Will This Secret Weapon Wipe Out America?

100% of the American population has access to electricity In May 2014 Dr

Peter Pry, executive director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security, issued a stark warning to America If an enemy state attacked in a way that triggered an electromagnetic pulse, 90% of the population would likely die from “starvation, disease and societal collapse” [put quote on screen] But Pry was not simply scaremongering Just one year later, technology and software pioneer John McAfee wrote a persuasive article agreeing with this hypothesis He argued that “our [American] leaders are nearly all ill prepared for this near certain, not-too-distant event

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” An electromagnetic pulse is generated when a nuclear weapon is detonated at a high altitude The subsequent nuclear gamma rays collide with atoms and eject electrons The movement of these charged particles creates highly potent electromagnetic radiation This massive wave of energy then overrides electrical circuits in the immediate area The threat of such an attack is imminent

So much so that the 2016 Republican platform includes a section on how an EMP would “collapse our electrical grid and other critical infrastructure and endanger the lives of millions” and demands urgent military attention This lobby is not just warning against a nuclear attack Weapons technology is now extremely sophisticated EMP pulses are no longer dependent on nuclear weapons Several global militaries have now developed these pulses into standalone weapons

In July 2016 senior figures in the Russian military announced that their new generation of drone fighters would be equipped with electromagnetic pulse technology This would render them capable of disabling enemy military bases According to Vladimir Mikheev, the director of KRET – a state-owned electronics firm – the drone’s gun can, worryingly, “hit targets within a radius of tens of kilometres” Russia and the United States are developing an increasingly frosty relationship Many political writers, such as journalist Roland Oliphant, have described 2016 as the dawn of a “new Cold War” between the superpowers

Given this, the US appears increasingly vulnerable to attack from these invisible weapons More controversially, in February 2016 Henry Cooper, director of the Foundation for Resilient Societies, said that circumstantial evidence strongly suggests the North Koreans have now mastered EMP technology as well This is especially alarming given North Korea’s increasingly aggressive attitude towards the States In July 2016, its foreign ministry responded to a American military treaty with South Korea, issuing the following statement: ""The United States has crossed the red line in our showdown…[we] regard this thrice-cursed crime as a declaration of war

""’ Dr Pry also warned that ISIS could get hold of the technology He says “Inadequate grid security, a porous US-Mexico border, and fragile transmission systems make the electric grid a target for ISIS”

Writer Dave Cullen forecasts a speedy death for the US population in these circumstances He argues this would be because of the intrinsically globalised nature of existing manufacturing and distribution networks Even basic American food products now have ingredients from across the world Thus, everyday items would be unavailable with no contact lines linking people with the outside world

But, as factories would cease to operate, even domestic products would no longer be manufactured Moreover, populations would neither be able to travel for resources, nor have specialised knowledge of how to survive in these circumstances This would leave the 807% of Americans living in urban areas without food once the stores have been raided Without power to process farm produce, rural communities would fare little better

Cullen points out there would be no incentive to obey the law as military and police infrastructure fell apart With processing plants down, bullets and other weapons would become a finite resource This would likely lead to the eventual breakdown of society as Dr Pry suggests And, of course no electricity would mean inadequate medical and scientific research facilities to deal with the outbreak of disease

For a foreign nation to launch an EMP against the United States, they would need to have nuclear and ballistic technology capable of entering American territory undetected Not only is this unlikely, but the possibility of American reprisal would be a sufficient deterrent for most states The United States has the world’s largest military spending budget at over $569 billion Therefore, only a suicidal adversary would make such a move This goes against established schools of international relations theory, which universally place state survival as the prime motivating factor behind any nation’s behaviour

As journalists Sharon Burke and Emily Schneider argue, given the incredibly high stakes, there is no clear motive for an EMP attack on America Even terrorist groups like ISIS are motivated by a desire to establish their own independent states Given the immense size of the US military, there would certainly be horrifying repercussions Therefore, it would be counterproductive for them to bring down the U

S electricity grid While there are concerns that ISIS could one day get its hands on nuclear or EMP weapons, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that they already have this technology As Burke and Schneider point out, the key thing to draw from this debate might be just how urgent an update to the American national grid is Not because of a potential electrical power-outage, but because conversation about its vulnerabilities exposes how fragile it is, whether to a deliberate attack or something less sinister In 2014, American banking billionaire Paul Singer sent an alarming letter to his investors

He warned that an electromagnetic pulse was “the most significant threat” faced by the United States He is probably right – certainly, an EMP weapon would likely wipe out America by sending it into starvation and chaos But this does not mean that it will happen Thankfully, the desire for self-preservation will deter most enemies from attacking the US Meanwhile, those most likely to use an EMP weapon against America, are the least likely to have it

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