Modern Warfare 2's glaring plot holes exposed!

Having trouble wrapping your head around MW2's story? You're not alone

We’ve already discussed why the setup for the invasion was flawed, but now let’s consider the invasion itself. We’re pretty sure that mutually assured destruction (MAD) is still a thing, so the best-case scenario for Russia is that America, with its dying breath, launches a world-ending salvo of nuclear warheads. Soooo… it’s a suicide mission, then? Since Modern Warfare is especially fond of quotes, we dug this one up on the Wikipedia:

To continue to deter in an era of strategic nuclear equivalence, it is necessary to have nuclear (as well as conventional) forces such that in considering aggression against our interests any adversary would recognize that no plausible outcome would represent a victory or any plausible definition of victory.
President Jimmy Carter in 1980,Presidential Directive 59, Nuclear Weapons Employment Policy

Above: One of the Cold War’s MAD men

From the tenuously connected Rojas, Task Force 141 learns that Makarov “has the mad-on” for a prisoner in a remote Russian gulag. This prisoner is none other than the beloved Captain Price, whose roguish charm delights all whom he doesn’t kill first. Giant question marks loom over how Price ended up in the gulag and how he and Soap became separated in the first place. Last we knew, Price and Soap were being medevac’d by Russian loyalists and we didn’t know if either man would survive his wounds. The gulag, we learn, is where the Russian government puts people they don’t want but can’t kill. So Russia returned Soap to the UK, but chucked Price in the gulag? That doesn’t make sense, they were allies at that point and would have seen both men safely home.

Above: Last thing I remember was the tequila shots…

The other possible scenario: the loyalists were overrun by ultranationalists before they could get Price out, but Soap’s chopper got away. In that case, the bloodthirsty ultranationalists would have nursed Price back to health and then shipped him off to a gulag run by the government they were revolting against. That doesn’t make sense either, as the ultranationalists would have killed Price on sight. All deliberation aside, though, it sure was touching to see our boys Soap and Price reunited, and that white-knuckled escape really kicked our nuts into our throat. Explosions!!!

Above: Military logic at work. The Navy will: bomb the shit out of a building knowing full well that their allies are inside. They won’t: bomb the shit out of an oil rig because a few hostages are inside (see previous mission)

With his newfound freedom, Price’s first order of business is to launch a nuclear warhead at the east coast of the United States, with the goal of snuffing out the Russian invasion. Of course, he wasn’t planning to nuke America outright. When a nuclear explosion occurs in space, the only effect is an EMP blast that destroys all unshielded electronics in its line of sight.

Above: Authentic control panel of a Russian nuclear submarine

While it made for an intensely dramatic scene as the burst rippled across America and demolished the ISS, there’s no way Price could have launched a missile from a Russian nuclear sub by himself. Did he just ring up Nikolai on a payphone to get the launch codes? How did he singlehandedly defeat the physical safety measures? You don’t just push the glowy red button with the mean face on it. There are elaborate control systems in place to prevent just such unauthorized launches.

Above: Two people have to turn launch keys simultaneously to fire a real nuclear missile

One more thing: how did Price get it to detonate in space, anyhow? We’re pretty sure that wasn’t part of the missile’s original instructions. Regardless, if the Russians were serious about their “kill America” plan from the get-go, they probably would have launched HEMP and nuclear strikes of their own as a precursor to the invasion. But then, American missile silos are hardened against just such attacks, to ensure MAD (see top of page for irresolvable logic loop.)

Above: Concept art for Russian submarine base

Next page: Bringing it all full circle

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