Over my years of blogging... damn, I never thought I would be able to say that as I never intended to blog for years... a few weeks or a month or two, maybe... I have covered a wide array of threat types to the United States. Be it terrorism, organized crime or geophysics, I've gotten a good look at some of the nastier things that can be unleashed at a moment's notice that will leave you next to no time to prepare. The fact that my top 5 geophysics disasters that will happen to the North American continent, sooner or later, are not being prepared for tells me much about how we, as a society, prepare to deal with just about anything. I like geophysics as it is reliable, cyclic and gives warning via the periodicity of events over time. If you don't heed the warnings then it is you who will pay the price. The planet will go on its stately way with or without us, which is why I am always advocating that the best place for industry is not in a biosphere but in the clean vacuum of space. Once we get off this rock and into our solar system with a sustainable population base that doesn't rely on Earth, then we will be very, very hard to extinguish as a species.
We aren't there, yet.
Outside of those 'known unknowns' of geophysics there are the other 'known unknowns' of terrorism, socialism/communism/fascism/anarchism, and pure old asinine political meddling in culture and economics. These latter are all inter-related, however, as old revolutionaries tend to hide who they are and become sanctified by their cronies and enter the system. When a guy like the terrorist Bill Ayers can be blessed by the MFM without any hint at repentance for his past misdeeds, indeed he said he hadn't done enough as a terrorist, gets into the position of helping to draft the very history books that is used in school districts, and no one raises a fuss, then one can say that the 'elite' structure is in bed with the radicals. This has a corrosive and corrupting influence on society, as a whole and as individuals, as actual history gets slanted towards viewpoints that remain unexpressed until they fester long enough to pop up like zits in OWS. These people don't need to breathe together to share the same hookah, and if their ideas have spread globally it is because those who would normally defend the standard culture of various Nations have been complacent or asleep at the wheel. This is the wet dream of Progressives: to dictate to society what individuals should think, eat, breathe and how they should live and die at the behest of government.
It is the dream of despotism and tyranny.
So for this remix I'm going to shuffle in the other sociological problems that these nefarious actors have put in place while we have all been hitting the snooze button. A fun treat it isn't because I will also be mixing in military threats of the 'known unknown' variety, which ought to scare the pants off just about anyone. Some of these I see as near-dead certainties. You can still search this blog under the DIY category and get some ideas of what it means to prepare, now, before they happen.
So here we go.
#5 - Good-bye to the EU - After WWII the US extended its nuclear umbrella and troops into Western Europe to defend it. The various leftists and social do-gooders realized that they didn't have to spend more than a paltry 1% or thereabouts on defense and the US expanded its defense budget to 6-8%+ to cover for that. With all that lovely non-spending doing on did the European Nations of the West: 1) cut back on all other forms of government to get thriving, world beating economies, 2) pay off all government debt to make their currencies sound and stabilize the world, 3) decide that after two world wars that they really, and for true, weren't going to solve their problems either militarily or via diplomacy (causes for both world wars) and settle into a generally neutral stance towards each other and attempt to keep the lid on both military and diplomatic adventurism or, 4) the opposite of all that.
If you chose #4 for the expansive welfare state, increasing regulations, attempts to 'integrate' highly different populations that didn't have a great history with each other, spend like drunken sailors who can't pass out, get perennial unemployment over 8%, go into debt that none of them or all of them could repay, see a declining demography because of the growth of the state into all areas of life, have to invite in foreigners who made it a point not to assimilate, and the only real economy left was then asked to support all the ne'er-do-well spendthrifts, all the while finding out that being weak militarily at home meant no real feeling of patriotism or even a need to continue the culture, then you have a Weiner! Ah... sorry... Winner!
Given a great protective umbrella the entire continent went towards socialism even before the commies disappeared and started calling themselves socialists, too. Now Europe is in a permanent demographic slide unlike any other seen since the Roman Empire hit the skids, has a debt problem about to sink all the Nations in Europe separately and collectively, has foreign populations now starting to not see themselves as Europeans and wanting to change the Nations into something different... and an elite class who feels that the general public is too stupid to recognize this as a good thing! Can Europe pull out of this tailspin?
Parts of it might abandon ship in the next few months and then the jig is up. All of the 'social safety nets' will fall and all the 'collective' help will go away as it can't be paid for as the increasing debt load year on year should have clued them into. In giving a large umbrella over Europe the US, apparently, removed the cluebats. The answer by the Euro-Elites (be they Kings, Emperors, Princes, Dukes, Ministers, Members of Parliament, or the local Mayor and city council) in such circumstances is clear: war. With unrest in Europe comes war. The French Revolution was cleared up by a Corporal, a 'whiff of grapeshot' and then the great economy booster of foreign war. When the anarchists had been shooting down political leaders the world over for a few decades it was to get only one Arch-Duke that would trigger a global conflict. The rise of communists in Russia and the expansion of the prior socialist parties in Europe to deal with problems, particularly in Italy and Germany, grew out of the unrest of the post-war era and turned it into the inter-war era by yet another great war building spree that led to, yes, war. The nasty Cold War stalemate was won by the West when everyone who had red stars on in Russia changed their philosophy from communism to socialism. The red stars were kept around to adorn party functions, however. Needless to say getting in bed with organized crime is a mixed blessing in Russia. Western Europe spending itself into oblivion will lead to great numbers of unemployed and the state, having only one major way to help, will authorize military spending to 'boost' the economy. China, too, is facing this by propping up the price of copper by building vast, uninhabited cities and seeing its industrial cost rise to the point that people are being automated out of jobs or they are going, with delicious irony, to the next low wage destination of Vietnam. Needless to say the US was wise enough to see this folly and stopped going down that road...
The Collapse of the EU is the symbolic collapse of Western Socialism (socialism, communism, leftism, progressivism, and big government anarchists which are a delicious stab in the back to traditional anarchists) and it isn't going to be pretty.
#4 - The Next World War- I can now name some major governments undergoing economic decline from which military spending may be the only hope of keeping people employed: Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Russia, China, Japan, Mexico (more on that later) and the UK. Even better is that a few of them have historical militarism that their elites can fall back on and resurrect. Greece has the Spartans, Italy has the Roman Empire, Spain and Portugal were once world colonial powers, France had Napoleon, Russia had Stalin, China had a slew of guys from the Yellow Emperor on to Mao, Japan had the military class and god emperor, the UK has a great history to work with like that Nelson fella, and even Mexico has patriots in their history of various stripes.
Pick three of those and say they take that path, even the worst off and most minor. Throw in a bit of 'expansionism for resources' to help get economies going again. Now put a large power into that mix doing that. Within 5 years that will be about the only option left as it will be the ONLY way to get out of collectivism as NO ELITE will say that it is a FAILURE. Internationalism just isn't a rallying point, and all the lovely bankers with their manipulation of world currencies will face a hard problem when a few enterprising countries realize that they can go it alone with just a few more resources under their belt. They will shear off debt, see their currencies disappear, put in a scrip, open military based systems using scrip and have no need for a social safety net.
The first Nation to clear out its 'social safety net' will be the new 'leader'.
And it doesn't matter how small your population is, either, as modern technology will allow the leveraging of some very elite tactical units to perform deeds that entire armies couldn't accomplish just 60 years ago. Technology is becoming a deadly equalizer between the large and small, and while quantity has a quality all its own, if you are stuck a couple of cycles back on the technology parade, you aren't going to make it.
No matter how chaotic and moribund economies and societies appear now, the simple solution for the worst off of cutting out the old currency, making a new scrip, torching the social safety net, killing off the radicals (always a crowd pleaser, that) and putting a military style order in place is a demonstrable winner throughout history. And it always, without fail, ends badly.
This is the know nothing Elites we are talking about doing this and their failure to understand history and become entranced with power always allows this to happen.
We gotta get off that merry-go-round.
#3 - EMP the Great Equalizer - One EMP burst from a low yield nuclear device over Kansas will destroy the electronics of nearly 80% of the US that aren't hardened or shielded. No modern commerce, no trucks, no planes, no cars (unless you got a pre-electronic one available... if you got points and plugs you have something that might survive), no industry, no farming, no hospitals, pharmaceuticals left to what is on hand...
Remember that technology is a great equalizer against even the US.
We haven't hardened our power generation infrastructure nor our consumer commodity infrastructure.
And you may not even need a nuke to do this, but you will need a missile.
Or very high floating balloons.
Who could do this the old fashioned way with a nuke and a primitive missile? There is a short list of supsects: the US, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, France, UK, Israel, North Korea, and Iran. If you throw in a small technical group working with a different way to generate the pulse and balloons, then you can expand that list down to any Nation with factories producing electronics. Gotta love that, huh?
Mind you this can also be done to China and Russia (probably requiring two devices each), all of Europe, Africa (about two devices), South America (two devices), all of North America (two devices), India, Australia, Japan if you have to get them separately, and maybe another six devices to cover all of the Pacific and three more for the Atlantic. And one more to get all of North America. That is N. Am. - 2, S. Am. - 2, Eurasia - 3, India - 1, Australia - 1, Africa - 2, Pacific - 6, Atlantic -3. Call it 25 total devices. If they are high tech and balloon delivered you can use GPS to make them go off (isn't that sweet?) as they are shielded by not being in the EMP zones. Missiles with AQ Khan style bombs might be a bit harder to do, but 25 is still a pretty magic number.
Hardened military equipment would survive, yes, but without a production system to produce more you are in a 'come as you are' war.
And if an eco-terrorist group did this with a bit of savvy on their part, or a death cult like the old AUM Shinrikyo? In one year the global population would be about 1 billion people.
Now replace all the EMP devices with a major solar storm putting out highly energetic particles just in front of the Earth as it passes through it for, say, 3 days. Same effect.
Bad enough the US and the fact that if we disappeared from the world economy most of the rest of the world would go into chaos once the big food supplier went away. Those asshats bemoaning hunger in Africa should be wanting a hardened electronics system in the US so that if a major solar storm did hit the planet there would be SOMEONE left to still grow food on a scale large enough to supply 2-3 billion people. That would require forethought, seeing how nasty a place the Earth and our fellow man can get, and then saying: 'You know it doesn't do us much good to have a social safety net if it all collapses due to one bad act'.
Damn I'm not even to #2 yet!
Wasn't the Cold War so nice? All you had to deal with was vaporization due to nukes!
Even better: you can prepare for these! Build some Faraday Cages for equipment (basically wrapping them in conductive mesh or foil that isn't in contact with the electronics, and ground the mesh/foil) and once the EMP is done, you can haul out your generator and equipment and get to the business of rebuilding society. Everything with a transistor and a lot of stuff with vacuum tubes are toast if they aren't protected. That laptop you tucked into the microwave will ride it out (it does have a mesh to protect stuff outside form the internal microwave effects) but that lovely desktop system is gone. Got batteries stored away? How about an inverter and solar panel array? Means to get clean water? Sanitary considerations need to be given top priority. Yup this is full, 'no grid exists' living. No medical supplies coming around, either, so what you got is what you got. Ditto groceries.
Global Nuclear War never looked so good!
#2 - La Palma landslide and tsunami - I'm not going to reprise my geophysics article, but this one remains at #2. Why? Here is the idea: name every city that is within 25 miles of the Atlantic coast or half of that in the Gulf of Mexico, all north of the equator. And that 25 miles is a pure, wild-ass guess.
Now make them go away with only 6-12 hours of warning time.
Entire islands will be washed over. Florida might not be around as we know it. London might survive, maybe. Paris will. The Netherlands, not so much. Nice knowing you, Denmark. Ireland's coast along the south just gone. Boston, Hartford, NYC, all of Long Island, Philadelphia, Newark, Baltimore, DC, Miami... New Orleans, Galveston... maybe the highlands of Cuba left... I shudder to think about coastal Africa and some of the waves will get to the South Atlantic, too. Maybe dislodge some polar material north and south, perhaps shift the northern polar ice cap a bit, or just break it up for a year.
Wouldn't that be fun?
There is zip you can do about it. No diplomacy will stop it. Nukes might trigger it. All the concrete on the planet would make it worse, not better. There is no 'bedrock' to stabilize, just a trillion tons and more of waterlogged dirt and weathered volcanic rock. It is waiting for one earthquake or volcanic event on an island with an active volcano. And most likely the other half of the island goes with it, too, due to subsidence, and the inrushing seawater once the mass slides in.
Would the current 'global community' pull together?
Or fall apart?
This will remove some of the largest transport hubs on the planet from the map, as well as killing hundreds of thousands to millions (or more) directly, and then the collapse of systems afterwards will ripple out economically.
And there will be no escaping this tsunami by going up as it will go over the top of the Empire State Building. Hell it will get channeled all the way up to Albany by the Hudson River at the Palisades. Places that normally couldn't be reached by any tsunami will feel the wrath of this one in the Atlantic. Gibraltar might go on wave one (the other side of the island going) and then a larger mass move into the Med to give the entire place a nice 20-30' tsunami like in Japan. Wonder what will happen to the Panama and Suez canals when they are over-topped and washed out?
You can prepare for this one, too. And while it doesn't, necessarily, take out things in the way a solar flare or committed global EMP attack would, it is more likely to happen.
#1 - Yellowstone - Megavolcano. Overdue. Last time its cousin went, the human race got put down to a few tens of thousands of individuals from diverse populations in the millions. Toba is smaller than Yellowstone. Yellowstone has been rising, steadily, for decades. It might not erupt for 100,000 years. Or a something might touch it off so soon that nothing could be done to even analyze it, much less prepare for it. The dust cloud will encircle the planet and while not every place will be uninhabitable, the growing seasons for the next decade might not be what one would call, uh, there.
Even if you don't get caught in the major dust cloud and have your lungs shredded by fine particulates, you will get a massive global cooling effect due to the reflected sunlight caused by the high floating particulates. They will come down via Stokes Law, and the finest will be last. Great for pretty sunrises and sunsets, horrible for storms and growing seasons.
Due to size and severity, and being that we are now in the zone for cyclic repetition, this tops it all as threats to the US.
There are lots of other things that can happen to us, here on Rock 3 from the star Sol, even such things as a gamma ray burst from a star that is likely to have one that is pointed like a search beacon in our direction, soft of like a gun barrel deal. A major boloid could come sailing in from out of nowhere and make a bad time for life here, too, as the dinosaurs found out. Really, that would suck worse than Yellowstone. Ditto the gamma ray burst, although you wind up dead within a few minutes for that, as compared to a few hours for a boloid and up to a couple of years for Yellowstone outside of its blast radius. These are 'known unknowns' but with a non-cyclic or non-determinative factor to them, which makes them drop far down the list.
Of those things that can be done by man, a few do raise up to the major threat level region, with the collapse of the Western Way of Life coming in at #5, and that only for the socialist, not capitalist variant of it. Capitalism actually works, it is this 'social control of capital' deal that doesn't no matter which way you cut it. The folks who are grey are not those pushing forward individual liberty and reward for same, no it is those pushing 'everyone gets a prize' folks. These are grey as they show no love of human ingenuity, fortitude and the rewards due the blessings of liberty. They prefer the despotism of reduced choices to impoverish all mankind, rather than achievement to enrich mankind. Those grey folks in various forms of red, green and black are about to go.
And it won't be pretty.
Lets try to keep things down to #5, and make some preparations for #2-4 and get off this planet so #1 won't get us.
I'm the optimistic guy in the long run.
The short run is always pessimistic, as I can only be pleasantly surprised.