A recent Kurzgesagt video discussed the trope where a President is being pressured into deciding whether to respond to a ‘probable’ nuclear attack. The confidence level is not 100%, however, but there’s a ticking clock with only a ridiculously tiny window of time to decide to launch a counter attack.
It made me really think and realize what my answer would have to be in that high pressure situation:
Don’t press “the button”.
- If I launch, the odds of nuclear war and annihilation of both sides becomes 100%. We’re done.
- If it’s a real attack, at least someone will still survive this. It may not be “us” and “our values”, but humanity would go on. Probably. I mean, don’t get me wrong: it’ll absolutely change the world, but at least millions of innocent people would be saved. They just won’t be “ours”.
- If it’s not a real attack, well… I guess we’re all getting real drunk tonight. 🥃
The only way the choice to not counter-attack is the “wrong” is if you’re a military hardliner with a thick “us vs them” mentality, with their patriotism so far up their ass that they’ve lost sight of the big picture of humanity.
Of course, this breaks down if you know that I won’t retaliate. Then you’ll just steamroll me. The other side still has to believe there’s a chance you’ll counterattack in a real scenario, to maintain the ‘mutually assured destruction’ balance.
Since I’ve laid my cards out here, I guess I won’t have my finger (not) over the button in my lifetime. 😉