Terrorists send the president a message saying that unless he gives them $25 billion, they’ll detonate a nuclear bomb in Manhattan. What should the president do? What would you do? Would you feel differently if the city were El Paso or Indianapolis?
I hate this type of question. It’s the Kobayashi Maru of questions. A no-win scenario.
If the president refuses to pay the $25 billion, attempting to call the terrorists’ bluff, they activate their bomb and millions of lives are lost along with one of the most important economic centers on the planet.
If the president hands over the cash, it opens the door for terrorist organizations to make similar demands on a regular basis, knowing that a government will give into their demands.
Isn’t this the kind of situation that Jack Bauer exists for? Don’t we have an intelligence organization and law enforcement agencies to make sure things like this don’t happen? How did a terrorist group manage to get an active nuke into the heart of New York City?
Fine… I’m asking questions to deflect… Official policy is that we do not negotiate with terrorists, correct? Then I would say we don’t pay. And my God have mercy on us all.
No, I’d feel no different if it were El Paso or Indianapolis or Reno or Helena. Lives lost are lives lost…
But what would you do in this no-win situation? Would you pay off the terrorists? Would you hope they’re bluffing and refuse? Let me know in the comments!
*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.