I sometimes find myself missing the old Cold War days when Nuclear Deterrence was based upon the concept that since both sides were rational a nuclear war was unlikely.

This is one of many stories I’ve seen recently about the potential threat of a North Korean EMP attack on the United States.

It was many years ago when I first began to understand the potential consequences and long rang ramifications of an EMP event from my exposure to government studies and Defense Department briefings on the threat of an EMP in the event of a war.

It’s funny but I pretty much assumed that the most likely source of an EMp event was a solar flare. I thought that no matter how tense relations between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. became that both side would hold onto their sanity and find a way to work out their conflict short of nuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis which took us to the brink of open conflict still ended in a diplomatic agreement. With both sides understanding just how close the world came to nuclear conflict it was even less likely that such an event would ever occur.

However that was before nuclear weapons began to proliferate. As technology advanced in the field of computers and all other electronics fields the fabrication of nuclear weapons was no longer something that only the richest and most industrially advanced nations could pursue.

We’ve now reached the point where even third world countries that can’t even feed their own population such as North Korea, countries in the hands of pretty barbaric theocracies like Iran or failed states like Pakistan where the government doesn’t even exercise control over significant areas within their own purported borders all either have or are very close to having nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles which can loft them the 100 miles or so required for an EMP attack.

During the Cold War which went on most of my life, say what you will about the Soviet Union, they were still rational beings who wanted to survive as much as we did so that each sides nuclear capability provided a strong deterrence to extreme action. Even the most callous Soviet or American proponent of war had to hesitate at the likelihood of the almost complete destruction of their own county.

Now however we appear to be living in a world where the leaders of some countries with nuclear weapons or close to having nuclear weapons are either ideologically or religiously prepared to sacrifice themselves and their entire country to get their way. It’s like dealing with petulant 2 year olds with nuclear weapons.

So perhaps these days a Solar EMP is the least likely source for an EMP event.

I have serious doubts as to whether North Korea is actually capable of a successful EMP attack on the U.S. or that they would succeed if they did make such an attempt. But they only have to succeed one time.

That doubt, however, is not going to stop me from maybe topping off a few fuel cans, perhaps adding a few more items to the emergency food supply and spending a little more time on the most recent book I’m printing and binding for the shelf.

The Librarian

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