  77. SIMP simp says:
    @Colin Wright

    The people who started WW1 didn’t know that it will be so long and bloody as they expected a war of movement, not trench warfare. On the other hand those who started WW2 knew exactly that millions will die and that didn’t stop them.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  78. @Wilkey

    In October of 1962 the whole house of cards nearly came crashing down, but for a decision to withhold fire by a mid-level Russian naval officer who was the commander of a sub fleet located near Cuba that was equipped with nuclear tipped, Polaris-like missiles. A nobody quite possibly may have averted Armaggedon–not the big shots sitting on their asses in Washington and Moscow who, at that point, were all well in over their heads. The mind reels at the thought.

  79. SIMP simp says:

    Schelling was a too refined intelectual to accurately simulate communist thought process. Soviet plans for WW3 called for the use of tactical nukes on all german cities and NATO force concentrations while soviet armor made its way in the open spaces between them.
    Westerners thought that the death of millions was unacceptable but both the soviets and the chinese communists killed tens of millions of their own citizens for no good reason.

    • Replies: @utu
  80. How things are so very different now and in reality:

    I don’t know how things actually were back then in the USSR, but rather than taking Hamburg in a week, Russia is completely unable to take Kharkiv which is on their very border. And that’s even without NATO firing a single shot.

    Furthermore, Russia would have fewer troops available to allocate to task, as they would need considerable forces maintained in their South and Far East in order to at least pretend to be able to put up a defence.

    Really, all they have is nukes, which does guarantee their territorial integrity, and then they have a slapdash army only useful for bullying their much smaller neighbours. They do not have a conventional capability that could hope to stand up to an organisation like NATO. I assume it would go like the Second Gulf War, but with Russia playing the Iraqis. Meanwhile, NATO forces would be far bigger, better supplied and resourced than the “coalition of the willing.”

  81. Thea says:
    @J.Ross

    Democracy: the God that Failed by Hans Hermann Hoff

    It doesn’t matter. Even if there was no voter fraud and the people’s voice was heard. We’d still have this awful lot in power.

    My people , right or wrong, even if we are in the minority or voters in reality. Even if we have lower iq than some.

  82. Mr. Anon says:
    @mmack

    “But then again I’m old enough to remember the cries and snark of his opponents that a doddering old fool of a President shouldn’t be trusted with the nuclear codes and that he’d start WW3 and get us all nuked.

    Good point. 60 and 70 year old liberals now seem to believe the exact opposite of everything they believed 40 years ago. Senile old saber-rattlers are okay. The CIA and the Military Industrial Complex are trustworthy and can do no wrong. Big corporations and billionaires have our best interests at heart.

  83. @Colin Wright

    President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis was acutely aware of that very phenomenon in part because, as a young ensign in the Navy in WWII, he saw it firsthand.
    But he also knew of it because he (like millions of other Americans in 1962) had recently read Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August”, and he was smart enough to take its lessons to heart.

    Imagine that – we once had presidents who read history, and therefore valued cautious, calm, detached judgment!

    https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2012/septemberoctober/feature/the-dramatist

  84. nebulafox says:
    @PhysicistDave

    I’m more concerned about biological warfare in an age of such global interconnectedness. Can you imagine what COVID would have been like if it were Y. Pestis instead? And our ruling bureaucracies have given us no indication that their handling of the pandemic would be anything but a disaster, so every man for himself.

    The reason bubonic plague exploded in the 6th Century was partly because of all the connections built by the civilizations of the day. This had massive consequences in ways not often brought up. For example, I’m sure you can guess that the fact that the Arabs out in the desert were a lot less impacted by rats than the settled societies of Rome and Persia was… relevant in what was to come.

  85. @Wilkey

    The book Red Storm Rising, by the late Tom Clancy, seemed to lay out a perfectly conceivable scenario for how World War III might have actually played out. In real life, when push comes to shove, no one is going to want to start a nuclear war – not even most Russian leaders.

    Exactly.

    If this “Proud Prophet” ended up with destroying Russia and America because the US destroys a Soviet tank attack with tactical nuclear weapons instead of with F-16s and missiles, then “genius” is not the right word for any of these people. (Not even to mention the US air superiority would have devasted any Soviet tank attack in 1986.)

    The professional chicken littles–and autistics and red-tinged “peace”niks, and defense industry grubbing for more conventional arms \$\$\$–have been waving their hands back ‘n’ forth in the air forever about how dangerous dangerous dangerous mutually assured destruction is.

    In fact, it is the most great-power war suppressive scenario we’ve been in. Because of the “mutual” part and the “destruction” part. It’s great. It’s made the world massively safer from great power conflict.

    Witness that we aren’t actually throwing a no-fly zone around Ukraine to “teach Putin a lesson” or something a la 1914.

  86. Wilkey says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    We barely survived The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020. I don’t want to know what a real crisis would look like.

    One of the crappiest tv shows to come out of the pandemic was an HBO show called “Station Eleven.” In it a bunch of post-apocalyptic actors wander around the Great Lakes area performing music and Shakespeare plays in exchange for food and sustenance, with their Instagram/Facebook era attitudes and sensibilities fully intact, and with never an acknowledgment of the real material struggle people would be facing in the aftermath of a genuine civilizational meltdown. It may literally be the dumbest television show ever made, and yet somehow it managed to get a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  87. Drakejax says:

    Our deep state consists of a lot of pampered chickenhawks who have never even been in a schoolyard fight. They thus come up with such silliness as gradual escalation. After the Cold War ended, the Poles revealed the Warsaw Pact’s plan, which was to use nukes on day one since they knew that the war would ultimately end with them being used anyways.

  88. Moses says:
    @J.Ross

    Now everything’s on fire, including the Democrats’ chances in the midterms, unless they can have one more cheat.

    Are you kidding me? Now that the Dems have confirmed they can cheat with impunity we’ll see nothing but cheating.

    Elections are over, a charade. The statistics of the 2020 election were impossible. The fraud was clear, yet no one cared. Nothing was done. Dems effectively cowed anyone talking about it as “against democracy” or something. Everyone was scared.

    I see America degenerating into a Communist-like system of government now. Already there. And by “Communist-like” I mean shadowy power cliques within gubmint that compete with each other for power, but less transparent. Banana Republic also will do. Ballot boxes stuffed, fraud and lying and cheating rampant.

    Not just voting. Intelligence agencies clearly are out of control Same for judiciary and politically-based law enforcement. It’s all political now.

    “A republic, if you can keep it.”

    We couldn’t keep it.

    • Agree: bomag
  89. slumber_j says:
    @Anon7

    I took Thomas Schelling’s introductory course on game theory as an undergraduate and enjoyed it immensely. In his mental universe pretty much everything ended up structured as a game as far as I could tell: what to order at a restaurant, to whom to direct and how to structure charitable giving, how to figuratively lash yourself to the mast to give up smoking, how to keep a racially integrated neighborhood from tipping one way or another–and of course the evergreen topic of nuclear war.

    In that super-unhip Kennedy-Administration wardrobe and brush cut of his, he was just about the most entertaining lecturer ever; as inventor of the Washington-Moscow hotline, Schelling had come by his look honestly.

  90. Hey, we got the Small Diameter Bomb to do battle against mass attacks today.

  91. Colin Powell once said that our nuclear weapons would never be used. Implying, that we will never launch an intentional nuclear sneak attack, and no one will ever launch an intentional nuclear sneak attack on us (since then our nukes would be used in response). The problem is that although the chances of nukes being used in some large scale sneak attack is almost comfortably tiny, the chances of a nuclear armageddon resulting purely by accident (say, equipment failure), or by events quickly and irrationally spiraling out of control, or even by some freaks or terrorists somehow getting nuclear missiles launched is many, many times greater.

    Unfortunately, although the probability of a sneak attack is tiny, our nuclear defense system (and presumably Russia’s and China’s) is largely and dangerously designed and focused on reacting to the tiny chance of there being a sneak attack. However, by focusing our efforts on defending against a sneak attack, we design our nuclear defense systems with hair trigger alerts. And these hair trigger alerts astronomically increase the chances of an accidental or unwanted nuclear exchange.

    Also, we irrationally increase the chances of an unwanted nuclear exchange by placing nuclear capable missile bases around Russia. Since all these missiles do is escalate tension and decrease Russia’s available response time to react to some real or imaginary radar blip.

    Our goal should not be to threaten and then to eventually re-Yeltsinize Russia. Instead, it should be to reduce tension with Russia (and China) so that we can take these nukes off of their hair triggers. Ten thousand years of human progress may depend on it.

  92. Muggles says:
    @Alfa158

    In the mid 70s I attended a week long training session for new hires at one of the nation’s largest accounting firms. My roommate was someone who prior to college spent a couple of year long tours on 12 hour rotations in one of those SAC missile silos underground.

    I asked him this question: if your crew got the order, would you guys push the button and launch?

    Without hesitation he said yes.

    So those things will get launched if the orders are given and verified.

    Something I’ve never forgotten.

    About 25 years ago my wife and I were able to tour an actual decommissioned nuclear missile launch facility about 20 miles south of Tuscon AZ. It is (was) the real deal. No missile inside and once a year they have to open it up to prove to Russian satellites that it is empty.

    Very cool. You can sit at a launch control desk and actually push a button. First your crew mate has to also turn his key like you do. It is deep underground and rather spooky.

    This place still gives tours for a small fee; it is some sort of park. It is very near a major highway and is scarcely visible, other than a small building on top and some large tank structures. Cow graze right outside of the chain link fences.

    I asked why there aren’t any scary looking tall barbed wire fences, guard towers, machine gun nests, etc. surrounding it. The answer given was this:

    If needed an Air Force armed police unit via helicopter would be quickly dispatched. But the only way inside is an elevator from the topside blockhouse that can be shut down and is very heavily locked. Inside massive doors swing easily open or closed.

    “This place is designed to survive a direct nuclear hit and hold out for three weeks.”

    So they aren’t worried about invaders or top side infiltrators. Hence no real guards.

    They were (and elsewhere are) locked and loaded. And per my roommate, will launch on command.

    Sweet dreams…

  93. Hunsdon says:
    @Colin Wright

    Patrick Leahy? Jesus.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
  94. Muggles says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    It would, however, be interesting to replay such games with modern computer technology like machine learning and Monte Carlo statistical analysis.

    What make you think they don’t already do this?

    I imagine that the service academies and various military war colleges have done this for many years.

    Of course the results like any such computer model are determined by assumptions used, data fed in and variables selected.

    I am sure you would get a wide variety of outcomes depending on all of that.

    The same can be said of various economic models and investment simulations. So far the Brightest People in the Room haven’t gotten rich doing that. In the late 90s the brilliant Nobel Prize winning economists behind the highly technical trading of various foreign currency options (Long Term Capital Management) tried this and made money for a while. Then closed up after they lost about \$8 billion.

    “Human Action” as von Mises and others have argued, is not so easily crammed into or determined by mechanical models, no matter how fancy the math and programming is.

    Did anyone 20 years ago forecast correctly the last several years in our economy? 10 years ago? Two years ago? “Quants” as investors tend to do no better than others over time.

    Adding in nuclear weapons hardly makes modeling any more accurate.

  95. Brutusale says:
    @Hunsdon

    Cackles is the only one in the line of succession that still eats solid food.

  96. utu says:
    @SIMP simp

    Secret Russian plan for the attack against the West was to use nuclear weapons first on the day one and sending tanks through the cleared areas. Tanks had 5 cm anti-radiation lining to prolong survivability of tank crews when going through the ground. zero and rather thin side armor as there was no expectation that there would be any NATO soldiers left to shoot RPGs from the sides. For propaganda purpose Russians were claiming they had the “no first use” policy which was sensibly rejected by the US with correct assumption that it was just another Russia lie.

  97. Mike Tre says:
    @PhysicistDave

    ” The initial problem, after the immediate destruction, is that none of us actually knows how to live in 1700. ”

    Perhaps ironically, the ones who do – Quakers, Appalachians, and the like – are the ones who are often mocked by the rest of our coddled masses.

  98. In this game a half-billion people died from the initial salvos, and most of Europe, the United States, and Russia were destroyed because the secretary of [defense] [Casper Weinberger], and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff —both of whom were participants in the game—simply followed the strategy laid out in actual U.S. war plans.

    Thank goodness for those war plans then.

    If the best minds in America hadn’t put their vast knowledge to use to prescribe a course of action to follow should war break out, things could have gotten really ugly.

    (Seriously, I understand it’s all incredibly complex and everything, but you do sometimes wonder what the point of “experts” is if, for all their undoubted expertise, they’re still capable of screwing up as badly as a complete tyro. It’s hard to see how they could have done any worse following a magic eight ball.)

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  99. @Brutusale

    swollen joints, decreased muscle-fat ratio, weakening heart, invariant diet, decreasing height, facial atrophy, leathery skin, hair loss, lack of sex drive, and tooth loss

    Yikes! Can’t relate, sorry

  100. @Colin Wright

    I’ve come to the conclusion that we just have to work through them; get rid of them one at a time. Biden, then Harris, then Pelosi…who’s after that?

    IIRC, it goes to the Cabinet in order of their creation, so it’s either State or DoD.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  101. @PhysicistDave

    I posted that link twice, and the usual suspects mocked at it.

    I have less faith in the sanity of the Deep State than you do, PD.

    We’re beyond the peacemaking stage, I’m afraid. We’ve gone too far.

  102. I poasted this on another thread and no one bit.

    Kim Dot Com thinks that the old reasoning is well, old. because of Russia’s EMPs. He thinks they can disable us before any of this happens. It would be catastrophic.

    What do you guys think of this?

    Read it.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  103. J.Ross says:
    @Wilkey

    That is hilarious. “Surely NPR survives the bomb.”

  104. J.Ross says:
    @Paperback Writer

    This is absolutely terrifying and consistent with the strategic genius everyone has come to expect from Washington. However, Kim Dot Com has been wrong before, a lot. He’s been consistently wrong in his expectations of government behavior. Before Q was a thing Kim confidently asserted that the good guys were coming.

    • Replies: @Paperback Writer
  105. vinteuil says:
    @Redneck farmer

    Oh wait, we don’t have a Republican in the White House.

    It really does seem to be just that stupid.

    The blues just can’t wait to incinerate the world, so long as it humiliates all the reds.

  106. @anon

    Are you able to follow the Red Team?

    No.

    But give them credit for the most outrageous logo in professional sports:

    • Replies: @SIMP simp
  107. Anon[240] • Disclaimer says:
    @ScarletNumber

    Weinberger worked for the Bechtel Corporation at some point in his career, perhaps in the late 70s.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  108. Right_On says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    And given that we could now make relatively clean thermonuclear devices (‘devices’, not ‘bombs’) we should reconsider Project Orion – Freeman Dyson’s baby, endorsed by Carl Sagan – which investigated the feasibility of a nuclear pulse drive .

    If the plan had been followed through, today I would be relaxing in my condominium on one of Jupiter’s moons, sipping Mars Red wine.

  109. SIMP simp says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Why is this outrageous?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  110. @J.Ross

    I haven’t really followed him but the little I know of him indicates he’s smart but loopy. However, I did google EMP and HEMP and they exist. They sound awful. What I question is that we have none. I just can’t believe that.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  111. J.Ross says:
    @Paperback Writer

    Of course we have stuff and it’s truly secret, unlike the President of the United States being a fraudulent pedophile, so it would fall to speculation like the Blue Ghoul. But it is funny that the Norks suffered a big but local earthquake right at their top testing site a few years back.

  112. Anonymous[263] • Disclaimer says:
    @silviosilver

    you do sometimes wonder what the point of “experts” is if, for all their undoubted expertise, they’re still capable of screwing up as badly as a complete tyro.

    Well, you see, it’s like this: you spend 12 years or so getting to be an expert, learning (say) everything about gene sequencing. You get to your job, and the first thing they want is for you to treat the sick cows in Back-of-Beyond. Impress them and you get an income. Tell them that you know nothing about cows and they fire you, or put you in a rubber room until you quit. Tell them that there isn’t any way to keep the cow alive and they fire you for making the boss fail his assignment. Do six months work and miraculously discover how to keep the cow alive in that particular country, and you’re out the door for taking too long, or possibly because a political enemy of your boss favored that particular way of saving the cow. Trump and Ivermectin is a good example of that.

    Ask the bosses why they hire experts and then take them out of their specialty or won’t let them do the work (or access the data) to get a real conclusion, and they will tell you that experts are smart and can figure things out, therefore are better than nothing. (Whyte called this the “captive screwball” theory of experts in _The Organization Man_)

    So, essentially, being a long term expert is just another politician, maybe with better patter. Think of experts as being selected to be much like Fauci, who is where he is precisely because what he says is related only to political reality, not medical or physical reality.

    As I’ve said elsewhere in unz.com, today’s managers are 4th generation or so descendants of the original New Dealers, have regressed to the mean, and are breathtakingly stupid. They are aware of the above system, and think it one of the peaks of human achievement.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
  113. @SIMP simp

    Outrageous for a sports badge, not for urban heraldry. Just like good seals make bad– very bad– flags.

  114. @PiltdownMan

    I guess it doesn’t matter anyway.

  115. @Jim Don Bob

    ‘IIRC, it goes to the Cabinet in order of their creation, so it’s either State or DoD.’

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

    …the situation here is starting to remind me very unpleasantly of the Russian Revolution. Humpty Dumpty having fallen off the wall, it’s hard to picture how he gets put together again.

    …but all the firing squads are getting pretty easy to see.

  116. Mr. Anon says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Maybe we get fewer Nazi symbols in the US because they are NOT banned, and don’t have the allure of the forbidden.

    There is at least one notable example. Few people seem to be aware of it:

    Buildings on local base still look like swastika

    https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/buildings-on-local-base-still-look-like-swastika/509-c255607b-7214-4582-8e1b-229c8d9c04a0

  117. @Anon

    Yes, it would have to be during the late 70s, as that’s when Carter was president. It turns out George Schultz worked there as well during that time. It’s easy to forget that for a 24-year period (69-92), the Republicans held the White House for 20 years. Their flunkies had to earn an honest living for only 4 of those years.

  118. @SIMP simp

    ‘The people who started WW1 didn’t know that it will be so long and bloody as they expected a war of movement, not trench warfare…’

    Even if this explains the beginning, by 1916, any such misconceptions had been corrected.

    Yet the combatants found themselves unable to stop. The war ground on until most of the participants had literally collapsed from exhaustion.

    It becomes a bureaucratic, political, and psychological trap. I once read an interesting book discussing Japan’s inability to surrender until long after it had become obvious that it was futile to continue fighting. Above all, it was simply a matter of almost everyone finding themselves unable to do anything but continue as they had begun.

    It’s one of the outcomes I fear with the Ukraine. The longer this war continues, the more invested everyone becomes in their position, and the harder it will be to end.

  119. Anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    During the Cold War the East Germans had agents in West Germany putting up pro-Nazi posters/graffiti. East Germany also bankrolled/astroturfed actual Nazi parties and organizations in West Germany.

    The objective of all this was to convince the world that West Germany was a hotbed of unrepentant Nazis just itching to launch WWIII – just like Communist propaganda claimed.

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