Via Marginal Revolution,
Wired has a choice article about an episode from early in Nixon's first term, wherein he tried to convince the Soviets that he was insane in order to end the Vietnam War. The logic was that by convincing the Soviets that he was crazy enough to start a nuclear war, they would pressure Hanoi to fold. And to convince the Soviets he was really crazy, he sent a squadron of B-52's loaded with nukes to skirt Soviet air defenses.
How many problems can you find in Nixon's thinking? Try these:
- Pressuring USSR equals pressuring North Korea.
- Sending a squadron of bombers armed with nuclear weapons onto the edge of hostile airspace has no downside.
- It is in the interest of the United States to have countries with massive nuclear forces convinced that our president is insane.
How many of these delusions are present in the thinking of George W. Bush?
PressuringDestroying the government of Iraq pressures Al Qaeda.
- Sending air craft carrier squadrons into the Persian Gulf skirting Iranian territory carries no downside.
- It is in the interest of the United States to have the rest of the world convinced that our president is insane.