Thursday, December 27, 2007

"How About A Nice Game Of Chess?"


"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."

Well, are you ready for Global Thermonuclear War? I know I am. I've got the water bottles packed up, the survival kit rigged for rapid evacuation, and lots and lots of ammo. Bring. It. On!

So, if you haven't seen the news, you're probably wondering what the heck I'm talking about. Oh nothing much really, just the recent assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former PM of Pakistan and assumed future PM (in a unity government with President Musharraf) after next month's scheduled elections. So of course, nuclear armed Pakistan is now going through the first spasms of rage following the assassination. Overheard on Fox News this morning, Pakistan is believed (with high confidence level) to have 100+ nuclear weapons, which are in the control of the military. Twenty percent of the military is made up of Pashtuns. Pashtuns are historically sympathetic with the cause of the Taliban. The Taliban is not nice. If the Pashtun portion of the military (or of course, the ISI) is able to get their hands on even one nuclear weapon during the confusion and chaos of the next few days (at least), and if they hand it off to the Taliban/Al Qaeda, then it isn't really very hard at all to see what will happen next. Let me paint you one possible picture...

Since Israel is closer to Pakistan then the U.S., and since there are no oceans between the two, and since there are several 'friendly' countries between the two (Pakistan to Iran to Kurdistan [the only hard part] to Syria to Israel) then it is highly probable that the bomb would go off in Israel. Flash. Tel Aviv just evaporated. Israel responds. Islamabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta and Rawalpindi were just destroyed. Remaining elements of the Pakistani military, even if they were not the original parties to seize and transfer the first nuclear bomb, respond in kind, either against Israel, against US forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere in the Gulf region, or even more likely perhaps, against India. The conflict spreads as India and Pakistan trade nukes. Israel, in a last ditch effort to prevent complete and total devastation, launches all of it's remaining nukes at Tehran, Riyadh, Jedda, Mecca, Damascus, and any other targets of opportunity that it can reach. The greater middle east, and certainly the entire 'muslim world' descends into complete and intractable mayhem. Riots, civil wars and cross-border wars set in as the world slides into the events of World War III (or IV). The United States, Russia, and China square off against each other in a three-way battle for survival as they defend their own interests in the region. Russia, while heavily nuclear armed, and certainly a grave threat, would not ultimately be the greatest foe before us. No, that would be China. Also nuclear armed, with an ever expanding military, and a history of spying (that news just broke today, via Insty), hacking, and other non-friendly acts against the U.S. And so it begins...

So there's your happy thought for the day. Carry on.

Update: Charles Johnson at LGF linked this open letter from Scott Ott (of Scrappleface fame) to the leaders of Europe. Read the whole thing.

7 comments:

David said...

The likelihood o Nuclear War is less than in recent years. The US and Russia fully understand the volitity of South Asia and they assumed Mrs. Bhutto would be assassinated. What we are witnessing is the last days of pre science Islam and the rough start of a modern Islam. This is notto say there could not be a nuclear war; the possibility is less because everyone realizes the current dangers. Al Quaeda wants to win the future, nt reduce it to ashes. Bin Laden is a urban Saudi and understands that a nuclear strike anywhere would be Islamic suicide on a huge scale. China has almost 2 Trillion Dollars in US Treasury notes, they won't risk it.
Yes, these are very dangerous times, but the fact we ALL understand it causes greater care than usual. The most likely outcome in Pakistan is a military coup by younger officers, brutal repression and a short vicious civil war.

Thomas Paine said...

David, your optimism is refreshing. I was painting what I thought was the worst possible outcome, not necessarily the most likely. That being said, I think your thought that a military coup and civil war as being most likely is correct. Either way, interesting times ahead of us in the coming days and weeks in that region. I do have one quible with your representation of Bin Laden as a rational actor. I do not for a moment doubt that if Bin Laden and his minions had physical control of a nuclear weapon and the means to detonate it, that they would hesitate for even a second to do so. The only question would be where...

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

Anonymous said...

I posted under "all i want" will you find it automatically?

Army Sergeant said...

That is the real sadness about nukes: not that countries will use them, but that their prevalence makes it more likely that someone will get their hands on them that shouldn't.

Anonymous said...

We are still all here at the moment but ... the Pakistanis tesxted some nukes at the weekend.

Here's a link to a story on the BBC titled "How secure is Pakistan's bomb?"

I'm semi-calm about it.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7225175.stm

Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello,

I respectfully suggest that under some circumstances, the rational course may in fact be annihilation of the enemy, or at least total war, even at great risk to oneself.

For example, "Iraqi perestroika," starting in February 1987, featured privatizations, elimination of state organizations (which stood between particular State enterprises and the ministries controlling them), broader reorganizations of government and inconsistent policy announcements regarding, among other things, the oil industry. In 1989 and 1990, what I call "socialist inflation" took place - spiralling and fluctuating input costs, whose relationship to output costs changed greatly from month to month and made life very difficult for economic officials.

Such instability, I believe, made it more difficult for Saddam Hussein's associates - especially his proteges and proteges' proteges - to take the time, effort and risks to support him. They could be less sure that they would be rewarded for their loyalty, since Hussein could camouflage any double-crossing much more easily.

I think that was a major factor in Hussein's decision to not only invade Kuwait but also to stay there despite overwhelming odds. He had risked worse than "mere" military defeat if he had backed down. Other leaders in similarly unstable situations may behave the same way.

I might also add that for those driven by religious, nationalistic or ideological motivations, the elimination of the enemy, not material gains for oneself, may be the overriding objective.

It's one thing to judge them by our moral standards; it's much worse to project our Western, live-and-let-live, materialistic motivations on them. They may not care about living in squalor if, for example, everyone recognizes the One True God, Allah, or if the people they hate are dead.

Jeff Deutsch