"The big deterrent of MAD is fear. Plain and simple. Unless you have a suicide wish, you really want no part of a nuclear exchange. But how do you deal with people who have no fear because they just don't care if they live or die?"
Okay this is not about madness. Or is it? It really is about MAD. And for you younger folks, MAD is what kept the "madness" at bay. This is going to take some explanation.
I am a retired Cold Warrior. There are a bunch of us out there, although sadly, some have already left us. The Cold War started shortly after World War II. Frankly, even as allies during World War II, the United States and Russia did not have much time for each other. Then once our common enemy was vanquished, we could set our sights on each other.
Things worked out okay until 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both the United States and Russia had been building up their nuclear stock piles. For those who did not live through it, historians will tell you we can within a whisker of World War III. I was 12 at the time, and scared to death.
It was a lessons learned for all parties. Both sides tacitly agreed that an all out nuclear war between the two countries was unwinnable. It would be the end of both country's future. It would mean Mutually Assured Destruction. Thus, the concept of MAD was born. And that concept of MAD worked pretty darn good until the Soviet Union fell apart at the end of 1991.
That brings us to today. The chess board looks much different than it used to. First off, Russia is still around, overflowing with nukes, and being led by a guy who just might think that a nuclear war is winnable. China still has about 250 nukes, but is much less of a Red Dragon today and much more of a manufacturing and trading colossus. After that, the chess board gets really ugly.
The big deterrent of MAD is fear. Plain and simple. Unless you have a suicide wish, you really want no part of a nuclear exchange. But how do you deal with people who have no fear because they just don't care if they live or die? How do you deal with an Islamic State, run by a fanatic who believes his people will be martyred in a nuclear war? And how do you deal with a country like North Korea, who with a handful of nukes thinks he can whip the US with over 7,000 nukes?
The answer should be simple. You never let counties like Pakistan, Iran or North Korea get a nuke in the first place. But you can't un-ring a bell. Or put the toothpaste back into the tube.
With North Korea, our options are very limited right now. Only China can keep this almost boiling situation from getting much hotter and boiling over. If we are forced to, we might have to unleash our "Dogs of War" on the Korea People. Not our choice to do so. But we can't have an unstable regime, with some nukes at the ready, with more being developed, plus an ICBM delivery system on the way, threatening us every other day with a nuclear strike. After a while, we reach our saturation point.
How is this going to play out? Unknown. It was reported today that we have two additional carrier task forces headed to the Korean Peninsula. That is a butt load of fire power. Here is the good news. We have "war gamed" North Korea for decades. The Pentagon (with Jim Mattis at the helm) have a plan how to beat these guys.
Here is the bad news. If it goes nuclear, the damage to South Korea, Japan, or even Hawaii could be extreme. Our only hope would be that our ABM system is as stout and developed as advertised.
Now the irony. We have no beef with the North Korean people. On the contrary, we want to set them free. Free to live like their brothers and sisters in South Korea. And Iran - we once were allies. The Iranian people also need to be set free. It is only the rulers of North Korea and Iran that we take umbrage with.
Are we close to war right now? My opinion - maybe. What I am telling friends and family is to keep one ear on the radio. Plus - (and please don't think I am a Chicken Little), have one month's supply of food and water in the house. Why? Chance favors a prepared mind.