I’ve pretty much stayed away from the whole EMP subject over the years. I’ve been asked it a bunch of times but given some pretty vague answers. I guess it is time I get serious and share my real opinions on it.
My EMP opinion has changed over the years. Remember, I worked with intelligence information when I was in the Navy back in the 1970’s. I can tell you that back then during the Cold War there wasn’t any “measured response” option. There also wasn’t any of this thought of a weapon to do little damage to conquer the Soviet Union or any East Block country. We were in it to win it! And that meant nuke the crap out of them.
Sure, they knew about EMP effects for nuclear explosions even back then. But that was a distant concern, issue, or topic. What we wanted was to devastate them, their military, their people, their infrastructure, just basically blow em up.
But, as times have changed I have looked at what would Russia want to do to us in terms of war. Russia is short of resources, all kinds of resources with the possible exception of fossil fuels. That being the case, I don’t think Russia would want to slick us off like glass with nukes. Well, with one possible exception, if we hit them first. If we would throw our missiles at them first, they would throw everything they had back at us as fast as they could.
If you think about it, why would Russia, or even China, want to turn us into a nuclear wasteland? I simply don’t think they would. Iran on the other hand has the stupid 12th Imman, end of the world thing as part of their Shia beliefs. Those crazies would nuke us just to fulfill their desire to expedite the end of the world. But, I ran would hit Israel before they would hit us.
The crazies in North Korea, although crazy, don’t do anything without the approval of China. NK won’t nuke us unless China tells them it’s OK.
We are China’s biggest customer of their goods. We spend huge amounts of money buying their stuff year in and year out. China loves those dollars! Why would they want to blow-up their best customer?
Well, there actually is a point that China might make a move against us. China has been an empire for 1000’s of years. Yes, China is currently a communist country, but it no less an empire now than it was 1000 years ago. When it comes to international politics China views everything in a very large context. I am talking in terms of 100’s of years to accomplish something, for sure decades.
Let there be no doubt in your mind, China expects to be a, if not the, world dominating empire. It is only a matter of timing for them. When China decides that the timing is right, they will use all appropriate tools available to them to accomplish their goals. And using nukes against us is seen as a strategy, nuclear weapons are nothing more than tools to them.
That being said, I do not think that China wants to slick us off either. It just wouldn’t fit their history based reputation. Sure, they want to beat us, and beat us decisively, but I don’t see them going into “annihilation mode” on us. I think they want to subjugate not eliminate.
You also have Pakistan and Turkey as nuclear armed countries. While they are both supposedly secular governments, they are both Muslim countries. Pakistan has really moved towards being a Islamic government, Turkey less so. However, Turkey has moved closer than they have historically been. When Pakistan completes its total transition to an Islamic state, then I would move it into a similar category as Iran. Same would be true for Turkey.
So what about the EMP thing again?
Remember, I look at “threats” as “risks.” And I then look at all of it as “risk mitigation”. Risk is judged based on probability and severity of the risk actually occurring. I look at an EMP strike the same way.
I see the risk of us being hit by a nuclear weapon that generates an EMP as low, very low actually. The reason I give it such a low probability is their fear of retaliation. Russia and China have no desire to exchange a nuclear strike with us. Iran would probably love it but they aren’t ready for that yet. Pakistan probably isn’t too far behind Iran but they are maintaining a resemblance of normal behaviors. North Korea, well, they are complete nuts jobs in that country, so I don’t expect them to actually launch a nuke at us, but you never know with them.
So based on all of that, I see the probability as pretty dang low. However, 20 years ago I would have given it a zero chance. 10 years ago, slightly more than zero. When Iran did the nuke deal with Obozo I believe Iran’s potential use of a nuke against another country went to 100%. Their use of a nuke against us maybe 50%.
So now I have to rate the probability as on the chart.
Here is where it could get ugly. If anyone launches a nuke at us and it actually detonates on US soil, it will be devastating. It will be the blow that negates our super-power status. If we are hit, and we don’t hit back., we will be re-categorized to the group that includes France, England, Italy…maybe worse. If we are hit and we hit back, then we can expect WWIII. And should that happen, an EMP is the least of our problems.
So let’s look at the severity if it is just an EMP. By the way, it would be more along the lines of North Korea going rogue and hitting us without China telling them to. However, there is a potential scenario where China would tell them to hit us with an EMP just to weaken us and test out retaliation resolve.
The economic damage would be far worse than the direct damage. The stock markets would crash, the economy would nose dive. It would be economic Armageddon for awhile. Mostly due to banking be out of business. Yeah, completely. Modern banking is all computer based with that information being transferred between customer and banks, banks and business, etc. entirely by electronics. An EMP would fry most large-scale electronic systems, including telecommunications.
- The size of the weapon as described by “megatons”
- The altitude above the surface
- Your relative location to the blast area
The absolute worse location would be directly under the atmospheric blast. As the zone expanded outward, the impact would lessen. But, that would be in direct relation to the size of the detonated weapon. The bigger the weapon, the larger the affected area. However, the further away from the blast you were, the more diminished the impact would be.
Now is when it gets blurry. And I will cover that tomorrow when I finish this 2-part series.
We will finish the article in Part #2 < click here to read Part #2 >
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