To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
I should like to comment on what unfortunately appears to be a widespread misconception in the U.S. regarding the question of another world war.
Professor Tillich has recently said that if Europe were occupied by Russia it would still be possible for the West to win it back without resorting to the use of nuclear weapons.
I regret to say that such thinking is not only most unimaginative and unrealistic but extremely self-deceptive. We cannot (and it is sheer folly to do so) think of the next World War in terms of the last two.
Those like Professor Tillich who feel that despite the nuclear armaments, the next major war can be fought in "conventional" terms, therefore, delude themselves. In a conventional war, one side is certain to emerge victorious; this leaves the vanquished with two alternatives: (a) accept defeat; or (b) resort to the use of nuclear weapons.
A slight acquaintance with game theory will illustrate that given a choice between
(1) Defeat for X, victory for Y
(2) Defeat for X, defeat for Y
it is almost certain that in the confused humiliation of defeat, X will resort to the use of nuclear weapons. This means defeat for both X and Y, even though the second kind of defeat is far more drastic.
The point then is that a war must be avoided altogether and that psychological comfort should not be sought in the consolation that nuclear weapons will end up being show-pieces, since it is conventional warfare that will be fought. It is time, therefore, that we leave the world of self-consoling and gratifying thoughts that provide us with illusory visions, and enter into the realm of pragmatic and realistic thinking. The latter is, perhaps, less comforting, but it will at least leave us without any illusions as to our predicament. Ezra N. Suleiman '63.