US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in response to a question about the distinction between traditional and nuclear war said, “Do we—does the department—have an obligation and have they in successive administrations of both political parties had procedures whereby we would conceivably use nuclear weapons? Yes … [but} it seems to me that if one looks at our record, we went through the Korean War, we went through the Vietnam War, we’ve gone through the War on Terror and we’ve not used nuclear weapons. That ought to say something about the threshold with respect to nuclear weapons.” (George Perkovich et al., “Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security” p. 137).
That is about as clear as Rumsfeld ever gets, but what does it say? It appears that when we are faced with a problem like the Cuban missile crisis we come very, very close to using the H-bombs at our disposal when we are faced with a militarily inferior enemy. (The USSR had only four deployable missiles at that time, and the US had hundreds which would have been used for counter force targets, and then B-47s and B-52s would have been used for all other targets.) But when it isn’t such a risk-it-all event, but only a threatened defeat on the Korean Peninsula, we almost used A-bombs, but it never got down to the last hour. In Vietnam there was never really a time when it was clear that even an H-bomb in the jungle would do much good tactically, and striking a city was unthinkable; even conventional bombing of a city was largely avoided.
In those types of situations there is some record of how the US will behave, and thus some predictability in the Rumsfeld sense, but what about a real problem, one that puts the whole world into real danger? What then? The kind of situations that are going to cause real, long lasting, unresolvable problems are the resolution of ultimate property rights on limited resources: water, land ownership issues, high seas theft and: accidental A-bomb detonations, major terrorist attacks, genocides, traditional enemies getting nuclear weapons or just perhaps some major power trying to exercise hegemony over the whole world. What then? In those real conflict situations Rumsfeld’s statement has no traction, and neither can anyone else’s statement mean anything, because in stressful situations even something fairly insignificant can set off a World War. Remember it was a single bullet that set off WW I, and that happened in a world where the man assassinated had been reported to have said, “That being at risk of assassination was part of his job description”. The world was cocked for a World War and eventually the trigger was pulled, but the world right now is every bit as cocked for a thermonuclear war, and all it needs to set it off is … ??? It could be most anything. Then what? Well, so far as I can tell there is no fall back position for humanity after those Doomsday events are unleashed, and whatever might be left of planet Earth must try and reconstitute itself. Thus the various postulated reconstitution plans must be implemented immediately or the world will soon be a vastly poorer place than it is now.
Supporting New Zealand as an Earth Ark is a very large undertaking, but it should be supported because it will give the most complete recovery from Doomsday. The next best recovery will be based on the Lifehaven projects of a thousand or so people placed on remote islands with as much of human necessities such as seeds and animals and wisdom as it is possible to store, Pitt Island, and the third survival strategy is to place shipping containers filled with local seeds and stuff into the deep Antarctic for cold storage, Vinson Massive. The last chance for humanity is for you as an individual to fill a small package of local seeds and dirt, and mail it to the South Pole station where it will be buried in the ice. There the seeds in it will be safe for thousands of years. That is a last desperate hope. It is feeble but it is something which you can do without anyone stopping you or complaining much, and it will give you some hope that humanity can survive onward into the future, and possibly find a solution to the problems which will without much doubt soon destroy civilization, and most of the plants and animals on Earth. This is something that you can do.