Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Brinkmanship – International Man

Posted by M. C. on May 8, 2018

We are going nuclear today.

Events will then escalate, as they always do and, in a year or two, the world will be asking, “How did this ever get so out of hand?”

by Jeff Thomas

A popular game amongst young ne’er-do-wells in the US in the 1950s was “chicken,” in which two drivers drove their cars at rapid speed toward each other. Whichever one veered away first was deemed the “chicken.”

Of course, any sane, mature individual would regard both drivers as not only potentially suicidal, but also extraordinarily stupid. (As can be imagined, the game sometimes ended disastrously.)

At that same time, Adlai Stevenson, who was twice the democratic candidate for president, created the term “brinkmanship,” a term that was defined by John Foster Dulles as quoted in the above image.

Brinkmanship is essentially “chicken,” except that it’s played by men in suits and is potentially far more disastrous.

…Brinkmanship became the byword for US policy toward Russia and, by extension, Cuba.

In an international shoving match that lasted into the 1960s, the US would give Russia a Dulles-inspired shove. The Russians would shove back and so on, each aware that he could not be the first to back down, or, as Mister Dulles said, he would be lost.

This reached its peak in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The USSR shipped missiles with nuclear warheads to Cuba and the US discovered it. President Kennedy blockaded Cuba and, for twelve days, the world lived on the very brink of nuclear war.

Mister Kennedy, of course, brought in the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Military—the most respected and experienced generals in the US armed forces. Their joint recommendation was for Mister Kennedy to “push the button—now!” They stated that the Russians unquestionably had their finger placed just above their own button and the “winner” would be the one who pressed first.

In spite of their unanimous and vehement recommendation, Mister Kennedy held out hope that armageddon might be avoided. He contacted USSR Premier Khrushchev, whose generals were also reportedly telling him to “push the button—now!”

But, amazingly, the two leaders had cool enough heads to work out an agreement in which each would back off substantially from the situation.

It’s important to emphasize that this was a highly unusual development. Almost never in history do we see two major leaders put their egos aside, act in a calm and responsible manner, and place the well-being of millions above their own desire to be the “winner.”

…The list of such spark points to war is endless. Virtually all wars in the last hundred years have been precipitated by brinkmanship, followed by a relatively minor “trigger” event. In each case, the war was promised to be brief and victorious by those who recommended full-scale retaliation, and invariably, they were manifestly incorrect.

Once again, leaders are playing with brinkmanship. When war breaks out, it may well be the result of a minor event, a false flag event, or a failure of a military commander to restrain himself as ordered. Events will then escalate, as they always do and, in a year or two, the world will be asking, “How did this ever get so out of hand?”

Be seeing you



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