“MAD” is the acronym for mutual assured destruction, the (literally) mad brainchild of the neocons in the nineteen fifties — before they were called neocons. The term was apparently coined by mathematician John von Neumann, and the policy was advocated by Eisenhower Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, a man every bit as sinister as his evil brother Allen. Kennedy and Johnson’s Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara also was in favor of MAD. McNamara was the “architect” of the Vietnam War, which, you may recall, we lost. The policy was also favored by Henry Kissinger, the man who referred to us commoners as “useless eaters.” Basically, the idea was to build up strong nuclear forces and immediately annihilate any nation (meaning the USSR) that attacked us. Up to that point, the doctrine made sense, in a terrifying way. But John Foster Dulles went so far as to advocate the use of strategic nuclear weapons if the Soviets invaded Western Europe, and the advocates of MAD opposed shelter building, evacuation plans, and anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defenses as “destabilizing.”
But, thank God, the Cold War is over, and we are no longer at risk of nuclear annihilation. Right?
Not so fast. The US, Russia, China, France, the UK, Israel, India, and Pakistan all have substantial nuclear arsenals. North Korea probably has a few fission bombs by now, and, thanks to our very own King Hussein, the tire heads in Iran will soon have the bomb (don’t believe the “ten year” nonsense). At least one Chinese general and the current King of North Korea have both threatened to nuke our cities. Given China’s aggressive stance in eastern Asia, the risk of a confrontation with them is not going away anytime soon. As for Russia, I say again that if Putin is our enemy it is because King Hussein has made him so; contrary to what the neocons and the girly man in the Rainbow House claim, Putin is not a Hitler or a Stalin. In Syria he supports what is arguably the lesser of two evils (Assad) and we support the “rebels,” which really means ISIS, despite our half-hearted bomber “attacks” on them. And ISIS is the greater evil.
The US exploded the very first nuclear bomb in New Mexico in 8/45. Our nuclear deterrent forces are based on a triad of land-based ICBMs, manned bombers, and SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles). We have some 450 Minuteman III ICBMs, with a total of about 1,350 warheads; each missile carries several warheads in MIRVs (Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles). These have a total of some 404 megatons of explosive power. Our Navy can launch 240 Trident SLBMs with 1,920 warheads, some 336 megatons worth. We have 16 B-2 bombers and 56 B-52s, with 1,750 bombs and 820 megatons. Some of these figures are several years old, and the totals may have been slightly reduced by now. Morale among our ICBM crews is reportedly very low, and there are increasing problems with safety, security, command, and control, due in part to aging equipment, and in part (I strongly suspect) to poor leadership by unprincipled careerist generals.
Russia detonated its first atomic bomb on 8/29/49, thanks to the spies hired for the Manhattan Project by communist Robert Oppenheimer, given his post by pro-Soviet leftist FDR. Russia has about 305 ICBMs with about 1,166 warheads, 128 SLBMs with 512 warheads, and 66 strategic bombers with 200 cruise missiles and bombs, giving them a total of just under 1,900 nuclear warheads and bombs.
Our Chinese friends have only about 120 manned bombers with long enough range to reach the US, and about 150 ballistic missiles, only half of which are ICBMs that can reach us. They have a total of about 260 warheads and bombs. Again, keep in mind that these are unclassified intelligence estimates and that numbers change.
There is one very small bit of good news. People commonly assume that an ICBM can sit in its silo for years, and then, when the officers turn two keys, it will unerringly reach its target and its warheads will all detonate as planned. But there has never been a mass firing of ICBMs, and there are a multitude of things that can (and probably will) go wrong. The launch systems must function perfectly; the silo door must open properly; the rocket engines on each stage must fire properly and not explode; the guidance systems must be near-perfect; and, finally, all the warheads (generally relying on tricky plutonium implosion “triggers”) must fire. No one has ever detonated multiple hydrogen bombs at once; the weapons that have been tested (and the two dropped on Japan) were subjected to last-minute checks. It is likely that a substantial portion of the nuclear weapons fired by all sides in a WWIII scenario would malfunction.
But it is also likely that a good many will function all too well, and all sides possess a massive overkill stockpile (see above). Remember that two low-yield fission bombs killed nearly two hundred thousand Japanese. So if you are outside when a bomb detonates anywhere within a few miles of you and you are looking at it, you will be flash-blinded immediately, and thus helpless to save yourself from what follows. If you are a little nearer you will be horribly burned by the thermal effect and die a slow, agonizing death. If you are indoors the shock wave can spray you with window glass and the house can collapse on you and then catch on fire. Electrical grids will be annihilated and food stocks destroyed — the entire infrastructure will be wiped out. Remember that it is estimated that two or three EMP bursts at high altitude could knock out our electrical grid and all the systems dependent on it and kill up to ninety percent of the US population. Imagine that happening, and, added to that, scores of nuclear detonations in our cities. Another tiny bit of good news: the radioisotopes in fallout decay rapidly, and people living in rural areas, even downwind of cities, can survive if they remain indoors for a few days and eat and drink only what they have already stockpiled. Rural preppers not directly downwind, if they have access to farmland and a good water source, will do quite well. But most of the human race will be wiped out, and our civilization will be utterly destroyed.
The greatest immediate danger we face is in Syria, where Putin is supporting Assad and we seem to be supporting ISIS. Could we not coordinate with the Russians, actually bomb ISIS, arm the Kurds, and withdraw from our latest undeclared (and unconstitutional) war? If not, we can expect escalating incidents, increasing paranoia on both sides, and then, quite likely, the ultimate catastrophe — courtesy of our Nobel Peace Prize winner, King Hussein.