…and for humans, dogs, cats, cows, and just about everything else. Though it could end up solving global warming, at least for a while. Seriously though, several recent news stories point out the increasing dangers associated with the nearly unchecked proliferation of nuclear weapons in an increasingly unstable world.
What exactly are the possible scenarios for small-scale regional nuclear conflicts? Those are exactly the type of wars that the scientists at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting in San Francisco warned about.
Even a Small Nuclear War Could Change the World: New Study Shows Distant and Minor Nuclear Blasts Could Cause a Global 'Nuclear Winter'—ABC News Dec. 12, 2006
The War and Conflict Journal sees several realistic scenarios that could occur within the next few years.
Scenario 1: Nuclear North Korea rolls the dice and makes a go at taking over South Korea. The President of South Korea does not appear too worried though. He says that despite the North’s nuclear weaponry, the South would still prevail. Is the man a fool, or has South Korea have a nuclear ace up its sleeve?
Scenario 2: Iran and Israel duke it out with nukes. Iran’s President is famous for periodically threatening to wipe Israel off of the map, but Israel’s Prime Minister recently all but admitted that Israel has nuclear weapons (a well-known fact, but Israel consistently has not admitted such). These two nations could easily wipe out the entire Middle East and its oil supplies (once Iran creates those weapons).
ISRAEL NUKE COMMENT SPARKS CONTROVERSY
History Guy: Israel-Lebanon/Hezbollah War (2006)
Scenario 3: The U.S. (with or without allies), tries to take out Iran’s nuclear processing facilities. To take out the hardened underground sites, the U.S. may resort to “mini-nukes,” or nuclear “bunker-busting” weapons. Messy.
Scenario 4: India and Pakistan, who each possess at least 50 nuclear weapons, fight another war and go nuclear. The two old enemies have been talking peace lately, but with an active Islamist insurgency in Indian-ruled Kashmir, and very important elements of the Pakistani military and security forces backing the insurgency, the possibility of a future war that could go nuclear is ever present.
India's Strategic Environment and the Role of Military Power—Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 22, 2006
History Guy: Wars of India
Scenario 4.1: A coup topples President Mushareff of Pakistan and the new government is openly pro-Taliban, pro-al-Qaida, and calls for holy war to free Kashmir from India. The U.S., Britain, and India decide to take out Pakistan’s nuclear capability. U.S. and British special forces try to seize the Pakistani nuclear arsenal, but miss a few, while the Indian military surges across the border to end the “Pakistani problem” once and for all. Use your imagination on how a pro-Taliban Pakistani government would react to such an attack… NOTE: There supposedly WAS such an Anglo-American plan to seize Pakistan’s nukes right after 9/11 when it was not clear which way Mushareff would go when told to choose between continuing his support of the Taliban and aligning with the West.
U.S. Worries about Pakistan Nuclear Arms—Washington Post, Nov. 4, 2001
Scenario 4.2: India and China re-fight their 1962 border war, except this time they both have nukes. Even though they have been talking nicely to each other lately, India has made no secret of its concern that China’s recent military expansion is up to three times a large as publicly acknowledged by Beijing.
Other scenarios exist of course, but in terms of the most likely wars between nations, these are the most likely. And you thought the end of the Cold War made the world a safer place, didn’t you?