D. Herbert

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Thoughts on Sitzkrieg

Donklephant has a good post about how the new war is in some ways more dangerous than the cold war--because there is less restraining our enemies (via Instapundit). That got me thinking: if the USSR was still going strong, would there be a conflict between Americans and Muslim extremists, and if so, how would it be different?

The positive:

Hopefully the USSR would be engaged in bloody wars with Muslims in Chechnya and Afghanistan such that the combination of America and the USSR would keep Islamic extremism from becoming a major problem (this sentence is a bit garbled; what I meant was the combined threat from the US and USSR if Muslims attacked us; I know we were helping the Muslims in Afghanistan--ed). I can’t really see China helping Muslim extremists, given its stance towards religion in general and the Uighur people. India is basically at war with the extremists over Kashmir. So all of the major powers in the world would be united against radical Islam (except Europeans and Brazil, which would be happy to sit this fight out).

However, it was the Soviet war in Afghanistan that gave Islamic extremists a place to congregate. So if there were many Muslim-Infidel conflicts around the world, that would mean Muslims everywhere would be pressured to radicalize and there would be many opportunities to network and train for jihad.

The Negative:

MAD without Islamic Terrorists might be preferrable to Islamic Terrorists without MAD, but both are better than Islamic Terrorists and MAD.

What if Muslim extremists exploited MAD? One nuclear explosion could start a nuclear war. With a nuclear bomb in place, they could fake a missile strike:

Fire an empty missile at the site where the nuke is already located so the American military would shoot down the missile; when the nuclear explosion happened anyway we would think it must have been a multiple-warhead missile or something likewise very advanced to survive an anti-missile. We would think only the Soviets were capable of that.

Then the terrorists could launch a few more empty missiles and we would think a full-on nuclear barrage was incoming. It wouldn’t take many missiles to pull off. Would we wait for those missiles to impact before we launched our counter-attack?

(of course they could target the USSR just as easily as they could target us with that scheme)

A nuclear exchange between America and the USSR would be great for Islamic extremists. They would be working very hard to make it happen. They would surprise us with their savage creativity, like they did on 9/11 and at Beslan.


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