1998-11-25 - Re: Dr. Strangelove on the Y2K Opportunity

Header Data

From: ichudov@Algebra.COM (Igor Chudov @ home)
To: tcmay@got.net (Tim May)
Message Hash: 368c40722733eb4ae24e88dab97b881e8e5a873f5590148a8857799ba374b75f
Message ID: <199811252016.OAA13071@manifold.algebra.com>
Reply To: <v03130315b281ea65b2ab@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1998-11-25 21:14:33 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 05:14:33 +0800

Raw message

From: ichudov@Algebra.COM (Igor Chudov @ home)
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 05:14:33 +0800
To: tcmay@got.net (Tim May)
Subject: Re: Dr. Strangelove on the Y2K Opportunity
In-Reply-To: <v03130315b281ea65b2ab@[]>
Message-ID: <199811252016.OAA13071@manifold.algebra.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text

Tim May wrote:
> Worse, the Sovs had more primitive systems, more fragile systems, with at
> least a couple of accidental launches that we know about (exploded in their
> silos). And no money to even maintain their systems, let alone upgrade and
> remediate their flawed code.

> As I have been predicting for most of this year, the smartest thing our DOD
> may do is to use the information chaos of Y2K to go for a DECCOM
> (Decapitation of Command) strike as the clock hits midnight in Moscow.
> Knock out their sub pens on the Kola Peninsula, hit the missile facilities
> in Semipalatinsk, knock out Vladivostok, and do a lay down over Moscow.
> A one-way ticket back to the 19th century. A few megadeaths may be a
> reasonable price to pay, esp. Russkie megadeaths. As the potato chip ad
> puts it, "they'll make more."

I don't quite understand this.

Look at this from the standpoint of the person in control of the American
arsenal. The goal of this person, to me, seems to be prevention of American
deaths (perhaps by a threat of mutual annihilation).

You say that there is a possibility of a scenario A that some Russian
missiles may be launched accidentally, without a first attack from the US.

To prevent this, you suggest scenario B: a preventative attack against
Russia. I think that your scenario has a higher mathematical expectation
of the number of american deaths than waiting to see if Russians attack

Under scenario B, attack on Russia is a 100% probability event. The
conditional probability of a counterattack is high as well, with the
probability higher (in my judgment) than the probability of a _accidental_
unprovoked attack in scenario A. The conditional expectation of the number
of warheads reaching their targets, assuming that it is a authorized
retaliatory strike, is again higher (in my opinion) than the number of
warheads that would be launched accidentally.

What his means is that scenario B has a higher expectation of american
fatalities. I do not see a point in doing this.

	- Igor.