Tag Archives: risk

Challenging Russia to Fight

House Speaker John Boehner is second in line for the presidency, after Vice President Biden. That highlights the danger of his recent speech that come dangerously close to challenging Russia to a fight. Boehner’s web site prefaces the speech by noting “In remarks at the Heritage Foundation today, Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) discussed the need to reassert American exceptionalism in the U.S.-Russia relationship.” Here are the key parts of what he had to say: Continue reading

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The Nuclear Gamble

The price we pay for maintaining nuclear weapons is the gamble that the highly improbable will not lead to the unthinkable. … is it worth it? Continue reading

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Missile Defense Gets an F

Today’s test of our missile defense system failed to intercept its target, making the score only 8 successes in 14 tests. That would be a failing grade on any exam, and countermeasures are likely to reduce the success rate even further in a real attack. So why do the Russians object so strenuously to our missile defense program? To understand why, consider the following excerpt from my September 2009 post Missile Defense: A Play in One Act. Continue reading

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What to do when DC is nuked

When terrorists detonate a nuclear weapon in DC — and, unless we start to take this issue more seriously, it is probably “when,” not “if” — a study at Stanford’s Biz School has concluded that you’re better off hiding in your basement than trying to evacuate. Hopefully, more people will start to take action to prevent that disaster in the first place. Continue reading

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Scientific American Lays Odds

I just received Scientific American’s September Special Issue on “The End” and immediately turned to pages 82-83 to read the article “Laying Odds on the Apocalypse: Experts Assess Doomsday Scenarios.” Eight scenarios are listed, ranging from a killer pandemic (Destruction Ranking 4, Odds: 1-in-2 over the next 30 years) to bubble nucleation, in which a universe pops up within our own (Destruction Ranking 10, Odds: 1-in-1,000,000,000 over the next trillion years). While I skipped over the latter (and won’t pretend to understand it), I was very interested in scenario #5 on nuclear war. The magazine gave it a Destruction Ranking of 6 (hundreds of millions dead) and Odds of 1-in-30 over the next 10 years. Continue reading

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The Georgian War Revisited

Two years ago, war between Georgia and Russia took the world by surprise. It also created the danger that, if President Bush had stood by his earlier promises to Georgia, the world could have stared at the nuclear abyss in a way it had not since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. We did not have to be surprised because there were numerous early warning signs that, if recognized and acted upon, could not only have been foreseen the war, but also prevented it. Unfortunately, a similar lack of foresight is keeping us from seeing similar early warning signs today. Continue reading

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