Survival is worth three points, destroying the opposing ideology is worth two points, and having at least one survivor is worth twenty points.
If nobody uses WMDs, everyone gets 23 points. If one side uses WMDs, they survive and destroy their idealogical opponent for 25 points to the opposing 20. If both sides use WMDs, both score 2 for destroying the opponent.
Given that conflicts will happen, a leader who refuses to initiate use of WMDs while convincing the opponent that he will retaliate with them is most likely to result in the dual-cooperate outcome. Therefore the optimum choice for the organism which selects the military leaders is to select leaders who are crazy enough to nuke them back, but not crazy enough to launch first.
If you share the relative ranking above (not-extinction>>surviving>wiping out others), then your personal maximum comes from causing such a leader to be elected (not counting unrelated effects on e.g. domestic policy). The cheapest way of influencing that is by voting for such a leader.
What’s the difference between “Survival” and “having at least one survivor”?
The way I see it:
If I’m dead, 0 points.
If I’m alive, but my city got nuked, so it’s like a nuclear wasteland, 1 point.
If I’m alive, and living via normal north american standards, 2 points.
We’re assuming a conflict is about to happen, I guess, or else the hypothetical scenario is boring and there are no important choices for me to make.
The question is not “Do I elect a crazy leader or a non-crazy leader?”, but rather, “Do I elect a leader that’s believes ‘all’s fair in love and war?’ or a leader that believes in ‘always keep your word and die with honor’?”
I.e. if you think “ethical vs unethical” means “will retaliate-but-not-initiate vs will not retaliate-but-not-intiiate”, then it’s no wonder why we’re having communication problems.
“Having at least one survivor” means that humanity exists at the end of the game. “Surviving” means that your country exists at the end of the game.
I sidestepped ‘ethical’ entirely in favor of ‘practical’. I also had to address this question in a manner not nearly as hypothetical or low-stakes as this.
So it sounds to me like this is not iterated prisoner’s dilemma, because if my country gets nuked, I do not get to elect another military leader for the next round.
… Political leader. No nation with nukes currently elects military leaders.