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The doomsday weapon is unrealistic. But, if, on the other hand, you think of it as analogous to mutually assured destruction the near total destruction of the U. It is a frightening reality in which the U. Unlikely and improbable, yes. There are two perverse, sad, weird things that this film highlights. The first is the nuclear standoff.

The second is the range of procedures and strategies involved in maintaining this standoff. How did we get into a position where we had bombers constantly in the air, already well on their way to their targets? Why might individual base commanders have had the authority to use nuclear weapons at their own discretion?

Why were our forces on hair trigger alert?

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Why might a doomsday device seem to be a logical step? The single, simple answer to these questions is the U. Think about deterrence and the need for credibility as you read this and watch the film. Finally, remember that the U. The Cold War is over, but nuclear danger is not. When the film was made, there were 34, nuclear weapons on earth. In , there were about 32, The doomsday device is alive and well. Nuclear Strategy and the Cold War.

The Definition of Deterrence. Strangelove defines deterrence when he says: Note that deterrence is an art , not a science. This is because deterrence requires fear. How and whether one can produce fear depends not just on one's own capabilities and resolve, but also on the adversary's values and emotional state hence, mind. Influencing others' minds is an art, in part because determining what others value and feel is not a science. Strangelove might have added that deterrence works when the fear to attack is sufficient to prevent the attack. The Necessity of Communication for Effective Deterrence.

Deterrence only works if the threats that are supposed to cause fear are communicated to the adversary. No threats made, no fear created.

This point is made by Dr. Strangelove when he says: Why didn't you tell the world, eh? The Logic and Illogic of Nuclear Deterrence. When Mutually Assured Destruction MAD is achieved, it becomes illogical to ever use nuclear weapons, no matter the scenario. If you attack, you will get clobbered.

And if you are struck first, there little to gain nothing to gain from retaliating. Deterrence will have failed and retaliation risks further strikes and more fallout. The two ways of making retaliation credible are by making retaliation automatic or by introducing illogic and uncertainty. Automatic means devising something which will ensure retaliation no matter what. A doomsday machine fills the bill. Ruling out "human meddling" is crucial because one must make the incredible threat of suicide credible.

Strangelove explains this logic: President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the doomsday machine is terrifying. It's simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing. Although it may not be fair to condemn the automated response doomsday device due to a single slip up, the film invalidates the wisdom of that machine by highlighting its dangers.

Would any state cede control of their weapons to computers and sensors? A fallback strategy is to introduce illogic, uncertainty, and lack of control into nuclear strategy and nuclear command and control. Akin to throwing the steering wheel out the car window when engaged in a game of chicken, allowing base commanders to issue strikes is a good example of making retaliation more likely by giving up centralized control of one's forces.

Deterrence is enhanced when nukes might go off whenever the situation becomes hairy. If the other side doesn't know who controls the weapons and under what circumstances authorization for their use gets "devolved" to lower levels of command, then maybe they won't start something in the first place.

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This was particularly relevant in central Europe where there were thousands or tens of thousands of tactical nuclear weapons tactical for us, strategic for the Europeans; most of these weapons were larger than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. How would the Sovs know who controlled these weapons? Wouldn't the Sovs know that lower level commanders might gain control of nuclear weapons and would be highly motivated to use them if they risked being overrun? How could a full scale nuclear war be stopped if nuclear weapons in Europe started going off remember that many of our nuclear delivery systems including tactical bombers, cruise missiles, and Pershing missiles could reach well into Russia, even all the way to Moscow?

These uncertainties may have been designed to create enough fear to prevent an attack in the first place. You approved it, sir. Surely you must recall, sir, when Senator Buford made that big hassle about our deterrent lacking credibility. The idea was for plan R to be a sort of retaliatory safeguard.

But the idea was to discourage the Russkies from any hope that they could knock out Washington, and yourself, sir, as part of a general sneak attack, and escape retaliation because of lack of proper command and control. The plan of Plan R is to make deterrence more credible by the threat of losing central control. The film highlights the tradeoffs involved Loss of control is exacerbated by the intentional inability to communicate with the planes while in the air via the CRM But when put together as part of one plan, they combine to make Ripper's orders nearly impossible to reverse. Note too the influence of domestic politics Senator Buford.

Seen in the speech which ends when General Turgidson says: President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say If it is possible to imagine fighting a nuclear war with acceptable casualties, then it is possible to imagine victory in a nuclear war. And if victory is possible, then MAD does not exist.


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It is hard to deter someone who thinks victory is possible. Strangelove would say, there is not enough fear to attack. While the definition of acceptable may be in eyes of the beholder, the biggest danger occurs when MAD exists, but advisors and politicians still think victory is possible. False hopes for victory can lead to disaster. As Geoffrey Blainey notes: It is not good for generals or other advisors to be telling the president that victory is possible when it is not.

Turgidson advised striking first in the movie. Even more ominously, so did several military and civilian advisors to President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Had we engaged in nuclear combat, toe to toe with the Russkies in , we would have gotten more than our hair mussed, at least in my book. This is one reason why it is dangerous to build first-strike weapons or defenses whose effectiveness is uncertain.


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They may lead to semi-plausible theories of victory that may be whispered in a president's ear during a crisis. Although many believe that the U. Scott Sagan notes that one of the U. Two, in less than fifteen minutes from now the Russkies will be making radar contact with the planes. Three, when the do, they are going to go absolutely ape, and they're gonna strike back with everything they've got. Four, if prior to this time, we have done nothing further to suppress their retaliatory capabilities, we will suffer virtual annihilation.

Now, five, if on the other hand, we were to immediately launch an all out and coordinated attack on all their airfields and missile bases we'd stand a damn good chance of catching them with their pants down. Hell, we got a five to one missile superiority as it is. We could easily assign three missiles to every target, and still have a very effective reserve force for any other contingency.

Now, six, an unofficial study which we undertook of this eventuality, indicated that we would destroy ninety percent of their nuclear capabilities. We would therefore prevail, and suffer only modest and acceptable civilian casualties from their remaining force which would be badly damaged and uncoordinated. I'm going to knock the shit out of them before they take off the ground. Robert Sprague, co-chair of the Gaither Committee, responded: That's what I'm going to do. Not quite the same scenario, and there are times when pre-emption might be wise.

But isn't the commander-in-chief supposed to be in on launching a full scale nuclear war? If we look at crises more generally, both scenarios illustrate their dangers. But you may be very sorry, even sorrier than I am, when you read the section on civil-military relations below and note that the U. What if there were any LeMayskis on the Soviet side? Incentives for first strikes can increase drastically in a crisis, and things get worse when the leadership is not fully in control of its own state's crisis management strategy, tactics, and assets. The Security Dilemma and how it drives arms races.

The security dilemma is that what country A does to improve its security usually diminishes the security of country B. This is because as country A buys weapons, the relative strength of country B is decreased. The security dilemma underlies the spiral model of arms races in which each country builds up its arms responding to or fearing the adversary's buildup. A security dilemma is a zero-sum situation in which any state's gain is another's loss. When states are deeply suspicious of each other, the zero-sum nature of their competition is even more pernicious.

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If each state can not trust the other to abide by agreements, then no agreements are possible to try to despiral their arms races or tensions. Suspicions and the security dilemma lead states to become pre-occupied with their relative position against others. When concerns over relative position are high, chances for cooperation are again diminished because cooperation by definition yields positive-sum results. Thus, suspicious states facing severe security dilemmas and preoccupied by relative gains concerns are And at the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines.

Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we'd been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap" President, we must not allow Turgidson wants one, even though having two is redundant and even having one is illogical. But arms races are, in the language of game theory, mutual defection. They are not a realization of common interest.

Relative Gains and Zero-sum Games. Relative gains concerns, and the zero-sum nature of the Cold War, hindered arms control and other forms of cooperation between the U. Turgidson epitomizes relative gains concerns. For example, he sees no value in the transparency provided by Ambassador De Sadeski's presence in the war room and always calculates things in a zero sum or relative gains perspective re the Soviet Union. Any advantage for them is bad for us, and vice versa. Even after 90 years in a mineshaft, after billions of people are killed, it is still us against them Many of Jervis' Hypotheses on Misperception 14 come to life here.

Ripper's fluoridation commie conspiracy Similarly, Turgidson's analysis of inferior Soviet technological capabilities or how the U. He is not aware that we may have been somewhat at fault for spirals. Many of those who watch Dr.

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Strangelove today may not have reached political awareness during the Cold War. The paranoia exhibited by Turgidson and the whole defense posture seen in the film is not much of an exaggeration. We were really paranoid and we were on a hair trigger nuclear posture with armed airborne planes for a number of years. Senator McCarthy ran un-American witch trial hearings to denounce communist infiltrators in government, Hollywood, and other important and influential industries and sectors.

On the other hand, the Soviet Union was in fact often more evil than even its opponents dreamed killing its own citizens, environmental degradation, a huge biological warfare program, etc. Help us improve our Author Pages by updating your bibliography and submitting a new or current image and biography. Learn more at Author Central. Popularity Popularity Featured Price: Low to High Price: High to Low Avg. Available for download now. Only 3 left in stock - order soon.

Dr. Strangelove: How Germans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Flag

Cornel und Leif 2: Freundschaft plus German Edition Dec 09, Gay Romance German Edition Apr 23, German Edition Sep 02, Still, he doesn't like this flag-waving one bit. Of course, Wolter may be overreacting just a bit. The current renaissance of the German flag has little, if anything, to do with politics. And it certainly has nothing to do with the fatal Prussian and German militarism that led to two World Wars.

A few kilometres away, Sarah Kellner is draped in a black, red and gold sarong near the Brandenburg Gate, where each day as many as a million ticketless souls have come to enjoy the World Cup matches on an array of Jumbotron screens. The Bild newspaper, Germany's saucy national tabloid, has rechristened the tri-color flag "Schwarz, rot, geil," or "black, red and horny. It represents a seismic shift in attitudes towards the national banner and has prompted a fresh bout of soul searching about German national identity. Not long ago, the newfound love for the flag would have been unthinkable for most Germans -- it was a symbol that only conservatives or right-wing extremists could embrace.

When a million people gathered in Berlin's city center to celebrate the reunification of East and West Germany in October , the only people who could be seen marching around with flags were a handful of skinheads and neo-Nazis. Leftists and liberals used to mock the national colors as "black, red, mustard. But the German flag has now been resurrected and reclaimed as a positive symbol of footballing fervour. With flags fast flying off the shelves and stores running out of stocks, German flag importers and factories are unable to fulfil the growing demand.

Together with the beer breweries, they have become the biggest off-pitch winners of the World Cup.

Part of the success has been fuelled by the country's political classes, which were quick to embrace the flag boom. Ultimately, Germany's newfound love for the flag is a question of age. The generation that grew up in Nazi Germany didn't want to see another flag for the rest of their lives. Their children also experienced first-hand the consequences of what Germany's aggressive nationalism had wrought on the country and the world.