The Return of Dr. Strangelove?

strangelove2.jpgThe Stan­ley Kubrick clas­sic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Wor­ry­ing and Love the Bomb cen­ters around a Sovi­et dooms­day device. If Rus­sia is attacked by nuclear weapons, the device will set off count­less nuclear bombs auto­mat­i­cal­ly, there­by ren­der­ing the Earth unin­hab­it­able. It was dark humor when Peter Sell­ers brought it to life on the sil­ver screen…but what if it’s real?

That’s just what a new book from the U.K. is argu­ing. Dooms­day Men by P. D. Smith pro­vides evi­dence that a Russ­ian dooms­day sys­tem called “Perimetr” went oper­a­tional in the mid-1980s, and still is. As Ron Rosen­baum points out in Slate, this is par­tic­u­lar­ly upset­ting news since Vladimir Putin recent­ly announced that Russ­ian nuclear bombers would recom­mence “strate­gic flights”–potentially armed with nukes. The prospect of war between the U.S. and Rus­sia might seem remote, but the return to nuclear pos­tur­ing is not a good sign for human­i­ty. Rosen­baum once inter­viewed some of the Min­ute­man com­man­ders who con­trol our own nuclear arse­nal and his arti­cle makes a great read:

“This dooms­day appa­ra­tus, which became oper­a­tional in 1984, dur­ing the height of the Rea­gan-era nuclear ten­sions, is an amaz­ing feat of cre­ative engi­neer­ing.” Accord­ing to Blair, if Perimetr sens­es a nuclear explo­sion in Russ­ian ter­ri­to­ry and then receives no com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Moscow, it will assume the inca­pac­i­ty of human lead­er­ship in Moscow or else­where, and will then grant a sin­gle human being deep with­in the Kosvin­sky moun­tains the author­i­ty and capa­bil­i­ty to launch the entire Sovi­et nuclear arse­nal.

Oth­er con­tent worth explor­ing:

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.