Monday, March 17, 2014

Predicting war

A fairly plausible cause of novelist apocalypses are wars: generally big ones.  With the wind down of the cold war, the nuclear apocalypse, outside of the much cleaner EMP limited war version, has faded a bit.
Are we correct in predicting the unlikelihood of future conflict.
Well maybe not:
Erik Voeten, Washington Post, 12 March 2014 (hat tip: MR)
Other than Sarah Palin and certain Russian astrologers, few people foresaw that Russia would intervene militarily in the Ukraine. The Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project at the College of William & Mary held a snap poll among international relations scholars, which asked: “Will Russian military forces intervene in response to the political crisis in Ukraine?” The results, reported in Foreign Policy, were disheartening: only 14 percent of the 905 interviewed scholars answered affirmatively on the eve of the intervention. (The poll was conducted from 9 p.m., Feb. 24 to 11:59 p.m., Feb. 27. Russian forces controlled the Sevastopol airport on Feb. 28).
So, in other words, only 14 % of the experts could predict military action by Russia 4 days before it occurred.
I seem to be more worried than most apocalyptic-handicappers about future armed conflicts (excepting dubious surgical strike EMP attacks) as a very dangerous possibility.  The retreaters of the 1970s (what they used to call survivalists) had their bomb shelters.  We have sustainability.


PioneerPreppy said...

Nukes bother me but conventional warfare doesn't much. I doubt many countries today are willing to put forth what a conventional war would take economically for very long. There is no way we are ever going to see another WWII although we could see a combination of WWII and Napoleonic Europe type warfare the energy just isn't around cheap enough for a straight WWII these days.

Nukes though. I just hope they have better defensive technology against em than is generally believed.

James M Dakin said...

And what might be even worse, there are 400 nuke plants waiting to Fuki on us if the power plants don't run. McPherson thinks it is an actual ELE. I don't know if I disagree. Either way, nukes guarenteed as a last resort in the fight, or all the shallow pool rod piles melting down, more than likely e all die quickly and much uglier than expected. On the plus side, we won't starve to death.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: There are enough countries with small nuke arsenals to almost quarantine they will eventually be used. Ukraine gave up theirs, and some will take that lesson to heart, as did Libya giving up its chemical weapons, and then being attacked by those who got them to get rid of them.

James: nuke power melting down causes a zone of death, and relatively large areas (global if they all went) of elevated cancer rates, but even the guy who wrote the book about what would happen if humans disappeared didn't claim it would end life on earth the way a full blown superpower nuke war likely would. But it is all uncharted territory so I am not claiming to have the final word on it.

Para a Posteridade e mais Além said...

NO, 12 OR 20 thousand nuclear weapons don't have the impact in biologic or geologic terms

that yellowstone or lets say a 500 million tons meteor

300 x 300 x 300 m
90,000 x 300 = 27.000,000 x 3,3 of density
a blow of this 80 something million ton's rock equals the former soviet arsenal

ergo.....nuclear winter don't have enough power to destroy all life like in the C-T boundary event

it's mathematics of ergs and radioactive dust

JaneofVirginia said...

So many people have made fun of Sarah Palin. So many think confuse her with the caricature by Tina Fey. Fact is, Sarah is a bright woman, and she was certainly correct about Russia.

russell1200 said...

Para: The blast effect of nukes is over rated. But the radiation less so. There were some dirty bombs back in the day.

Jane: I am sorry, but I have had no time for Ms. Palin since she quit the governorship of AK to make money and become a celebrity. We have a definite stopped watch here.