Destruction is Still Mutually Assured

December 15, 2021    Bookmark

And while the Cold War was a festival of saber rattling and warmongering there was at least a communal understanding of the impossibly high stakes involved in any potential conflict between the two superpowers. But 30 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, we have a generation of young adults who weren’t alive to experience that fear and many more people who seemingly have forgotten what it was like. That’s bad. The Yooks still got the nukes, and so do the Zooks. All it takes is one bad day and we’ll see untold human devastation even from a dramatically smaller worldwide arsenal.

Do I think it would be good if Russia invaded Ukraine? No. Do I think that Russia invading Ukraine would be as bad as a nuclear war between the countries with the two largest nuclear stockpiles? Also no. Not even close, actually. And so from a purely utilitarian calculus I have to argue that blithely advocating for increased aggression with Russia is a terrible idea. That does not require any dipping into my repository of anti-imperialist ideals against America dictating the world’s affairs. We never for a moment took our finger off of the button and neither did they and it’s kind of incredible that the world has gotten so complacent about this.

Freddie deBoer