My Red Button is Bigger Than Your Red Button - High Stakes Poker Game of Nuclear Diplomacy Jan 06,2018

Event Duration Dimensions ( 3 Weeks )

The High Stakes Poker Game of Nuclear Diplomacy and You

President Trump Tweeted:  “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

I know many people are aghast that POTUS would make such a provocative comment but frankly if diplomacy is going to work, the threat of war has to be a real possibility. As Sting said in his song “I hope the Russians love their children too.” We all hope that Kim Jong Un is a reasonable man who does not want to have a nuclear war.  I just get the shivers that he is not a reasonable man…  For you and me - These things will run their own course with little or no input from us and if we stumble into a nuclear war with North Korea:  we will just have to play the cards we get dealt.

So while both sides posture for advantage in diplomacy game, the biggest take away for the Prepper minded person has to be "What if?" What if one side miscalculates and we end up in a nuclear war. What if North Korea decides that their next play is to launch an ICBM at the United States? Or what if the US decides to do a pre-emptive strike? Or what if this conflict expands to include other Super Powers like Russia or China? The bottom line is would you be ready if a war between North Korea and America started tomorrow?  Could you be ready if it was going to start in a week or a month or a year? 

If you need an imperative to help you prioritize your prepping – this is it.  Because our world could change in minutes.  According to Business Inside in a recent article last August – time of flight for an NK ICBM to hit various US targets is:



18 Minutes


29 Minutes


39 Minutes


39.5 Minutes


40.5 Minutes

Washington DC

41 Minutes


Guys and Gals – in less than an hour, a US city could be rocked by a nuclear explosion. 

But can the US Military shoot an incoming missile down?  We have a layered missile defense system that includes mid-course* interceptors that can be launched in the first minutes after a launch is detected and those are backed up by short range weapons that would be used to in an attempt to hit the warhead on its downward trajectory.  Most tests to date have been conducted against a single attacking missile.  (North Korea might be able to put 10 to 15 missiles in the air at one time.  While the US has significantly increased its missile defense budget in recent years and deployed many more launchers, all the recent analysis I can find only puts our ability to successfully intercept an inbound missile at around 60%.  And in this game of high stakes poker, we cannot attempt to intercept a NK nuclear missile test because if we miss, it may expose our vulnerability and embolden him.   We will have to wait for an attack to see if we can actually stop it. 

Ok I am not getting a warm comfortable feeling about this.  You shouldn’t either. 

On the flip side – North Korea’s arsenal is not in-fallible either.  Currently estimate that they have about 60 missiles but not all of those are the long range Hwasong 14 or 15 capable of hitting the Continental United States.  There is some question about the Hwasong accuracy at extreme ranges (which is a reason the North Koreans are conducting tests!).  And there is speculation that they have not yet been able to miniaturize their warheads but some analysts expect that to happen in the coming year.  It is estimated that the North Koreans are capable of making 6 warheads a year (based on nuclear reactor capabilities). 

Ok so what is a prepper to do?

If you live near a major US city – there is a possibility that your city is a target.  I would say that Washington DC, NYC, Chicago and LA would be the most likely targets.  If you live in or near these cities, you might want to consider moving.  If you don’t want to move, you need to consider establishing a fallout shelter.  Notice I don’t say bomb shelter because you really don’t want to be anywhere near ground zero if this happens.  Just so you can envision what would happen if a nuclear bomb goes off in a major metropolitan area...






(NK’s Largest to date)







If fireball touches ground, significant increase in radioactive fallout.


1.5 Km

1 Km

500 REM: 50-90% mortality within hours to weeks.


<2 Km

3.75 Km

5 psi overpressure: residential buildings would be demolished


2 Km

5.25 Km

Third-degree burns


 If you have some morbid desire to play with different scenarios, you can go to and roll through different bomb sizes and locations.  Suffice it to say that ground bursts maximize radioactive fallout, air bursts (at different altitudes) maximize the other effects.

Back to how you should prepare other than move away from the city:  establishing the fallout shelter. 

•   Shielding:  remember 2 feet of concrete or 3 feet of packed dirt provide the same protection from radiation (exposure is reduced by 1024 times).  Most of the fallout will be on the ground in 24 hours (assuming clear conditions).  Good news is that you shouldn’t have to worry about radioactive material landing on you after 24 hours or breathing it in.  The bad news is it in on the ground….

•   Sizing:  how many people does it need to accommodate?  FEMA has a 264 page guideline for building shelters if you are interested (see but I can save you some reading time – they say you need a minimum of about 10 sqft of living space per person for a short term stay and an equivalent amount of storage space for supplies.  So you theoretically could fit eight people is a 20 foot shipping container.  News flash:  a twin size bed takes up about 18 sqft so I think they are not realistic.  I have lived in a 20 foot container and with three to four people it is prison like…but if you push bunk beds against one wall and each section has its own access (people don’t have to walk by your space to get to their space), you might be able to do six in a pinch.There are plenty of references available to help you with fallout shelter design or you can buy a pre-fab’ed one.  Check out I recommend you build something as nice as your budget can allow.

•   Stocking your shelter for 3 days to 3 weeks.  Grab your Bug Out Bag as you head to shelter if you don’t already have them pre-positioned there.

•   Field Sanitation – you will need to plan on how to eliminate waste while in the shelter.  It is ok to walk out of your shelter to relief yourself but you will need to decontaminate before you come back in (in the first 24 hours, this consists of removal of outer garments and rinsing off with water.  After 24 hours, you only need to rinse off or remove items that came in contact with the ground).  Might want to consider some plastic jugs for your #1 waste – avoids a trip outside. And you can set up a bucket toilet easily.  They sell prefabricated camping toilets online and at all the major sports outlets but the components are simple:  a chair or stool with a hole in the seat (or a wooden box with a round-hole cut in the top), a bucket underneath and a plastic liner for the bucket.  There are biodegradable bags that you can use which I strongly recommend (particularly if you intend to compost later), or just a regular trash bag if you are sure that you can eventually dispose of your waste.



•   Water – you should plan to pre-stock the shelter with 14 gallons (or more) for each person.  This is drinking water with some limited use for cooking and cleaning.

•   Decontamination– any time you make an excursion outside your shelter, you should put on protective gear or be able to rinse off any thing that came in contact with the ground before you re-enter the shelter (the idea is that the water rinses radioactive dust off your body and down the drain).  You might need a source of non-potable water (such as rain catchment barrels) for this purpose

•   Hygiene – personal hygiene will most likely consist of towel baths inside the shelter. Have plenty of wet wipes on hand if you can or a small basin and some wash clothes.  A hot shower will have to wait until you can exit the shelter.

•   Food – shelter is pre-stocked with two weeks or more of rations per person

•   Food Prep – the ability to prepare or cook food as needed (initiate a fire, tinder, fuel) see next item

•   Ventilation – your shelter does not need to be air tight.  After 24 hours, most of the fallout is on the ground and unless there are high winds and lots of dust, the air is breathable.  And you need to get fresh air particularly if you are cooking or heating – you don’t want to risk carbon monoxide poisoning

•   Power – you may need heat and light in the shelter.  While I like solar powered or crank powered lanterns and lights – you may need to stock up on battery powered lights / flashlights for this scenario.  Chemlites are an option.  Use only as necessary to conserve power.  You may want to fit your shelter with a skylight or some means of using natural light – be prepared to rinse this area off several times in the first couple of days to prevent fallout from settling and compromising your radiation shielding.  If you are burning wood for heat – it would be preferable if your wood pile was protected from fallout.

•   Communication – How would you get your news?  Purchase a crank powered emergency radio

•   Defense – weapons and ammunition.  It may not be feasible to camouflage your shelter so it is not detected but if you can, you should do so.  Don’t forget to have a solid door that will impede

•   Medical – your hygiene, medical, and first aid / trauma kits and Potassium Iodide

•   Entertainment – if your shelter has power then you can settle down to watch all those shows you already DVR’ed.  Otherwise put some board games, cards, or books in your shelter.  Last resort – staring contests or arguing and bickering.  Personally, I am going with some board games….


•   Upon notification move to the shelter, this is not a sprint to the shelter since the fallout takes 24 hours to settle on the ground.  But if you get even a small dusting while moving to your shelter, decontaminate before your enter.

•   If you get a chance and have time, put anything you intend to use later under cover (avoids letting fallout settle on top of your belongings).

•   Start taking your Potassium Iodide


•   Establish a routine in the shelter and try to avoid cabin fever

•   Continue taking Potassium Iodide for 3 to 4 days

•   Strict decontamination protocols when re-entering the shelter

   Monitor those conditions that permit you to leave the shelter.  Radiation diminishes by a factor of 10 every seven hours.  Most areas affected by fallout are habitable after two weeks (radiation has been reduced by a factor of 1000).

♦   First 24 hours, radioactive particles may still be airborne

♦   After 49 hours, radiation levels should be reduced by a factor of 100

♦   After 2 weeks, radiation levels should be reduced by a factor of 1000

♦   After 14 weeks, radiation levels should be reduced by a factor of 10,000


   Decontaminate your property (rinse off anything exposed to the elements)

   Restock and replenish supplies

In Summary:  there is a high stakes game of nuclear diplomacy going on right now – you need to be prepared in case someone calls a bluff. 


De Oppresso Liber 

Comments : (1)

Mar 15, 2021

Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

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