What Would you do if you Knew TEOTWAWKI was in Six Months?

MEU vehicles in Lithuania
22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit vehicles seen in Lithuania earlier this month. You would be shocked at how many U.S. forces are currently in Europe. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class John Bellino.

I think it would be great to have an advance warning that the end of the world was coming, but most big calamities strike unannounced.

Just in case, I have a list in my cell phone of things to do in the last days or hours before the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI). It includes obvious things like getting my kids to bug out to our prepper property and making sure our prepper team members load up and head out here. It also has a list of last-minute shopping, mostly made up of fresh things like 50-pound bags of onions and potatoes, heads of cabbage, blocks of cheese, cured meats, country ham, nut butters, crackers, and other food items that we can store without refrigeration but don’t have a shelf life measured in years. Then there’s that Amazon shopping list of solar panels and other cool but expensive gear. I’d order it and cross my fingers that UPS would arrive before the SHTF.

Advanced Warning

I think it is a tossup whether or not we will have any prior notification of a TEOTWAWKI event. There may be actions that look like they are leading to TEOTWAWKI, but we can’t be sure. For example, if Russia uses tactical nukes in Ukraine, we can expect it will lead to a larger war, but we can’t be sure. We also can’t be positive it will end in global nuclear war. There’s no way to know, and by the time people see the Minute Man missiles launches carving arcs in the sky, it’s too late to do much of anything except hunker down.

When I lived in the city, I had a list of things to pack if we were to bug out. This included things to grab if we had to leave in 20 minutes or less. There were additional lists if we had a couple hours, and even more things to do if we had 24 to 48 hours. The latter included renting a U-Haul or other box truck to load with supplies, which admittedly may have been excessive. Still, there is no doubt that having advanced notice before a SHTF event gives you a leg up compared to an event that hits you out of the blue.

A Window

I mention this because I think we might have a limited window of time before the world as we know it changes for the worse. Specifically, I think there is a good possibility that we’re going to see a war in 2023 that makes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seem small. It could be an expansion of the war in Europe that involves NATO. It could be China invading Taiwan, or it could be bigger, an East versus West war in which most of NATO plus Australia and Japan go to war with China and Russia.

If NATO gets involved in a European war, we’ll know before the fighting gets bad. We’ll see the newly called up Russian troops (and rumor is that far more than 300,000 are being activated) positioned near borders. We’ll see their tanks and aircraft moved closer to what will be the new front lines. Then planeloads of our soldiers will head overseas while the NATO air forces ready themselves to take out Russia’s air defenses and try to gain air superiority. Countries like Poland, Finland and the Baltics will probably take the brunt of any early ground fighting; the U.S. and UK will reinforce and counter attack.

I expect we’d have advance notice of an attack on Taiwan as well. In the case of an invasion, China will have to build up its naval forces in the area, and this will show up on satellite images. If they decide instead to blockade the island, we’ll see that coming, too. Then the only question will be who fires the first shot.

What are your Last Minute Preps?

If you know there was going to be a war involving the United States within a few months or a few weeks, what preps would you make? If you knew the U.S. would be plunged into a war footing with shortages, rationing, and a few consumer goods coming in from overseas, what would you do today? Would you buy more food? Stockpile more ammo? Store more water? Go on a prepper shopping spree? Would you build an improvised fallout shelter?

What’s stopping you from doing that now?

I suspect the answer is a lack of money. (I know that’s what is stopping us from buying a solar power system.) You may not be able to make big leaps and strides in your preps, but what’s stopping you from making small steps towards improving your preps? For example, I bought four cans of soup and two cans of chili this week. Every little bit helps.

We may not have the privilege of knowing when the end of the world as we know it arrives, but I think we can have a high degree of confidence that it’s coming. If we manage to avoid war, we still have to face a recession and possible economic collapse. Inflation is still here. The stock market is still falling.

My advice? Prep like the end of the world is coming because it may well be.