(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Escalation Ladder & Situational Awareness)
A. The Escalation Ladder to War
Conflicts are an integral part of human life. They are inevitable but also dynamic in their nature.
Escalation is the phenomenon of something getting more intense step by step, for example a quarrel, or, notably, a war between nations possessing weapon s of mass destruction.
The Escalation Ladder discussed below was a version created by Herman Kahn.
Herman Kahn was a strategic theorist who was cited as being the father of scenario planning during ‘The Cold War’ (1945-1990), he was also founder of the Hudson Institute think tank. Mr. Kahn eventually developed a 44 rung Escalation ladder with fine nuances between the escalation rungs.
The 16 rung model discussed below has ‘lower resolution’, but gives a good idea how important an international conflict has become and how rapidly it is evolving.
This knowledge could give you days, weeks or longer to finalize emergency preparations.
By tracking and timing the model, you could, for example, buy an extra $100 worth of groceries, long-term freeze-dried and dehydrated food with every increase in escalation beginning at Rung 6, then put an additional $200 into other supplies with each increase, starting at Rung 8.
In this way you’d have an extra $1,000 in long-term food storage and another $1,000-$1,200 in other equipment: tent, 22LR rifle, propane stove, propane heater and spare tanks, candles, Porta-Pottie, etc. should an All Out War occur with an enemy who has civilization busting weapons.
The book that I took the following table from was not referenced-credited when it was copied into my journals during the mid 1980s, my pardon to the author. Books by Herman Kahn can be found at Amazon.com.
Awareness is a life style. You have to think about the unthinkable, keep it in the back of your mind at all times. Know your wildlife, your plants, the habits of predators (2 or 4 legged, crime laden neighborhoods, aggressive or questionable individuals or groups, spokesmen economists-popular politicians-talking head news media) and watch for changes in and from the normal. If the normal changes without obvious reason, something is wrong. Always assume that change will have a bad outcome for you. If you’re mistaken then you can feel good about being prepared and about good fortune. If you are right, you are prepared to survive.
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|1.||Sub crisis Disagreement|
|3.||Political, Diplomatic & Economic Gestures|
|4.||Show of Force|
|6.||Acts of Violence|
|7.||Limited Military Confrontation|
|10.||Super Ready Status|
|11.||Controlled Local War|
|12.||Spectacular Show of Force|
|13.||Limited, Non Local War|
|15.||All Out War|
The Progression of Events
Rung 1- Sub crisis Disagreement
Opposing sides have a disagreement in opinion, they may still be polite; however, the possibility of escalation is introduced.
Rung 2 – Crisis
a) Vague or implicit threats are made
b) You may expect explicit announcements or speeches.
c) There are officially inspired newspaper stories.
d) The press may have angry outbursts against the other side.
e) There is speculation regarding possible military measures.
* Current issues must be solved or there will be further escalation.
Rung 3 – Political, Diplomatic & Economic Gestures
Herein occur actions which may not only hurt economically, but also politically, in as much as they can lead to popular dissatisfaction with the government.
a) Recall your ambassador
b) Refuse negotiations on other issues.
c) Make overtures to the other side’s enemies.
d) Denounce a treaty.
e) Make a legal or economic reprisal.
f) Start a violent publicity campaign.
g) Increase conspicuous military maneuvers.
h) Encourage “spontaneous” public demonstrations.
Rung 4 – Show of Force
Make it clear that violence IS NOT unthinkable. Move ships and aircraft around, mobilize the reserves, carry out provocative exercises. This step begins mobilizing one’s own resources.
a) Indirect show of force: Increase the draft call, test fire missiles, conduct maneuvers.
b) Direct show of force: Mass troops in a certain area, move ships to a certain area.
* As the public becomes involved, “punish the enemy” cries will be louder than before.
Rung 5 – Modest Mobilization
This phase normally begins with the cancellation of leaves and discharges in the military service. This is accompanied by any of the following measures:
a) Public and official statements.
b) Failure to phase out obsolete equipment.
c) Cancellation of previous cuts in arms expenditures.
d) A modest increase in the budget.
e) Increased conscription.
f) Possible preparation in rural areas to receive evacuees.
Rung 6 – Acts of Violence
Incidents are manufactured which are designed to harass, violate, discredit, frighten, confuse, harm, or weaken the enemy. For example:
a) Enemy nationals are arrested.
b) Embassies are stoned or raided.
c) Bombs may be dropped by unauthorized or anonymous planes, there might be ‘over flights’.d) Terrorism, kidnapping and assassination of important persons.
e) Paramilitary actions.
f) Soldiers on the border may be shot at.
g) There is an increase in intelligence and reconnaissance.
Rung 7 – Limited Military Confrontation
As pressures continue to build, it may become necessary to demonstrate that limited war or all out war is becoming thinkable. At this stage look for:
a) Every possible piece of equipment and unit is put into a ready status.
b) Combat alert status.
c) Limited war forces are deployed.
d) The consequences of a thermonuclear war are stressed to the other side, along with indications that no alternative exists unless “they” come to their senses.
* Due to the fact that SAC (Strategic Air Command) is on permanent alert, this is a range rung on the escalation ladder.
Rung 8 – Intense Crisis
By this time, decision makers are no longer offering choices to the enemy, they are announcing, “back down or we will go to war’. The main elements of this rung are ultimatums and unplanned evacuations.
a) There may be military actions involving divisions or larger forces.
b) This rung is achieved when, due to fear, 20% of the population leave a major city in the USA.
Rung 9 – Limited Evacuation
Either or both opponents may carry through a partial, official evacuation. This would meet great resistance from the population. Decision makers are not likely to be paying politics at this time and may feel they have a stronger hand if most of the population is relatively safe.
At this stage, the public has little to say.
Rung 10 – Super Ready Status
In effect, this rung offers the enemy a choice: 1) Compromise, 2) continue the current dangerous crisis or, 3) immediately escalate to “all out war”.
It involves dangerous and costly actions, i.e.,
a) Causing a high false alarm rate in the enemies warning and alert system.
b) There may be limited destruction and violence designed to degrade his defensive capability so he will be less able to counter attack, after he is “surprise attacked”.
Rung 11 – Controlled Local War
The military may be employed on a scale of the Korean War, but it is limited to conventional weapons. Tactical nuclear weapons may be used-less to destroy military forces, as to show the opponent that unless he backs down, more will follow. pressures associated with the “First Use” on nuclear weapons:
a) It could lead to uncontrolled disarmament later.
b) Many non nuclear nations may suddenly go for their own nuclear weapons stockpiles.
c) It sets a precedent, which would make escalation into an “all out war”, more likely from a future Limited War.
Rung 12 – Spectacular Show of Force
This rung involves the actual use of major weapons, whether or not their objective is to kill. The weapon may be used to punish the enemy for a previous or immediately intended act. A nuclear device detonated over enemy territory says in effect: “Halt or I’ll shoot!”
Rung 13 – Limited, Non Local War
At this point, major weapons start to be used against “sanitary” military targets:
a) Ships at sea,
b) Isolated military bases
c) Expensive industrial installations, especially ones with a semi military character.
Rung 14 – Complete Evacuation
On the verge of, or actually in a war. If possible, both sides are likely to evacuate their cities, leaving only 5-10% of the population operating essential facilities.
Martial law is declared and some rights under the Constitution are suspended. The state of affairs on this rung, are expected to cause enormous political, social, economic and psychological problems.
Rung 15 – All Out War
This does not necessarily refer to the “spasm” war, where each side strikes indiscriminately against each other’s cities and military bases. There is the potential for a rational, controlled nuclear war, where military actions are accomplished by threats, promises and controlled destruction, i.e.,
a) Care may be taken to avoid civilian targets, or by using low yield weapons against SAC bases which are associated with cities.
b) Early in the war, either side could easily back down after a limited response and feel that its opponent did not get away scot-free.
c) After 10-20 hours, the war could, however, degenerate into a “city busting” phase.
Rung 16 – Aftermath
The aftermath could include increased cooperation or increased competition, it could lead to real stability or to an accelerated arms race.
De-escalation could occur from any Rung, measures often include;
a) Reversal of a previous escalation move.
b) Settling another dispute.
c) Freeing prisoners.
d) Conciliatory statements, etc.
* Decisions are made from a national or international point of view even if it means that local considerations are inadequately considered.
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B. Global Trends 2025 – Future is nuclear war and famine – US intelligence
March 29, 2008, 1913Intel, by Matt
“The use of nuclear weapons will grow increasingly likely by 2025, US intelligence warned in a report on global trends that forecasts a tense, unstable world shadowed by war. “The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over scarce resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons,” said the report. “Widening gaps in birth rates and wealth-to-poverty ratios, and the uneven impact of climate change, could further exacerbate tensions.” Called Global Trends 2025 – a Transformed World, the 121-page report was produced by the National Intelligence Council, a body of analysts from across the US intelligence community. Officials said it was being briefed to the incoming administration of president-elect Barack Obama. A year in the making, the report does not take into account the recent global financial crisis. “In one sense, a bad sense, the pace of change that we are looking at in 2025 occurred more rapidly than we had anticipated,” said Thomas Fingar, deputy director of National Intelligence. One overarching conclusion of the report is that “the unipolar world is over, (or) certainly will be by 2025,” Mr Fingar said. But with the “rise of the rest,” managing crises and avoiding conflicts will be more difficult, particularly with an antiquated post-World War II international system. “The potential for conflict will be different then and in some ways greater than it has been for a very long time,” Mr Fingar said.”
See Nuclear Target maps for potential targets in your state, (go to the website and select your state from the list):
Once there is any use of nuclear weapons, it will be like giving permission for anyone to use them.
Table: Who has nuclear weapons and approximately how many?
|No. of war heads, 20095||Inter-contin-ental missiles||Short range missiles||Bombs||Sub-marines/
|In reserve/ awaiting disman tlement||Total Now||Total In 2000|
The table above is from: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/sep/06/nuclear-weapons-world-us-north-korea-russia-iran>
Remember, it would only take 2- 3 appropriately spaced, near orbital altitude nuclear explosions above the USA to create the EMP for a long-term knock out essentially the entire North American power grid (most of Canada, all the USA and norther Mexico).
C. Situational Awareness
Part of developing a survival mindset is being aware of your situation. The military developed a set of color codes which Col. Jeff Cooper (a respected firearms trainer and originator of modern pistol fighting techniques) adapted for personal “street” survival by those who carry a firearm. (If this seems familiar it is because Homeland Security adopted a version of this Color Code.) Captain Dave has adapted and modified the original to pertain to survival in the broader sense.
An individual in Condition White is totally unaware that the world is an unpredictable (at best) place and that they could be put in danger by a man-made or natural disaster with little or no warning. They suffer from the misguided belief that the government will protect them and keep them safe. When disaster strikes, they are surprised, angry that it could happen to them, and totally unprepared. Most of the populace is in Condition White until they see the hurricane warnings on TV or the evacuation siren goes off.
An individual in Condition Yellow has accepted responsibility for his or her personal survival. They have admitted that the veneer of civilization can be wiped away, catapulting us back to an era where our modern conveniences don’t work. They realize that the police cannot protect them before a crime has been committed. They realize that while mankind can harness some of nature’s powers, and predict some of her behavior, but it cannot stand against her fury. They may have even done something about it, or they may be preparing to. This is the beginning stage for survivalism, and people reaching it can either proceed to Condition Orange or shrug their shoulders and slip back into Condition White.
This individual has started making preparations to protect themselves and their loved ones from potential disasters. They monitor the news for weather-related danger or potential civil unrest. By reading this far into Captain Dave’s Survival Guide, you are probably in condition Yellow.
You are in Condition Orange when you realize a dangerous event is on the horizon and looming closer. It could be a hurricane heading towards you, an impending snow storm or a gang of youths crossing the street on a course ready to intercept you. In condition Orange, you are preparing to survive an impending situation. This could mean filling improvised water tanks or bringing extra fire wood into the house to dry. It could be loading the car in preparation to evacuate or hanging hurricane shutters.
(Note, in some emergencies — like an earthquake or terrorist bombing — you may go straight from Condition Yellow to Condition Red or Black.)
You are in a survival situation and the dangerous event is there NOW. This means the bullets are flying, the water is rising, the wind is howling, the electricity is out, or the snow is piling up. You’re most important priority is to ride out the moment, to survive the immediate event. This probably means taking shelter or running or, depending on the situation, fighting back. Condition Red can last only a few minutes in an earthquake or Tornado, or it can last for weeks or months in an epidemic.
Condition Black is after the catastrophic event, but before the situation has returned to normalcy. You still are depending on your survival stash and skills to survive, but the danger is longer term, not immediate.
Here are examples of condition black that could last a few days: The earthquake that is over, but you can’t return to your home. Or the river has crested, but it will be days before you can return home and longer before you are cleaned out. Or the riots have died down, but you dare not leave your house or neighborhood. Or the snow has stopped but the electricity has not been restored, and it will be a few days before the plows dig you out. The terrorists have struck but there is a hold on all travel.
Depending on the emergency, Condition Black may last a few months or even years. For example, imagine if 25% of the world’s population has died in a terrible pandemic and our government has declared martial law. Power and other utilities are intermittent and food delivers have stopped. Or, a nuclear exchange in the Middle East has spread fallout across the globe and caused oil prices to quadruple. Or, the U.S. is at war with China over Taiwan and all commerce between the two countries has stopped.
See also the 4dtraveler posts:
(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/ Nuclear EMP)
(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Long Term Power Outage)
(Survival Manual/2.Social Issues/Marshal Law)
(Survival Manual/2.Social Issues/Prep with Cash & Equivalents) (Survival manual/3. Food & Water/Develop a survival food list)
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