As I begin this series, I must caution my readers that this series is going to be a bit different from my usual discussions. To present an image of alternative future, and to satisfy my own curiosity on the question, I will be presenting a narrative, largely fictional, on how a nuclear war might be fought here in the post-Cold War days of the Global War on Terror. I cannot promise a high quality of storyline, nor will the detail be comprehensive. This is going to follow a framework I learned some years ago, in a scenario simulation game called “REALTIME”.
REALTIME was a role-playing game developed in the mid-1980s for the purpose of preparing mid-level business and government leaders for crisis management. As is the case in a real crisis, complete knowledge is not possible, and rumors are inevitably mixed in with true facts, and confusion is a real factor which hinders an effective response. REALTIME was as much a psychological test to see how managers and officers handled unexpected stress and sudden high-paced decisions as the quality of those decisions. With the decline in likely confrontation between the USA and USSR, the popularity of such simulations declined and there was never a significant commercial market to turn REALTIME into a recreational game, especially as this RPG emphasized dialogue and strategic decisions, rather than action in the gaming sense.
REALTIME was played as a civilian component to a hypothetical military event, where participants would be alerted to actions as they happened, in real time. Reponses and decisions had to made on the fly, with little chance for preparation or deep inspection. It has been speculated that various versions of the simulation helped to convince world leaders that a nuclear event must be avoided at all costs, because of the strong likelihood that such an event would pressure all involved parties to escalate quickly, out of a “use it or lose it” mentality. Theater warfare was the most common end result of these simulations.
That said, conditions have changed with the fall of the USSR, and so there may not be the same desperate fear of annihilation which pervaded previous scenarios. The scenario I will create here will be far from complete, and should in no way be taken as an indicator of likely decisions and actions. What I am hoping to do here is combine the scenario which the program will produce, and submit it for comment by the readers. Stealing shamelessly from the writers of ‘24’, I will be presenting the scenario in segments of an hour each.
UPDATE: I will cotinue to present hourly installment,s but interruptions at various timestamps will also continue.