Waiting for the End of the World
As the most powerful and prominent military force and authority on the Planet, many would be surprised if they heard that the United States is in fact one of the most vulnerable nations on Earth to a very specific kind of attack. That is, an Electromagnetic pulse to wholly cripple the power grid, all electronic devices, and everything else in between which depends on the flow of electricity – one of those being the U.S. economy. There are many factors to consider when contemplating or modelling the likelihood and motivation for an EMP attack. While many would agree direct attacks such as nuclear approach impossibility in their likelihood, an EMP attack is actually a less-direct attack that would in fact disarm the United States from an adequate and defensive response due to the digital nature of our integrated defense systems at present, and is therefore a highly plausible and very possible situation.
It is already well established that America does not have proper preparation for an EMP attack which could disable national electronic and digital devices, of which everything essential running the American system is dependent upon. There also currently exist a plethora of fresh threats to American sovereignty, such as Iran, Russia, and China, among many. Such nations which do posses nuclear weapons thereby may utilize them as EMP’s against America. Many will claim that nuclear attacks against the major nation America is simply not in the realm of possibility. However, the only seed necessary for the possibility to exist is negative dispositions and views of America held by hostile individuals and nations, which we certainly know exist in abundance.
The classic argument of mutual self-destruction due to nuclear weapons usage does not apply to the situation of a potential EMP strike on America. An EMP is not a direct attack such as a warhead is. An EMP is a weapon in that it drastically changes the electromagnetic field over America. While no physical damage will occur, the induced drastic alteration of the EM field over America will instantly disable all electronic devices. The plausibility of such an EMP attack is further supported by the fact that with a fast enough EMP strike, American defensive maneuvers and systems will not be able to function as they are electrically operated as well supplied by an outdated power grid.
As discussed, it is clear that anyone can establish a basis for desiring damage to America, such as the case with hostile powers. Suppose such an actor desired to harm America and find a clever and robust manner in which to accomplish this goal, maximizing damage and leverage while minimizing damage and cost to himself. It is therefore much more logically preferable to disable every mechanism of retaliation and defense (of America), which would also harm all major supply and food lines along with the economy, and to engage in a more direct warfare or attack after said defense capabilities are rendered null. The alternative by definition can only involve confrontation and therefore retaliation. For such actors that wish to cause harm to America, the EMP option is real, smoother, and superior. For the discussed reasons, the threat of retaliation from the U.S. is thereby little danger to a hostile actor. It is certainly true that such an EMP attack has never been attempted on such a large nation. However, this can be due to a variety of factors like globalization, lack of speed in EMP missiles (which may simply be nuclear warheads), and simply lack of necessary tension in order to rigger such a chain of events. Yet we know from history that global tension ebbs and flows like the ocean waves, sometimes violently and spectacularly. A ‘decision tree’ in which one follows through with an EMP has been identified and certainly exists, as our government fears. The vulnerability is recognized and is real by our own government (specifically the Trump administration). The deep and doomsday consequences of an EMP attack are real as described by the laws of physics. The U.S. is therefore not in a high and mighty position and safe or protected as some may boldly, and incorrectly, claim. The U.S. is more akin to a sitting duck. Or more descriptively, like the slow and lazy antelope wading in the obscure and fuzzy field of a looming pounce from a deadly and patient predator.
So no, America is not safe from anything, as everything depends on electricity and our grid. For fast EMP’s which rival nations do have, defense systems would not be able to respond adequately or fast enough. Our retaliation measures would be nonexistent. Every such event in the decision tree of an American downfall and catastrophe has a much greater than zero probability even though others may naively ignore it or claim otherwise. It is merely a matter of seizing the opportunity and time though some may choose to not see.
Cohen, A. (2019, April 05). Trump Moves To Protect America From Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. Retrieved November 6, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2019/04/05/whitehouse-prepares-to-face-emp-threat/
Joshua D. Rhodes Postdoctoral Researcher of Energy. (2020, March 20). The old, dirty, creaky US electric grid would cost $5 trillion to replace. Where should infrastructure spending go? Retrieved November 6, from https://theconversation.com/the-old-dirty-creaky-us-electric-grid-would-cost-5-trillion-to-replace-where-should-infrastructure-spending-go-68290