I have in the past looked for that linch pin, an occurrence that could start a World War (kinda like Sarajevo in 1914), a place that could ignite into a major conflict….but recently with all the babble about fake news….. could something be written on social media that could be that spark?
But first a little historic perspective from 1980……
Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe greater than ever.
On June 3, 1980, at about two-thirty in the morning, computers at the National Military Command Center, beneath the Pentagon, at the headquarters of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), deep within Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, and at Site R, the Pentagon’s alternate command post center hidden inside Raven Rock Mountain, Pennsylvania, issued an urgent warning: the Soviet Union had just launched a nuclear attack on the United States. The Soviets had recently invaded Afghanistan, and the animosity between the two superpowers was greater than at any other time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
U.S. Air Force ballistic-missile crews removed their launch keys from the safes, bomber crews ran to their planes, fighter planes took off to search the skies, and the Federal Aviation Administration prepared to order every airborne commercial airliner to land.
Now for the social media thingy…..there was an incident in 2016 that could have led to a massive reaction…..
If 2016 is the year of the fake news story, then it’s ending in appropriate fashion: One bogus story has just led to a veiled threat of nuclear retaliation. As the Times of Israel explains, the craziness began when a fake news site, AWD News, ran a fake story in which an Israeli official accuses Pakistan of meddling in Syria and warns that Israel would attack Islamabad with nuclear weapons in response. One clue it’s a fake story: The Israeli official quoted is named as defense minister Yoshe Ma’alon, but he left the post months ago. However, this did not deter Pakistani defense chief Khawaja Mohammad Asif, who responded to the fake nuclear threat with a tweet that sounds uncomfortably close to a real one: “Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh. Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too.”
Israel’s defense ministry tweeted back that the story is “entirely false,” reports the New York Times. Pakistan hasn’t yet responded. This, however, isn’t Asif’s first threat regarding his country’s nuclear arsenal. In September, he warned that Pakistan would consider using tactical nuclear weapons against India if it were threatened by its neighbor, reported the Times of India. For the record, Israel maintains a policy of what the AP terms “nuclear ambiguity:” It has neither confirmed nor denied that it has such an arsenal.
Sometimes the major insanity of war is ignited by one small seemingly insignificant spark…these days are dangerous and volatile….caution and commonsense are needed now more than ever…..two characteristics that are sadly lacking.