The Soviet Union came perilously close to launching a nuclear strike on the U.S. in 1983

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This is misleading (or incomplete). Stanislav Petrov’s job as commanding officer was to advise and assess: He had no red button but a telephone link to Moscow and informed his superiors that the detected missile launches were most likely not real launches but malfunctions of the spy equipment.

1983 was a year with a few cold to hot war switching points like Able Archer 83 and KAL007.


“The Soviet Union came perilously close to launching a nuclear strike on the U.S. in 1983”

Not 84’?

Exactly. 1983 was the year in which NATO and the US behaved so provocatively that we were fortunate not to have a major war. Currently there is a lot of stirring up going on about Russian defence probing flights around the North Sea, but that’s tiny compared to Able Archer.
When we do it, it’s obviously OK.


1983…hmmm, coincidence?


if your enemy makes a mistake a total nuclear war is winnable

did I learn the correct lesson?


Obviously not. The only winning move is not to play - or cheat.

Jesus H Tapdancing Fucking Christ!


It is exactly the mindset of the “Open carry” people; it is all right for us to carry guns because people know we’re respectable citizens. Black people with guns…shoot them first. The open carry people are incapable of perceiving that their actions might be seen as threatening by other people.


I think they totally get that and are trying to look like someone to not mess with. They know they’re kind of pushy assholes (and as such they’re aware of and concerned about bigger pushier assholes)

What they don’t get is that it’s a losers game. Hell on earth to look at your fellow hitchhikers that way,


Nothing like manufactured pissing contests to further military spending at the risk of accidentally killing everyone!


I was being ironically polite.

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Fascinating story, but I wish it was a bit more than a previously written piece of text, read aloud, and hastily.

I don’t relate. There aren’t good reasons for concealing legal weapons, nor for racism. It sounds like an ideological blind to conflate the two separate issues.

I don’t think you understand my point.

I was comparing the attitude of NATO to the former USSR, to the attitude of many white Americans to black Americans. Because they perceive themselves as being correct, and superior, they perceive the same behavior as acceptable or threatening depending on who is doing it. They are seeking to destroy our society; we are trying to put an end to Godless communism. They carry guns in order to commit crime; we carry guns in order to prevent it.
But from the other side’s point of view things look exactly the same in reverse.

The article headline is “The Soviet Union came perilously close to launching a nuclear strike on the US”. But from the Soviet point of view, events in 1983 suggested that the US was trying to launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The US gets a free pass for running a very threatening NATO exercise which looked like real preparations for war.
Both sides were actually just as bad as one another, but neither will admit it.

The incident in which the US managed to launch a rocket from Norway that looked exactly like an attack by an EMP weapon intended to kill Russian radar ahead of a first strike, however, was frankly insane.

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Sounds rather arbitrary to me.

Choosing sides is dubious to begin with. Most people are at a loss to define theirs, or explain why anybody else should be interested.

This is the part that baffles me. Reactionary people seem to be quite outspoken, but also usually deeply ashamed of their motivations. They talk about “pride”, but seem to have little.

The Wackipedia article says that the USSR was informed about that launch ahead of time, so they could have been more critical about it. And if they knew it was from Norway, why nuke the US instead? Sounds like horrible communication.

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Let’s not forget the time that the US nearly nuked Georgia.

This is a disturbingly long list…


I dunno, I find it a little odd how people talk about nuclear deterrence in this I-told-you-so way. We have limited data to go on, but that data supports the hypothesis that nucular deterrence did (does), in fact, work, and in retrospect, people shouldn’t have been so terrified of nucular war.

OK, I’m slightly playing Satan’s advocate here, but it’s a good idea to question these sorts of pat consensus. The fear of Soviet (or American) death from above was used to shepherd us all in a whole bunch of dark directions for many years; maybe when we look back at that time, we should bear in mind that the danger never materialised, instead of telling ourselves counterfactual ghost stories about how we should’ve been even more pliably hysterical. Obviously, this is relevant because we’re currently told to fear the upcoming 9/11 x 1000, and perhaps that danger will turn out to have been somewhat oversold.

And that is also why the safety devices were developed, albeit it took quite some pain to get them deployed. (And the TATB explosive. And fire-resistant sealed pits. And so on.)

A handy concept useful for safer designs of not just nukes:

I grew up in the shadow of global thermonuclear war.

Now the Powers That Be are trying to scare me with terrorists.