Saturday, September 08, 2012

That is How it Will Start

I was chatting a bit earlier this week with one of my fellow members of the Eeyore Debating Collective, when I wandered down a dystopian path only those military professionals over the age of 45 really remember: thinking nuclear war.

You can - and should - remember that we used to think in rather cold ways about nuclear war. Contrary to the Left and the intellectually lazy, nuclear war does not have to be a binary thing where you either have no nukes, or total global nuclear winter. No. That was never the story.

There is still a remnant of the nuclear intellectual capital we had. There still is "that" planning group out there - but enough of that; let's keep them behind their cypher door with the crazy aunt in the basement.

The conversation I was having with my fellow EDC member was about the hot mess Pakistan is. With the demographics and the Islamist zeitgeist, I just don't see it getting any better in my lifetime. Most of the modernizing Pakistani and the best educated have left or are leaving. What is left, is left.

Those Pakistani left with nukes will eventually overplay their hand with their boogie-monster, India. Through events are too far in the mist to track from today, a non-zero chance there will be a chain of events that will result in a Pakistani nuke going off somewhere in India. Perhaps multiple nukes. Why? A 100 reasons.

That would be a bad move. India - much more than Pakistan - can still be considered an adjunct to the Anglophere due to their centuries of soaking in the British Empire, like the USA. They retain some intellectual connections to the Anglo-Saxon way of war. "You stop on my toe - I break your face."

India is a huge nation of well over a billion people. A horrible and difficult thought to have (but is required when thinking like a nuclear planner) - Pakistan or its nukes (they can be different things) could kill 1-million, 10-million, or a 100-million more Indians in a 1st and 2nd strike and .... India as a nation would survive. The nuclear fallout would kill thousands to hundreds of thousands in the long run afterwords probably - but even then, that is not a nation destroying event. Nations have experienced worse.

If India was so attacked with nukes, which I think is a non-zero possibility at some time in the next few decades, then my money is that India will do what India must - it will destroy Pakistan. Pakistan has a population of 176 million. Much of that is highly concentrated. Properly planned out, India could effectively remove all of Pakistan's population centers. Once that is done, especially in The Sind and Punjab - then Pakistan starting with Balochistan will break apart.

India will have made its point. It lives in a tough neighborhood; a pagan nation on the bleeding eastern edge of Dar es Salaam, and with China to the north. I cannot be seen as weak.

There you go - when you need to feel darkish - but darkish and informed by human history, add this to your mix;
...the gravest danger -- not only for the region, but for the United States itself -- may be the South Asian incarnation of a Cold War phenomenon: a nuclear arms race.

Pakistan, with an estimated 90 to 120 warheads, is now believed to be churning out more plutonium than any other country on the planet -- thanks to two Chinese-built reactors that are now online, a third that is undergoing trials, and a fourth that is scheduled to become operational by 2016. It has already passed India in total number of warheads and is on course to overtake Britain as the world's No. 5 nuclear power. Pakistan could end up in third place, behind Russia and the United States, within a decade.

This April, Pakistan tested a short-range ballistic missile, the Hatf IX, a so-called "shoot and scoot" battlefield nuclear weapon aimed at deterring an invasion by India's conventional forces. This development carries two disturbing implications. First, Pakistan now has the know-how to build nuclear warheads compact enough to fit on the tip of a small missile or inside a suitcase (handy for terrorists). Second, Pakistan has adopted a war-fighting doctrine that does not preclude nuking its own territory in the event of an Indian incursion -- a dubious first in the annals of deterrence theory.

India, meanwhile, has just tested its first long-range ballistic missile, the Agni-V, with a range of 3,100 miles. In April, the Indian Navy added a new Russian-made nuclear-powered submarine to its fleet and is now building its own nuclear subs. One has already been launched and will enter service next year, and India is determined to add submarine-launched ballistic missiles to its arsenal. This puts India on the verge of joining the elite nuclear "triad" club -- states with the ability to survive a first strike by an adversary and deliver a retaliatory strike by land, sea, or air.
Nukes - not the big boys the B-52s carry, but the modern ones. Smaller, much smaller, than even a compact VBIED.

Have a fun weekend all!

As a parting gift before I head off for hunting season; anything military always sounds better in German.

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