This is a fascinating article in Wired magazine about how in October 1969, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger decided to feint a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union. They believed that such an attack would terrify the Moscow government into helping them in Vietnam and taking disarmanent seriously. The risks were obviously vast as American planes crossed Canadian airspace into the Arctic ocean, the Russians had no reason not to beleive that they were under attack and consequently to respond appropriately. Nixon and Kissinger believed that only if Nixon were seen as a madman willing to do anything, would negotiations take place in ways that suited the United States. Obviously the calculation did not completely backfire- we are all still here- but on the other hand neither did it work fully. Vietnam did not see peace until 1973. Kissinger claims that the move was responsible for the gradual Soviet acceptance of disarmanent in the 70s, it would be interesting to hear from someone on the Russian side or even look at Russian documents to confirm what they thought of the crisis. As it is it remains one of those episodes when the cold war almost got very hot.