This week, the BBC aired a program where a group of retired diplomats and generals war gamed a WWIII scenario between NATO and Russia. It was worth a watch for alt-history fans if a bit melodramatic, but it reminded me of a similar, much better, version of this done during the cold war with some very big name people on PBS in the 1980s. It was part of Annenbergā€™s Ethics in America series and was the only two-parter. You can watch it below via YouTube or on Annenbergā€™s website.

People involved in the discussion include Generals William Westmoreland (chief of armed forces in Vietnam) and Brent Scowcroft (also a former National Security Advisor under both Ford and Bush Sr.), newsmen Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and then-congressman Newt Gingrich amongst others. Admittedly, these are all conservative voices, but they are balanced out by other, much more-moderate voices on the panel. They just arenā€™t as well-known. It makes for a lively and very believable scenario.

Despite just being a roundtable discussion, it gets very intense and gripping. The whole series (and the updated version in the ā€˜00s) are all available to watch for free, but this is by far the best and it will stay with you.

Note: For some reason that I cannot fathom, I appear to have been banned on Gizmodo and they are not responding to my emails. So I am just going to get a new account. The new username will be Flying Squid. I hope people on Observation Deck and White Noise who know me see this and will recognize my new account.