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Nuclear War Scenario

". . . a crisis is a situation in which a previously tolerable set of circumstances is suddenly, by the addition of another factor, rendered wholly intolerable. Whether the additional factor is political, economic or scientific hardly matters: the death of a national hero, the instability of prices, or a technological discovery can all set events in  motion."
Michael Crichton 'The Andromeda Strain'

What follows is one possible scenario that results in nuclear conflict and the use of nuclear weapons against targets within Australia. What is interesting is that much of what is written has already happened. It was written in 1999 and drew heavily from actual events taking place at that time.

August 1999: China states that it has the power and the resolve to crush any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence. China warns that it is ready to fight over Taiwan and that its nuclear weapons could "deal with" aircraft carriers if the United States dares to interfere.

March 2000: Taiwan ousts the ruling nationalists electing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Threats of war with China considered remote by most 'experts' as China does not have the amphibious and airborne capability to threaten Taiwan credibly with outright physical invasion

April 2000: China signs an agreement with Russia for the joint use of Russia's satellite navigation system Glonass. China will be allowed to install Glonass in its warplanes and weapons systems greatly increasing their accuracy and effectiveness.

May 2000: Chen Shui-bian inaugurated as President of Taiwan. In a radical turnabout Chen uses his acceptance speech to denounce the 'One-Nation' policy of China and stating his intention to make Taiwan independent during his term.

June 2000: China breaks off all communications with Taiwan. News of Chen's speech reaches the Chinese public and there is increasing unrest. Chinese officials ferment US hatred highlighting the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during the war in Kosovo.

August 2000: China prepares to buy several SS-25 ICBM's from Russia to boost its long range weapons capacity. The US steps up weapons sales to Taiwan in particular equipment necessary to establish a 'missile shield' using the Patriot PAC 2 plus anti missile system, installation to be completed by December.

September 2000: The Chinese begin amassing a fleet of fishing boats in the waters off Tungyin, interestingly US satellite surveillance reveals a lack of fishing tackle visible on the boats. Chinese fighter planes begin moving from Guangdong province to Fujian province, near Taiwan. Taiwan announces it will be staging military exercises for the next two weeks. These exercises are to take place on the Western (Chinese) side of Taiwan as opposed to the Eastern side on which they normally take place.

October 2000: The US sends the USS Kitty Hawk carrier squadron to Sydney on a 'Goodwill' mission. 'Pirates' begins seizing shipping to and from Taiwan. Taiwan's computer networks begin experiencing 'mysterious' crashes. Taiwan's government asks for assistance from the US to quell the piracy and the carrier squadron is dispatched to the area. The Chinese government deploys several naval ships in the area to quell an increase in 'smuggling' to China. The American Government states its determination to defend Taiwan in the event of Chinese aggression.

November  1 2000: The ECHELON communication intercept system at Pine Gap, Australia intercepts increased military communications between Beijing and forces near Taiwan.

November 4 2000 4:00 AM: China launches CSS-7 SRBM's armed with 250kt nuclear warheads against several heavily defended Taiwanese islands including Ma-kung and Ma-tsu. Simultaneously a large High-altitude Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon (HEMP) is detonated above Taipei effectively destroying much of the command and control functions of the Taiwanese military. Shortly after detonation of the HEMP weapon a large number of cruise missiles are launched against key military facilities in Taiwan. These missiles destroy majority of Taiwan's 400 combat aircraft. By daylight a large contingent of Chinese warships has instituted a blockade around Taiwan's principal maritime ports. Chinese merchant vessels and other civilian ships flood the area to confuse any remaining Taiwanese missile targeting systems. The Taiwanese navy is located and sunk by Chinese submarines.

The island of Quemoy is successfully 'liberated' by the Chinese military.

The new Chinese F10 fighter makes an unexpected appearance in force and supported by the Su-27's effectively take control of the air over Taiwan.

The Chinese 15th Airborne army establishes a beachhead near T'ai-nan.

The big surprise is the appearance of 10 Ekranoplans or 'ground-lift' aircraft capable of transporting 500 troops each at a time and able to make the return trip from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan in just over an hour. These had been developed secretly on the Chinese mainland. Although US intelligence know the Chinese had purchased the technology from the Russians they were more concerned with monitoring the Chinese shipbuilding activities.

Within 12 hours 100,000 Chinese troops have landed on Taiwan either by ship or by Ekranoplan. The Taiwanese army is effectively routed.

The USS Kitty Hawk carrier squadron is ordered to Guam while heated talks begin in the United Nations.

The UN decides to issues sanctions against China and China responds by launching a SS-25 with a 550 kt nuclear warhead against the USS Kitty Hawk destroying the squadron. Simultaneously ICBM's are launched against key targets in Australia (Pine Gape, North West Cape) to cut off much of the US intelligence capabilities and against US bases in the Philippines.

The US responds by launching nuclear missiles against troops and other military targets on the Chinese mainland near Taiwan. At the same time other US fleets are sent to the area along with a large air contingent that flies directly to bases in Northern Australia.

Russia puts the US on alert that further use of force against China will result in retaliation. The US begins talks with the Australian government about assisting to bring peace to the area.

China perceives this as a threat and launches several more nuclear missiles against selected strategic targets effectively removing Australia's capacity to fight beyond its borders or lend meaningful assistance any US operations.

Basically the whole world goes to pot from here.

OK so I stretched the escalation to the use of nuclear weapons a fair bit and have drawn some tenuous links for their use against Australia but you get the point. However a remote possibility a nuclear confrontation may be perceived to be, while nuclear arsenals remain there is a chance that they will be used and that they can be used against us.


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Last Modified: June 23, 2005
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