American politics usually revolves around emotional “trigger” issues; many being quite trivial. For instance, during the primaries, the media actually made an issue out of one of the Republican candidates eating pizza with a fork. Often when the more macro-societal issues do come up, they are replied to with carefully-prepared sound-bites. The media is gets a headline, the press aides get a cookie and the public gets something akin to a mind-meme to discuss around the proverbial water cooler. Yet what about an issue such as human survival? Seems important, right? Yet not much about it in the mainstream western media even though there are several trouble-spots that could erupt into a nuclear confrontation. Which brings me to my interview last week with noted physician Dr. Helen Coldicott, who has made it a mission to warn people of the dangers of nuclear weapons, as well as the notion that a nuclear war could be won.
What I found most intriguing about Dr. Coldicott’s interview was her observation that there are many in the US government who believe that a nuclear war might be winnable. Perhaps one could use weapons on a limited scale…only to defeat the foe and claim victory after a first strike. She thoroughly was able to put that notion to rest. It is, as she noted, “psychopathic” to both believe it could be justifiable to inflict such a weapon on an enemy as well as to expect to win. I would note that my science fiction novel, “The Destiny of Our Past” https://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Our-Past-Michael-Cross-ebook/dp/B01MY4WASN I included a portion dealing with a very limited nuclear war taking place thousands of years before recorded time, but that warring nations decided to ban all forms of nuclear technology as a result. Still, a different technology is their undoing, but that is a topic of future articles. In the world of today have any of our leaders, who fail to see nuclear war as completely unacceptable, considered what it would do to their families?
Dr. Coldicott emphasized that even a war, for instance between only two nations hostile to each other such as India and Pakistan, involving perhaps 100 nuclear explosions, would have catastrophic effects upon life on earth. First, the direct casualties: A direct hit on a city would vaporize the people within the center of that city. Remember, the temperatures would reach levels greater than the sun. All people within a few miles from ground-zero would be disintegrated, leaving nothing but shadows on cement walls that manage to survive the blast. Also, a pyroclastic cloud-type surge of super-hot gasses, speeding at hundreds of miles per hour, would burst out in all directions, killing everything several miles outside the initial blast zone. But that’s not all. People miles away from that would be blinded by the light, as would any livestock and pets. The devastation would be unimaginable.
However, that’s not all. Of course the task of caring for survivors would be next to impossible. Everything that we consider part of civilization would be gone in the immediate war zones. Things have just started though. Massive amounts of dust, smoke and water vapor, yes radioactive, have now been pushed high into the stratosphere. Forget about global warming, this will produce a cooling effect (blocking of sunlight) in the northern hemisphere that would destroy the means to produce crops for the populations and livestock for at least several years. If you cannot then feed your livestock they die. If you have no food production you die.
Okay, maybe all life does not end with such a war but could a war involving the USA and Russia ever be limited? Coldicott discussed how such would be a very unlikely outcome if nuclear weapons were used. Would either side call it quits and surrender? That is unlikely. What we would probably see develop is the ultimate extinction event. She notes that up to twelve nuclear bombs are targeted at New York. And we can be sure Moscow is targeted by the USA. Maybe some people believe that knocking out the Russian government would cause their defense forces to crumble. They might want to consider what she calls “The Dead Man’s Switch.” This is a system located deep in the Ural Mountains that, upon losing contact with Russian military leaders, and detecting major weather disturbances and radiation surges, would conclude a nuclear war has started. At that point their entire nuclear arsenal is launched. Mankind is therefore doomed. Magnify the results of the “limited nuclear war” geometrically and life on earth is no longer a certainty.
So why are we here; why are we at the point that Russia and the USA are doing less talking and more saber rattling? Maybe as Caldicott notes this has to do with events following the break-up of the Soviet Union. Prior to the end of the Cold War you had two sides squared off against each other but their leaders realized just how insane a direct confrontation would be. Coldicott notes that she met with then-president Ronald Reagan. Reagan became aware of what nuclear war, even a limited one, would wreak upon earth and humanity. Well, in 1991 the USSR fell. Many thought that this would usher in a new era where we could divert money from war to more worthy endeavors. Well, while the Russians were promised NATO would not strive to advance towards Russia’s borders the corporations that benefited from bloated military budgets pushed for NATO enlargement into Eastern Europe, and up to Russia’s borders.
US foreign policy in Ukraine is seen as a direct threat to Russia. Of course Syria is another hot spot where east-meets-west could lead to devastation. And what happens if Hillary gets elected? Coldicott notes that Hillary has never seen a war she did not like. Any number of scenarios could lead to the unthinkable.
Since my interview with Dr. Coldicott matters have only escalated. Threats have been made by various actors within the US political apparatus towards Russia. The USA has suspended contact with Russia over what is taking place in Syria, and if the USA attacks the Syrian military, and Russia defends its ally, we could have WW3. Time will tell whether relations will continue to collapse…time will tell whether humanity, or what small portion is left of it, gets sent back to the stone age or not.
* If you like science fiction that explores where bio-technology may be taking us then check out my latest book, “The Destiny of Our Past.” Link: https://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Our-Past-Michael-Cross-ebook/dp/B01MY4WASN