According to the Center for Strategic International Studies, China has the most active ballistic missile development program in the world, so this is doubly troubling. China used stolen U.S. technology to develop at least three types of high-tech weapons to attack the electric grid and key technologies that could cause a surprise “Pearl Harbor” attack that could produce a deadly blackout to the entire country.
Dr. Pry outlines how China has built a network of satellites, high-speed missiles, and super-electromagnetic pulse weapons that could melt down our electric grid, fry critical communications, and even takeout the ability of our aircraft carrier groups to respond.
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EMPs are one of those things that many people think is fake, or over-blown, or a conspiracy theorist’s dream. But they are real. EMPs can be either natural, from things like extreme solar geomagnetic disturbances, or man-made like a large thermonuclear detonation or a cyberattack. If they are coordinated with physical attacks then things can get real dicey real fast.
As the U.S. Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack points out, “the physical and social fabric of the United States is sustained by a system of systems – a complex and dynamic network of interlocking and interdependent infrastructures whose harmonious functioning enables the myriad actions, transactions, and information flow that undergird the orderly conduct of civil society.”
According to the Commission, EMP effects represent arguably the largest-scale common-cause failure events that could affect our electric power grid and undermine our society, leaving it vulnerable on many fronts. About the only safe systems are nuclear reactors, both new and old.
High-voltage control cables and large transformers that control the grid are particularly vulnerable. Large transformers weigh 400 tons, take two years to build, and cost $7 million apiece. We are already way behind in having backup transformers ready, so if many go out at once, we have a big problem just powering our country.
The phenomenon of a large electromagnetic pulse is not new. The first human-caused EMP occurred in 1962 when the 1.4 megaton Starfish Prime thermonuclear weapon detonated 400 km above the Pacific Ocean.
One hundred times bigger than what we dropped on Hiroshima, Starfish Prime resulted in an EMP which caused electrical damage nearly 900 miles away in Hawaii. It knocked out about 300 streetlights, set off numerous burglar alarms, and damaged a telephone company microwave link that shut down telephone calls from Kauai to the other Hawaiian islands.
And that was from 900 miles away.
On the natural side, in 1989, an unexpected geomagnetic storm triggered an event on the Hydro-Québec power system that resulted in its complete collapse within 92 seconds, leaving six million customers without power. The storm resulted from the Sun ejecting a trillion-cubic-mile plume of superheated plasma, or ionized gas.
Such storms occur every 60 years or so, and in 1989, we weren’t anywhere near as electrified and electronically interconnected as we are today, or as we will be in 30 years.
Solar events were considered the most likely EMP to occur. Until now.
According to Dr. Pry, a longtime expert on EMP warfare, China developed the weapons as part of its Total Information Warfare that includes hacking raids on computers, as is expected during the next presidential election.
Even more troubling, Dr. Pry found that China is eager to shoot first with “high-altitude electromagnetic pulse,” or HEMP, weapons launched from satellites, ships, and land.
“China’s military doctrine — including numerous examples presented here of using HEMP attack to win on the battlefield, defeat U.S. aircraft carriers, and achieve against the U.S. homeland a surprise ‘Pearl Harbor’ writ large — is replete with technical and operational planning consistent with a nuclear first-strike,” said Pry in his report.
Needless to say, we are not prepared for this.
Dr. Pry has worked to awaken the nation to the threat posed by an EMP attack, either from a military foe or from a solar event. China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are moving to build and deploy systems which can launch a nuclear weapon into the atmosphere to explode and disable electronics below, including flying aircraft.
A report done while Dr. Pry was a key member of a congressional EMP commission found that an EMP attack on the East Coast electric grid could lead to a huge number of deaths.
You might think that EMP is too farfetched to worry about. But you would be wrong. We have been learning in the information age that if it can be done, someone will do it.
The speed with which our information age is changing is paralleled by the speed with which our national digital organism can test and block the ever-changing gaps and vulnerabilities in our electronic shield.
Like a host adapting to new parasites, this is just a normal incident for an evolving society in a rapidly-changing digital environment that selects for a digital organism that viscerally understands the whole system and can use it to its advantage.
Societies with older systems will be at a dangerous disadvantage. The Universe does this all the time.
Sociologically, China seems to be moving into a more aggressive position globally, evidenced by their recent conflict with India and their aggression in the South China Sea with their east Pacific neighbors.
This may have been aggravated by China’s 1-child policy. Although the policy did reign in population growth (fertility rates dropped below two by 1990 and the present population is 1.3 billion), it gave rise to another problem – too few women.
Almost all cultures prefer a male as the first child and in China, the eldest male is expected to take care of his elderly parents. Therefore, the magnitude of female infanticide in China became astonishing in the decades between 1990 and 2010, when well over ten million female infants were killed. Only a relatively few found adopted homes in other countries.
China then changed to a 2-child policy, but the damage to an entire generation will not be so easily erased. The result was a skewed sex ratio in the generation born since 1980. Today, there are about 50 million more males than females. Just think of the states of Texas, New York and Ohio filled with just men.
The consequences of having too many uncoupled males in a society are worse than just making it difficult to find a mate. Soon there will be a substantial deficit of younger workers to provide support to an aging population. By 2030, China will have over 400 million people over the age of 60. Maintaining sufficient economic growth under these conditions will be difficult.
Some research indicates that excess males to this degree tends to make a society more aggressive and nationalistic, both of which have risen dramatically in China.
Not coincidentally, China has rolled out a number of other new military capabilities, designed to protect their new expansionist future. Included in their burgeoning array is a new generation of nuclear submarines, a carrier-killing missile named DF-21D, intended specifically to destroy aircraft carriers, and new rocket launch vehicles, like the Long March 6 rocket capable of carrying 20 warheads, that just went into space last month to deploy 20 satellites in orbit.
While everyone points out that the United States spends more on its military than the next ten countries combined, it turns out that China is far and away number 2, spending a third of what we spend in dollars, but almost the same percentage of its GDP as we do.
So as the United States slips into chaos and ignores the global threats that still face us, China moves steadily forward with its plan to become the greatest nation on Earth.