And you thought the previous post was in bad taste! How about jokes mashing up hockey and millions of people dying terrible deaths? Sounds like a great idea, right?
I’ve always wanted to do a prediction style post on what country will drop the next nuclear bomb, but have never gotten around to it. With the current climate in world affairs, however, I have come to realize I better write such a post soon or it will no longer be relevant. And that would be a big embarrassment for this blog, which prides itself on being current.
Sadly, nuclear proliferation has not yet gotten so out of hand that I can think of 16 worthwhile candidates for the first round playoffs. So, the bracket will be padded with some unworthwhile candidates. Consider them the geopolitical equivalent of the Columbus Bluejackets.
(1) USA v. (8) A corporation U!S!A! U!S!A! But zolltan, corporations are eeeevil! Okay, true, but don’t make me laugh. The USA is such a juggernaut in these playoffs that no measly 8 seed provides any kind of competition. It’s got the offense, it’s got the defense. It’s more likely to drop a nuclear bomb by accident than anyone else is to do it on purpose. That’s how in command it is. USA in 4
(2) India v. (7) UK. A surprisingly high ranking for India. And with bellicose nationalists in ascendance, India has a potential nuclear confrontation in its pocket. But is India likely to use nuclear weapons first? It seems like the country can’t agrree on anything and by the time the Trinamool Congress and the seven different Janata Dal parties etc. all agree that something should be done, I’m sure we’ll be deep in nuclear winter already. In other words, the chemistry is just not there. Whereas the britishers are all about primacy. If they ever use nuclear weapons, you can be sure that they’ll be first. That can-do spirit means they have the intangibles to pull this one out. A risky pick and the stats-heads are not going to like this one, but sometimes we go with the gut feeling. I predict the upset of the tournament. Great Britain in 7
(3) Israel v. (6) There’s not going to be a nuclear bomb dropped ever. At first glance, this seems an uninspiring matchup between two unlikely candidates. Particularly the idea of no nuclear bombs ever at first seems laughable. World peace, ha! But the sneaky six seed is not as bereft of an offensive arsenal as it seems. Its secret weapon: the potential invention and use of a technology more deadly than nuclear weapons. Or, you know, any number of other ways the entire earth could be screwed in relatively short order. It’s actually a formidable foe. On the other end, you might say that Israel, an undersized opponent, would have trouble in the more physical areas of the game. However, sometimes it’s not the size of the dog in the fight. Israel is the only contender here that is small enough to have worries about total annihilation in a non-apocalyptic scenarios, and thus the moral barriers to dropping the bomb are much lower. They’re willing to go into the dirty areas where other players can’t. Therefore, I believe this series is theirs for the taking. Israel in 5
(4) Pakistan v. (5) Non-state terrorist actor. Pakistan is a country that has nuclear weapons. And also it’s a country where there is a huge amount of instability that we basically all agree to ignore for some reason. For example, this is happening in Pakistan right now. Also, this. Did you know that? Cause I didn’t. Also, it’s not clear that Pakistan’s government is in control of anything, and if it is, whether it still will be shortly. And there’s all sorts of militant groups active in the country. Did I mention there’s a bunch of nuclear weapons lying about? No problem there, no sir! The terrorists, on the other hand, have less natural talent, but an innovative coaching strategy. They aren’t going to develop or independently obtain nuclear weapons. But with the taboo against openly bombing other people with nuclear bombs pretty high, who is to say that a rogue state wouldn’t just make the bomb available to some terrorists who can then detontate it with tacit backing of that state, but without making the state as likely to suffer the consequences. A rogue state like, oh, I dunno, Pakistan? In other words, these are two sleeper picks to go very far in this tournament, but sadly, one of them will have to be eliminated in the first round. If I had to make a prediction, I would say there is just too much experience on the terrorist side to be easily cowed by brash Pakistan. Terrorists in 6
(1) Russia v. (8) France. Why is France in the Eastern Conference? Am I so blinkered that I bought into Mark Steyn’s stupid Eurabia thing? No, don’t worry, it’s nothing of the kind. Simply, this tournament has weird conferences / playoff seeding schemes. If it’s good enough for the NCAA and the CFL, it’s good enough for the world (TM). Also, this matchup is a cakewalk. The only reason to fear an upset is if Russia changes its name to something else and puts itself out of the running. The country’s roster is too stacked, in terms of people who don’t mind contemplating a nuclear apocalypse. Russia, as Kiselev reminds us, is the only country that can turn the US into radioactive ash, and it’s the only real contender with the US for the title. France just doesn’t have any offensive weapons to compare. Russia in 4
(2) China v. (7) Some country that doesn’t exist yet. Once again a 2 seed that’s at first glance very vulnerable. Currently, there is no geopolitical situation that I can think of where China might be tempted to use a nuclear weapon if that situation somehow develops. But, in the long run, its rise as a world power will necessarily enmesh it in further international conflicts, and its often ruthless politics mean it is not to be discounted. So both teams are youth-laden and looking towards the future, in a sense. But considering China currently has more tools at its disposal (read: a country, and nuclear weapons), I just don’t see this as having high upset potential. China in 6
(3) North Korea v. (6) A multinational government. To me, it’s sad that North Korea is this joke punchline to the west, whereas in actuality it is one of the greatest tragedies of the world. And yet, here I am, using it as a joke punchline. A very hard-fought series, but in the end, the North Koreans are just too enigmatic to rely on. Their production is inconsistent, and so I have to go with the upset: a multinational government in 6
(4) Iran v. (5) Saudi Arabia. Some high rankings for countries that currently don’t have nuclear weapons, but I think justifiable. Iran is well on its way, and the fundamentals for them achieving nuclear weaponry are just too solid to ignore. Whereas Saudi Arabia has all but confirmed that it can purchase nuclear weapons and will do so as soon as Iran becomes nuclear-capable. And while neither currently has the leadership that seems likely to use the bomb, the thing with pushing radical world’s end theology on your subjects is that some people come to believe it, and those people have a chance to get power, too. Iranian politicians have several times mentioned they would like to see Israel destroyed, and so I believe they are the more motivated team. Iran in 6