Game theory wiz kids

Just in case I didn’t already think Nixon and Kissinger were complete mental bastards: The Nukes of October: Richard Nixon’s Secret Plan to Bring Peace to Vietnam

Nixon decided to try something new: threaten the Soviet Union with a massive nuclear strike and make its leaders think he was crazy enough to go through with it. His hope was that the Soviets would be so frightened of events spinning out of control that they would strong-arm Hanoi, telling the North Vietnamese to start making concessions at the negotiating table or risk losing Soviet military support.

Interesting, a year before and in a political race for the presidency, Nixon intervened to persuade South Vietnam to avoid the talks. This potentially stopped an early peace deal. Nice one, dick.

Codenamed Giant Lance, Nixon’s plan was the culmination of a strategy of premeditated madness he had developed with national security adviser Henry Kissinger. The details of this episode remained secret for 35 years and have never been fully told. Now, thanks to documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, it’s clear that Giant Lance was the leading example of what historians came to call the “madman theory”: Nixon’s notion that faked, finger-on-the-button rage could bring the Soviets to heel.

That’s about the stupidest plan I’ve ever heard of.

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