A world without war is possible (but you won’t see it)
One of my correspondents sent me an email containing a pasted article entitled “A World Without Nuclear Weapons — Ours.”
The gist of it was that the Obama government was paring back our nuclear arsenal while Russia was beefing up theirs and that they would survive a nuclear conflict while we would not. Because they have more nukes. Hey, good thinking! All we have to do is stay a step ahead in the construction of nuclear weapons and we’ll all be safe even if they launch a strike, but they’ll be toast if they do. Right?
I decided to do a little research and find out the sizes of our respective nuclear arsenals and, of course, answer the really meaty question: how many nukes would it take to make the earth uninhabitable? In other words, despite the difference in size of our respective arsenals, would Russia – or anyone – survive an all-out nuclear conflict given the combined size of our arsenals (and this is not even counting the Chinese arsenal also arrayed against us)?
I discovered here that the difference in the numbers of nukes held by the Russians and those held by the US is a few hundred, with each country bristling with over 7000, or a difference of only a few percentage points.
But scientists reckon that even a small nuclear exchange of about 200 nuke explosions between countries like India and Pakistan, which could have about that many such weapons between them, would make the earth uninhabitable for up to 25 years by kicking up black dust that would quickly spread throughout the earth’s atmosphere and block the sunlight. The first year, the scant sunlight peeping through the bleak atmosphere would allow farming for only a month a year.
So apparently the person who wrote this article thinks we really ought to have enough nukes to destroy the earth, say, 74 times over (counting the Russian retaliatory strikes during a nuclear exchange involving an equal number of nukes on either side) because Russia has enough to destroy it almost 80 times over (counting the US input in such an exchange).
So, taking our cue from that writer, how about this for a military plan?
Make at least 1000 more nukes than Russia and then strike Russia with about 250 at first and kill off most of them. Of course, they would retaliate with their subs and hypersonic ICBMs which cannot be detected by any known means, and with their space-launched MIRVs, each of which would shower us with too many bombs for any anti-missile shield to deal with at once. Most would get through and do their job.
That would kill almost all of us but a few who happened to be out of the country at the time.
Then, according to this exquisitely thought out plan, we could hit them 25 years later – after the world became habitable again – with another 250 to kill all the survivors. We might reasonably anticipate that they would do likewise with the remaining sub-borne missiles in their stockpile, but never mind. Just 25 short years after this second all-out strike, if the world became habitable again, we could resume this process and continue it for just 800 years until they were completely out of nukes and then the good old exceptional USA would emerge triumphant at last. No sweat. I bet the Pentagon would like clever this plan.
Of course, these calculations are based on the assumption that no one would be developing any further nukes during the 25 interbellum years after each all-out exchange.
It also is based on the assumption that neither side would launch more than the number needed to make the world temporarily uninhabitable during any given strike. That is, that the 2 antagonists would not make the world uninhabitable indefinitely during one of the first few exchanges. It could happen, but why sweat something so trivial as the demise of the planet?
Of course, knowing human beings and their desire to be winners against all odds, it is possible that the first strike would be followed by a several-fold retaliatory strike by the other side and then a similar one by the first striker until the entire combined arsenal was gone in one spectacular fireworks display. If it only takes a few hundred strikes to make the earth uninhabitable for 25 years, then, assuming a simple mathematical relationship were possible (though it probably is not), we can imagine that after depletion of our combined arsenals of over 15,000 nukes, the world might become uninhabitable for a total of say, 800 years..
But cheer up. After that, it would probably be all over and that no-nuke world that many have dreamed of would finally have arrived. Hooorah for the USA!
Most likely, however, the first nuclear exchange would wind up killing off all but the cockroaches.
A pity neither fish nor fowl nor four footed creatures, including the one with the best-developed brain that made it all possible, would be around to enjoy such perfect peace.
As the author of the above-mentioned article makes clear, we have more important things to worry about than the survival of earth. One of the opponents in this great conflict must focus on saving the earth from global warming and keeping its dominance of the planet at all costs, and on maintaining its pace in the initiation of color revolutions and wars that reduce nations to chaos, as it did in Libya, Kosovo, Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere — lest it surrender its hegemony. Meanwhile, the other needs to consider the proposition: live free or die.
Now let’s see: which one makes more sense?