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The threat of nuclear war puts enough stress on people that an accidental nuclear war could be the result With more and more of the superpowers defences being controlled by complex computers the chance of a malfunction increases as well Add this to normal human error and governmental mistakes and you have a recipe for disaster For this paper I will be describing examples and systems of the United States as Canada has no nuclear weapons and the USAs information is more readily available than the other nuclear equipped countries Accidental nuclear war is a term for a very broad subject with hard to define boundaries Technical errors miscalculations and unintended escalation can all lead to inadvertent nuclear war In the 1950s a flock of geese was mistaken for a squadron of Russian bombers and in 1960 a radar beam reflecting off the moon duplicated a Soviet ICBM Inter-Continental Ballistic MissileBarbara Marsh p65 Both of these false alarms were detected in time to halt a counter-strike mainly because it was peace time and no ones finger poised over the button During a crisis peoples high levels of stress create suspicions where there shouldnt be and as a result many safe guards are removed that are in place to prevent an accidental launch It is feared that under these circumstances it would be quite easy for a flock of geese to set off a nuclear war Another fear is that a smaller nation such as recent Korea could gain control of and utilize nuclear weapons and trigger a war between the super powers This type is called a catalytic nuclear war There are two types of control over the operation of nuclear weapons positive and negative Plans implemented in order to prevent unauthorized use of the nuclear weapons - mechanical obstacles electronic locks prohibitive operational procedures - are designated as negative controls An analogy for negative control
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