On Jan. 28, the world’s deadliest clock ticked closer to certain doom…
And nobody noticed.
If you grew up during the Cold War, you’re probably all too familiar with the looming shadow of the ominously named Doomsday Clock.
If not, just think of it as a big old clock that was built to illustrate the likelihood of a global catastrophe.
On the clock, midnight represents a world-changing disaster, like a nuclear war. And the closer we get to midnight, the more likely such an event is to happen.
Right now, as tensions bubble with North Korea, the clock sits at two minutes to midnight.
Of course, the Doomsday Clock is just a symbol.
What does “two minutes to midnight” actually mean to you and me?
In its simplest terms, it means that we are staring down the barrel of a potential catastrophe.
And it doesn’t take a genius to see where that catastrophe is coming from.
Just this Tuesday, U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood told delegates in Geneva that “North Korea may now be only months away from the capability to strike the United States with nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.”
And this isn’t just some lone guy’s crazy theory.
Last month the director of the CIA said something similar, stating that North Korea was only a “handful of months” from being able to attack the U.S.
They obviously know something we don’t.
Now, some folks might point out the “diplomatic thaw” between North Korea and South Korea in recent months.
(Apparently, a “diplomatic thaw” is what journalists call it when one country stops threatening to blow another country to kingdom come.)
Of course, there’s some truth there. It looks like South Korea has been able to coax some civility out of their northern cousins with the promise of a spot at the Winter Olympics.
But the timing of this sudden change of heart feels all wrong to me.
We all know that Kim Jong Un has never been known for his diplomacy and charm.
In fact, the only thing you can count on this guy for is his ability to be aggressive and irrational at every turn.
Which is why it strikes me as highly suspicious that — just as North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is armed and ready — he is suddenly trying to make nice.
Doesn’t it seem far more likely that he is simply acting civil to catch the U.S. and our allies off guard?
North Korea’s Plan of Attack
Now, let’s not pussyfoot around the facts here.
Landing a nuke on mainland America would be difficult — extremely difficult.
Even apart from the insane amount of math involved in shooting a missile from one continent to another, there’s so much that could go wrong.
The missile could break up in re-entry… be shot down by our missile shield… or simply fail to detonate.
And let’s face it, you don’t get a second chance after you launch a nuke at the U.S.
That’s why the North Koreans have no intention of actually trying to hit the mainland with a missile.
In fact, it was never part of their plan.
Instead, they’re aiming at our one major vulnerability…
By detonating a high-altitude nuclear EMP (electromagnetic pulse) bomb over the U.S., they could instantly shut down the electric power grid and throw the country into chaos — at the same time mitigating the risk on their part.
This would leave the entire country without electricity… indefinitely.
No lights… no electronics… no computers, banks, or Wall Street…
Our entire economy, civilization and way of life would be wiped out in a second.
Your 401(k) – gone.
Your stocks — gone.
Your bitcoin — gone.
The entire concept of money as we know it — gone.
The upside of an EMP attack is that it won’t kill you instantly.
But it won’t just be a throwback to simpler times like some folks think it will be.
The harsh reality is that we’ve become so dependent on technology that most folks won’t survive the years after an EMP.
Last October, two experts told Congress that an EMP could “shut down the U.S. electric power grid for an indefinite period, leading to the death within a year of up to 90% of all Americans.”
Well, I don’t know about you… but I have no intention of being one of those 90%.
For the next few letters, we’re going to discuss some tactics for surviving and thriving in a post-electricity economy.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis