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.