Analysis shows why no-fly zone over Ukraine would be mutually assured destruction
MAYBE a lot of people hadn’t studied what a ‘no-fly zone’ was until the Prime Minister said it should be ‘on the table’ when it comes to combating the virus. Russian invasion of Ukraine.
With each new Russian atrocity in Ukraine reported by the mainstream media, calls for NATO intervention increase. And the reason I’m referring to the mainstream media is because that’s the only place callers will get their information from, including our Prime Minister. Unfortunately, Scotland is not yet independent.
But that is simply the lens through which the war in Ukraine is viewed. There is no Scottish Ministry of Defense or intelligence agencies. Therefore, there are no civil servants who advise the Prime Minister on these matters and who have expertise in the matter. We can only assume that she is advised by her chief of staff (a career public relations officer) or her former chief of staff who now has the role of “strategic policy and political adviser” ( the closest defense and security experience I can see on this postholder’s resume is a year spent at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when Robin Watson was on loan from the CIA to teach a seminar entitled “European Economic Integration”).
Therefore, with the prime minister’s profile, she must seek better advisers, because even the neo-conservatives in Washington DC don’t think a no-fly zone is a good idea. Put simply, firing Russian jets into the air or destroying their bases in Russia would make nuclear war more likely, not less likely.
The desire for risk increases every time we see the inhuman on our television screens. We must never let this escalate into a nuclear war, whatever the cost. Nuclear war scenarios have been carefully assessed using climate models.
The UK is a nuclear power, but our roughly 300 warheads pale in comparison to the US and Russia, which have deployable nuclear weapons inventories of around 7,000 to 8,000 warheads each. . Over the past decade, scientists have studied a scenario where about half of the inventories explode, involving 4,400 nuclear explosions.
This would result in around 770 million direct deaths. These people are vaporized, cremated, buried in razed buildings, or die within days of acute radiation sickness. In the United States, about one-fifth of the population is killed instantly. But given the choice of what happens next, these can be considered the lucky ones.
Firestorms from explosions dump 150Tg (teragrams) of soot into the atmosphere of burning cities and forests. It’s 150 trillion grams. Rising to the stratosphere, these black carbon particles would block 60-70% of incoming sunlight, causing global gloom. They would also destroy most of the ozone layer that we have spent the past few decades trying to repair.
Surface temperatures would then drop. The weather would remain below freezing throughout the northern hemisphere throughout the summer. There would be no growing season. Without it, there is no food.
About three or four years after the nuclear exchange, global rainfall will have decreased by 50%. It would take about 10 years for something like climate normality to return to the planet. That’s why worrying about radiation is actually quite academic – because by the time we worry about cancer, most of us will be dead.
This is because almost everyone who survives the nuclear arms swap will die in guaranteed global starvation. Food stocks are rapidly running out and dystopian wars will be fought over them, community to community, citizen to citizen, family to family.
Mark Lynas of the Alliance for Science recently presented some oddly specific modeling. On average over five years, China would see a reduction in food calories of 97.2%, France of 97.5%, Russia of 99.7%, the United Kingdom of 99.5% and the United States of 98.9%. In all these countries, practically everyone would starve.
Some humans would survive to make a living on a devastated and barren planet.
The price of nuclear war is planetary suicide. It will not save lives in Ukraine, it will simply turn a tragedy that may cost the lives of thousands into a tragedy that will cost billions.
There is no easy solution and the feeling of helplessness is difficult. But it is important that the Prime Minister understands all of the above because if she did, there would never be any circumstances in which she would believe a no-fly zone should be kept on the table.