Apocalyptic Warnings

The danger of catastrophic nuclear war is now higher than at any time in world history. But one wouldn’t know that from listening to America’s boneheaded media and political class, whose Democrat and Republican wings disagree only on which of them is the more committed to supporting NATO’s proxy war with Russia.

Democrat Senator Chris Coons first floated the idea of sending U.S. troops to Ukraine in April; at Donald Trump’s “America First” summit in July, there was applause for speeches by members of Congress calling for military advisors on the ground and for the U.S. to, in the words of Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, “absolutely annihilate the Russian forces.”

This is not just rhetoric. In fact, the U.S. already has American CIA and Special Forces personnel on the ground in Ukraine, anonymous sources told The New York Times. And these Americans are already doing their annihilating best by providing military aid and intelligence, bragging (also anonymously to the Times) about their hand in killing Russian generals and sinking Russia’s Black Sea flagship. President Biden told NATO in June that the United States would “support Ukraine as long as it takes.” So far, the bill for U.S. military support of Ukraine has reached $9.8 billion, and Congress has authorized a staggering total of $50 billion in military and nonmilitary aid to Ukraine.

This all gets dangerously close to the blurry line between passive support of Ukraine and active war with Russia, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “Western intelligence agencies not only have provided target coordinates for launching strikes, but Western specialists also have overseen the input of those data into weapons systems,” Shoigu said at an Aug. 16 security conference in Moscow.

In 1962, the world held its breath, fearful and trembling, as brinksmanship between Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. President John F. Kennedy nearly propelled the world into nuclear war. Then, the Soviet Union had an estimated 300 to 500 nukes. In 2022, Russia has nearly 6,000 nuclear warheads, with 1,588 of those strategically deployed on missiles or at bomber bases, according to the Federation of American Scientists. The United States has about the same amount. Each of these warheads is about five times as powerful as the ones dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and they are mounted on missiles and planes that can deliver payloads much faster and with less warning.

Despite these ominous facts, today’s world seems to act as if the Cold War fears that obsessed previous generations are things of the past. This is a world in which far-left actor Sean Penn can go to News Corp. headquarters and express his concern to Fox News host Sean Hannity that the United States might be too “intimidated” to use nuclear weapons against Russia: “No one wants to see a nuclear conflict, at the same time, if only one bully is going to be able to use those weapons, we have to rethink what we are doing,” Penn told Hannity, who didn’t bat an eye. Upstairs in the same building, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by a George W. Bush-administration neoconservative who agreed wholeheartedly with Penn. It was titled, “The U.S. Should Show It Can Win a Nuclear War.”

According to an online blast estimation tool created by nuclear-weapon science-historian Alex Wellerstein, a single 100-kiloton warhead dropped on the News Corp building would demolish every structure and kill every person in Midtown Manhattan instantly, cause severe scarring and disablement from third-degree burns to everyone from the Upper East Side to the West Village, and blow out every window from Hoboken to Harlem. A large-scale nuclear attack against the United States could involve more than a thousand warheads hitting major cities and military targets.

Even people outside of these targets—or outside of the United States and Russia—would not be likely to survive such an exchange. Even if only 100 modern nuclear weapons were exchanged, more than 5 billion people, or two thirds of the world’s population, would die of starvation in the following months, according to a detailed study released Aug. 15 by the scientific journal Nature. That amount of nukes—less than 1 percent of the world’s current stockpiles—would burn enough carbon to throw 11 billion pounds of soot into air, blocking sunlight for months on end, reducing global temperatures by 35 degrees, and causing worldwide crop failure.

God promised not to destroy the world again by water, but he said nothing about fire. On the contrary, in a 1973 apparition approved by the Catholic Church as worthy of belief, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared before Sister Agnes Sasagawa in Akita, Japan, and warned of just such a scenario:

If men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead.

The most famous and most controversial modern apocalyptic prophecy is the Marian apparition at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. In this one, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children, bearing them a warning about Russia, delivered just before the Bolshevik Revolution. She said that Russia would “spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.” To make a long and tortuous story of Vatican politics and corruption short, the Virgin’s warnings were not heeded. In 1944, she returned to Lucy, one of the original seers at Fatima, and asked her to write down a “Third Secret,” which was to be revealed publicly in 1960. The secret allegedly contains an apocalyptic warning similar to the message of Akita. But, again to shorten a long and wicked tale, the Vatican suppressed it.

Revisiting this subject earlier this year as the invading Russian Army approached Kiev, I listened to Canadian journalist Bernard Janzen’s 1997 interview with the late Jesuit priest and writer Malachi Martin, who worked in the Vatican as secretary to Cardinal Bea under the pontificate of John XXIII. Martin claims to have been present in 1960, when the Vatican decided to suppress the Third Secret. Martin told Janzen,

Russia is within the plan. Why? That would take me too far afield into papal secrets, why Russia and Kiev are involved in the final solution of this problem. … It’s purely and simply God’s choice, like he chose the Jews to bring his son into the world through them. He makes choices. He has His own favored solutions to things. I wouldn’t have chosen the Russians, or Kiev, or the East for salvation, but salvation is to come from the East.

Make of that what you will.

—Edward Welsch

(Correction: The seventh paragraph of an earlier version of this article incorrectly cited a 100-megaton nuclear weapon. The correct size is 100-kilotons.)

Image: Operation Redwing-Dakota nuclear test, June 25, 1956 (Federal Government of the United States / via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

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