We could have fought World War III instead. With nukes on both sides, of course; unless we were prepared to conquer Russia, nothing would have stopped Sakharov from building Stalin an H-bomb. Doesn’t that sound jolly?
Prof. Bainbridge doesn’t estimate how much longer it would have taken to defeat the Nazis if we had, as he retrospectively advises, started jockeying for position against the Soviets in 1944, by withholding the cross-Channel invasion and pursuing a race to Vienna and Berlin through the Balkans. Therefore he doesn’t have to consider how many more people would have died in the Nazi death camps as a result. Or what would have happened had Stalin switched sides, as he was perfectly capable of doing if Churchill and FDR had double-crossed him.
I’m grateful to Steve for making the President’s meaning explicit. It’s one thing to regret the suffering that resulted from the ratification at Yalta of the facts on the ground. Wishing that WWIII had happened is something else again.