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 Annenberg’s Ethics in America series and was the only two-parter. You can watch it below via YouTube or on Annenberg’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 aren’t as well-known. It makes for a lively and very believable scenario.

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Despite just being a roundtable discussion, it gets very intense and gripping. The whole series (and the updated version in the ‘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.

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