The Last Essay I Shall Ever Write



Project RYAN, the Meta-Essay: It’s an Essay that Knows It’s an Essay


So, this is my last essay. I was going to take it REALLY seriously, you know...go out with a bang, but then it really occured to me that I can't take the history of international relations seriously, really, it's been a taxing effort for me to pretend all year. Enough I say! How do I define the cold war, you ask in your essay question? For about 45 years, men in suits played “chicken” with nukes. 


 I did it.

But essay guidlines stipulate I go further than that...*sigh* ok...

 This essay will explore just how much grown men can be like hormone crazed little girls in grade 6, only substitute ‘ideology’ for hormones. It will also discover why spreading rumors and not talking to someone because you “can’t stand them” are bad ideas when you are past your thirties and the leader of a prominent country. It's especially savy to avoid this when "that ass" is the leader of another country that has a lot of nuclear warheads. I will focus specifically on the great war scare of ’83 which I'm hoping against hope you didn't already know about (I have learned NEVER to write an essay on a topic a T.A specializes in.) 

Essentially, I will use this example to show how this whole cold war thing was crazy, and by being frank about this, I am also being bold.  For this reason, you who are reading this paper shall give me an “A”. Please note how NOT vague my introductory paragraph is, how well my sentences build into my thesis and how my thesis, though not a truism, is totally arguable, sort of spot on, and frankly a little zen if you just think about it. If you do give me an A, I might even give you a hug. I will now begin my first argument by using a transitional word followed by a comma.


Indeed, the year was 1980 when the Russians became sure they were going to be nuked by the U.S.A. This was because President Reagan said he might do it on national television.


“I don’t like Russians. They are evil,” said Reagan on TV several times while also cutting back on communications between the two countries, building up American military spending and watching several James Bond films.


In June 1983, Yuri Andropov, chairman of the KGB (and future General Secretary of the Soviet Union) met with American diplomat W. Averell Harriman.


“For f***’s sakes! Tell Reagan to stop threatening to nuke us! We might take him seriously and try to nuke him first. Is he being serious? Is he? AUGHHH! I JUST CAN’T TELL!”


Upon hearing about this conversation, Acting Director of Central Intelligence, John N. MacMahon pretty much said “Pshaw,” and later came to a brilliant conclusion. “Andropov’s just trying to use nuclear blackmail against us. He said, ‘we might get scared and nuke you first’ that means he’s aggressive. What a dangerous man! Let’s encourage even less communication between our two states!”


And so it was. Yes, I started a sentence with a conjunction back there, but I think you’ll agree it just made sense that way.


So at this point in history we have the Russians certain of being nuked, we have the CIA thinking the Russians might nuke America, and we have an American president who doesn’t like to talk to Russian leaders, but who does like being on TV and who also likes buying nukes. Oh, it also turns out we also have a huge Russian spy network working on something called Project RYAN where they all run around NATO countries trying to find out when Russia might get blown up so that they can blow up America first.

Clearly humans don’t deserve to live.  I’m getting sort of overwhelmed and this paper is due tomorrow, so I think I’m going to take a break to paint my nails, eat some popcorn, and maybe have a glass of gin or two in a bid to clear my mind.


I’m back now and in good spirits (heh heh, because good spirits are in ME! Yay gin!) The early 1980s are getting kind of crazy at this point because we have all these Russian spies in NATO countries reporting signs that NATO might nuke Russia, even though these spies don’t really think Russia will get nuked, but they report back all sorts of threatening things anyways because they want to keep their jobs as spies. It’s all so psychological and complex. So Russia’s getting pretty paranoid and when this South Korean Jumbo Jet goes over their territory, they get all “oh no! This might be an American spy plane! Look! It even went over a secret base!” and then they shoot it down and kill all 300 people on board. This is a bad situation. It gets slightly more traumatic for everyone when Reagan goes on national television again and says, “this is a soviet attack on the entire free world!”  


Essentially, everything gets worse and worse and each country nearly nukes the other about 6264769327403284863275421943208483274 times in 1983 before MI6 in England is like “STOP! WE HAVE A RUSSIAN SPY WORKING FOR US AND BETRAYING HIS RUSSIAN HANDLERS FOR OUR SAKE! HE SAYS THE RUSSIANS REALLY DO THINK WE’LL NUKE THEM FIRST! THEY ARE SCARED OF US! THIS IS ALL A LITTLE BIT SILLY! LOOK! KGB DOCUMENTS THAT PROVE IT!”


Anyways, then Reagan’s foreign policy changed a lot; he goes on TV (again) and says that Russians aren’t so bad and that peace is ok.


In conclusion, I would like so say that I have SO NOT used commas incorrectly, nor have I chosen a topic that is too broad to be explored within the confines of a 4 page essay. I know you were going to write that in your comments, so I thought I’d beat you to it. Also, I think we both know that my contractions didn’t really bother you or take away from the sheer academic force of this essay. My citation style has been b****’n, mostly because I stayed up till 3:00am this morning on the U of T writing website to get it this way. Finally, my sentences are clear, and I am RIGHT, the cold war was STUPID. Oh, and if you photocopied any pages from my essay and used my better ideas in your master’s thesis, you sneaky T.A you, well, I’ll probably not call you on it, unless you stick with the idea and get famous somehow some day, but frankly my dear let us not get too optimistic.







Andrew, Christopher and Oleg Gordievsky. Comrade Kyruchkov’s Instructions: Top Secret Files on KGB Foreign Operations, 1975-1985. Stanford California: Stanford University Press, 1991.                                                                                             


Arbel, David and Ran Edelist. Western Intelligence and the Collapse of the Soviet Union 1980-1990. London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2003.


Jones, Nathan Bennett. Operation RYAN, Able Archer 83, and Miscalculation: The War Scare of 1983. University of California, 2008.


Hyland, William G. The Reagan Foreign Policy. New York: Nal Penguin Inc, 1987.


Richelson, Jeffrey T. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.


Wark, Wesley. The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962. University of Toronto Lecture For HIS343Y1Y, Feb. 23 2009.


Wark, Wesley. World War Two: Operation Barbarossa and Intelligence Failure. Toronto Lecture For HIS343Y1Y, Nov. 10, 2009.



5 comments on “The Last Essay I Shall Ever Write

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  1. I would give you an A+++

    Because I laughed really, REALLY hard 😀 Best essay ever Heather. Hands DOWN.

  2. thank you!!!! *sigh* i always wish I could actually hand something like this in…or draw a comic…or write an epic poem to capture my feelings..but…there’s never any place for me on the syllabus!

  3. bahaha love it. Especially the .”..but frankly my dear let us not get too optimistic.”
    I can picture you saying that all too clearly in my head.

  4. My fav: “I’m getting sort of overwhelmed and this paper is due tomorrow, so I think I’m going to take a break to paint my nails, eat some popcorn, and maybe have a glass of gin or two in a bid to clear my mind.”

    One of these days!!! When I’m typing up the most torturous essay ever…*note to self: remember to visit LCBO before due date

  5. Actually, a smirnoff would be so nice right now

    ~sigh~ Effing assignment. ~sigh a million times~