Friday, January 23, 2009

The Letter of Last Resort

Facinating article in Slate about a "Doomsday Letter" given to each nuclear submarine commander.

This letter was written by each Prime Minister of Britain. It was to be opened only in case of a surprise, all-out attack by the Soviets. The question is, what did it contain?

The very presence of the letter undermines the Mutually Assured Destruction deterrence strategy. If there's a 50/50 chance of escaping retaliation, an enemy might risk an attack. The author claims that Thatcher and Reagan were committed to launching a retaliatory strike no matter what.

If you were writing the letter, would you say, "Nuke 'em" or "Let 'em Live?"

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