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Game Theory on Nuclear War with N. Korea

The article about nuclear war is interesting in how it presents the Nuclear problem between the United states and North Korea. It presents the model of a game between 2 players with each vying for 100 dollars, however there is a small risk of losing 10,000 every time the game ends. Both players have the same dominant strategy, risk it all and make the other player give up. There are two Nash equilibrium’s in this case, to have one player win by betting $100 and the other player bet 0. Conceptually, it applies vice versa and works because why would the player bet anything, just to risk losing 10,000 dollars. The model in the article assumes that one player is the aggressor and the other is forced to reluctantly give up, which is why full on nuclear war never truly breaks out as with the Soviet Union.  However, the model immediately breaks down when both players act simultaneously, since both will play the dominant strategy of being aggressive, nobody then knows who will win, as neither is willing to bear the brunt of a nuclear holocaust.

By looking at this model, we reach today’s international political arena between the USA and North Korea. Both seem to be endlessly posturing, sending never ending threats of nuclear war by assuring them through missile tests, military drills, or joint international military bomb drills. If all stays the same, the prediction of no nuclear war happening will become the result. But as noted, the longer the standoff lasts the more likely nuclear fallout will occur. Nuclear weapons being used between two sides are usually the result of accidents happening.  For both sides involved, the longer this standoff continues, the more danger both sides will be in because more variables will be introduced. Tension will grow with time and the dominant strategy will become more important than ever. Bluffs will be recognized as they are, but for the opposing nation, will reinforce the need to be aggressive. Thus, in this situation, it seems the U.S is in a disadvantageous situation, since the country has more to lose than North Korea. While there is not enough data to suggest the result of the current climate, the USA is in danger for as long as the statement continues. Through N. Korea being pressed by a larger country with more nuclear capabilities, accidents are more likely to occur as they feel the increased pressure.


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September 2018