The Current Nuclear Threat – Part 2, by John M.

North Korea, Scenario 2

The second North Korean scenario involves China and potentially Russia. While the threat of mutually assured destruction makes a direct engagement with Russia or China unlikely, proxy wars have often been occurring. If China or Russia were to back North Korea, then it could benefit all parties against the U.S.

China and the U.S. have been political adversaries for many years, but have also been economic partners in many respects. Recent competition has escalated, despite maintaining simultaneous partnerships. China has purchased vast amounts of U.S. debt and produces exports for the U.S.. But President Trump has been accused of starting a trade war with China, causing distrust on both sides.

In the past ten years, Russia has begun to reassert their power in the former Soviet states, including Georgia and the Ukraine. They have seized territory, claiming that local population desired to return to Russian rule. Russia has armed rebels in these countries, and reinforced troops in countries neighboring U.S. eastern European allies. This has begun a “new Cold War” between the superpowers.

China and Russia would both suffer from a collapse of the United States. Much of the world’s economy is dependent on the U.S. for trade and protection. A major collapse of the U.S. economy would cause a ripple effect that would collapse many other economies, eventually dramatically effecting Russia and China’s economies as well. Aside from the risk of retaliation, a surprise attack on the U.S., such as I have described, could negatively impact the world’s economies, including Russia’s and China’s.

However, if China and Russia were to properly prepare, such an attack could also benefit these two nations’ economies.

China could influence President Kim, encouraging him to make an attack as described above, with the promise of protection and the benefit of uniting the Korean Peninsula. China could also contribute covert technological assistance, in order to ensure success in such strikes.

In addition to encouraging an attack, Russia has built a new missile system, the 3M-54 Club-K variant, which can be stored and launched from a shipping container. This includes a nuclear variant, making it capable of stealth launch from anywhere in the world. This could be done to make it appear that North Korea has launched a missile, or it could be transferred to North Korea for use as I described in Scenario 1.

Should a Russia/China-backed North Korea take the initiative of the attack, as described in Scenario 1, they might stop after the initial attacks on the continental U.S., Hawaii and Guam. China could step in immediately following the launch, with the combined promise of bringing North Korea under control and the threat that any launch from the U.S. could be misconstrued as an attack aimed at the Chinese mainland. This strategy could minimize retaliation from the U.S. If retaliation is prevented, U.S. troops would likely be brought home to restore order and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. China might also offer assistance to the U.S. in these efforts.

A major attack on the U.S. electrical grid and infrastructure has often been estimated to require a minimum of 18-24 months  to recover. Many of the components required for the generation and distribution of electricity are expensive and take many months to reproduce. They are also massive in size, making them extremely difficult to move. Puerto Rico recently suffered from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, which left the country without power for more than a year. The small country is still trying to recover their electrical infrastructure. In these efforts, China might offer assistance as part of the peace negotiations.

Once U.S. troops are withdrawn from the Far East and Eastern Europe, many U.S. allies would be left nearly defenseless. This offers an opportunity for Russian and Chinese expansion into areas that they consider theirs by right. These two nations become the remaining superpowers and can push their interests in rebuilding the world economy. With advanced preparation, they could each expand their reach, making U.S. economic influence obsolete.

By the time the U.S. has restored its infrastructure, Russia and China would be the dominant economic powers of the world. The U.S. would be further indebted to China. This debt is further incentive for China to encourage North Korea in this effort. China could demand payment of their debt, asking the United States to cede the west coast to Chinese control, providing them with vast resources. Russia could make similar demands, retaking Alaska and its vast resources for themselves. Through this process, China and Russia could become the dominant world powers and bring America and Europe under their influence at the same time.

Scenario 3, Rogue Actors

The third scenario has more to do with Iran and terrorist organizations. It has long been proposed that, ifIran could get a nuclear weapon, a terrorist organization, or another rogue state, could launch a missile from a cargo ship and hit the continental U.S. with a nuclear strike or an EMP. This theory is unlikely, as only Russia has developed a cargo-launched missile system sophisticated enough to make such an attempt. However, if a rogue group should get possession of such a weapon and launch system, would there be justification for such action?

Islam, like many world religions, has a vision of the end of the world. One of the signs of the end of the world is that Mahdi will return and be recognized by the caliphate. In order for this to happen, the caliphate must be established. Muslims, especially extremists, are willing to die and become martyrs for this caliphate. Many extremists are willing to die to bring about the end of the world, according to their eschatological theology. This is why ISIS was able to gain so much power so quickly. Many believed them to be the caliphate that they had waited for.

In addition to a desire to establish the caliphate, many, especially in Iran, wish to drive the Jews from Jerusalem. Once again, they are willing to die for this cause, that they might receive the reward for martyrdom. Iran is one of the largest sponsors of terrorism in the Middle East. Their desire to acquire nuclear weapons is so that they can destroy Israel. While there have been many delays in Iran’s nuclear program, it is clear that they desire such weapons. Their alliance with Russia could provide them with such weapons, or weapons development technology.

Islamic extremists, whether from a rogue nation or terrorist group, would like to use weapons of great destruction against their enemies. If they could get their hands on such a weapon, they would surely use it. Their use would be more likely be a dramatic exhibition, targeting a city in a ground burst, as opposed to the longer-term devastation of using it for a a high-altitude EMP. Fortunately, the likelihood of such an organization acquiring and having the skill to use such a weapon is minimal.

Should Iran obtain nuclear weapons, it is unclear what the likelihood is that they would use them. Most likely, they would use them to negotiate for things that they want and for advantage against Israel. Israel is likely to respond with force if Iran does obtain nuclear weapons, forcing America and Russia to take sides in such a conflict. If America gets involved in a conflict between Israel and a nuclear-armed Iran, then there is a good chance that U.S. cities could become targets.

The possibility of Islamic extremists using a nuclear weapon effectively if they acquire one is low. The desire to use them may be high, but the skill required to obtain and use such weapons prevents them from doing so. Therefore, this is the least likely scenario.

Conclusion

While Americans believe Russia and China are expanding their spheres of influence, from their perspective is that they are restoring what was lost or has been taken. Since the original 12 countries formed NATO in 1949, NATO’s influence has grown to include 29 nations, with a growing number of other partners, including many that were previously Soviet states and Eastern Bloc countries. From the Russian/Chinese perspective, America has been encroaching upon their territory. Russia continues to push forward with newer, more advanced nuclear technology and delivery systems in order to protect their own interests.

Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has learned to do what China learned more than a decade before, to compete on an economic level. Both countries compete aggressively, with a desire to surpass the U.S. on the world stage.

Both Russia and China continue to push the boundaries of their influence. While they wish to avoid nuclear conflict, they also recognize America’s desire to avoid it as well. This emboldens them to push their influence, knowing that few have the power or the willingness to confront them directly. If America responds militarily, they run they risk of escalating to a no-win scenario.

Many speculate that we are on the road to a nuclear conflict in one form or another. Scientists have moved the Doomsday Clock up to two minutes to midnight, signaling that we are closer to nuclear annihilation than ever before. While these scenarios show the possibility for such an event, and possibly the most likely scenarios, we are probably no closer than at any other time during the Cold War. All of the major powers recognize the risk and want to find ways to avoid it.

 




15 Comments

  1. Your conclusion “we are probably no closer than at any other time during the Cold War” is not a good prognosis when you consider how close we were. Actually we are closer to the time prophecies will hit the fan. Best advice I have heard is: “Trust the Lord, be prepared and keep a low profile” which was received as though our lives will depend upon it.

  2. Calling Russia or China “Super Powers” requires one to ignore reality. The Russian economy is roughly the size of the metropolitan NY economy. The population is decreasing each year. The Russian military is a mere shadow of what it once was and it has little in the way of recent war fighting experience.

    China has a much larger economy than Russia but only possesses a small Frigate Navy, really much more of a coast guard. Could that change? Yes. Could it change quickly? No. The Chinese military has also not done well on the field of battle. The last engagement was with Vietnam and it did not go well for China.

    The most plausible reality is bad actors using EMP or Cyber warfare. The EMP attack is most likely to be initiated by Iran or North Korea (of the current potential players). The easiest way is to detonate the weapon or weapons in L.E.O. (satellite). The next easiest is the container ship method. The U.S. currently has no defense against either one and no plans to create that defense (that are public).

    We are already engaged in a Cyber War with many nation states and rouge groups. Our Cyber defenses are poor. Our Cyber offense capability is best in the world. This is what I would say is by far the largest threat to the grid and the nation. Here is a recent interview question to Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and his response.

    Ryssdal: What keeps you up at night?
    Dimon: Well, I worry about a little bit of everything. But, you know, if you ask me, the thing that we really have to do it better is we’ve got to fix these issues. I think these issues are holding us back and tearing us apart: jobs, skills, wages, all those various things. But if you ask me about a risk? Cyber. We are not prepared for cyber, and it’s already a cyberwar. Companies like JPMorgan and hundreds of thousands of others are attacked every day by state actors, criminals, and we don’t have the authority in place to have the proper response and protection. The government knows this, by the way, but we still haven’t fixed it. And that’s information sharing, the ability for not us but for the American government to take offensive actions. It needs to be made a part of trade. People have to know there’s a huge price for cyber. Cyber could take down an airplane. It can close down electrical grids. It could be a disaster. And I think if we don’t move really really quick, we’re making a mistake.

  3. Such an important topic, I would hope for a few professional references.

    For those looking for researched back explainings how the grid will fair in the above situation, I would recommend the book “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel.

    1. Excellent suggestion Joe. Koppel did a great service to the nation by writing that. Alas, few people know it exists, fewer have read it. Three Chapters in the book about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints… and Koppel is Jewish. He did join the ranks of those who store a years supply of food after his research for the book. He is storing not only for his wife, but his children and grandchildren. Something many here would recognize. He was appalled to discover how little most government agencies knew about cyber, CME, and EMP threats and that most agencies had no plans for any defense or response to any of the treats or potential outcomes. For a guy who loves government like Koppel it was a bitter pill to swallow.

      I would add to the list two excellent LeMay Papers from the Electromagnetic Defense Task force. The 2018 report and the 2019 report are both very worthwhile reading for anyone seeking information about potential EMP threats.

      https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/AUPress/Papers/LP_0002_DeMaio_Electromagnetic_Defense_Task_Force.pdf

      https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/AUPress/Papers/LP_0004_ELECTROMAGNETIC_DEFENSE_TASK_FORCE_2_2019.PDF

      1. Thanks for your response Newell, you’re not in the New England area are you?! I’m always trying to locate other individuals of the self-reliance mindset up this way and it’s an ongoing challenge lol.

        1. I have read the Curtis LeMay papers on EMP and they are excellent. It’s amazing how dependent we are on the grid for our life; something that didn’t even exist for thousands of mankind’s existence and now we can’t live without it!

          We live in northern Maine; many of the people up here don’t have the grid anyway, and the Post Office has a hitching post for your horse.

  4. Re: 18-24 month recovery of US grid

    This figure assumes that nothing else happens in the mean time like an invasion, nuclear war, or probably more likely another EMP attack to keep us down.

    For all those who have equipment in faraday cages just remember the “enemy” knows that there is protected equipment, I suspect that they conduct another EMP attack a week or two later as people break out stuff from their faraday cages. Rember one is none and two is one. . .

  5. Re the author’s comment “we are probably no closer than at any other time during the Cold War. All of the major powers recognize the risk and want to find ways to avoid it.”

    1) As I noted earlier, this is wrong.

    to Reagan’s agreement with Russia, Washington has pushed NATO eastward 600 miles with the incorporation of Poland etc and is trying to push it another 600 miles eastward — to within 300 miles of Moscow and her ICBM sites — by mounting the 2014 coup to overthrow the government of Ukraine.

    That is a LETHAL threat to Russia — GPS guided stealth drones with 300 kt warheads could take out her ICBMs in a surprise First Strike one night. Stealth drones like the RQ-180. Something that can carry several hundred lbs of “recon equipment” can carry a nuke of similar weight.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_Grumman_RQ-180

    Sat comm links to drone pilots in the USA would only be needed to track down the mobile Russian ICBMs — that are fixed on defined rail tracks of limited extent.

    Prior to Ukraine , Russia had agreed to nuclear arms reduction treaties that reduced the nuclear arms on both sides to within 17% of what they were in the 1980s. Because of Ukraine, that arms reduction process is DEAD, the Cold War is restarted and a nuclear arms buildup is moving ahead.

    2) I am not defending Russia — I am asking HOW does any of this benefit the American People who currently are struggling with massive debt?

    Why has NO ONE in Washington asked that basic question? Anyone who tried asking Democratic blogs why Obama was restarting the Cold War was accused of being a Russian hacker. Constant, consistent evasion.

    3) In 2014, the US News Media engaged in massive deceit re Ukraine –giving the impression that Russia was ready to march to the English Channel. From Wikipedia, here are the FACTS the lying News Media didn’t provide:

    US GDP: $20.5 Trillion
    EU GDP: $22 Trillion
    Russia GDP: $4.4 Trillion

    US Population: 327 Million
    EU Population: 513 Million
    Russia Population: 146 million

    US Military Budget: $649 billion
    EU Military Budget (NATO minus US): $400 billion
    Russia Military Budget: $61 billion

    4) Russia is a threat only if she is pushed into a corner and has to use her nukes to avoid being conquered. Everyone in the 1970s-1980s knew after the Cuban missile crisis that the US and Soviets needed to respect each others space. Why is that lesson being ignored now?

    5) Two other points:

    a) The US is protected by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans — Russia is surrounded by enemies. With 1.5 billion Chinese on her southern doorstep.

    b) Stealth tech and GPS guided cruise missiles destroyed Mutual Assured Destruction. How do you threaten retaliation if you do NOT know where the nukes came from? Or from whom.

    In the old days, there was a 30 minute warning for ICBM launches and much longer warning for bomber waves. With the source destination clearly known. Today there may be little to no warning and limited to no indication of the source. What does that imply for “Use them or Lose Them”?

    1. 1) Here is the Princeton Video — “Plan A”

      https://sgs.princeton.edu/the-lab/plan-a

      2) I think it is somewhat obsolete.

      Given the reductions in nukes from past arms treaties, I think the Russians would use more of their nukes to destroy the 200 largest US cities — roughly 70% of the population — instead of only 30. In order to ensure that the US can never rebuild and become a threat in the future. (Fallout and famine would finish the job.)

      Plan A’s assumption of a counterforce strike — the several hundred Russian warheads aimed at the Minuteman missile fields in the Redoubt (Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming) — was more likely in the 1980s when the USA and Soviets had many more nukes.

      However, the Minuteman silos are spaced about 3 miles apart so they can’t all be attacked at once due to fratercide — i.e, a Russian nuke exploding at silo 1 would destroy other Russian warheads coming in to attack adjacent silos. Hence the Minuteman silos have to be attacked in stages — and Russia’s limited ICBMs would probably not survive long enough to attack in stage 2.

  6. A longer term issue is what will be the results for the American People of the New Cold War.

    1) If a major nuclear conflict breaks out then billions will die — not just from direct effects but from the ensuing famine. Food crops and farm animals are as vulnerable to fallout radiation as are humans.

    While I am sceptical of the nuclear winter hypothesis, it is possible
    for northern latitudes above 45 degrees — that is where most of the detonations would occur and where the statosphere drops down to 9 kilometers vs the 17 km south of 30 deg.

    2) Plus I doubt mankind could ever rebuild civilization — we have already consumed all the readily accessible energy sources –coal and oil.

    3) An arguably bleaker prospect results if Washington manages to slowly conquer Russia and China WITHOUT a nuclear war breaking out. Possible via a Roman style partnership of their elites with our elites.

    The resulting invincible global dictatorship would not likely be kind to Americans — we would probably become slaves with everyone else. Already it is remarkable how systems allegedly developed for use against the evil Islamo-terrorists are being applied against us.

    As historian Edward Gibbon pointed out in 1776, the fragmented nature of European states maintained freedom because if a tyrant arose in one state his opponents could flee to others for refuge and the other states would join to resist his aggression. But when the Roman Empire expanded to encompass the world then no one could escape the Emperor.

    4) The same was true of Qing China. And unless the Klingons show up, there will be no modern day Germanic invaders or European sailors come to disrupt the our slave empire.

    5) The other thing about the Roman Empire and Qing China is that Scientific and Technological Progress came to a dead halt for hundreds of years. Absent a foreign threat, the Elites do NOT like Schumpterian disruption — and their mandarins steal any innovation. So innovation halts and mankind stagnates. For a very long time.

    5) Much of the national myth about US talent for science is claptrap. There were 3 rocket pioneers in the USA, Europe and Russia early in the 20th century. But the US rocket pioneer Robert Goddard could get no funding because the New York Times claimed he was a fraud — that rockets could not work in
    space “because there was nothing for the exhaust to push

    So when the Soviet threat arose, we had to bring in Nazi rocket experts to start our space and ICBM programs. Even today our astronauts fly to the Space Station on a Russian launcher and our Air Force satellites are launched on a Russian RD-180 rocket with a Lockheed Martin decal slapped on it.

    6) Most of the scientific geniuses on the Manhattan atomic project were European. The project only got started because the Brits yelled and screamed about the atomic threat. The project leader, RobertOppenheimer, was American but had done his graduate studies in Britain and Germany.

    7) Silicon Valley doesn’t create — Silicon Valley steals. The personal computer was developed by the Pentagon for the Minuteman ICBM guidance system. The Internet was developed by the Pentagon with our tax dollars. So were many other computer and communications technologies.

  7. Political/economic analyst Brandon Smith is savvy. He has arguably the best track record today. It is a tough pill to swallow but Brandon Smith makes a strong argument that Russia and China are in the NWO fold along with those elites controlling Washington.

    That said, what would the NWO gain from nuking valuable resources and infrastructure? Yes globalists have openly expressed goals to depopulate ‘their earth’ but like Randy replied to in Part 1 comments, cyber-warfare is the warfare of the future. It could possibly be used to take the power grid down killing as much as 90% of the U.S. population.

    That leaves the very real threat of terrorists acting on their own using nukes. U.S. ports are sitting ducks for low tech nuclear delivery systems. For example, take out two shipyards and you kiss the viability of U.S. submarine fleet goodbye.

  8. The most dangerous enemy of the American people are the far left of this nation and it’s media that lies at every turn.
    This Godless bunch celebrates the killing of the unborn
    They want Americans to have zero freedom
    They want open borders that will destroy the fabric of our society
    They want everyone to bow down to their control.

    This is the enemy within and with this group firmly planning the destruction of this nation, how bad can the other nations be?

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