Monday
Jul222019

The tweet "I could wipe Afghanistan off the map if I wanted to"

So a random US political figure tweeted today he could wipe Afghanistan off the map.  Could they?  The US has roughly 6000 nukes, and Afghanisan is Roughly the size of Texas at 251,800 square miles.  Each nuke can take out every non-borrowing animal in 1250 square miles - so just 201 nukes could pretty well destroy every inch of Texas or Afghanistan.  So yes, they could as far as ending human lives goes.

However, the bad news, Afghanistan is flanked by Nuclear actors:  Iran, Pakistan, China and Kazakhstan (Say with 1, 40, 400 and 1400 nuclear weapons.)... not to mention the unpleasant fall out that would land and cause deaths in not just neighboring countries but as far away as Russia (roughly another 6500 weapons that each have multiplewarheads.).  If immediate neighbors retaliate in full, the US could expect a loss of 2.3 million square miles (Roughly everything west of the Mississippi.)   If just one retaliated with a single cargo-ship nuke to a port city that makes the loss of 3 thousand US lives in Afghanistan look like 1% of casualties. 

If all weapons were fired, that's a habitat loss of 18 million square miles, basically North America minus a few artic bits.  Even if only the United States was hit - a few decades of winter would kill almost everyone that remains anywhere in the northern hemisphere... though perhaps Hawaii wouldn't become completely locked in sea ice.  The only good news in this senario is that if the explosions are confined to the northern Hemisphere, radiation starvation and nuclear winter likely would not kill everyone in the southern hemisphere as well - frozen ice might help contain the radiation in the north so Humainty should be able to survive in Argintina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Nambia and Madagascar on a planet that might take a thousand years to largely return to "normal."  

The only point of something so terrible a threat is deniable targeted use (i.e. there's no way to prove who destroyed a single city), or to force communication and issues.  Long gone is the world in which only the US had this weapon.       

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Just how bad is Baltimore? | Main | Apple's New 2019 Mac Pro isn't for Professionals, It's for the Luxury Market »