Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Message To America From A Nuclear Missile In Flight

What’s up, peeples?

I’m a nuclear Agni-V ICBM. I don’t have a lot of time to chat, because I’m approaching my terminal phase, and there is a lot to do with radar jammers and multiple warheads and such. I get stressed just thinking about it. Not as stressed as the folks down there, of course, but everyone has their own problems, right?

I wanted to explain something: Donald Trump did not just go crazy one day and launch a bunch of me into the air trying to kill everyone. Sometimes you hear silly arguments like that. Folks watch too many movies and TV shows, and they think I’m going to be part of a big wave of death that wipes out all life one afternoon.

It’s frustrating! Who wouldn’t want to be part of The Day After? But I tell myself, “You do you, Aggy. Just because people don’t understand how nuclear war works doesn’t mean you’re any less awesome.” That makes it better, I guess.

What happened is that the leader of North Korea said that certain military maneuvers by the South were “unacceptable,” and that he’d “respond with force.” The US president was in the middle of a Twitter fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the TV was on in the room, and he only caught the gist of what was going on.

He responded immediately, writing: “If Kim opposes me, he’ll regret it.”

The news ran wild with this, and the NSC advisor, the STRATCOM commander, and the Secretaries of State and Defense all got on the phone with our allies in the Pacific – they did this to calm things down, mind you – and told them that the president wasn’t really in control of our nuclear forces, and any instructions that came from the Oval would probably get vetted a dozen times before they went through.

The problem with this message is that it spread to everyone, and soon strategic planners all over the region – heck, all over the world – began to realize that any bad actor who knew about this would have an increased temptation to launch a preemptive strike knowing that US response time would be delayed.

Which is nuts, right? Because the US maintains a second strike capability that makes it completely moot whether our response comes in 20 minutes, or 20 hours, or three weeks.

But the real question was, were there any heads of state or military officers crazy enough to take this chance? No one could say there weren’t. And so because of an irrational statement, followed by an irrational response, followed by an attempt to restore rationality, communicated to other rational actors who had to assume irrational actors were possible, within a week every major nuclear power was at its own version of DEFCON 2.

Then came the radar anomaly on a Pakistani screen. Was it a flock of birds? A sunspot? Maybe the Pakistani computers didn’t update Windows? No one knew. But it was followed by rushed preparations, a missed phone call, and then a limited launch between that country and my own.

This isn’t even World War Three, okay? We’re not there yet. We’re going to kill about a billion people, and then everyone will stop. But the paranoia will increase for a few years, and it will make the next limited launch much more likely. That’s my job. Not to end all human life now, but to smooth the way for a 30-year slide into oblivion, after you throw in a few ecological disasters. It’s not as dramatic as you thought. I’m just helping out.

(The only contest is with yourself, Aggs. You’re not playing against those Russian missiles. We have plenty of those. The question is, can you be the best version of you? Can you? Because that’s the victory.)

Okay, Donald Trump’s complete lack of experience and self-control will definitely play a major role in all this. But not in that way your coworker was giving you a hard time about. The lesson here might be that everything is a lot more complicated than you realize. The dangers are further away, but they’re also hidden. Maybe it would have been better to put a grownup in the big chair.

So, you’re kind of half-right. Partial credit.

Do you feel better?

Well… gotta fly!

This is from WE ARE ALL MADE OF TRUMP: HEARTWARMING STORIES FROM THE END OF THE WORLD, which is an all-new collection of funny, bizarre Trump tales. Now with 20% more collusion! YOU CAN BUY IT HERE.

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