“History shows the folly in hoping that each new, more destructive weapon will not be used. And yet we dare to hope that this time it will be different. We, and the Soviets have amassed a combined arsenal of 55,000 nuclear weapons, equivalent in destructive force to some 6,000 World War II’s, capable of reaching their targets in a matter of minutes, and able to destroy every major city in the world. All in the belief that they will never be used.”– Prof. Martin E. Hellman – Stanford University
For over four decades of the Cold War the world lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation. East and West faced off against each other over world dominion. Nuclear powers spent two trillion dollars on nuclear arms; enough to make sure that there was overkill for the overkill. All this was kept “stable” by the concept of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” which isn’t even good grammar, but certainly was MAD enough for anyone.
Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when the old Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War finally came to an end. There was no longer any reason to think that the world would end in a nuclear holocaust, killing all but the most remotely hidden people groups around the world.
Thanks to the Treaty on the No-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, there are still only nine countries around the world that are considered nuclear powers. Of these, Russia and the United States lead by far; with all of the rest of nuclear powers not even coming close to what either of these countries has in their nuclear arsenal.
Between 1940 and 1996, the U.S. spent at least $8.75 trillion (present-day terms) on nuclear weapons development. It is estimated that, since 1945, the United States produced more nuclear warheads than all other nuclear powers combined, including Russia.
If all we look at is the numbers, it would seem that we are living in fairly safe times, at least as far as nuclear war is concerned. But sadly, the numbers do not tell the tale. While both Russian and American nuclear arms inventories are at a much lower level than they were in the height of the Cold War, we each retain enough weapons to destroy the world.
In fact, the Russian current nuclear arsenal is larger than the American one. While we have more which are categorized as “active,” they have more overall warheads, by almost 1,000.
Should Russia and the United States ever go to trading blows with nuclear arms, Russia has more chances to come up as a “winner”. There are three basic reasons for this:
- First of all, Russia would probably be the aggressor and fire the first shots. It has long been understood that whichever nuclear power fired the first shot in an East-West nuclear war would be the winner.
- On top of that, we have a president who vacillates on every military decision, except for using the military to push the gay and lesbian agenda. Even a few moments of vacillation during a nuclear exchange would lead to tens of millions of American deaths.
- Russia’s territory is almost two times larger than ours, so the same destruction would mean double the number of nukes.
But the chances that the U.S. and Russia will clash over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine are very slim. Mostly because Ukraine isn’t a member of NATO, and President Obama isn’t President Bush.
But many of Russian neighbors are NATO members: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Traditionally these states were all in Russia’s sphere of influence. Putin’s ambitions may extend to these states too.
Recently, he went on record reminding the world and the U.S. that they still have a very active nuclear arsenal. Although Putin wasn’t making any overt threat that they had plans of using that arsenal, he was making it clear that it was his trump card for anyone who wanted to interfere with Russia’s imperial plans in the Ukraine and perhaps in the rest of Eastern Europe.
Even so, the biggest nuclear threat we face today isn’t from Russia. Putin’s statement was merely a warning to leave him alone and let him do what he wants to do. There is no reason to think that our president isn’t going to oblige. So, the threat from Russia doesn’t really amount to much.
On the other hand, there are other nuclear powers to consider; specifically two countries who have clearly stated their intent to use nuclear weapons against the United States: North Korea and Iran.
While Iran doesn’t yet have nuclear weapons to deploy, North Korea does. So we may say it is one of the nuclear powers.
The world’s most militarized society, with a total of 1.21 million active duty personnel, North Korea has the 4th largest army in the world, after China, U.S., and India.
But they don’t yet have long range missiles. On June 30 2014, (the last missile test) Noth Korean launched a No-dong missile with a range of approximately 800 miles.
But North Korea has more powerful missiles like the UNHA-3 rocket. The UNHA-3 is estimated to have a range of 6200 miles which means it can reach inland U.S. and important cities like San Francisco.
More so there is evidence that the North Koreans have already developed an EMP bomb that they may use against us.
Iran is equally anti-American and thanks to the help of Obama, is rapidly on the way to building their first nuclear bomb and emerging as one of the nuclear powers.
Iran is also doing several other things which could be seen as a threat to the United States. In recent months, they have started sending warships to approach the American maritime exclusion zone. This is the extent of American territorial waters, reaching into the Atlantic Ocean. The mission of these ships is to approach that limit, just to show that they can. It is a combination threat and complaint; showing us that they can send their warships off of our coast, just as we can send them off of their coast.
They are also building a 2/3 scale mockup of the USS Nimitz, the largest aircraft carrier in the world. While this unpowered barge won’t be of any practical military value, it could be effectively used as a propaganda tool, especially if they decide to blow it up, with U.S. naval markings on the ship. (source: NY Times)
Both of these countries are a very real threat to us. While neither of them has enough nuclear might to destroy the United States, they could cause us considerable pain, destroying our warships or gutting some of our largest cities. They wouldn’t even need ICBMs to attack us with nuclear weapons; it could be done by smuggling the weapons into the country and then setting them off.
China is emerging as a new military power. And now it is backed up by its growing economy in contrast with our growing debts. To put China’s ownership of U.S. debt in perspective, its holding of $1.2 trillion is even larger than the amount owned by American households. U.S. citizens hold only about $959 billion in U.S. debt.
Practically what some people don’t realize is that we are the largest military power because we have the largest economy.
With annual GDP growth rates of 9-10% for 30 years, China has quickly become the second largest economy in the world, overtaking all but the United States. It is estimated that in 2020 it will surpass our economy – GDP. (Source)
Not to mention its manufacturing capabilities and army manpower. Soon its military power will overpass Russia and most likely ours.
Traditionally, there is a bound between Russia and China, although not a very strong one it seems to grow tighter and tighter. What a scenario! Russia, China and North Korea – 3 united nuclear powers. (Source: TEOTWAWKI)
India and Pakistan
Since the creation of modern republics of India and Pakistan, the two countries have been involved in four wars in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999, and India suffered a major attack by Pakistani-based terrorists in November 2008.
Just those two nuclear powers have enough nuclear weapons to cause unprecedented damage to the global ecosystem, and such a regional nuclear war could spark a global conflict. (Source)
The nuclear conflict between both countries is of passive strategic nature with nuclear doctrine of Pakistan stating a first strike policy.
ISIS and Nuclear Terrorism
But there’s still one threat that is even greater than the clearly stated threats by all the nuclear powers in the world; that is the ongoing threat of a nuclear attack by terrorists. While nuclear terrorism has never been tried, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people thinking about it. Unless terrorism is stamped out from the face of the earth, it is merely a matter of time until it occurs.
Building a simple nuclear device is not really all that hard; you can find the information necessary online. With the funds that some of these organizations have backing them up, that has stopped them so far is the difficulty in coming up with the necessary materials, especially weapons grade nuclear materials.
The attack on Pelindaba
Many people don’t know that South Africa developed a small nuclear arsenal in the 70’s and 80’s. But in 1990 the bombs were dismantled and South Africa became the first nation in the world which voluntarily gave up all nuclear arms. But the highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel from about a dozen bombs is stored in their Pelindaba nuclear facility, which was successfully attacked and entered by armed terrorists in 2007. Even though it took security almost an hour to arrive and scare them off, fortunately they did not obtain any HEU. Or at least that is what the South African officials are saying. (the attack on Pelindaba)
We may not be as lucky next time. And all it takes is once.
Recently, a vehicle carrying radioactive Iridium-192 was hijacked in Mexico. Could this be related to ISIS threats on America?
Considering our porous southern border, getting such a device into the United States would be extremely simple. Then it would just be a matter of selecting the sight and timing to make their attack have the maximum effect.
One carefully placed nuclear bomb, even a small one, would create worldwide pandemonium. Were it to take out our government leadership, it could end up being months before the United States could organize itself well enough to retaliate.
ISIS currently has access to modern military weapons, including the precursors for chemical weapons. Seeing the cruelty and destruction they have propagated in the lands which they occupy, it is clear that they wouldn’t hesitate to use a nuclear weapon, if they had one to use.
They have already stated their intent to attack the United States. They have bragged about how their flag will fly over the White House. Were such an organization to get their hands on weapons grade nuclear material, you can be sure that they would use it, and do so to great effect.
The New Bomb
If a nuclear warhead is detonated hundreds of kilometers above the Earth’s surface it produces a powerful EMP, also known as a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) device.
The HEMP device produces the EMP as its primary damage mechanism. The nuclear device does this by producing gamma rays, which in turn are converted into EMP in the mid-stratosphere over a wide area within line of sight to the detonation.
If one of the nuclear powers blasts a nuclear weapon 275 miles above the US it will basically send us, the Canadian and the Mexicans back to the Dark Ages. Will we be able to fight back in case of a nuclear war?
I don’t think so! Probably most of our ICBM’s will turn into a pile of junk. The communication lines and mobiles will probably become useless. And on top of that, I don’t think that our ballistic missile defense (BMD) system will work at all after such powerful HEMP.
I have something you need to watch. It’s much better than I am at explaining the threat. Watch it and learn exactly what an EMP effects and how you can protect your electronics, car, mobile phones, etc. (Editorial note: Video is the opinion of the author.)