8 Signs that Nuclear War is Imminent
Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
For almost half a century, the world lived under the threat of thermonuclear war, during the decades of the Cold War. The United States and the now-defunct Soviet Union raced to build more and more nuclear weapons, developing MIRVs (multiple-entry reentry vehicles) that allowed them to put up to 10 nuclear missiles in the nosecone of one ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile).
Children were taught to “duck and cover” should they ever see a bright flash that might indicate a nuclear explosion. Our world lived on the brink of destruction for all that time… until the Berlin wall came down and the Soviet Union broke apart.
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While that temporarily put a pause on the risk of nuclear war, it didn’t end it by any means. While both the United States and Russia have reduced their inventories of nuclear weapons, we both still have enough to pretty much destroy the other country. Not only that, but other countries have joined the nuclear community as well, and not all of them can be trusted.
Some of those countries are outright rogue nations, such as Iran and North Korea. Both have been busy developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, regardless of treaties and pressure from the international community. Then there’s Russia and China, both of which have had nuclear weapons for some time, but can’t fully be trusted.
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Vladmir Putin has made several threats to use nuclear arms, since his invasion of Ukraine and China has been adding to their nuclear arsenal, while also developing hypersonic missiles and other means of delivery.
The truth of the matter is that while we may have had a brief reprise from the threat of thermonuclear war, with the fall of the Soviet Union, that threat has come back home to roost. Not only that, but the threat is bigger today, since there are more players who could kick off a nuclear war.
There would be no true winners in such a war. The only real question would be to what extent we all lose. But those who kick off such wars never care about how much others lose.
Nuclear Delivery Systems
There are four basic delivery systems for nuclear weapons, plus two variants, that we need to be concerned about. Each has its own risks; but they can all ruin our day.
Ballistic Missiles – The classic Cold War delivery system. While the US and Russia have cut back greatly on our ICBM inventories, other countries have been developing their own ballistic missiles with intercontinental range.
Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles(variant) – Ballistic missiles can also be carried on submarines, making them an even greater threat. Those submarines are hard to track, making it possible for them to move in, closer to our shores, before launching. This greatly reduces warning times.
Cruise Missiles–Low-flying missiles which are also sea-launched. Their low altitude and high maneuverability make them harder to detect, as well as harder to intercept.
Hypersonic Missiles(variant) – A new weapons development, improving on cruise missiles and giving them greater speed, making them harder to interdict.
Bomber Aircraft – The other traditional method of delivering nuclear bombs is dropping them from high-altitude bomber aircraft. This is the standard delivery method today, for US nuclear bombs.
Artillery – Both the US and Soviet Union had a sizeable arsenal of tactical nuclear bombs, designed for firing out of large-bore artillery. While the US has gotten rid of most of these, it appears that Russia still has a large collection. These are the most likely nukes to be fired first in a nuclear exchange.
Back during the Cold War, the standard was that we would have 30 minutes warning, because most of the Soviet Union’s warheads were on ICBMs, with a greater percentage now deployed from naval assets, the warning would be much less, unless they launched bomber aircraft with nuclear bombs.
The thing is, if we wait for the Russians or anyone else to launch nukes at us, it’s already too late, especially for anyone who lives near a military target or near the center of a large city. We want to read the tea leaves long before that and get out of Dodge before things get to the point where anyone is launching any platform with nuclear weapons. That means keeping an eye on not only the Russians, but the Chinese, the North Koreans and the Iranians too.
With all that in mind, here are some signs that nuclear war could be imminent.
1. Announcing New Weapons Technology
Industrialized countries are constantly at work to develop new weapons technologies. Those that don’t have the capability of developing their own, spend their money trying to buy those technologies on the world market, either legally or through illegal arms dealers.
But most keep those activities rather quiet. One of the biggest reasons why the CIA and other intelligence agencies exist, is to pierce the veil of secrecy around weapons development.
When countries announce that they’ve developed or are developing new weapons, they do so for a reason. They want others to know what they have and what they can do. It’s a veiled threat at best, even if it’s done in a defensive, rather than offensive manner.
Back in the 60s, a new radar satellite was used to map the underground tributaries of the Nile River. That wasn’t so much a scientific breakthrough, as it was a message to the Soviet Union that they couldn’t hide their ICBMs underground, because we had radar strong enough to locate them.
2. Testing New Missiles or Warheads
While weapons testing is a standard part of weapons development, there are also times when weapons are tested, which fall outside of the development cycle. Some of these are to test the weapons in inventory, making sure they are still good, other tests are to ensure the training level of the troops responsible for those weapons and for countering those weapons. But there are still other times, when it’s all about sending a message.
Before Trump was in office, North Korea was having a field day, launching new missiles for “testing purposes.” Many of those test flights were a direct threat to either South Korea or Japan. Until Trump convinced Kim Jong-un that his red button was the bigger one, the North Korean leader was having a great time threatening other nations with his missile tests.
3. Political Rhetoric
One of the trickiest signs to read is that of political rhetoric. Politicians say things all the time, which don’t really mean anything of significance. They can be threats or they can just be talking to hear the sound of their own voice. Nonetheless, we can’t ignore it when a national leader starts talking about using nuclear weapons.
Vladimir Putin has used this to great effect, holding back the nations of the world and keeping them from helping Ukraine, as he has invaded that smaller country. Nobody wants a Russian nuke landing in their nation’s capital, so basically he has held the world captive by nothing more than his rhetoric.
Whether or not he intends to use them, we must be wary and prepared. I am fortunate enough that I live more than 35 miles from the nearest possible target; so, other than fallout, I don’t have much to worry about.
4. Cutting-off Diplomatic Relations or Recalling an Ambassador
One of the bigger, more obvious signs of pending attack is the breaking off of diplomatic relations. Although the idea is to keep diplomatic missions open, even during times of war, for the purpose of negotiating peace; that doesn’t always work out. Many times, diplomatic personnel are recalled, cutting off formal communications.
Granted, in our modern world communications are always possible; but the formal way for nations to communicate with each other is through their embassies. Cutting off that tie is not quite a declaration of war; but it’s putting the other country on notice that war is possible.
This doesn’t just mean China or Russia recalling their diplomats in Washington either. China could be planning on attacking some other country, such as the Philippines, and decide to drop a couple of nukes on the US, just to keep us out of their business. So, any news about a country breaking off diplomatic relations is something we should take very seriously.
5. Elites Heading for New Zealand
Many of the high-tech elites have bought properties in New Zealand, for use as bug out retreats. Somehow, that island nation has become the bug out destination of choice for those newly rich tech executives, who are convinced that the world is going to fall apart. They might not be true preppers, but they’re using their money to prepare.
New Zealand isn’t the only location that those tech millionaires choose. The converted missile silos and bunkers that we’ve all ready about being turned into doomsday shelters are mostly sold to the same group of people. A few have even bought private islands, wanting someplace closer to home, that they could escape to.
Don’t take a general bugout of these elites as a sign of nuclear war, all by itself. Many of those high-tech elites are more concerned about social unrest knocking on their door, than they are nuclear bombs. They’re convinced that the masses are going to come looking for them, probably just after Marxism takes over.
6. The President is in an “Undisclosed” Location
Speaking of people bugging out, the real one to keep an eye on is the president. Three are detailed plans for getting the president out of Washington, in a number of scenarios, including nuclear war. We can be sure that the Secret Service won’t waste any time putting those plans into effect, the moment they even suspect that there might be danger.
Such an evacuation probably won’t be announced; so the thing to look for is the press announcing that they don’t know where the president is. Granted, nuclear war isn’t the only thing that might cause the Secret Service to evacuate the president, but I’m sure it’s at the top of the list.
7. Congress and the Cabinet Evacuating Washington
The real key won’t be if the president is bugging out, but if the president, his cabinet and key members of congress are all bugging out at the same time. According to government planners, the need to protect as many of these people as possible is paramount, even if the thousands of people who work for them perish.
It’s called “continuance of government and it is why the 1st Marine Helicopter Squadron even exists. Their job is to get the key people out of Washington, to “undisclosed places.”
8. Air Force Going on Alert
Most of our nuclear weapons are in the hands of the Air Force, although the Navy has a good collection in their missile submarines and which can be mounted on cruise missiles. If the bases with the big bombers go on alert, that’s a good sign that something is going on. If they all go on alert at the same time, that something could very well be a nuclear threat.
It’s all but impossible for you and I to know when military bases go on alert, unless we are either in the military ourselves or have a close relationship with someone who is our local base. That can be a good information source; but we’re not the only ones counting on that source. News agencies probably have people in all the bases, who report on what’s happening. So, this is something that should show up in the news.
Look for a Combination of Signs
While any one of these signs could mean that a nuclear war is imminent, if all we see is one, then we’re probably not in danger yet. Rather, what we should be concerned about is if we see several of them happening at the same time. That would indicate something serious happening, even if that something isn’t nuclear war. We need to combine these signs with other things that are happening, to make sure that we’re not misinterpreting the situation.
Ultimately, our family’s safety is our responsibility. So, when it comes to something like a potential nuclear strike, we have to make our decisions based upon what is best going to protect them, regardless of what the government might tell us to do. I’d personally rather bug out and keep my family safe, looking like a fool for bugging out when I didn’t need to, than to stay home, when I should have bugged out.
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