As mentioned in my previous post, former China defense minister Chi Haotian called for the use of WMD to annihilate the US population in an act of ethnic cleaning never before seen in human history.
One such method of WMD attack - and also comparatively low-cost - that is gaining wider attention is the use of EMP (or Electromagnetic Pulse). China could employ this method through a proxy power such as Iran or North Korea or a non-state actor, thereby concealing the return address (or China may decide as it examines its cost-to-benefit ratio that such an attack is worth losses suffered during the response).
Here's how it works: A single nuclear missile is detonated at apogee above the continental United States, Europe, Israel, India, Japan or other target sending out several waves of energy toward everything within line-of-sight. Power grids, unshielded electronics such as your computer, transportation (cars, delivery trucks, ambulances, aircraft, etc.), radios and TVs would all be fried. This would have devastating consequences, as you might well imagine.
I believe this is one of the most crucial issues facing the world from a security standpoint. In fact, an EMP has the potential to kill up to 90% of the affected population within a year after the event due to the natural die-off resulting from infrastructure collapse.* It normally takes about ten years to replace major power transformers - and that's under the most ideal conditions. During that time, there would be no way to get food, water, medicine, and other essentials to market; there would be no means of transporting the sick, no method for regulating the indoor climate in hospitals and nursery homes or disposing of waste. Disease, starvation, and the elements would take their toll. And many of the illnesses and accidents treatable today would also become fatal. Refugees would also swarm the countryside, overwhelming those who believed their isolation and self-sufficiency would sustain them.
If any regime deserves to be taken seriously in its threat to annihilate an entire population, that regime is surely CCP China, which has murdered over 70 million of its own people and counting, making it the most genocidal regime in human history. This is also a regime that makes no effort to diminish the cruelty of death, as we see from its harvesting of organs from living dissidents and the practice of filleting others alive. The regime has also built a vast network of mysterious and pristine cities across its country, which are completely uninhabited, as well as massive underground bunkers. It seems reasonable to assume these serve a strategic purpose and it is clear that it would be strategically useful for a regime intent on initiating - and winning - a nuclear confrontation with an enemy.
As is widely known, Iran has already tested the idea of detonating a missile at apogee and is presently acquiring both missile and nuclear technology from China, Russia, and others within that axis.
However, even if we were to eliminate all nuclear weapons and other man-made sources of EMP tomorrow, of grave concern also is the threat posed by solar events such as the Carrington event of 1859. Such an event - which occurs about every 100 years - would be global. Without hardened infrastructure from the electrical grid to transportation and communications, we are all literally sitting under the gun. That is why the best first strategy for ameliorating this unthinkable threat is to increase our survivability, as mentioned above. The next solar event is inevitable and is also arguably already overdue, and the reduced benefit of a first strike will also deter potential aggressors who seek to use a man-made event to score a quick win.
Without the will to develop new and more secure technologies, there is very little we can do to mitigate such an event, be it naturally-occurring or as the result of an attack from China directly or one of its proxies. So it is key that we understand that the moment to act is now. Otherwise, the inevitable will come. It will either be man-made or sun-caused, but at the point at which it occurs, civilization will suffer a severe downgrade and millions - possibly billions - of unique human beings with hopes, dreams, and aspirations will slowly and agonizingly vanish from the face of the earth.
*Forstchen, William R. One Second After. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 2009.
Martin is a master's student in national security studies and is the executive director of Samizdat International, a genuine human rights concern. Martin undertook his internship with the London-based Henry Jackson Society in the summer of 2009. He hates the Turabian style format.