Mission Unthinkable

And now for some bad news.

Reportedly, China is racing the world to be the first to come up with a vaccine for Covid-19.  I heard that several days ago, and did not pay particular attention to it.  It did not strike me as surprising, or all that threatening.  Frankly, I thought that if China got there first, they’d just have bragging rights for saving the planet.  Until about 20 minutes ago, I thought the sooner the better, no matter who gets credit.  

Then, a half hour or so ago, my wife and I were talking about various levels of participation at workplaces around town.  We read some statistics.  One industry has a 7% attendance currently.  That’s a small number, I thought.  We are generally not set up for people to be able to work with a minimum of 6 feet of distance at all times.  Then I thought, what is the military doing?  There are scant few military activities that will allow for that much distance.  The military works, travels, fights, and rests in groups for the most part.  Solitude doesn’t really exist there.  

Then it dawned on me.  A nuclear power who has a cure before anyone else does has a military advantage that roughly approximates being the only nuclear power.  Nuclear weaponry can’t win a nuclear conflict.  It can only make nuclear conflict too costly to attempt.  At least that has been the case for the last 70 years or so.  Actual conquest will still require boots on the ground, rifles, and human hands.  Conquest still requires someone march in in numbers and physically grab something from someone else.  

A single day of China having a vaccine before the U.S. means that they could invade with troops protected with inoculation, destroy whatever research locations are working on the U.S. vaccine, and fight against an ever more weakened military and populace…if it came to that.  If anyone actually fought.

President Trump is currently thinking in terms of “opening” the U.S. up on a county by county basis, for the benefit of the economy.  All by itself, it is a terrible idea.  If he does, and we are weakened a bit more as a country in the process, and China coincidentally, contemporaneously develops a vaccine, we could be extremely vulnerable.  

Unlike nuclear weapons, this wont work as a threat.  The time window is small.  It would have to be used quickly or abandoned as a plan.  Presumably, it would also be easier for China to use such a plan against the U.S. than the other way around.  They have a manpower advantage.  I do not think this scenario is likely, but it strikes me as odd that it has not been discussed in the news.  Although improbable, I think it is a greater likelihood than a missile launch from Cuba ever was by the Soviets.  

Enjoy your weekend.  

 

UPDATE:

 

Now, that’s what I’m talking about.  In fact…that’s what I was talking about.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/30/national-security-council-sounded-early-alarms-about-coronavirus/

 

2nd UPDATE:

 

The Coronavirus Is the Worst Intelligence Failure in U.S. History

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