Saturday, August 12, 2017

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

As tensions continue to mount between the United States and North Korea, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a showdown is imminent. The only question that remains is who will throw the first punch? Based on the rhetoric that has come from Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, it's anybody's guess.

And now China has entered the picture - as if they were ever out of it in the first place - by announcing that if North Korea strikes first it will stay neutral, but if the U.S. or South Korea should launch a preemptive strike, it "will prevent them from doing so."

In case you were wondering what the word "prevent" means, google this: How many nukes does China have? The answer is approximately 260. Puny by international standards - for instance, the U.S. has about 4500 warheads - but considerably more than the 64 at Kim's disposal.

I have gone over ever possibly scenario in my head and none of them have ended well. It is clear that Kim is determined to provoke Trump by threatening to launch a missile towards Guam. At present, North Korea has the ability to strike the mainland of the U.S. with an ICBM. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they also appear to have the ability to attach a miniature warhead to an ICBM, meaning North Korea now has the capacity to start a nuclear war.

Trump, sadly, is taking Kim's bait and ratcheting it up several notches. From his resort at Berchtesgaden, President Shitenstein said the following: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States, or they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before."

He then followed that gem up with this tweet: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

And to calm the residents of Guam, he actually said this to its governor: "I have to tell you, you have become extremely famous all over the world. They are talking about Guam; and they’re talking about you. And when it comes to tourism, I can say this: You’re going to go up, like, tenfold with the expenditure of no money."

Right, because nothing attracts tourists more than the prospect of being able to glow in the dark.


Forget everything else: the EPA war on the environment; the gutting of every single regulation on the books; the pandering of the most racist elements in the country; the voter fraud commission whose real goal is to strike from the rolls potentially millions of eligible Democratic voters; the recent impaneled grand jury that is investigating Trump's associates and his business dealings. We are now at DEFCON 2. Next stop is DEFCON 1 and oblivion.

I'm not being hyperbolic here. If you are not afraid, you should be. In fact, you should be very afraid. We could be days, if not hours, away from nuclear war and the deaths of millions, if not billions, of people. The last time the world came this close to an all-out nuclear exchange was the Cuban-Missile Crisis of 1962. Back then, though, we had two responsible leaders in John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, both of whom knew that if either side pressed the button, both would perish. It was called MAD, mutually assured destruction.

Looking at the current clowns who preside over the U.S. and North Korea, the term MAD has a considerably different and quite literal meaning. The combined temperament of Kim and Trump wouldn't qualify for adolescent status. In fact, the only difference between the two is that Kim seems better informed about the situation than his counterpart, who treats daily briefings like they were dentist appointments.

And in case you were wondering what our defensive capability is, I have some bad news for you. If Kim launches, say, four ICBMs loaded with miniature warheads towards the U.S. mainland, we don't have the capacity to knock all of them down with any degree of certainty. The likelihood is that one or more will reach their targets. Yes, the U.S. will respond and North Korea will be wiped off the face of the Earth, but millions of Americans will die in the exchange. Los Angeles? San Francisco? Seattle? Portland? Who knows which or how many of these cities will be hit. Even the destruction of one of them would effectively cripple the U.S. economy as we know it. California, by itself, qualifies as the world's sixth largest economy. You don't replace that much GDP overnight.

If you're a deeply religious person, now would be a good time to get on your knees and pray to the God of your understanding that we make it through this. If you're a moderately religious person, pray as hard as you can for clearer heads to prevail. And even if you're a card-carrying member of the American Atheist Society, pray anyway. You can make up your own god if you like. Just do something, anything. Shitting your pants shouldn't be your only option, especially since I've already shit mine.

In my 56 years on this planet, I have never once gone to bed wondering if the world would still be there in the morning. The last few nights, though, I have done just that.

As a species, we have flirted with our own mortality several times and, by the grace of God, we have managed to survive. Funny thing about grace: it is NOT an entitlement.

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