The book Major Rucker is reading here is real, although in their universe it’s a top secret study, rather than a real work on actual strategy. I have a copy of Khan’s book, by the way, and have read it several times over the course of this comic. It’s not what I’d call “light reading,” and I can see why it ruffled so many feathers in the 1960s and 1970s. I think it’s badly misunderstood, though – many people believe that Herman Khan was trying to acclimatize people to the inevitability of nuclear warfare, or even to support it as legitimate or desirable. In fact, if you really understand what the book says, it seems to me that his point was that deterrence of the variety practiced at the time, the “massive retaliation” that still holds such a grip on the minds of both East and West, could not be completely relied upon to protect the international order. There could be situations, he writes, where rational and clear-thinking individuals might actually consider a global nuclear exchange preferable to any other alternative, and only if such an exchange were actually contemplated and planned for could enough be known about its effects for it to be avoided.
The human element seems to have failed them in the world of 6-Commando, of course, but I still think there’s a lot of truth to Khan’s line of reasoning. As a matter of fact, we’re actually seeing much the opposite in modern East-West relations, a deliberate attempt to create dangerous situations, and threatening an irrational and unconsidered resort to violence and warfare. There’s a Defense Department paper on this which I’ve read, as well, and from all evidence both the U.S. and Russia are pretty keen on the idea these days, not to speak of North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, China – well, most of the world, actually, when you get right down to it.
Well, at any rate. I continue in my faith that the spirit of civilization will win out in the end. All things are relative in a world where change alone endures. Who said that? Trotsky?
Well, right you are.