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Members of the Alexander Hamilton Society par­tic­ipate in diplo­matic nego­ti­a­tions.
Logan Washburn | Collegian

Members of the Alexander Hamilton Society nar­rowly averted a nuclear war on Oct. 1. 

AHS hosted an event called “War Games,” in which six political inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions embarked on mock diplo­matic nego­ti­a­tions to prevent a nuclear war. The club held two con­current sim­u­la­tions in dif­ferent class­rooms of Lane Hall from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. 

“In the end, we worked some­thing pretty good out of it,” junior Tom MacPhee said. “It was pretty awesome. I def­i­nitely learned about a little bit of foreign policy, and had a little more fun.”

Despite high ten­sions on all sides, par­tic­i­pants suc­cess­fully ended both sim­u­la­tions without the use of nuclear arms.

AHS used a U.S. Department of State tem­plate for the sim­u­lation with “fic­tional nations to avoid irrel­evant dis­trac­tions,” according to AHS Pres­ident Andrew Davidson. 

“This was to really boil down to the con­crete issue of a dis­puted border, a dis­puted ter­ritory, and the pos­sible pro­curement of nuclear weapons,” Davidson said.

The activity began with an inter­na­tional con­flict over nuclear energy between four countries.

The con­flict began with two opposing forces, the fic­tional nations of Ter­ranova and Aggravalia, according to sophomore Konrad Ver­baarschott, who rep­re­sented the Department of State in the simulation.

“Ter­ranova is most adjacent to, South Korea. Aggravalia is more like North Korea. Lan­desia would be your China, and then there is the United States,” Ver­baarschott said. “We’ve got a couple of inter­na­tional bodies that are inter­ested in peace preservation.”

Chaos spread when the Inter­na­tional Atomic Energy Agency, a real-life entity that operates as part of the United Nations, requested to inspect Aggravalia’s nuclear energy facil­ities. Upon Aggravalia’s refusal, the other nations quickly became sus­pi­cious, according to Davidson.

“The Aggravalian gov­ernment forbade IAEA inspectors from inves­ti­gating some of their nuclear energy facil­ities,” Davidson said. “There are some strong sus­pi­cions that the Aggravalians are attempting to develop nukes.”

This created an inter­na­tional diplo­matic dilemma. Nations, inter­na­tional groups, and gov­erning bodies quickly mobi­lized to disarm a potential nuclear holocaust.

“We had all kinds of rela­tions with other coun­tries, some antag­o­nistic and some friendly, and we had to nego­tiate world peace from a nuclear standoff,” MacPhee said.

America, which was rep­re­sented by the U.S. DOS, attempted a stance of neu­trality in the conflict.

“We have all these coun­tries, we don’t want this to get violent,” Ver­baarschott said. “We would like to keep it that way, but Aggravalia might force our hand.”

From the assas­si­nation of a diplomat to an explosion at a nuclear power plant, stu­dents used diplomacy to solve unpre­dictable events. 

“There’s been a lot of diplomacy going back and forth, and I’m not sure how suc­cessful it is,” sophomore Olivia Hajicek said. “No one’s gotten nuked yet, so we’ll take it.”

According to Davidson, there were mul­tiple ways par­tic­i­pants could have gone about ending this crisis. 

“The best way is to allow inspectors back into the Aggravalian nuclear facil­ities peace­fully,” he said. “Say a trade deal, or rep­re­sen­tation in an agency that they weren’t allowed to pre­vi­ously. Perhaps a with­drawal of foreign troops from the border.”

The nations peri­od­i­cally joined together for inter­na­tional assem­blies. During these meetings, diplomats pro­posed res­o­lu­tions, joined in debates, and advo­cated for national interests.

Some par­tic­i­pants appeared to take a more light-hearted approach to the nego­ti­a­tions. At one point, the U.S. DOS pro­posed a res­o­lution to drop 25,000 McDonald McChicken Sand­wiches on Aggravalia to alle­viate a food shortage, according to sophomore Josh Hypes, chair of the Nuclear Non-Pro­lif­er­ation Crisis Com­mittee, which led nego­ti­a­tions in the assembly.

“It was all for peace,” he said.

Addi­tionally, Hypes and com­mittee co-chair Luke Spangler used a video of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg out of context to introduce a diplo­matic crisis, much to the assembly’s amusement.

According to Davidson, the chapter’s national group pro­vided funding and advice for this event.

“Most of what we do is invite guest speakers, but this one incor­po­rated stu­dents in a way that I didn’t think was really normal – or pos­sible – for extracur­ric­ulars,” he said.