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Thread: "Able Archer" and on the Brink of Nuclear War in 1983

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    Default "Able Archer" and on the Brink of Nuclear War in 1983

    I saw a program, on a Discovery Channel spin off, on the Soviet fears and paranoia of what they thought was planning for a NATO/US nuclear first strike in 1983, which culminated in fears that a NATO communications war game called "Able Archer" was the cover for a first strike. In fact, the Soviet intelligence and the upper echelons of the Politburo had successfully deluded themselves into believing that nuclear Armageddon was close at hand by ignoring all positive information regarding the West and pressuring agents into reporting misleading information, the arrival of Pershing II missiles to Europe, and talk of SDI (or "Star Wars"). They took the US president's rhetoric to heart and thought that Reagan was far more malevolent than he actually was (Ronnie was reportedly actually quite upset after viewing an ABC movie called "The Day After," which supposedly caused him to more actively seek better relations and disarmament with the "Evil Empire" in his second term). This came close to being a self-fulfilling prophecy as the entire Soviet war-machine was put on high alert and missiles were ready to launch as Able Archer's crescendo was a simulated nuclear counter-strike that was "ordered" right before the exercise ended. The Russians thought these phony "exercise" orders were merely a cover for an elaborate plan to win a nuclear exchange. The Soviets Strategic Rocket Forces were on high alert and some wanted ICBMs launched even even before US launches could have been detected by their satellites. Thank God they didn't.

    I never knew how close we came...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 09-20-2007 at 02:38 PM.

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    Interesting stuff. I recently paid a visit to a US Missile Silo and it was very interesting indeed. I will try and post a few photos when I can find them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I never knew how close we came...
    Me neither.

    I never knew there was even a risk.

    Bloody terrifying.

    Still, it's no different to two blokes who start abusing each other and move on to chesting each other. There's always the risk that one will think it's going to blow up (no pun intended) and try to get a decisive hit in first.

    The trouble with MAD was that it was like the start of WWI gone mad. Once it started, nobody could stop the process until big slabs of the planet were laid waste, and the rest poisoned to varying degrees.

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    I am sorry if I got it wrong.
    But do I hear the notes of complain that Soviet leaders were paranoid and blood thirsty because they geniunly were afaraid of the NATO's first strike?
    It is funny how peole reading the same text draw opposite conclusions.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer_83
    Thus, on November 2, 1983, as Soviet intelligence services were attempting to detect the signs of a nuclear strike, NATO began to simulate one. The exercise, codenamed Able Archer, involved numerous NATO allies and simulated NATO's Command, Control, and Communications (C&#179 procedures during a nuclear war. It probably emulated the Pentagon's Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)[citation needed] which, at the time, named 25,000 military targets, 15,000 industrial targets, and 500 targets associated with Soviet leadership. Some Soviet leadership, because of the preceding world events and the exercise's particularly realistic nature, believed — in accordance with Soviet military doctrine — that the exercise may have been a cover for an actual attack.
    ...
    Because Able Archer 83 simulated an actual release, it is likely that the service and technical personnel mentioned in the memo were active in the exercise. More conspicuously, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl participated (though not concurrently) in the nuclear drill. United States President Reagan, Vice President George H. W. Bush, and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger were also intended to participate. Robert McFarlane, who had assumed the position of National Security Advisor just two weeks earlier, realized the implications of such participation early in the exercise's planning and rejected it.
    Last edited by Egorka; 01-11-2008 at 05:09 AM.

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    In the mean while this is what things like "Able Archer" can lead to!
    But thanks God there are still real people in this world!

    So that you know:
    Then he made the decision that saved the world. Summoning up his firmest voice, he called his Kremlin liaison and said it was a false alarm. But today he admits, "I wasn't 100 percent sure. Not even close to 100 percent."

    Deal with it!!!
    Last edited by Egorka; 01-11-2008 at 05:20 AM.

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    Oh damn it seem i do understand why the Americans sended the Korean Boing 747 to death in 1 september 1983
    It was a "test program" of soviet AA-system
    Psychological operations began mid-February 1981 and continued intermittently until 1983. These included a series of clandestine naval operations that stealthily accessed waters near the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK) gap, and the Barents, Norwegian, Black, and Baltic seas, demonstrating the very close proximity NATO ships could attain to critical Soviet military bases. American bombers also flew directly towards Soviet airspace, peeling off at the last moment, occasionally several times per week. These penetrations were designed to test Soviet radar vulnerability as well as demonstrate US capabilities in a nuclear war.[15]

    “ It really got to them," recalls Dr. William Schneider, [former] undersecretary of state for military assistance and technology, who saw classified "after-action reports" that indicated U.S. flight activity. "They didn't know what it all meant. A squadron would fly straight at Soviet airspace, and other radars would light up and units would go on alert. Then at the last minute the squadron would peel off and return home.[15]
    Those idiots from Pentagon in head with "Holliwood Star" Reigan almost brought the world to the WW3 with his Military and Psuhological exercises.
    It strange why the Soviet keep silence about close relation of the Incident with Korean 007 flight and the NATO exercises?
    It seem our Opponent simply used the poor Koreans in its OWN political aims.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Oh damn it seem i do understand why the Americans sended the Korean Boing 747 to death in 1 september 1983
    It was a "test program" of soviet AA-system
    Those idiots from Pentagon in head with "Holliwood Star" Reigan almost brought the world to the WW3 with his Military and Psuhological exercises.
    It strange why the Soviet keep silence about close relation of the Incident with Korean 007 flight and the NATO exercises?
    It seem our Opponent simply used the poor Koreans in its OWN political aims.
    You're not going to turn this thread (which is almost four months old now) into a flamefest Chevan...

    If you want to discuss the KAL 007 shootdown, start another thread...

    In any case, the US doesn't control Korean airliners...

    You're preceding post has almost nothing to do with the topic and the KAL007 flight wasn't the subject of the documentary which was focused on Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    I am sorry if I got it wrong.
    But do I hear the notes of complain that Soviet leaders were paranoid and blood thirsty because they geniunly were afaraid of the NATO's first strike? ....
    I think it was that they were paranoid, very much so. But no one has claimed they were blood thirsty, since this incident illustrated that no one wanted a War...

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    Let's reverse what happened.

    Assume you were the nuke controlling officer who didn't respond in compliance with standing orders to whatever information you were getting that said you should launch, and you really were being attacked.

    Assume you somehow survived. American or Russian or any other nation.

    How would you feel, having exercised your independent judgement?

    How would your national history, whatever was left of it, judge you?

    So, despite Stanislav Petrov being rightly hailed for his actions on what we know now, was it so terrible for his superiors to think he'd failed to carry out his orders?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I think it was that they were paranoid, very much so. But no one has claimed they were blood thirsty, since this incident illustrated that no one wanted a War...
    Paranoid? Maybe they were. I guess they were.

    So lets try to look at it from outside:
    • USSR tried to scare USA.
    • USA tried to scare USSR.
    • Caving under the phsycological presure USSR leaders got paranoid and mistrustfull.


    So the question how do we characterise the US goverment? There were either paranod or not. Right?

    If they were paranoid then they were no better than their counterpart. My point proven.

    If they were not paranoid than they were not afraid of USSR. But then why the public in the USA was so paranoid about it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    You're not going to turn this thread (which is almost four months old now) into a flamefest Chevan...

    If you want to discuss the KAL 007 shootdown, start another thread...

    In any case, the US doesn't control Korean airliners...

    You're preceding post has almost nothing to do with the topic and the KAL007 flight wasn't the subject of the documentary which was focused on Europe.
    Well, I do not think we should focuse on KAL007 too much in this thread, but Chevan has a point - it is a brick (just like the episode with Stanislav Petrov) in the big picture which was in it's turn very largerly affected by the "Able Archer". So it is ralated to "Able Archer" topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    So, despite Stanislav Petrov being rightly hailed for his actions on what we know now, was it so terrible for his superiors to think he'd failed to carry out his orders?
    I do not remember where I read and about which country (US or USSR) , but will say it anyway.
    According the the research it was estimated that up to 50% of the responsible whould hesitate the activate the procedure for the all out nuclear attack in case it should come that far. This conclusion lead to development of new more automated procedures where the human influence was minimised (but not completely removed though).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    If they were not paranoid than they were not afraid of USSR. But then why the public in the USA was so paranoid about it?

    Because, you silly Russian man , America was a benevolent nation which meant nobody any harm and could not cause justifiable fear in anyone just because it was bristling with nuclear weapons aimed at various Russian targets, among other places.

    The USSR, however, was an evil nation bristling with evil nuclear weapons which it might use against the benevolent USA which, at the time, was resolutely against denials of democracy such as invading Afghanistan.

    Historians looking back at our time will note the consistent restraint and peaceful intentions of the West. They will note that it was the democracies who refused to use the threat of their nuclear monopoly in the forties and early fifties for territorial or imperial gain. Had that nuclear monopoly been in the hands of the Communist world, the map of Europe--indeed, the world--would look very different today. And certainly they will note it was not the democracies that invaded Afghanistan or suppressed Polish Solidarity or used chemical and toxin warfare in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.
    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1982reagan1.html

    As for the Presidential comment about toxin warfar in S.E. Asia http://www.lewispublishing.com/orange.htm , what an absolute pisser by a President who carefully avoided military service in WWII, a tradition of principle or cowardice nobly followed by Clinton and Bush Jnr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    I do not remember where I read and about which country (US or USSR) , but will say it anyway.
    According the the research it was estimated that up to 50% of the responsible whould hesitate the activate the procedure for the all out nuclear attack in case it should come that far. This conclusion lead to development of new more automated procedures where the human influence was minimised (but not completely removed though).
    Yeah.

    That's what worries me.

    These are the same sort of people who can't even deliver public transport ticketing systems years after the due date, but they say everything is working fine and so do the idiot governments which commissioned them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    Paranoid? Maybe they were. I guess they were.

    So the question how do we characterise the US goverment? There were either paranod or not. Right?
    It's easy mate.
    They were just bunch of capitalist maniacs who has organized the Milirtary exercises near the border in aim to scare the Soviet paranoidal govenment
    The whole 40 year the west scared the Soviet by the Nuclear threat - so it is not amazing that the Soviets had finally become the paranoid and mistrustfull in 1983

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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