The Presidency: The Alternative Is So Terrible

"The Alternative Is So Terrible"

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Presidents almost never talk openly about how it might be to face a nuclear salvo from the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan did last week. "Think of it," he said in a low voice, seated in front of a wood fire in the calm of the Oval Office. "You're sitting at that desk." He pointed across the room at his working chair. Only the muted crackling of burning logs and the tick of the old grandfather clock broke the silence. Reagan's eyes were squinted, his brow tense. "The word comes that they're (the missiles) on their way. And you sit here...

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