It’s popular to think that we live in extremely dangerous times. Mother Nature seems angrier than in the past — whether due to global climate change or just the random desire to chuck space rocks at us — and man-made threats keep proliferating.
Al Qaeda has established itself seemingly everywhere (at least, anywhere at least one self-described member raises a flag and immediately is welcomed onto the drone target list), our ambassadors are vulnerable and our military unable to react to events anywhere immediately, and small countries lacking ICBMs are slowly taking steps to join the other eight established nuclear powers.
At home our economy is slowly recovering from the worst recession in recent memory (though it is recovering faster than other developed nations) and our citizens are no longer the sturdy frontiersmen of our past but needy supplicants of an ever growing federal government. [Please note the sarcastic tone…]
However, Tom Nichols of the Naval War College (along with Jim Walsh of MIT and others) reminds us that we faced some seriously crazy, apocalyptic stuff during our confrontation with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Such as the “Dead Hand,” a computer that was programmed to launch the entire Soviet nuclear arsenal if it ascertained that an American first strike had decapitated leadership in Moscow.
You can’t make this stuff up: