The terracotta army – a possible scholar or general.
Sun Tzu would have far more pertinent things to say about the coming Doomsday, and the Lifehaven Strategy than we will probably come up with, but as he has been dead for 2,500 years, and so, it is up to us. And, as so far as I can find, no one else has done much with this subject, so it appears to be up to me, if anything whatsoever is to be done. Here are some quotes from my 1977 rendering of Sun Tzu to get the flavor of that ancient sage:
“Know your enemy! Understand the typical signs of your enemy’s deceptions: When the enemy is near but remains quiet, he believes he has a strong position. If he holds back and attempts to provoke a battle, he desires us to advance. When his camp is easy to reach, he is proffering a bait. When the shrubs in the forest creep about the enemy is trying a sneak attack. But visible decoys suggest he is trying to make us suspicious. The takeoff of birds or a sudden change of flight points to where an ambush may be lurking. Sad fatalistic speaking while completing preparations means he has decided to fight. Abusive language while darting about as if about to attack implies he will retreat. When they ask for a truce, he is plotting. If he wishes a truce they will speak in complimentary terms. Understand the typical signs of your enemy’s pattern of attack: when the swift, lightly armored equipment comes out and takes up exposed positions, he is forming for battle. If there are many runners afoot then the moment of decision has come. When some parts of the army are obviously advancing and others obviously retreating it’s a lure of simulated confusion. If their army feasts in the battlefield and commits its reserves, and if the men march off and leave their camp totally exposed, you may surmise they have determined to fight now and to the death.“
Following this type of observation and reason for the observed behavior, let’s make a few generalizations about Doomsday precursors, and the behavior of A-bomb possessing states. It is only these states which can precipitate Doomsday. Although others may be very provocative, annoying, challenging, and obnoxious, they can not by themselves trigger a Doomsday, nor do they want to if they are not totally insane — which they may be.
When the statesmen of a bomb possessing country are speaking in an offensive blustery manner it implies the government is having trouble maintaining internal order, and not that they want to attack any foreign state. But, when they arm their weapons, and everyone is gloomy, and intransigent a minor mishap might trigger a disastrous response. When a state has no alternative, but to fight or die it will choose to fight even if that implies a serious risk of a Doomsday event. Even the threat of a current government of an A-bomb possessing state losing control to another faction within their country could precipitate an internal civil war which could easily escalate to a positive feedback cycle. In a world with many countries possessing A-bombs, and each of these countries having many differing factions, some of whom possess the weapons, it is impossible to know when or how anyone should react. Someone trying to defuse the tense situation may be seen as provocative by some faction, but even standing by and watching may be seen as provocative. The situation becomes impossible to cope with, and very unstable. No one knows what to do, nor can they know what is going to happen, or when the bombs will start to explode. The only reasonable way to respond to this type of situation is to have prepared a Lifehaven for humanity in some remote location.
20 Mishaps that Might Have Started Accidental Nuclear War by Alan F. Phillips, M.D., January, 1998, briefly analyzes some of the well known events that could have precipitated an all out nuclear war. He concludes that with all of the failsafe mechanisms, and the natural hesitancy to launch such an attack there was still about a 50% chance that a war could have been triggered by 1998. His conclusion, after the facts were in, was an astonishing thing to me because back in 1960, when I was a pilot in SAC that was my stated expectancy, that I would be called upon to drop H-bombs. At that time I thought that destroying the other half of humanity after our half was destroyed was illogical, and told everyone so, and so I was out of that occupation as quickly as they could draft the discharge papers. Presently my predictions for the future of atomic war are much grimmer than they were in 1960. Fortunately, we were lucky, and the 50% prediction still leaves us very much alive, but my predictions for the future are much worse now — essentially 100% for a Doomsday event in the next 100 years. Actually, quite high for the next 50 years, and probable even for the next 25. That is because there are so many physical realities of the system which are pushing us into conflict. Not just ideological intransigence, but supply problems of necessities like water, food and power. When these become strained, and strained, and strained even further there eventually comes a breaking point, and then no matter how careful, and clever we humans are there will be an event which brings these weapons into play.
At the moment one of the biggest problems is the obesity of a large percentage of humans, but with 75 million more people every year that excess supply will soon be going into hungry tummies and not fat ones, and not long after that there will be organized food raids, and that will not be tolerated, and soon real conflict will come into play. Because birth control is impossible in the present world that leaves only two options: homicide, and famine. Massive famine will trigger massive homicide, and sometime in the not too distant future people will look back, and say, why didn’t they just limit their families to two children? That number of children, when the population is at an ideal level, could be tolerated by people, and by the planet for millions of years. But people are not that reasonable, and so we are left with the other two options. These options are rather nasty when humans have learned how to make H-bombs rather cheaply.
I have been finishing these blogs with — The time is ripe for Doomsday. — but perhaps that should be changed to —
The time is rotten for Doomsday!