I’m not pretending to know what would’ve happened, Captain Strawman, and my argument doesn’t depend on knowing what would’ve happened. America could have accepted Japan’s conditional surrender and watched what happens instead of nuking hundreds of thousands of civilians and starting the nuclear arms race. Maybe it would have acted up again and needed to be smacked into place, maybe it would have been fine. We don’t know, and we never will, because America chose to open Pandora’s box instead.

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I write about the end of illusions.

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