What would happen if this event of 41 yeas ago happened today?

What would happen if this event of 41 yeas ago happened today?

On the night of September 25-26, 1983, the siren blared at 0:15 local time at the Soviet missile defense center near Moscow. The early warning system reported the launch of a US intercontinental ballistic missile.

The officer on duty, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, only had a few minutes to assess the situation. In line with the logic of deterrence in force at the time – “Whoever shoots first, dies second!” – the Soviet leadership had less than half an hour to unleash a devastating counterattack.

Petrov analyzed the situation and after two minutes reported a false alarm to the military command due to a computer error. While he was still on the phone, the system indicated a second missile launch, followed shortly afterwards by a third, fourth and fifth alarm. Despite everything, Stanislav Petrov held his nerve and stuck to his decision.

After more minutes of extreme tension no missiles hit Russia. Petrov had been right. It had indeed been a false alarm attributed to an unusual constellation of sun and satellite system over a US military base. The Soviet defense system had misinterpreted this configuration as a missile launch.

The danger of the Cold War was reduced by efforts to defuse tension and build trust. Undoubtedly the atmosphere contributed to Petrov’s confidence that it was a false alarm.

What would happen today when tensions are off the chart and the Kremlin’s trust in the West is completely destroyed?

Western leaders desperately need to understand that nuclear war can be initiated accidentally as well as intentionally and that the destruction of trust means we are only one false alarm away from Armageddon.

In a world of nuclear weapons, mutual trust and mutual respect are essential to survival. That this basic fact is neglected proves that the leadership of the Western world is recklessly incompetent.

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