Another page without words, but I’m sure, again, that you’ll forgive the heavy-handed symbolism and agree that getting rid of the dialogue was probably the best way to make this scene work. And by the way, you may all be interested to know that this week is the beginning of the thirtieth anniversary of the Able Archer Crisis, which very nearly resulted in an accidental nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. So this scene comes at a rather opportune moment in history, coincidentally.
The Able Archer Crisis, if you don’t know, was caused by an unusual confluence of events – a NATO communications exercise that coincided with Revolution Day in Russia, a period of ramped-up anti-Communist rhetoric in the United States, and a series of errors in the Soviet early warning satellite system that resulted in a period of increased nuclear paranoia in the Soviet military leadership. The communications exercise being carried out by NATO was testing the reliability of the command and control procedures of the allied network in the event of an invasion of Western Europe, which at the time, we were terrified might happen at any time. What we DIDN’T realize, however, was that the reverse was true as well, and that in the tense political climate of the time, the Soviet leadership believed that the exercise was a ruse of war, and might be used as cover for a preemptive Allied nuclear attack on continental Russia. In the West, we thought the Soviets would understand that “of course” we would never strike first with nuclear arms; in the East, they thought that “of course” the perfect time to stage a first strike would be under the cover of an exercise, in the middle of a Soviet national holiday, when it was politically supportable with a hard-line anti-Communist American and British leadership in power. Totally oblivious to the enormous provocation on the one hand and the enormous paranoia on the other, the exercises went forward, and the result was very nearly a catastrophe – all because East and West were not communicating with each other properly, or, more precisely, because we totally misunderstood what we were doing. So, the scenario of this story is not really quite as far off the mark as we all might like to think – it actually almost happened.
As for me, it has been another really long week, and I’m turning in. Whew! All the best, everyone.