Save the Date for this most interesting presentation on….
The Day We Narrowly Averted a
Dr. Tyrus W. Cobb
The Ramada, Friday, April 7, 2017, 9:00 a.m.
At the Height of the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union came dangerously close to an all-out nuclear exchange. The near-apocalyptic 1983 confrontation came as a result of a number of factors, primarily an aging and paranoid Soviet leadership increasingly inclined to “worst-case analyses” that interpreted American actions in the most threatening manner. However, the Reagan administration also fed into this paranoia by ill-advised comments by senior leaders (e.g., Secretary of State Haig threatening to fire a “nuclear warning shot across the bow!”) and military exercises that culminated in the launch of a preemptive nuclear strike.
The little known 1983 crisis did not happen overnight, but came as a result of poor communications, unreliable intelligence analyses, a lack of understanding of each country’s intentions, and a failure to comprehend what certain actions and statements might convey to an aging and isolated Soviet leadership. All of this combined to create an impression in the Kremlin that a major U.S. military exercise, “Able Archer”, was in fact the prelude to an all-out nuclear strike against the USSR. The Soviet high command, in fact, did order the launch of what was seen as a retaliatory nuclear response to the imminent U.S. strike on the USSR. Very fortunately, two military officers took actions that defused the tension, one a Soviet Lt. Colonel who refused the order to launch ICBMs from the missile site he commanded, and an American General who called for the immediate termination of the Able Archer exercise.
Please join Dr/Colonel Tyrus W. Cobb for this presentation on a little known incident that came very close to an all-out nuclear exchange. Cobb served as Director of Soviet, European and Canadian Affairs in the Reagan National Security Council staff from 1983-87.
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