October 03, 2007
India-Pakistan Nuclear War Would Kill Over Billion People

A nuclear war between Pakistan and India would kill over a billion people just from starvation.

"An Assessment of the Extent of Projected Global Famine Resulting from Limited, Regional Nuclear War" by Dr Ira Helfand, an emergency medicine specialist from Massachusetts, projects "a total global death toll in the range of one billion from starvation alone."

So glad I do not live in one of the countries that would face massive starvation.

World grain stores are low and the planet would cool down.

Earlier studies have suggested that such a conflict would throw five million tonnes of black soot into the atmosphere, triggering a reduction of 1.25C in the average temperature at the earth's surface for several years. As a result, the annual growing season in the world's most important grain-producing areas would shrink by between 10 and 20 days.

Helfand points out that the world is ill-prepared to cope with such a disaster. "Global grain stocks stand at 49 days, lower than at any point in the past five decades," he says. "These stocks would not provide any significant reserve in the event of a sharp decline in production. We would see hoarding on a global scale."

So if we implemented climate engineering projects to cool down the Earth by a similar amount we'd cause a lot of starvation.

Also, a bunch of small nukes would destroy a large fraction of the ozone layer.

Another study being unveiled at today's conference suggests that the smoke unleashed by 100, small, 15 kiloton nuclear warheads could destroy 30-40% of the world's ozone layer. This would kill off some food crops, according to the study's author, Brian Toon, an atmospheric scientist from the University of Colorado in Boulder, US.

I bet a lot of species would go extinct as well. Human hunger would lead to more hunting of animals.

So is it conceivable that India and Pakistan would ever duke it out with nuclear weapons?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 October 03 04:44 PM  Dangers Nuclear Warfare

Michael Lyubomirskiy said at October 3, 2007 7:32 PM:

sounds like the nuclear winter scare rumor redux, and it probably is about as valid as the parent claim of apocalyptic consequences of a major nuclear war. Kearney ridiculed the climate claims it as Commie propaganda designed to subvert American military preparedness, see http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p912.htm, and it is hard not to agree, especially since the consequences of such beliefs were just that. America has been busy for the last two decades dismantling its capability to fight and survive a world war in the face of the unabashed Russian/Chinese threat that by now is growing more and more explicit.

Michael Lyubomirskiy said at October 3, 2007 7:34 PM:

oops, the link to Kearney's discussion is http://www.oism.org/nwss/s73p912.htm

K said at October 4, 2007 12:12 AM:

To those likely to start such a war it won't matter what the consequences would be or how many people would die. The decisions won't be made on facts but on beliefs and passions.

It is not sufficient that political leaders be responsible, the entire chain of command must do so.

With more nukes in more countries there will be more links in more chains of command. Links fail sooner or later.

The results of a India and Pakistan war today? The nuclear winter stuff probably wouldn't get quite that bad. But the political stress upon the world would be enormous and IMO would lead to something like Orwell's world of Nineteen Eighty Four.

Wolf-Dog said at October 4, 2007 5:00 AM:

Long before India and Pakistan start a fight, Islamic extremists will almost certainly come to power in Pakistan. This means that nearly 100 nukes will be given to Jihadist terrorists who will target Europe long before they attack Pakistan.

Thus it is important to do another computer simulation about how many Europeans would starve as a result of 100 nukes detonated over there. And by 2020, the some of the "mini" nukes owned by terrorists, might have a yield close to 1 megaton, not 15 kilotons.

Dave said at October 4, 2007 8:17 AM:

The French have a lot of big nukes. A large section of their military are Muslim.

I don't think Muslims will try to nuke Europe wolf-dog they are already rapidly gaining power here without the need for that.
More likely the terrorists or rogue states will use them to nuke American bases in the middle east and central asia, if they can hide who is responsible.

Is the use of nukes most likely going to come from the Israel Iran war? either Iran builds a nuke and starts threatening the middle east, or Israel takes preemptive action which may spark a wider war.

A lot of people seem to say its inevitable that the extremists take control of pakistan after Musharaff is ousted but surely there is a fair chance of a civil war? Its a very big country, I can't see the extremists just moving in and taking over that easily.

Tom billings said at October 4, 2007 12:00 PM:

The threat of nuclear war if Pakistan falls to the Hirabis is not from them striking Pakistan in a civil war, but from them striking India. There is also the threat of Indian pre-emption if it seems likely the Hirabis will get control of Pakistani nukes. In either of these cases, it will require a worst-case result to make for the effects described in the paper.

Indian pre-emption is a lesser threat, though, because Pakistan is West of India. There is a substantial chance that weather patterns can blow radiation from nuclear strikes on Pakistan into India. Given general West to East movement of weather, the Indians will be reluctant to risk it. Only if, at the critical time of an imminent Hirabi victory in a Pakistani internal struggle for power, there is a strong dry season monsoon, blowing out of the Himalayas towards the Arabian Sea, would India have any chance of avoiding the fallout from their own weapons, even assuming they hit all of the Pakistani arsenal in time to avoid retaliation.

A threat to Europe from smuggled Pakistani nukes would be secondary to the threat to the US, which is the world's current bulwark against the Hirabi Caliphate. Only if EU nations become a vital force in resisting the Hirabis would there be a chance of them being hit. Of course, if they do wake up, and oppose the imposition of a caliphate, then in the long-term that will decrease the threat as a whole substantially. Having waited so long to oppose those who would conquer them, Europeans will naturally run a risk before European power can be brought to bear, while they build up military and other potential in the midst of the current world-wide struggle.


Tom Billings

HellKaiserRyo said at October 4, 2007 3:25 PM:

Sounds like some research that Jerry B. Jenkins could have used to augment his crappy novels. At least, one can describe 3 of the 4 horseman (war, famine, death) vividly without invoking a supernatural explanation. One billion sounds like a satisfactory number to fulfill 1/4 number from Revelation 6:7-8 (remember that some of the world was raptured away).

Of course, I do not believe in the bunkum of dispensationalism.

Micah Imritov said at October 5, 2007 12:48 PM:

Come now fellows! HellKaiserRyo is quite right. We should be ironic and satirical concerning the prospects for mass murder in the Islamic world and the rest of the world. Laugh it off, like the sophisticates we all are. Bunkum and all that, right? I quite agree.

The problem with 9/11 was that people got so serious for a while. It was as if we couldn't laugh about the whole thing and put it in its proper place. But now we can, so it's better. Like Ahmedinejad at Columbia. He said some far out things, but we know we can laugh about it. Do you really think he's going to kill all the Jews, destroy Israel? Silly bunkum. He's a politician just like Bush, only we can like Ahmedinejad because he hates Bush.

So laugh it up. Don't take things so seriously. Or we'll start laughing at you.

HellKaiserRyo said at October 5, 2007 5:48 PM:

My intent wasn't to trivalize the possibility of such a disaster; instead, I wanted to point out that discussing the consequences of a nuclear war in depth would be much better than inane preaching.

Too bad La Haye and Jenkins don't know that.

Nix said at May 22, 2008 10:28 AM:

President Obamination's new world order:
World economies will have been racked by inflation and recession, causing the United States to join with the European Union to save their economies, adopting the Euro. India and Pakistan will feel the economic pains worse due to their proximity to all the strife and turmoil in region. Then the Sixth Trumpet will blow, as described in the Bible's Book of Revelations; an army of 200 million will march into the Middle East (for oil and gold). This vacuum is created by the pull-out of US troops from Iraq by President Obamination. India and Pakistan may go nuclear and there would be the third of mankind killed off by as many as 10 - 24 Ground Bursts Nuclear Explosions, the type of detonation that would produce fallout, killing many more after the initial nuclear explosions. Just something to make you think about being prepared to meet your Maker, before the sounding of the seventh trumpet sound!

Iqbal said at December 22, 2008 2:19 AM:

why do you all only talk about nukes getting out from Pakistan ? there is no logical reason for that .... the nukes can go out from Israel or India too ....

A.Thomas said at December 25, 2008 10:43 AM:

A Q Khan ( Pakistan Nuclear Program Mastermind) has been charged many times for smuggling nukes out of pakistan with the aid of pakistani govermnt & army, to the allied muslim countries.
Capturing pakistani nukes is the only option available to international community, for adverting this disaster.
Pakistan gov has now no control over nukes.

Nanda popoganda said at March 7, 2009 2:57 PM:

Nukes will most likely got out of USA and to China, India etc. Why? Well, the way USA is going , their economy will fail. China will ask for their $1.25 trillion back; India too will ask for their $400 billion back. That alone is enough to bankrupt the USA which is already bankrupt. it is cheaper to nuke the creditors that to pay them. Civil unrest is increasing in USA and there might be Martial Law in the near future in USA.

Abdul Rehman said at September 24, 2009 6:10 PM:

People have no sense, they all talk BS. Just sit back and relax, the world will be the same as it is now! Go smoke cigar!

Shabbir said at September 30, 2009 10:16 PM:

Europe and the US should help resolve Pak - India differences and disputes. There are only 10% hardliners on both sides who are willing to die or kill the other. The rest are just ordinary people going on with their lives

SHIV KUMAR said at October 28, 2009 1:06 PM:

i dont thnk soo .their would be some nuclear war b\w india and pak in near future...because we both are closely bounded nations....ya their are some problems present in b/w us...but we will surly resolve them all....and india and pak emerge like a next world power ....coz beside all problems ,,india knows pakistan as no other nation knws..and same as, pak knws india very well ..we both love each other ..and respect each other..soo NO MORE WAE B/W INDIA AND PAK..JUST PROGRESS AND LOVE...

love frm india

shiv kumar....

Mustafa said at December 13, 2009 9:49 AM:

Pakistan being taken over by terrorists is highly unlikely just from the simple fact of the terrorists being outnumbered by the Army and Anti-Taliban Militias [YES YOU HEARD RIGHT! ANTI TALIBAN MILITIAS based off of pissed off civilians] 50 to 1. So a proposed scenario like that makes me lol.

Pakistan, like Israel, has taken up the policy of only using nuclear weapons if the very existence of the country was at stake. India cannot use their nuclear weapons first. And seeing India is way smarter than to do something stupid like provoking Pakistan, a nuclear war would be highly unlikely.

And in the case of a nuclear war in south asia, India, overpopulated as they are, would suffer 1.5 to 1.7 times more casualties than Pakistan, killing its economy for an eternity. Pakistan which has barely anything to lose would see this as a win even though their country is destroyed as well.

Things like 26/11 are crumbling the peace process by pissing off India by threatening 'surgical strikes.' But India will never understand that they are playing into the objectives of the terrorists.

Peace is the only option, but India must work with Pakistan rather than against. And before any of you point out that Pakistan had an 'alliance' with the terrorists, you should not look to the past, you should look at what they are doing NOW. They are fighting off the Taliban, they have caught the leader and semi-leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba and have disintegrated all treaties with outlawed terrorist groups. However , Indian media would never acknowledge such a kind move.

Anonymous said at January 19, 2010 5:47 AM:

@mustafa u sob.

bharat said at January 22, 2010 8:26 AM:

This is regarding India Pak nuclear conflict.We all know that a nuclear conflict is devastating, but if India and pakistan fight a nuclear war India because of its size will live to see the next day,but pakistan will be wiped out from the map itself.This pakistanis know but will never accept.It requires very advanced delivery systems to throw nuclear bomb which i doubt the north korean supplied missiles which pak has can do.The world can sigh relief as after a nuclear conflict the world would have ridden itself from jihadis and a country which sheltered them.Good for humanity and the world will very eagerly help in rebuilding India which will not be the case forPakistan.

Syed Akif Hassan said at January 29, 2010 7:18 AM:

I must add here that a nuclear conflict between india and Pakistan is in waiting,its catalyst is going to be the decades old hindu dream of a united India.Since 1947 india is trying either by hook or crook to destroy Pakistan n Pakistan trying to finish the unfinished agenda of partition Kashmir.As both countries aren't willing to give up their claims the situation remain heated.Now as Pakistan's proy war in Kashmir has more or less Failed to yield any result due to American pressure now its India's turn to boil the already heated situation so for last 9years that is after 9-11 Pakistan is on the recivin end.conspiracies in tribal areas and balochistan is now a thing of the past but the most serious threat that india is giving to Pakistan's stability and existence is blocking pakistani rivers(3) which emerge from Kashmir by building dams over them,and aiding Afghanistan to build a dam on river Kabul to eventually dry out Pakistan's high yield farms.When this blockade will take place around 2015,then Pakistan'll surely use missiles to remove these blockades and then when situation is so violent things can always get out of hand,you never know at this phase who might lose his head and get carried away.So mr.bharat i must educate you atleast that as ur not fully aware of wat Pakistan has in its arsenal so stop boasting off,if u'd forgotten plz recall the reasons for US sanctions on China in early 1990's probably 1993,then i think u would add one more name of several countries with Korea.Mr bharat let some sense and peace prevail u think wat would be left of India after recivin 70 plus nukes'll b seein nxt day, is absurd and childish.

don said at March 8, 2010 5:00 AM:

One thing is for sure Pakistanis never back away from anything. They fear nothing but god. So if Pakistan and India ever came to war i would bet my life on Pakistan to use their nukes because i believe that Pakistan has built these nukes to use to protect their country and not vice versa.

Anonymous said at April 5, 2010 6:22 AM:

@Mustafa u paki u terrorist, i don't understand how 77(or what-ever) virgins wait? i mean so many sob like u r swatted by Indian army, & how does those 77 so called chicks be virgin?(may be some part of ur body is cut)lol

Phantom said at May 23, 2010 5:22 PM:

In a war between India & Pakistan, If nuclear weapons are used, It is sure that both countries will be devastated. But Pakistan will be totally erased. India is a huge country compared to Pakistan and it can overcome a nuclear strike even though millions die.The population in India is 1100 million.Pakistan really knows this fact. If they use it ,then Indian empire will extend to Iran.

NaPakistan said at January 11, 2011 11:21 PM:

Before we even answer this question, we need to address one important milestone..will Pakistan implode internally and be split up into four different countries? It's weak economy and wide spread strife internally, Pakistan now has an army of fanatic terror groups all waiting to strike and carve up regions into independent Islamic states.
Afghanistan and its allies are also waiting to strike Pakistan and take what was taken from them in 1947 and would help various factions in NWFP region to form a country that would not be hostile to them.
India's army would crush Pakistan in under 7 days and would expand the borders by another 300 Kilometers in just 3 days.
Pakistan by its very virtue of being a small country with 90% of its population crammed in 6 cities would face a prospect of an Indian nuclear attack on these cities reducing Pakistan into a collection of small villages. It would not dare to even think of a Nuclear strike since the Indians do have a policy of "No first strike" but retaliation would be swift and with Missiles that have multiple warheads force multiplying the effects hundred thousand fold [They have demonstrated these capabilities by launching eleven satellites in one go !!!!].

Shahid Mahmood said at February 4, 2011 11:26 AM:

I have read all the comments seriously and came to conclusion that how media act even on educated minds.for examples pakistani nukes would get into the hands of taliban is rubbish.the country that has the ability to made these weapons surely has to defend them this is not like a cake on your table and some one enter through window and get away.secondly less has said about israeli,indian nukes,even USA nuke swas live and in transport plane without the knowledge of any crew member.please show some rationality in your thoughts.in fact USA is more likely of accidental diasastour.whole world knows that Pakistan nukes are purely for the purpose of deterrence,I am living near Masroor air base of paf and hardly from1500 yards from where this deterrence is present in parts,I have no fear as I have knowledge about the matter.

BuckRogers said at October 22, 2011 4:22 PM:

India will never trigger a nuclear war.
Even if Pakistan launches nukes - India will still use its conventional might to overturn Pakistan - considering India's millitary might has long overtaken Pakistan and is now knocking on China's doorsteps.

Unfortunately - this works against India - as Pakistan's 5 billion $ a year can no longer compete with India's 43 billion $ a year defence budget - It can no longer even hope of winning a conventional war.
As a deterrence Pakistan would use nukes. However, such an act would automatically brand it as a Global Rogue state - similar to what happened yp iy during the 1999 Kargil Conflict when the world came down heavily on Pakistan to pull back its troops from Kashmir. Not even China, Pakistan's Greatest and Only Ally, would condone the use of nuclear force - naturally, as a nuclear fallout would threaten all nations in asia as an immediate.

India - being larger and far better equipped would still use this world favor to overrun Pakistan. However, conventional warfare would give this war a chance to retreat on both sides, but a nuclear provocation would not grant any such motif - not by India and definitely not by the world. No nation would henceforth tolerate a country that uses nukes - thereby Pakistan becoming a global pariah.
But India - will still greatly suffer, even victorious. Its economy would be decimated, and if the cities fall, the nation would go back to the stone ages.

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright