We’ll get to EMPs after a few words about MLLG. I am ensconced in Whitefish, Montana until October. During August and September I will continue the Taxation in America series. I have more time while in Montana and will test some new posting formats such as personal anecdotes, ultra-short posts and more frequency. I will reprise the Montana Moments posts about life in Montana which is popular with readers. Email me with suggestions for topics or anything else you would like to see.
America’s Greatest, Least Understood and Most Preventable Threat
Several of my 2017 posts have referenced electromagnetic pulse (“EMP”) threats to America without providing details. Readers have requested an explanation for how up to 300 million Americans could die, for example, from a single EMP weapon smuggled into the US on a container ship and launched from a river barge via weather balloon. EMPs are by far the most dangerous weapons ever known to mankind.
An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic (gamma ray) energy. A single EMP weapon detonated high over the center of the US would kill mainly through starvation. The death toll could reach 90% of the US (and Canadian) population even though no one would die from the blast. Without getting hyper-technical, an EMP blast would knock out all power and electronics causing irreversible damage to electrical transmission lines and anything with digital or electronic components.
Airplanes would fall from the sky. Vehicles would stop. Water and sewer lines would fail. Transportation would cease. Food would rot and run out. There would be no electricity, communications or computers. US cities have only a 3 day supply of food. Society would collapse amidst mass starvation and the rule of law would be replaced by the law of the jungle. Few Americans would even know what happened.
Read William Forstchen’s popular trilogy about an EMP attack on America. Also, NBC’s TV series “Revolution” depicted life in America 15 years after an EMP attack.
EMP damage is permanent and can’t be repaired. Nothing works – not planes, cars, trains trucks, pipelines, gas pumps, radio or TV stations, hospitals, communications, or electricity. There is no way to get food or fuel to people; most deaths are from starvation. New equipment would have to come mostly from outside the US and could take over a year to obtain. The US would become a third world country with a population of 35 million and vulnerable to occupation by potential enemies. In Forstchen’s trilogy, Mexico attacks, reclaiming all of the American Southwest.
Pyongyang already has an EMP weapon which makes it likely that Iran, its strategic nuclear partner, also has one; if Iran has one, it is not far fetched ISIS could get one. Some North Korean missile tests likely are rehearsals for an EMP attack. North Korea could launch an EMP attack from one of its orbiting satellites. We might never even know who was responsible for an EMP attack launched via offshore freighter, satellite, river barge, submarine or weather balloon. EMPs are quintessential asymmetric warfare as our adversaries are much less reliant on modern electronics.
The most important role of government is protection from external threats. Aside from some military sites, nothing in America is protected. If we hardened our electrical grid and stored back up equipment wherever needed, we could recover quickly. Even more importantly, such preparedness would deter possible enemies from launching an EMP attack in the first place. The cost is manageable and it could be done quickly.
Protecting America from EMP attack is the ultimate shovel-ready project. However, our political class chooses to dither over ephemeral issues rather than to address an eminently preventable catastrophe and an existential threat to 300 million Americans.
Next up is part III of our intermittent series: Taxation in America.