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The Interpreter: Hawaii False Alarm Hints at Thin Line Between Mishap and Nuclear War

NYT

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The Interpreter: Hawaii False Alarm Hints at Thin Line Between Mishap and Nuclear War

The Interpreter: Hawaii False Alarm Hints at Thin Line Between Mishap and Nuclear War

NYT

Ronald Reagan had taken office in 1981 pledging to confront the Soviet Union. Though he intended to deter Soviet aggression, Moscow read his threats and condemnations — he had declared its government an “evil empire” that must be brought to an end — as preludes to war.Mr. Trump’s White House has issued its own threats against North Korea, suggesting that it might pursue war to halt the country’s nuclear weapons development.The 1983 shooting down, on its own, might have passed as a terrible mistake. But the superpowers had only fragmentary understanding of something that had happened on the far fringes of Soviet territory. In an atmosphere of distrust, technical and bureaucratic snafus drove each to suspect the other of deception.Moscow received contradictory reports as to whether its pilots had shot down an airliner or a spy plane, and Soviet leaders were biased toward trusting their own. So when they declared it a legal interception of an American military incursion, American leaders, who knew this to be false, assumed Soviet leaders were lying.

Originally posted here:
The Interpreter: Hawaii False Alarm Hints at Thin Line Between Mishap and Nuclear War

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