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The system may be unable to give you a consistent response, no matter who you ask. It really depends on how you build your protocol.

Let's imagine a system where you want to be 100% available for reads, for any number of failures less than N. Then you need to be able to submit every single write to every single node in the system, otherwise the failure of all but the up-to-date node will result in stale reads.

But then if a single node is partitioned from the network, we can't (correctly) be available for writes, because the system is incapable of sending updates to all reads as required. It doesn't matter which node you ask.

The point is that every system has a failure mode like this. I take your point that it's not always just a single node failure that precipitates the abandonment of C or A, but that was never the point of the CAP theorem.

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