While we agonize over such life and death questions, let me spare a few seconds thought to something really important and scary: Russia’s doomsday nuclear torpedo.
Code-named by NATO ‘Kanyon,’ it’s reportedly something new and terrifying, a ‘third strike’ weapon designed to obliterate the US east and west coasts in a nuclear war. US intelligence seems to think this doomsday weapon is very real indeed.
I just re-watched for the umpteenth time the wonderful, 1964 Kubrick film, ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and marveled anew at how prescient this razor-sharp satire was. In the film, the Soviets admit they ran out of money to keep up the nuclear arms race with the United States. Their answer was to create a secret, automated doomsday nuclear device that would destroy the entire planet in the event of a major war.
Now, the Russians appear to have responded to a new, trillion dollar US program to develop and deploy an anti-missile system that would negate their ballistic missile system: the ‘Kanyon.’ Fact imitates fiction.
This revelation comes just after the Trump administration has also embarked on new programs to deploy an entire new generation of lower yield nuclear weapons that can be used for tactical war-fighting purposes. North Korea and Iran are the evident targets, as well as Afghanistan. But there is now talk aplenty in Pentagon circles about waging a limited tactical nuclear war against Russia. New US bomber and drone programs are being speeded up. War talk is in the air. Military stocks are booming.
‘Kanyon,’ according to the right-wing Heritage Foundation, a cheerleader for military spending, is a mammoth 100-megaton nuclear device carried by an unmanned submarine. This monster weapon is designed to detonate on the US west coast, destroying the ports of San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The device is reportedly covered with cobalt, for maximum radioactive effect.
A similar device launched from the Atlantic Ocean would devastate the US East coast, leaving it under a lethal shroud of radiation for generations.
If these reports are true, any hopes that some US generals have of fighting and winning a ‘limited’ nuclear exchange with Russia or China (never mind India) are absurd. But in fact any serious nuclear exchange between the great powers would be a death sentence for the entire planet, wrapping us in a lethal shroud of nuclear winter.
One US intelligence study done of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan estimated two million immediate dead and 100 million deaths within weeks. That was from a rather limited nuclear war using first generation weapons. Today’s weapons have ten times the explosive power.
Russia has a large and effective nuclear arsenal. The sharp decline of Russia’s once-mighty conventional military forces after 1991 drove Moscow to place ever greater reliance on nuclear weapons to defend its interests. Russia has also begun introducing modernized nuclear weapons in strategic and tactical versions. China is also slowly developing its nuclear forces to be able to fight a thermonuclear war against the United States and India at the same time.
President Trump, who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War on spurious medical grounds, appears infatuated by military affairs and the panoply of weapons that he commands. In an act of historic irresponsibility, he has brought the US to the edge of nuclear war against North Korea heedless of the dire consequences of even a ‘small’ nuclear war in Asia.
Anyone who thinks a nuclear war can be waged without permanently polluting our planet should be put under psychiatric care. As crazy as this notion sounds, there are some senior US generals who share this view and, most likely, President Trump, the man with the big red button. Russia’s marshals are more cautious. They still see the scars of World War II, in which some 27 million Soviet civilians died, and know what war means.
Perhaps leaks about this Russian monster weapon are clever disinformation spread by Moscow to give the Americans a big scare. Let’s hope so because, if real, they should scare the pants off all of us.