What happens when nations like Russia and China form military alliances with Iran and North Korea? What happens when the countries guilty of massive cyberattacks on U.S. defense and infrastructure are in an alliance? Only time will tell.
Although the START treaty between the United States and Russia limits deployable warheads to 1,500 each, the total warheads from Russia, Communist China and North Korea vastly outnumber the United States. NATO members and other allies might not want to be involved in a nuclear war and cannot be depended upon for certain.
Russia has moved towards a closer alliance with the People's Republic of China. Russia also continues its cooperative support relationship with an energized, enriched and empowered Iran. North Korea continues to actively pursue its ICBM and nuclear weapons buildup (despite the alleged "deal" under the Clinton Administration).
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The allegations from unfounded and admittedly untrustworthy sources in an FBI report about Russian improvement in the recent election have moved the Congress, holdover sources from the former Obama Admin and the mainstream media to an anti-Russia mentality. The real underlying issue is why the possible working relationship in détente derailed was and in this digital, hair-trigger atmosphere; can a nuclear war occur almost without warning? The answer is yes.
As early as the Bush Administration, Vladimir Putin put out diplomatic feelers about a renewed détente and cooperative partnership with the USA regarding Islamic extremists. (See: Reuters: How the U.S. Made the Putin Problem Worse). Putin's problems with Salafist extremists and Chechenia violence drew him to seek partnership with Bush as American forces invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq. His offer was denied and Bush's sincerity or reliability was questioned. Obama was written off almost immediately as his inept and unfathomable foreign policy moves were seconded to the domestic social engineering changes which were the highpoints of the administration. China as well saw an opportunity to extend itself into the South China Sea and encroach on the territory of several nations. Not only in Asia but Africa, the Middle East and even to the extent of negotiating a seaport franchise in the Azores on a former intelligence base, China has expanded its presence economically and militarily as America retreated and then began a serious internal division process.
Increased invasions of internet-based systems from financial to power grid demonstrated the vulnerability of a country which based most of its commerce, communications and power relays on an unsecured internet. The myriad of flashpoints from the Middle East, Europe and Ukraine, the South China Sea and other Chinese expansionist ventures provide geopolitical problems. The limitations of a 272 vessel operational fleet (with 1/3 to ¼ at sea at any time), weapons systems in need of repair or replacement and sense of weakness portrayed by a Trump administration beset by organized and active opposition empowered by a totally partisan media make for a nation vulnerable in far too many quarters to discuss here.
Among the possible areas where a form of nuclear war could occur are the low-yield, tactical nuclear weapons theater of war and the EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) which would destroy electrical power and communications generating capability are very real possibilities for which the USA and most of Europe are totally unprepared. The power grid failure would cast the continent into a vast communications, power and supply void where cities would become battlegrounds and the countryside would be the only source of food or a semblance of normalcy. A mass exodus from cities and the warfare from Jihadist cells, gangs and other violent groups would do the "dirty work" for the attackers.
Limited strikes, city for city, slow escalation until opponents sue for peace on the attackers terms are a very likely option. Here MAD with global consequences for all would be avoided and the attackers would achieve world dominance under force of arms. Russia has developed a series of tactical "battlefield" nuclear weapons which can be put into use by local commanders. The United States has about 700 deployed versus Russia's 1,000.
Entertainment-based news cannot transmit the current flashpoint world situation to its audiences while it serves a political agenda as it has for decades. Bypassing the "evening news" for more in depth reporting will require more time investment but will reward the seeker with a sense of sobering reality. Seek dependable, reliable and verifiable facts.
Emergencies can take many forms from floods to wildfires to the nuclear possibilities we now face. Reasonable supplies of canned goods, hand tools, battery powered radios and a hand-generator, water filters and containers, dependable knife and axe tools, and defense means suitable to physical ability and will to use are basics. A communications plan involving where to meet and what to bring is essential for families. Maps with marked out escape routes, and paper bound manuals and guides for edible plant identification are excellent additions.
Knowing your neighbors, moving your church to plan ahead for shelter and food for the congregation, using reliable sources for news and information will enable responsible citizens to lessen the effects of the actions of irresponsible leaders. In the final analysis, situations created out of our hands will require our hearts and hands to help us survive.