So Putin lost his mind and says: “Fuck America” and decides to launch nuclear weapons at the USA.
Our military intelligence has determined,unequivocally, that the missiles WILL hit the US, and it WILL take out 85% of it’s population. The US government, for all intents and purposes, will be no more.
You have about a one hour window to retaliate. To be clear, “retaliating” won’t save any American lives, but you will at least “get even” with them as pushing the red button you have control of will cause roughly the same damage that is about to be done to you.
So… Do you push that red button?
[Disclaimer: Anyone attempting to fight this hypothetical shall be hog tied and forced to listen to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana in a constant loop for exactly one hour, 15 minutes and 27 seconds. You have been warned]
Retaliate. If they get away with it then we won’t be the last to suffer the same fate. If both sides are destroyed at least they won’t be genociding anyone else, and the results may make people flinch away from trying such an attack in the future.
I’m a little torn, and would probably go the wishy-washy route and launch a nuclear retaliation, but one which isn’t really comparable in scope. Nuke Moscow and anywhere else we’ve got intel that Putin might be hiding his ass. Anything else to punish the Russian people for being associated with his crazy seems like overkill. (That’s assuming we actually know it was Putin who ordered the launch–but we’d have some way of knowing where the launch could be ordered from, right?)
I’m a little torn. Enough hits to kill 85% of our population is going to have world-wide impact on its own; in a sense they have retaliated against themselves. But what the Hell – hit the launch button.
No. The war is already lost. The environmental consequences of two superpowers unloading their arsenals would be devastating to the other inhabitants of the planet. Let the Russians try to dominate the world after the dust settles, they’d quickly learn that being the conquerors is a pain in the ass.
Yes. And part of me is “could I live with killing all those people”. I can build up the justification in my mind for “it’s really Putin’s fault, he started it”, which while accurate, doesn’t mean that I’m not killing them.
But too, it could also be merciful for me to retaliate. Like kopek said, enough to kill 85% of our population is going to have major worldwide effects. Wouldn’t it be merciful to kill them all quickly than leave them to die slowly of starvation, of radiation, including it’s long-term effects.
Either way, I’ll likely press the button and spend my last hour convincing myself I did the right thing.
As **BobLibDem **said, the war is already lost. Killing 100 million Russians wouldn’t *benefit *America. It would just worsen the global environment.
Even if retaliation were necessary, there’s no need for instant retaliation. That is the whole purpose of having SSBNs - so that you don’t have to retaliate immediately. You can ride out the first strike and still ponder your options.
How’s that? Mutual Assured Destruction is the principle that an exchange of attacks between nuclear powers would inevitably be devastating to both, therefore no one should make such an attack. And no one has.
I don’t retaliate, I don’t believe the innocent men, women and children on the other side deserve to die in their hundreds of millions because they have a crazy leader.
As someone above stated, at that point deterrence has already failed.
However that said, recently potential leader of the UK Jeremy Corbyn stated publicly that he would never order nuclear retaliation, something that severely made me doubt his judgement, in one short sentence he potentially threw away several billion pounds worth of investment.
Even if you wouldn’t retaliate (as I wouldn’t) if you are in such a position of power you don’t tell people that. Deterrence is as much bluff as anything else and why on earth would you show your hand?!?