If the Russian Dictator Presses the Button
A cautionary note
Maybe I’m picking up on the global, collective angst compromising the diplomatic/political pressure seals throughout humanity, sensing the very delicate balance called life on this planet now under a genuine threat.
I meant this piece to be completely free of any political inclinations, zero, zip. I feel politics would just stir up unnecessary emotions not needed in the observations. And referring to US domestic politics, it is hardly in the shape necessary to help in the current Ukraine crisis. Does it play its part? Of course it does. Obviously. But this piece leaves aside intentionally the volatile and explosive potential when including it into something that may not be in the long run all that dependent on local politics!
After all, this is about the survival of humankind, not running for mayor.
Just the way it is. Here we are on the edge once again with the nuclear sword drawn from its scabbard and slicing menacingly close to our neck. All it would take is one vodka soaked grave decision and boom, it all goes up in smoke. What amazes me is that all any of us can do, experts included, presidents and dictators too, is make educated and logical guesses; bottom line is no one knows if, or when. They might be able to fill in the how, hell, all you do is press buttons, a simple decision.
Another looming trigger could very likely be Putin deciding he’s fed up, what with his pride bludgeoned as it is and move on the other small, next door states. Sort of go for broke, for the glory of the Rodina, yeah! Why not? No arguments I’ve read convince me that this isn’t a very good probability.
No one can say with any certainty that this is it. The big finale. Odds, of course, favor that it would be Putin who’ll go hog wild crazy. Even knowing that it would mean complete and utter obliteration of Russia and its people. Based on nothing other than what we see on the news, I think Biden has enough semi- clear heads around him preventing a mistake, the big mistake. I say this not suggesting Biden is a sadist or mass killer, rather regarding his discouraging state of apparent, chronic befuddlement, confusion. I so hope that I’m missing something.
So those around the US president are key. Let’s hope to god they’re all cool headed too. If it happens, men and women around Biden will have to call the instant decisions that will be needed.
Then we just may be completely surprised by the ever smiling Chinese dictator Xi Jinping. The smile spooks me in ways I can’t put in words. Tell me you don’t feel it too. He may determine its prime opportunity for him to snatch Taiwan, or those obscure islands they’re always bickering over. Nepal, get ready! Sure. Why not?
I feel this just may be almost as probable as Putin doing a Hail Mary straight to hell with his missiles taking along with it the rest of the planet.
The other one that worries me is India and Pakistan. The built up hate between those two, both possessing questionable nukes. Concerns are that while doing tests to make sure everything still works, some young corporal pushes the wrong button. Sure, it could happen. If you really don’t believe this as a real possibility, then this just might qualify you as one of those who also believe in fairy tales.
Nothing wrong in believing in fairy tales, mind you, I do myself, but I’m averse to believing a super hero will fly in from somewhere and save us.
Had you lived through the Cuban missile crisis, then you get a sense of what I’m talking about. Back then, I recall listening closely to the radio on our patio, my folks expressing worried, peculiar looks I’d never seen before. Waiting for ‘it’ to happen. It could have. It could have.
And then there’s the worthy thought line: what to do in case it does happen. What will you do? Will there be any possibility of protecting your loved ones, just like in the movies? No, none. It would be over as we’ve known it. Then it becomes a thing of waiting it out.
Waiting what out?
Will the radioactive clouds eventually cover you in deadly ‘magic dust’? Will you be unlucky enough to be those near the blasts, meaning instant vaporization? Maybe I should say lucky enough, right? I mean, what will we have to look forward to? No gas, no lights, and if you have anything extra lying around in the order of foodstuffs or medicines, then you unwittingly become a target for those who don’t have these things.
Others will absolutely come for your stuff.
If you have any weapons, these might keep the hungry hordes at bay for a few days longer. Unfortunately, though, once ‘they’ have heard you are hiding stuff in your home, you then end up on that list, although unwritten. Groups whose survival is taking from others weaker ensures that one’s turn will come around, just as sure as the tides move in and out.
No avoiding it.
It’s easy to write about maintaining an armed camp. At what point do you decide to take another’s life? Knowing that if you do, you suddenly make it to yet another list. Those whose surviving loved ones want to exact revenge. I would. Oh, you wouldn’t? You wouldn’t arm up if you could? Who’s going to stand between you and the hordes? Such hope sits firmly in the realm of solid fiction.
Hell, now would be the time to write that novel, post WWIII, call it Wishful Thinking Afterwards… Trouble is, no one will be around to read it.
What will happen to small countries like those of Central America? Talk about the law of the strongest. Are we willing to kill probably sooner than later? No way of knowing, of course, but it just takes some serious consideration for a few minutes and the scenarios start to play out in one’s head.
Suppose for a moment that on the planet some regions are safer than others in the event of nuclear exchange. Say you’re a thousand miles away and you know the shit’s going to hit the fan. How will you get to that safer area? It’s just not realistic thinking.
Some say head for the mountains. Yeah right. Then what? Unless you belong to a large, armed organization with a very solid and reliable defense and supply base, you’re no better off than anyone else. We do not know how long the danger will remain in the atmosphere. The neighborhood does not know how dangerous it will become. We have no idea where the stopped up sewage goes, where to get water, the heat in winter, gasoline, insulin shots, dialysis on and on.
It comes down to a thing very much measured in time. The ability to survive for as long as possible. Let’s say for a moment you’ve done an exemplary job of readying yourself for just such a disaster. It becomes a thing of time. Your home generator is doing okay until the fuel runs out, or hell, it just breaks down. Things run out increasingly. So that where at first if you survived the initial nuclear slug out you almost are gloating because you were brilliant enough to do some serious stocking up. Everything, meds, food, water, fuel, light weapons, enough to keep you in the pink say for a month.
Factor in that ‘hell’ after the big blast will go for years…
This, of course, depends on how many of you there are, the more the safer, but so do more supplies get burned through. Before long, supplies start running out and forays out to the other parts of the city become a necessity to survive. Violent encounters begin soon enough. Others are doing what you’re doing. It becomes dog eat dog in ways you and I cannot begin to imagine.
We find out soon enough just how quickly we can forsake our humanity. Decency takes a back seat in time. You have to find food. Bread doesn’t grow on trees, it has to be taken from others. We have emptied all the stores out from the early days just after they unleashed hell. You will do the unspeakable to keep your compact unit of people alive. The bigger your group, the safer you are, but the greater the consumption of vital supplies is.
So it truly is a thing of time. Sorry I keep repeating that but its essential that we add time into our planning.
Waiting around for the inevitable. The day when things are all used up, even in the near area, all gone. What do you do? That’s when it seems logical that we would see roving bands of armed, desperate people, getting braver and braver as things become more and more scarce.
Hunger will make us do ugly things to one another.
Government probably wouldn’t be around in the form needed to provide soup kitchens. No humor intended. The same members of the government will be involved in trying to survive like everyone else. The top VIPs will be snuggled away underground somewhere. Some things just never change.
One hopes that there is enough remaining government structure to provide rescue, medicine, food to carry its population. But the fact remains that there may be none of that left. Washington, Moscow and Peking will be turned into dust piles in a huge, unimaginable radius. It staggers the mind just attempting to picture what it would be like.
Let’s say that nuclear winter is for real. Though some experts say this may not be the case. The nuclear winter will cover the planet in dust, more than likely radio active, blocking out the sun. Creating winter conditions around the globe, killing off all crops. The nuclear winter can last up to four years. Were this the case, then it’s a pretty simple thing to see that the true end is here. No crops, no cattle, no food.
One finds little joy in contemplating these things. But then, if we don’t, we will be caught with our drawers around our ankles. Alarmists they call those who conjure up these scary scenarios. But if we don’t, we are not giving ourselves the most basic form of heads up. Better to know of the possibilities rather than be caught completely unawares.
Maybe by anticipating one gets into the thinking that will be needed to at least try at survival.
The alternative to an all-out nuclear blowout where every damn silo lets loose its missile from every country that has these doomsday weapons is the partial nuclear exchange.
A vast difference and just could be the hoped for miracle should something like this ever start. I’d like to say at this late point that I’m a die-hard optimist. I’m one of those who can’t believe that such a thing could ever happen. It’s sobering to push upon myself the slightly more realistic thought: ’Oh yes, it could…’
It would be something like this: we would hope that if Putin unleashes some of his bombs and the US response and allies is one of extreme prudence, wiser heads prevail, they keep missiles behind locked doors, then suddenly we have a chance!
A limited exchange is just that. From a global view then most countries are spared. Life has a huge chance to limp along and to rebuild, to restore that which was destroyed, except of course for those regions forever tainted by radioactivity.
What a difference this would be for the rest of the planet. So maybe this is hoping Putin isn’t a total nutcase, and he refrains from going beyond the destruction of Ukraine.
The hope is that it all goes back to a conventional, non- nuclear warfare. Having seen what a handful of nuclear strikes can do we as humans take stalk, we stand down. That visceral, deeply unsettling knowledge that we came very close to the end would hopefully be enough to shake us all to the core. Regular war, if Putin is still around, might see that long term conventional fighting has to be the norm.
Preferably by far is conventional warfare to planet killing via all out nuclear exchange.
My desire in writing this is not to stir emotions. If it did, I’m sorry. I just feel that the more we go about with eyes wide open, betters our odds of survival.
In fact, I’d love to read others refuting convincingly what I’ve said here.