When the real life disappoints, as it is wont to do, human beings often take comfort in fiction, imagining an alternate reality where our problems aren’t so daunting and where we aren’t so fallible. We dream, in short, of a better world. Sometimes, those dreams can rekindle our sense of hope or inspire us as to how we might make the real world a little more ideal.
With the demise of the START Treaty, and prospects for a START Follow-On beginning to dim, it is a comfort that the parallel world of simulations is rather rosier. A few days ago, I mentioned that CNS makes very effective use of simulations to educate students.
The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies recently completed a student simulation that resulted in the so-called Strategic Mutual Arms Reduction Treaty (SMART).
Not only did the students manage the come up with a decent name for the Treaty — who can complain about mutual? — but the virtual Rose Gottemoeller had a rather easier time working out a deal with her Russian counterpart, who accepted continuation of monitoring at Votkinsk and a prohibition on encrypting telemetry after a developmental period for each missile.
I wrote to her, “Your Russian participants must have been teddy bears. How’d you get them to agree to that?” She replied:
Vodka and arm wrestling.
Someone give that kid a job.