Toward an accidental nuclear war

Finally, when the hawks proliferate in a critical mass on both sides, the fear of a nuclear holocaust, of a war without winners, fades from everyone’s view. Fear is replaced by anger.

August 12, 2022

The possibility of an accidental nuclear war today involves the United States versus Russia over Ukraine, and the US versus China over Taiwan and over the South China Sea. These are the current three nuclear hot points. These three superpowers hold the fate of mankind in their hands. Even just one five-megaton multiple warhead missile can cause semi-permanent damage across the entire northeast coast of the US. The total nuclear war arsenal of the three giants can destroy mankind a hundred times over. UK National Security Adviser Stephen Lovegrove has expressed this fear, which was carried by major media outlets worldwide.

Today, there is a dangerous breakdown in communications among the three superpowers, unlike during the cold war when there was a protocol on dialogues over a red telephone. Today, the red telephone can perhaps be useless because there is no “mood” for the leaders to talk due to the heightened situations. Even if the lines are there, if no one wants to talk, the lines are useless.

The lines between Biden and Putin are essentially cut off because they have been trading blows left and right. Threats, accusations, and counter-accusations from both sides are expressed through the media, a very dangerous way of “communicating.” Both front-end and back-channel communications have somehow vanished overnight.

Biden expressed interest in a dialogue with Xi Jinping, but it is not known if they did talk confidentially and what they talked about, if they did. But the way both sides exhibited as a show of force over Taiwan, there is very little space for dialogue.

It must be explained that the Russian intrusion in Cuba, based on the US view, is the same as the American intrusion in Ukraine to the Russian view, and in Taiwan to the Chinese view. The common factor among these three is — one cannot tolerate the “enemy” with a gun at one’s doorstep. It is a survival instinct to panic and confront the “enemy” to back off.

Nikita Khrushchev wanted missiles in Cuba because the US placed missiles in Turkey. The US was blind to its guilt in Turkey, and the world never knew that “the original culprit,” the one who drew first blood, was the US, not Russia. The US-dominated media did not mention this. So, the blame was on Russia. John F. Kennedy was justified in acting swiftly and sternly for Russia to back of “or else” in the name of survival.

It was the same in Ukraine. The US campaigned successfully to bring into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) almost all former Soviet satellites. For two decades, the goal of US-NATO was to surround and ultimately strangle an arch-enemy, Russia. Again, the western-dominated press pointed the finger at Russia for invading Ukraine with little or no mention of the US-NATO campaign.

In Taiwan, the survival factor is the same. Over and above the logic of the One-China Policy, China has an underlying fear that the US will place hypersonic missiles in Taiwan that can reach Beijing within minutes, as the US did in Turkey, and as it wanted to do in Ukraine. And so, the greatest confrontation ever between the US and China happened in Taiwan with Pelosi as the possible angel of death. China overreacted perhaps, intruding into Taiwan territory with warship and warplanes.

The preview to an accidental nuclear war is not only the breakdown of communications between US, Russia, and China, but the evolving intensifying emotions, making dialogue unwanted, degrading into a media war, rather than a one-on-one dialogue.

Finally, when the hawks proliferate in a critical mass on both sides, the fear of a nuclear holocaust, of a war without winners, fades from everyone’s view. Fear is replaced by anger. The doves disappear and their voice degrades to an unheard whisper. This is the coup de grace to a nuclear mega-disaster.

In this psychological situation, the first nuclear missile, no matter how small, may elicit total response within hours, not days, while we are all asleep.

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