Perhaps Anatoliy Golitsyn was right. He was a high level Soviet defector that predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, claiming that perestroika and glasnost were charades that had been planned for decades by the Soviet-era KGB leadership to strategically deceive the West into thinking that we had "won" the Cold War. Some evidence: the recent Russian invasion of Georgia, Russia's nuclear threats against Poland, and Putin's hints of positioning ICBMs in Cuba. (As I've written before, history doesn't exactly repeat itself, but it often rhymes.) Was Golitsyn right? The West may have been the victim of the greatest dezinformatisaya (disinformation) campaign in world history. If they've pulled off an illusion this grand, Sun Tzu would be proud. (Some 25 centuries ago, he wrote: "I will force the enemy to take our strength for weakness, and our weakness for strength, and thus will turn his strength into weakness.")
I can foresee that the recent Russian campaign of brinkmanship will continue for months or perhaps years. This may very well escalate, degenerating into a renewed cold war of tit-for-tat escalation--including both diplomatic moves and military posturing. Likely maneuvers for the West might include further demands, economic embargoes, troop redeployments, offshore asset seizures, and diplomatic sanctions. One crucial sanction might be removing Russia from the G8 -- reverting it to the Group of Seven (G7) Nations. We might even soon see something similar to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. And from there it is no great stretch of imagination to envision the cold war tipping over into a genuine hot war--nothing short of World War III.
I believe that western intelligence analysts spotted the Russian troop buildup on the Georgian border many months ago and predicted an invasion. It is noteworthy that the majority of the US "advisers" in Georgia were Special Forces (SF or "Green Beret") troops. Their premier specialty is training guerilla fighters. (Although they are better known publicly as counter-guerilla trainers.) There is a high likelihood that the SF were training Georgian "stay behind" guerillas, in anticipation of a total invasion and takeover of Georgia, by Russia. So things might even get worse in Georgia. Instead of just South Ossetia, the Russians may want the whole enchilada.
But stepping back from these tumultuous events for a moment, it is more likely that we are simply witnessing a spate of Russian saber-rattling. This may pass, and the international scene may regain normalcy. However, I don't rule out the possibility that the recent events could presage something far more serious.
What then, are the implications for well-prepared American families if this escalation were to continue into a new cold war? Based on the experience of the War on Terror (WoT), I predict that any of the following could occur:
- Even greater shortages of storage food and other key preparedness logistics.
- Increased border security and scrutiny of Americans leaving or reentering the United States. This may have a profound effect on anyone that has, or is considering establishing an off-shore retreat.
- A rapid escalation in the price of gold and a coincident collapse in confidence in the United States Dollar.
- A new draft or other some form of forced universal military conscription.
- Widespread shortages and rationing of food, fuel, and other key goods.
- Demonization of anyone making substantive logistical preparations for their families (under the mischaracterization of "hoarding"), regardless of when and how someone stocked up. (Don't let the mass media's twisted Orwellian logic fool you. By stocking up well in advance, you have actually helped to mitigate any future shortages.)
- New laws or executive orders covering a plethora of nouveau 'crimes' including: private possession of a huge list of chemical "precursors"; bans on exotic "paramilitary" ammunition (such as tracer, AP, and incendiary); bans on owning unlicensed amateur radio equipment, night vision equipment, and body armor; criminalization of private hard encryption; banning of large caliber rifles, and so forth.
I urge all SurvivalBlog readers to redouble their efforts to keep a low profile in their communities and their presence on the Internet. If the Cold War reemerges with the same intensity as the Cuban Missile Crisis, we may very well soon enter an age of deception and betrayal that could sweep up innocents as well as malefactors. It is both wise and prudent to avoid creating a 'paper trail', 'electronic footprints', or 'cookie crumbs' when acquiring storage food, ammunition, night vision gear, controversial books, and various logistics. Avoid using credit cards and avoid making purchases from major Internet vendors such as Amazon.com and Buy.com. These are the ones most likely to keep detailed records and also the most likely to be asked to turn them over to authorities.
You should concentrate on making your purchases from small "Mom & Pop Operations", and from private parties. Pay cash and pick up merchandise personally, as much as possible. If you are buying other than face to face, then pay via money order rather than by personal check or credit card. Don't leave your name or address. If it is legal in your state, buy guns only on the secondary market, directly from private parties. (Be sure to consult your state and local laws!).
I also encourage all SurvivalBlog readers to use Anonymizer Safe Surfing Suite , Scroogle.org (for web searches), TrueCrypt, PGP, and other Internet privacy software and services to lower your profile. All of this might sound slightly paranoid, but in my estimation a higher degree of privacy is, again, wise and prudent, even if times aren't likely to get any worse than they already are.
I'd appreciate input from readers about what they would consider an essential checklist of preparations for a new international crisis, or, may God forbid, for World War III.