Since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, we have not heard much about the threat of nuclear war.

Yes, there was some talk of a "nuclear 9/11" following the terrorist attacks of 2001, but it was not a common topic of discussion.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022 changed that.  While it is unlikely that Putin would introduce the usage of nuclear weapons in that conflict, it is even more unlikely that those weapons would be used against the United States.

But what if a war started by accident?

That's the scenario that Annie Jacobsen proposes in her new book, Nuclear War: A Scenario.

In the book, she speculates that a full-scale war could begin if North Korea launches a surprise attack against the United States.  The two missiles, a Hwasong-17 and a Pukguksong-1, destroyed Washington D.C. and a power plant in California.

In her scenario, the United States retaliates with a series of missile launches.  However, these missiles need to fly over the North Pole to reach their targets in North Korea.  Russia, believing it is a surprise attack by the United States, preemptively fires its missiles.  The resulting missile strikes would completely devastate the United States.

According to a recent Politco article, the entire nation would be destroyed within 72 minutes.  Following that, much of the world would be plunged into a nuclear winter.

All of that destruction was brought about by a mistake.

If you love reading about history, politics, and the military, the book is a fascinating reach.  It gives a second-by-second breakdown of what would happen in the unlikely event that this scenario would occur.

radragon / Unsplash
radragon / Unsplash

You can purchase the book here, or you can wait for the movie to come out.  Director Denis Villeneuve, who recently directed the new Dune movies, has reportedly obtained the film rights to the book.

Of course, our goal is never to frighten people.  Our goal is to inform, and we feel this book is fascinating.  We also hope that Annie Jacobsen's scenario never plays out.

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