The Consequences of the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Why a So-Called „Limited“ Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan Would Devastate the Planet

Sebastien Roblin

The National Interest

March 9, 2019, 3:00 PM GMT

Welcome to nuclear winter.

Why a So-Called „Limited“ Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan Would Devastate the Planet

Between February 26 and 27 in 2019, Indian and Pakistani warplanes launched strikes on each other’s territory and engaged in aerial combat for the first time since 1971. Pakistan ominously hinted it was convening its National Command Authority, the institution which can authorize a nuclear strike.

The two states, which have retained an adversarial relationship since their founding in 1947, between them deploy nuclear warheads that can be delivered by land, air and sea.

However, those weapons are inferior in number and yield to the thousands of nuclear weapons possessed by Russia and the United States, which include megaton-class weapons that can wipe out a metropolis in a single blast.

Some commenters have callously suggested that means a “limited regional nuclear war” would remain an Indian and Pakistani problem. People find it difficult to assess the risk of rare but catastrophic events; after all, a full-scale nuclear war has never occurred before, though it has come close to happening.

Such assessments are not only shockingly callous but shortsighted. In fact, several studies have modeled the global impact of a “limited” ten-day nuclear war in which India and Pakistan each exchange fifty 15-kiloton nuclear bombs equivalent in yield to the Little Boy uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Their findings concluded that spillover would in no way be “limited,” directly impacting people across the globe that would struggle to locate Kashmir on a map.

And those results are merely a conservative baseline, as India and Pakistan are estimated to possess over 260 warheads. Some likely have yields exceeding 15-kilotons, which is relatively small compared to modern strategic warheads.

Casualties

Recurring terrorist attacks by Pakistan-sponsored militant groups over the status of India’s Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir state have repeatedly led to threats of a conventional military retaliation by New Delhi.

Pakistan, in turn, maintains it may use nuclear weapons as a first-strike weapon to counter-balance India’s superior conventional forces. Triggers could involve the destruction of a large part of Pakistan’s military or penetration by Indian forces deep into Pakistani territory. Islamabad also claims it might authorize a strike in event of a damaging Indian blockade or political destabilization instigated by India.

India’s official policy is that it will never be first to strike with nuclear weapons—but that once any nukes are used against it, New Dehli will unleash an all-out retaliation.

The Little Boy bomb alone killed around 100,000 Japanese—between 30 to 40 percent of Hiroshima’s population—and destroyed 69 percent of the buildings in the city. But Pakistan and India host some of the most populous and densely populated cities on the planet, with population densities of Calcutta, Karachi and Mumbai at or exceeding 65,000 people per square mile. Thus, even low-yield bombs could cause tremendous casualties.

A 2014 study estimates that the immediate effects of the bombs—the fireball, over-pressure wave, radiation burns etc.—would kill twenty million people. An earlier study estimated a hundred 15-kiloton nuclear detonations could kill twenty-six million in India and eighteen million in Pakistan—and concluded that escalating to using 100-kiloton warheads, which have greater blast radius and overpressure waves that can shatter hardened structures, would multiply death tolls four-fold.

Moreover, these projected body counts omit the secondary effects of nuclear blasts. Many survivors of the initial explosion would suffer slow, lingering deaths due to radiation exposure. The collapse of healthcare, transport, sanitation, water and economic infrastructure would also claim many more lives. A nuclear blast could also trigger a deadly firestorm. For instance, a firestorm caused by the U.S. napalm bombing of Tokyo in March 1945 killed more people than the Fat Man bomb killed in Nagasaki.

Refugee Outflows

The civil war in Syria caused over 5.6 million refugees to flee abroad out of a population of 22 million prior to the conflict. Despite relative stability and prosperity of the European nations to which refugees fled, this outflow triggered political backlashes that have rocked virtually every major Western government.

Now consider likely population movements in event of a nuclear war between India-Pakistan, which together total over 1.5 billion people. Nuclear bombings—or their even their mere potential—would likely cause many city-dwellers to flee to the countryside to lower their odds of being caught in a nuclear strike. Wealthier citizens, numbering in tens of millions, would use their resources to flee abroad.

Should bombs beginning dropping, poorer citizens many begin pouring over land borders such as those with Afghanistan and Iran for Pakistan, and Nepal and Bangladesh for India. These poor states would struggle to supports tens of millions of refugees. China also borders India and Pakistan—but historically Beijing has not welcomed refugees.

Some citizens may undertake risky voyages at sea on overloaded boats, setting their sights on South East Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. Thousands would surely drown. Many regional governments would turn them back, as they have refugees of conflicts in Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar in the past.

Fallout

Radioactive fallout would also be disseminated across the globe. The fallout from the Chernobyl explosion, for example, wounds its way westward from Ukraine into Western Europe, exposing 650,000 persons and contaminating 77,000 square miles. The long-term health effects of the exposure could last decades. India and Pakistan’s neighbors would be especially exposed, and most lack healthcare and infrastructure to deal with such a crisis.

Nuclear Winter

Studies in 2008 and 2014 found that of one hundred bombs that were fifteen-kilotons were used, it would blast five million tons of fine, sooty particles into the stratosphere, where they would spread across the globe, warping global weather patterns for the next twenty-five years.

The particles would block out light from the sun, causing surface temperatures to decrease an average of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit across the globe, or 4.5 degrees in North American and Europe. Growing seasons would be shortened by ten to forty days, and certain crops such as Canadian wheat would simply become unviable. Global agricultural yields would fall, leading to rising prices and famine.

The particles may also deplete between 30 to 50 percent of the ozone layer, allowing more of the sun’s radiation to penetrate the atmosphere, causing increased sunburns and rates of cancer and killing off sensitive plant-life and marine plankton, with the spillover effect of decimating fishing yields.

To be clear, these are outcomes for a “light” nuclear winter scenario, not a full slugging match between the Russian and U.S. arsenals.

Global Recession

Any one of the factors above would likely suffice to cause a global economic recession. All of them combined would guarantee one.

India and Pakistan account for over one-fifth world’s population, and therefore a significant share of economic activity. Should their major cities become irradiated ruins with their populations decimated, a tremendous disruption would surely result. A massive decrease in consumption and production would obviously instigate a long-lasting recessionary cycle, with attendant deprivations and political destabilization slamming developed and less-developed countries alike.

Taken together, these outcomes mean even a “limited” India-Pakistan nuclear war would significantly affect every person on the globe, be they a school teacher in Nebraska, a factory-worker in Shaanxi province or a fisherman in Mombasa.

Unfortunately, the recent escalation between India and Pakistan is no fluke, but part of a long-simmering pattern likely to continue escalating unless New Delhi and Islamabad work together to change the nature of their relationship.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

Image: Reuters.

India and Pakistan Are Brewing the First Nuclear War

India and Pakistan Are a Brewing Nuclear Nightmare

India’s election and Pakistan’s economic crisis are coming at a bad time.

James StavridisMarch 8, 2019, 7:14 AM MST

James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also an operating executive consultant at the Carlyle Group and chairs the board of counselors at McLarty Associates.

While India and Pakistan seem to have stopped bombing one another, the causes behind the cross-border tensions aren’t going away any time soon. The two nations are nuclear-armed; have large conventional armed forces; have had four serious wars since they became independent in 1947; and have enormous cultural and religious antipathy. This is a prescription for a disaster, and yet the confrontation is flying below the international radar – well below North Korea, Brexit, China-U.S. trade confrontations, Iran and even the “yellow vests” of France. A full-blown war in the valleys and mountains of Kashmir is a very real possibility.

When I was the supreme allied commander of NATO, the most important mission of the alliance was dealing with terrorism in Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, our Pakistani partners continued to support many of the radical elements of the Taliban. They were afraid of creeping Indian influence, and much preferred a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan to a more Western-leaning and independent Afghani government. I dealt often with General Ashfaq Kayani, the lean, chain-smoking chief of staff of the Pakistani army (arguably a more powerful position than the prime minister). He frequently came to NATO’s political headquarters in Brussels to brief the combined military leadership of the alliance on the key threat Pakistan faced several years ago – internal terrorism. Yet always hovering over our conversations was the Pakistani military’s deepest concern: India.

The most recent crisis was set off in mid-February when a Pakistani terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, detonated a suicide bomb in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers. It was the deadliest attack on security forces since that insurgency began in earnest decades ago. While the Pakistani government denied involvement in the bombing, India believes it was aware of the incident, and therefore responded with significant airstrikes into Pakistan. Two Indian fighter jets were shot down and a pilot captured. There was an unmistakable echo of the 1947 and 1965 Kashmir conflicts, in which tens of thousands died.

The extremely fragile cease-fire in place for two decades is fraying. Partly this is the result of domestic politics in India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected on a Hindu nationalist agenda, is up for re-election in April and May. After the Indian bombing of Pakistani territory, a popular hashtag in India became #Indiastrikesback. This is rare behavior, given that Indian armed forces have not otherwise crossed the so-called Line of Control between the nations since 1971. Former Indian Air Vice Marshall Arjun Subramanian, now a professor at Tufts University, told me, “At the strategic level, the strikes have signaled a heightened resolve on the part of the Modi government to change the response matrix in the aftermath of a confirmed jihadi attack from safe havens in Pakistan.”

Most worrisome, of course, are the significant nuclear arsenals of the combatants. Each has roughly 150 missiles, although only India has a submarine-based ballistic missile capability and thus a true nuclear triad (land, air and sea). Pakistan is developing sea-launched cruise missiles to counter that Indian threat. India has adopted a “no first use” doctrine, although Pakistan – which has smaller conventional forces and thus potentially the need for a more ambiguous doctrine – has not made an equivalent pledge. Paradoxically, the fact that both sides want to avoid a nuclear conflict has probably prevented an escalation on the conventional side during recent crises.

In past conflicts, the U.S. has played a mediating role. But today Pakistan is more inclined to work with China. India has strong relations with both the U.S. and Russia, but is unlikely to turn to either, so as not to appear beholden to any peer “great state.”  This tracks with the tendency of the Trump administration to let nations work things out themselves. Other than National Security Advisor John Bolton’s sensible comment that the U.S. supports India’s right to self-defense, the administration is staying on the sidelines. Complicating the picture is that the Washington is trying to enlist Pakistani aid in ending the long war in Afghanistan by reining in the Taliban.

What the U.S. can do most effectively is to quietly encourage both sides to step back from escalation – which Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan did by releasing the captured Indian jet pilot unharmed. We should also offer our intelligence capabilities to both India and Pakistan as each of them deal with the disruptive terrorist groups operating from Pakistani soil – Jaish-e-Mohammed and the even more deadly Lashkar-e-Taiba. The U.S. could also encourage other mediation by allies and international organizations, in particular Saudi Arabia, which reportedly was influential in the release of the Indian pilot.

As Hussein Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., recently pointed out, Pakistan in on the verge of an economic crisis.  While the Khan government has tried to defuse the situation, in part by appealing to the International Monetary fund, internal pressures are building. Make no mistake: With Pakistan’s economic plight and the upcoming elections in India, South Asia is in a situation in which a military miscalculation, perhaps even a nuclear one, is real possibility.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:

James Stavridis at jstavridis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:

Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net

New Jersey #1 Disaster State: The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

States of danger

Kiplinger News

Disasters can happen anywhere and at any time. But some places experience more than their fair share of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and severe weather — so much so that certain locales earn frightening nicknames, such as Tornado Alley. No matter where you live, make sure you have the right kinds and necessary amounts of insurance coverage to protect your finances.

No. 1: New Jersey

• Estimated property damage (2006-2013): $26.4 billion

• Most frequent disasters: damaging wind, winter storms, floods and flash floods

• Weather-related fatalities (2006-2013): 87

New Jersey earns the top spot on this list, in large part due to damage wrought by Sandy — which had weakened from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone by the time it the Jersey Shore — in October 2012. The state was among the hardest hit by Sandy, which was the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, after Hurricane Katrina. Many homes and businesses were destroyed along the Jersey Shore, and a portion of the Atlantic City Boardwalk washed away. Shortly after Sandy hit, another storm brought wet snow that caused more power outages and damage.

Homeowners who live along the coast or in areas where there are frequent storms should take steps before hurricane season begins to protect their homes and finances from damage.

Mortar shell fired from outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Mortar shell fired at southern Israel from Gaza for second time in two days

No reports of injury or damage as projectile hits Eshkol region field near Gaza; attack continues violent weekend as mediators seek to soothe tensions

By Judah Ari Gross and TOI staff

9 Mar 2019, 9:03 pm

Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a mortar shell at the Eshkol region of southern Israel on Saturday night, amid an uptick in violence along the Gaza border.

The mortar shell struck an open field, causing neither injuries nor damage, the local government said. The launch triggered air raid sirens in the region, sending thousands of residents to bomb shelters.

“Residents of the Gaza periphery have been living under a continuous state of emergency for many months. If the children of the Gaza periphery aren’t sleeping at night because of the situation, it must also wake the policy-makers and those responsible for the security of the citizens of the State of Israel,” Eshkol Mayor Gadi Yarkoni said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, police sappers were called to the Israel-Gaza border area after a cluster of balloons suspected of carrying an explosive device landed in Israeli territory.

From images of the device, the balloons appeared to be carrying the warhead of an anti-tank missile.

The balloon-borne device was located in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. Police instructed hikers to keep away from the area as they carried out a controlled explosion.

A screenshot from a Channel 13 report on March 9, 2019 showing a police officer at the spot where a controlled explosion of a cluster of balloons carrying a missile warhead took place.

On Friday, a mortar shell from Gaza struck an open field in the Eshkol region, causing no injuries or damage. In response, the Israel Air Force carried out several strikes in the Strip, hitting a Hamas military base in the south of the territory and underground infrastructure in the north.

Friday also saw thousands of Palestinians take part in violent protests along the border, and two men, whom the IDF said were carrying a knife and a hand grenade, were arrested after crossing into Israel from the northern Strip. The two infiltrators broke through the security fence and evaded capture for approximately half an hour, forcing the IDF to bring additional troops to the area, as well as local communities to go on high alert and call up their volunteer security forces.

In light of the increasing violence between Israel and Hamas, Egypt and other mediators have been working intensively in recent weeks to broker a cease fire agreement between the two sides, but thus far to no avail.

Friday’s protests were part of what Palestinians call the “March of Return,” a series of regular demonstrations and violent riots along the border fence that have been held since March 30, 2018.

Israel says the demonstrations are orchestrated by Hamas, which vocally supports them, sending free buses to the border and providing food and internet to participants — as well as money for those injured in them — in order to provide a cover for the organization’s nefarious activities along the security fence, including infiltration attempts, the planting of explosives and attacks on Israeli soldiers.

Their organizers have said the protests aim to achieve the “return” of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to lands that are now part of Israel, and pressure the Jewish state to lift its restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the coastal enclave.

Israeli officials hold that the return of Palestinian refugees and their descendants would destroy Israel’s Jewish character. They also maintain that the restrictions on movement are in place to prevent Hamas and other terrorist groups from smuggling weapons into the Strip.

The flying of kites and balloons carrying burning objects and explosives had been a main element of the weekly clashes on the Gaza border, ravaging forests and farmland in southern Israel and posing a threat to local residents.

Israeli troops respond to an infiltration by two Palestinian men from the northern Gaza Strip on March 8, 2019. (Yediot Mehashetah)

On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas that Israel would respond harshly to any further violence emanating from the Strip.

Egyptian mediators were in Gaza this week as Cairo launched a new round of mediation between Israel and Hamas in a bid to secure a lasting ceasefire deal.

42 Palestinians Wounded by Israeli Fire Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

42 Palestinians wounded by Israeli fire in border clashes: Gaza ministry

Latest update : 08/03/2019

Palestinian protesters have staged often-violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel for almost a year

© AFP/File

At least 42 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli sniper fire in renewed protests along the Gaza-Israel border Friday, the enclave’s health ministry said.

A statement from the ministry’s spokesman said 42 people „were shot by Israeli occupation forces“ during the 50th week of often-violent demonstrations.

Four medics were among those wounded, the ministry said.

An Israeli army spokesman said „approximately 8,400 demonstrators and rioters are currently gathered in a number of locations along the Gaza Strip security fence“.

„They have hurled explosive devices and rocks at the security fence and soldiers, and have also ignited tyres,“ the spokesman said.

Troops responded according to „standard operating procedures“, he added.

Protests and clashes began along the Gaza border on March 30 last year.

Demonstrators have been calling for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to their former homes now inside Israel, which Israeli officials say is akin to calling for their country’s destruction.

Israel accuses Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas of using the protests as cover for infiltrations and attacks, while rights groups and Palestinians say protesters posing little threat have been shot by Israeli snipers.

At least 252 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March 2018, the majority shot during weekly border protests and others hit by tank fire or air strikes in response to violence from Gaza.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.

Israel and Hamas, which has controlled the blockaded Gaza Strip for over a decade, have fought three wars since 2008.