War Draws Closer and Nuke Threats Rises

rocket launch
Can you tell if this is a peaceful rocket launch or a nuclear missile?

The closer we get to a bigger war in Europe—possibly a war that includes the use of tactical nuclear weapons—the further the war seems to get from the front pages. But just because you aren’t reading about it or hearing talking heads spout off about it doesn’t mean the war isn’t any less real.

All around the world, Russia and the United States are flexing their nuclear muscles. For example, Russian subs have been spotted in Cuba and off the coast of England. The location of these submarines is normally a closely held secret, so showing their hand is rightly seen as a Russian threat, or at least a reminder that Russia can strike the U.S. and its allies. Likewise, the U.S. has “tested” two of its newest Minute Men missiles in the past few weeks, a reminder to Russia and China that the U.S. can strike from a distance.

In other words, it’s not a great time to live in or close to New York City, Washington, key ports, and strategic military bases. Or, for that matter, London, Frankfurt, Beijing, and Moscow.

NATO to Deploy More Nukes

According to Jens Stoltenburg, the head of NATO, the organization is discussing “Taking missiles out of storage and placing them on standby.” This will not increase the number of nuclear weapons that exist, but it will increase the number ready for immediate use, either defensively or in a retaliatory strike.

The move can be seen as either a threat or a deterrent, depending on which side of the Russia border you live.

But Stoltenburg seemed to aim the threat towards China as much as Russia. This could lead to a new nuclear arms race as NATO and its members feel the need not only to match Russia tit-for-tat, but to compete with Russia’s arms plus China’s growing nuclear fleet. Whether or not NATO deploys more nuclear weapons, I would expect the UK and France to do so, if they have not already.


For decades, we lived under the threat of nuclear war. It is no coincidence commentators like to say we are closer to nuclear war now than we have been since the Cuban Missile Crisis; the early 1960s was smack dab in the era when nuclear war was an ever-present danger. Less than half our population is old enough to remember living under a nuclear cloud, but we may have to get used to this reality again.

Yes, countries we are at odds with have nuclear weapons and may use them. The U.S. has nuclear weapons and may also use them, either defensively or offensively. The world could be destroyed in a wave of nuclear fire followed by a storm of radiation and a decade of nuclear winter. Or not. There could be a limited nuclear exchange, or none at all.

Regardless, we should prime ourselves to expect the use of nuclear weapons so we are not shocked or panic when it happens. Depending on where you live and how well prepared you are, you could live through it. I’m expecting to. It’s the fallout—both literal and figurative—I’m worried about.