A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, July 01, 2006

EMP at the American Thinker

I have expanded my post on North Korea`s missile test, EMP attacks, and China to a full blown article in the American Thinker. Check it out here



Anonymous Henry Bowman said...

Your article in The American Thinker is interesting. It's probably worthwhile pointing out that experimental data on EMP leads to the conclusion that EMP is mostly important when one uses a thermonuclear weapon (many kT). It's not at all clear that the run-of-the-mill fission weapon, even when detonated at high altitude, would cause substantial EMP.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were a bellicose Chinese general who pushed North Korea into a proxy war against the US using EMP, I think I'd have a whole lotta splainin' to do to the political leadership when China's main trading partner suddenly could buy SQUAT, its economy having been destroyed for a number of years.

Ditto the reaction of all the other countries who rely on the US for exports. As the world's premier superpower economically and militarily, we are the engine that pulls the train.
Destroy us economically, and the entire world would likely collapse into a huge depression.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is jerry and i agree with anonymous. however, china is used to lving in a non modern world and might be able to absorb a collapse in trade. they would not notice a few tens of millions of starved chinese, lost due to a lack of trade with the west. the rest of the developed world would suffer as well. the third world would barley notice, except the tinpot dictators would live on our aid.

however, we would still survive, we would rebuild very fast. two thirds of our nation would still be intact and we would evacuate the west for a time. it might even be a kick in the butt to revive our national spirit. long term, we would be fine. the rest of the world will not like the america that emerges from the ashes. we would be vicious and merciless.

bring it on.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry, I beg to differ.

China is undergoing tremendous social and political upheaval as it
modernizes in certain zones approved by the leadership, while allowing the ordinary people in the countryside to languish, or to try to figure out for themselves how they can participate in the favored zones' economic boom.

If, as the result of a stupid proxy war, you take away the potential for profit, economic growth, and increasing demand for labor from the favored zones, then those in the provinces will know that they are doomed to continue living at a subsistence level.

Sure, the leadership can always quell disturbances through force, as they have always done, but in today's China, in which hundreds of millions see a path out of poverty, workers watching their prospects dashed due to a reckless policy to economically destroy the US would not likely take the loss of their major market passively.

Instead, they would rightly attack the leadership for destroying their incomes and their prospects.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Hi Henry!

Thanks for visiting, and a thoughtful comment. You are correct that the more kilotonnage the better when it comes to EMP, and a fusion bomb is definitely better for the purpose than a ``fat man``. When I was researching this article I noticed that there was indeed an argument over EMP effects of fission devices. I`m not a nuclear physicist, so I have to rely on what I read, after all, and it may be wrong. What I came across suggested that there were ways to make a fission bomb much more effective at producing an EMP (in fact, it is possible to produce an EMP without nukes at all). Also, I risk being branded a tinfoil hat type, but the U.S. Government denied there WAS any such thing as an EMP for decades to avoid scaring the public; perhaps the effects are more pronounced with minor weapons than we know? Still, you may well be right (at least I hope so.)

Of course, the whole point of the piece was to analyze a possible military scenario, and where there`s a will there`s a way. The old Soviet arsenal is not accounted for; perhaps a Soviet H-bomb could be smuggled into North Korea?

Military planning revolves around capabilities, and a multi-staged ICBM gives North Korea the ability to hit the United States. That is, of course, why we are making threats and activating our missile shield. We have to be concerned about this.

Hi anonymous!

You make some good points!

The free trade argument is a sound argument, although I don`t necessarily agree with it. Did the need for trade stop Japan from attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor? Their economy relied heavily on imports from the United States. I agree that our trading partners would be unhappy, but the balance of trade would shift from imports to exports for them, so it may seem logical to a nation whose economy has been centrally planned. Most of the rest of the world doesn`t understand the supply-side economics.

Dictators are often not rational in their overall thinking, and may do something very rash. Remember, the Chinese believe they are eventually going to be at war with us-it`s a matter of when, not if. If the time seems right they would be fools NOT to strike-especially if they could get off scot-free.

Your point about rising expectations has merit, but I just don`t think it will be enough to overcome the power exercised by the State. Bear in mind, the Chinese wouldn`t TELL anyone that they were ultimately behind the attack, and their people would accept this as something which must be endured-like a flood or plague. They would blame NK and the bellicose United States, and survival of the Chinese system would be paramount.

Hi Jerry!

Good comment!

I think the survival of the United States after such an attack would depend on a number of factors, many of which may not be under our control. Clearly, the character of the United States would change dramatically (war always changes the country) and America would be forced under martial law at first-and at first often seems to extend for a long time (we still have the ``temporary`` income tax which was instituted to pay for the First World War, for example.) I like your optimism, though; that is uniquely American, and if enough of us stick to it we WILL emerge stronger and better than before!

Thanks, guys, for some great comments! Please come back!

7:01 AM  
Blogger BobG said...

Good post, Birdman, and food for thought.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I can see the chaos now, were an EMP attack to occur. And such an attack would certainly plunge our nation into a depression from which it would be difficult to extricate ourselves.

The one to gain the most? China, of course!

4:51 AM  

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