Your 2022 World War III CBRN Survival Guide

Your 2022 World War III CBRN Survival Guide

by Matt Collins

The Third World War officially began when China invaded Taiwan in the Spring of 2023 …

The tiny island stronghold produced 92% of the world's most advanced microchips.

Western nations tried to resist. They issued punitive sanctions and declared treaties. But without access to cutting-edge technology, their entire infrastructure came grinding to a halt.

Power stations, closed-circuit television cameras—even the OCR machines that process our mail—none of it could run for very long without access to new semiconductors. Not to mention the massive military apparatus (worth $754 billion a year in America alone) that was suddenly paralyzed for fear they wouldn't be able to repair or replace necessary hardware.

China wouldn't officially join forces with Putin's regime until Winter 2024, but the damage was already done.

Countries in the E.U. and North America had effectively been bullied into signing the Treaty of Ypres, restoring their access to the now-Chinese chip production (albeit at a much higher price). And without capable governments, the cries for war fell on deaf ears.

Thus, the world looked on in horror as Russian troops edged into Moldova, then Serbia and Finland by 2028. The West wouldn't become technologically independent until 2034.

Some historians claimed the war ended the very day it began. The day that Chinese troops flooded Taiwan in an amphibious invasion more than 15 times the size of D-day. But few can even imagine what would've happened if we'd fought back …

(Image source: Image courtesy of Council on Foreign Relations)

The specter of World War 3 has for decades loomed large over culture, politics, and our lives …

Almost immediately after the end of the last world war—which claimed a staggering 50 million lives—the world was plunged into a Cold War between the only two world powers left standing; Russia and America.

Nuclear brinksmanship and the potential for mutually-assured destruction injected an undercurrent of fear and uncertainty into a rapidly-evolving world. But as time went on, the Cold War cooled off. Ecstatic Germans pulled down the Berlin Wall. And for a brief while in the 1990s, it seemed possible that we'd entered a new era of peace and prosperity.

But Vladimir Putin's rise to power has conspired with increasing instability throughout the Middle East to make today's world more dangerous than ever.

The famous Doomsday Clock, invented by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to represent the risk of a potential nuclear bombing (aka "counting down to doomsday), now stands at just 100 seconds to midnight.

That's closer than ever to Armageddon—closer than even the peak of the Cold War nuclear race.

The risk of a scenario playing out like the one above, or something even worse, is genuine. So today, we'll look at the various scenarios that could descend into a world war III.

And we'll look at what you can do (if anything) to stay prepared for them.

  • 01

    Spiraling Out of Control—and Into War

  • 02

    Five Close Calls with World War 3

  • 03

    What Would Happen If World War 3 Started?

  • 04

    How Can I Personally Prepare for World War 3?

  • 05

    Essential Survival Gear for World War III

  • 06

    Conclusion: Surviving Thucydides' Trap

Spiraling Out of Control—and Into War

The insanity of war is something you should never underestimate.

World War 1 is the ultimate illustration of this point …

On June 28th, 1914, an angry young man fired two shots at a government official whose car was stuck on the road. But instead of a minor political assassination as it should have been, the killing lit a match in the proverbial powder keg of Europe.

Millions of other young men would be marching off to war within two months. Their superiors promised glory in combat and that they'd all be "home by Christmas."

Four years of horrific fighting later, and 20 million were dead.

The sheer horror of World War 1 defies explanation. We'll speak more on that war in an upcoming article, but in the meantime check out the classic All Quiet on the Western Front or Dan Carlin's Blueprint for Armageddon series from his Hardcore History podcast. Both paint an appropriately grim picture of World War 1's senseless destruction.

All because some kid shot a few nobles.

So even if you think the world's learned. Even if you think the images of wars from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan might have made us wiser, you still can't afford to underestimate the small catalysts that can trigger massive conflagrations.

The terrorist attack on 9/11 was far more devastating. It was the first time we'd been attacked on American soil by a foreign faction since the War of 1812. But the military response to Al Qaeda's attack was orders of magnitude beyond anything you might have expected at the time. Over a trillion dollars and multiple decades were spent trying to ferret out the forces that had given shelter to terrorists like Bin Laden.

Political forces, public favor, history and culture can all play a role in touching off a new war. Sometimes a drop in polling numbers or a tough upcoming election is all it takes for a world leader to call for military action.

World Wars are a different beast.

(Image source: Image courtesy of DNA India)

Technically there were "world wars" before 1914. The War of Austrian Succession and Spanish Succession were both multi-lateral affairs involving a number of belligerents. Even the Boer Wars involved various forces from across different continents.

But the actual World Wars we've known are those from the modern industrial era. The era of Total War, where an entire society is leveled against another, with either eradication or submission as their only acceptable outcome.

Take the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon's famous last battle. There's been plenty of ink spilled and legends told over this one, but less than 200,000 men were actually in combat. Compare that to the first Battle of Ypres in the First World War, which showed 5.4 million from the German Empire and 4.4 million from the Allies.

To put that another way, more men died at Ypres than fought at Waterloo.

And that was only the first battle of Ypres.

Another three-quarter million would die fighting over that same wretched ground.

Modern industrial war is mechanized. It's a brutal killing machine that's only gotten more efficient in recent generations. An unproven quote from Einstein quips, "I do not know what weapons World War III will be fought with, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

Five Close Calls with World War 3

Once you realize how easy it can be for the world to spiral into conflict—and how difficult it can be to end a world war—you begin to realize how many times we've come terrifying close to another conflagration …

#1: The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) is probably the world's most prominent and memorable brush with World War III. Of course, the crisis began with American nuclear missiles staged in Turkey (near Russian borders), and Russia responded by placing their missiles in Cuba (near our borders).

The event brought the threat of nuclear bombing extremely close to home for Americans. Children in school were told they should "duck and cover" in the event of a nuclear attack, while their parents stayed glued to the latest news broadcasts. Things nearly came to a head on October 27th when a Soviet submarine almost fired a nuclear-tipped torpedo at an American vessel, a Lockheed U-2 spy plane was shot down in Cuban airspace, and another U-2 was nearly intercepted over Siberia—all in the same day.

Authorities were ultimately able to de-escalate, installing a direct phone line from Moscow to the White House and signing the 1963 test ban treaty to take a step back from nuclear proliferation. The treaty has since been signed by 126 nations, with China as a notable exception.

#2: The Petrov Save (1983) Few men can claim they singlehandedly saved the world from nuclear bombing. But Stanislav Petrov can.

(Image source: Image courtesy of New York Times)

When he went to work at the Serpukhov-15 bunker outside Moscow on the morning of September 26th, tensions were high between the U.S. and the USSR. So he could've easily panicked when his Oko early warning system went off, indicating an incoming American ICBM with four more behind it. Instead, Petrov squinted at the alert. Why would the Americans only launch five missiles? Why not hit us with everything they've got? He also remembered the questionable reliability of the Oko satellite system.

o Petrov waited for corroboration, saw none, and wrote the event off as a false alarm (which it was). Former KGB head Oleg Kalugin believes this decision may have directly prevented nuclear war. The danger was in the Soviet leadership thinking, 'The Americans may attack, so we better attack first.'"

#3: Able Archer (1983) occurred the same year as the Petrov save and proved that most Russian leaders weren't as level-headed as Stanislav.

Able Archer was the codename for an intense NATO military exercise. Elements participated in a ten-day exercise of nerve-wracking conflict escalation that would ultimately end in a simulated DEFCON 1 strike. It was a bold effort to prepare for the worst possible outcome—that almost precipitated it.

Soviet leadership was alarmed by the sudden influx of soldiers in nearby European countries. Some believed the Able Archer exercise might be a ruse, with NATO forces actually staging an invasion. It's not an uncommon trick. Russia did the same thing before invading Ukraine.

So Warsaw Pact military elements jumped to high alert. Fighter jets and bombers were moved to East Germany and Poland, with infantry prepared for a counter-attack. Fortunately, the Able Archer exercise ended after just ten days, and the situation dissolved.

#4: The Norwegian Rocket Incident (1995) was the first and only Russia's Cheget nuclear briefcase was ever activated.

Following the launch of a Black Brant XII research rocket in Norway, Russia's Olenegorsk early warning system issued an alert. Having mistaken the research rocket for a Trident SLBM, leadership summoned Boris Yeltsin and brought out the nuclear briefcase.

Of course, the rocket never made a turn for Russian airspace. So the situation dematerialized almost as quickly as it began. In hindsight, officials realized they'd been notified of the research rocket's launch. But apparently, no one ever told the radar technicians.

#5: The Blunt Save at Pristina Airport (1999) saw pop singer James Blunt defuse a situation that could've quickly escalated into World War 3.

On June 12th, the day after the War in Kosovo ended, roughly 250 Russian peacekeepers were stationed at the Pristina International Airport. But NATO forces needed to secure the airport to receive reinforcements by air.

NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Wesley Clark ordered his men to use force and remove the Russians from the airport. British Army General Mike Jackson famously shot back, "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you," realizing the volatility of the moment.

(Image source: Image courtesy of All That’s Interesting)

The lead officer at the head of the NATO tank column was none other than soon-to-be pop star James Blunt. When the order came in to "Destroy!" Blunt ignored it and instead followed Jackson's orders to encircle the airport—averting a potential flashpoint between NATO and Russian forces.

 

In hindsight, it was naïve to expect World War III would involve guns.

After all, almost 300 million Americans were living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant. We relied on the internet, connected devices, and networked utilities to live our everyday lives.

We made ourselves the perfect target for mass cyberwarfare attacks.

It started small. Rolling blackouts … bad video streaming quality. Your websites would take longer to load. Come to find out it was all because the world's black hat hackers were suddenly firing malware all over the place.

Even today, it's impossible to know who started it all. Russians? Chinese? Some angry neckbeard in a basement? Maybe it was a larger trend. But however it happened, military-grade hacks were suddenly showing up all over the grid. Hospitals suddenly couldn't keep the lights on. People were dying.

And things only escalated …

Since no one knew where the attacks were coming from, they all started blasting at everything they could see. China's internet barely worked for years. Russia's systems became so compromised that even they couldn't make heads from tails anymore. It was like our global addiction to the internet had finally turned into an overdose.

Then everything started crashing. Markets, commerce — even life expectancy.

No guns. No bullets. No one marching off to war. But that also meant no one was safe. Estimates range up to 35 million dead. Technically they froze to death because the power was out. Or they died when they couldn't get timely medical care. But in reality, they were casualties of a war that most historians still refuse to admit was even a war.

What Would Happen If World War 3 Started?

Based on America's response to the War on Terror, you could expect the U.S. military (and NATO in turn) to respond in full force when faced with an existential or ideological threat.

Our Armed Forces are the best-funded and most technologically advanced in the world. And they've trained for the specific battles and conflicts that might arise against our most likely opponents through exercises like Able Archer mentioned above.

America's geography is another critical factor in any potential global conflict.

Moving supplies across the Atlantic to Western Europe was an intense challenge during the second World War. But by the 1980s, Western innovations like the Sound over Surveillance (SOSUS) passive radar system solidified NATO's control of the Atlantic. Dealing with a potential Asian enemy would be more complicated, but a complex network of powers across the Pacific Rim would make life hell for our opponents.

What about nuclear war?

(Image source: Image courtesy of CNN)

Of all the NATO powers, only three have nuclear attack weapons (France, the United States and the United Kingdom). Of the three, only the U.S. engages in nuclear sharing, whereby American weapons can be "hosted" in foreign countries as deterrents to a potential war. Despite being stationed in foreign lands, these weapons remain under the custody of U.S. Air Force officials until the time of use.

It's believed that some 480 US nuclear attack weapons are deployed throughout Europe through this nuclear sharing agreement.

Meanwhile, it's estimated Russia has stockpiled a total of 5,977 nuclear warheads. Given their army equipment's performance during the war in Ukraine, it's questionable whether they can get together the hardware to deliver all of these.

Nevertheless, even a "minor" nuclear conflict would have devastating effects …

For example, if nuclear war were to break out between India and Pakistan, recent computer models estimate that 5-47 million tons of soot could be blasted into the atmosphere. An all-out nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would send up 150 million tons or more. Cross-referencing this with available data from the United Nations on calorie production paints a genuinely horrifying picture:

That small-scale war between India and Pakistan? It would reduce total calories in global food production by 50% after five years.

That's half the world's food gone due to an abrupt nuclear winter.

(Image source: Image courtesy of NATO)

And that war between the U.S. and Russia? An all-out war would reduce global calorie production by 90% within three to four years.

Production would eventually recover as the skies cleared, but the death toll would be massive. Food costs would soar.

It's all haunting. But you could just move to Australia.

Due to being away from the major latitudes and far further South, Australia's more likely to be clear of nuclear pollution soon after a conflict. Alternately, any country that exports a great deal of food is likely to be safe if trade is halted due to shortages.

How Can I Personally Prepare for World War 3?

If you were alive when World War II broke out in 1939, there was a 1 in 30 chance you wouldn't live to see 1945.

That's not just for soldiers, either. That number includes men, women, children, and the elderly. War can be vicious, and Total War across dozens of countries can be devastating.

Today's threats are far more advanced, but we also have more ways to protect ourselves.

Let's talk about a few steps you can take to protect yourself and your family, starting with things you can easily do today, then moving up from there …

Step #1: Back Up 100% of Your Data Right Now. This step might take less than an hour and can protect you from a massive range of cyber-attacks or even attempted identity theft. Back up all of your online data to an offline source. USB thumb drives are ideal, but printed copies of statements are also viable. Your goal is to create physical proof for all of your online accounts. Stock brokerage, savings, college accounts—any financial asset with an account number should be backed up physically in your home or safe deposit box. That way, you have concrete proof of your hard-earned savings in the event of a significant cyber-attack. Medical records should also be added.

Step #2: Build Out Your PPE Plan. If war gets too close for comfort, you want to be ready. That's why we recommend having a PPE plan for your immediate family. By PPE plan, we mean take a look at your surrounding area. Are you living in California, where wildfires are common? Are you near a major urban center that could be targeted with nuclear weapons? Are you living within 20 miles of a nuclear plant? You need to be aware of your surroundings and use your judgment to prepare for the most likely threats to your area and what it will take to survive those threats. Fortunately, we've got the gear you'll need to stay safe (more on that in a minute).

Step #3: Stock Up on Essentials. That includes food, water, medicine, medical kits, and anything else you can't live without (think backup prescription glasses or spare medical equipment). Even if you're not worried about World War 3, these things can be beneficial in the event of a blizzard, hurricane, or another major disaster that might disrupt supply lines. This step doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Rice, pulses and beans can all be stored in vacuum-sealed bags for up to 20 years. Other dehydrated foods have a similar shelf life, though they cost a little more. Just make sure you don't skimp on your water supply.

Step #4: Increase Your Independence. This final step is a bit more subjective, and it's up to you. I've always loved living in a nuclear bunker, but I realize that's not for everyone. Instead, you might opt to move to scenic Australia, as we mentioned before, or maybe just start growing food or tending chickens in your yard. Even purchasing cryptocurrency makes you a little more independent. And any of these steps makes you less dependent on a system that could become increasingly unstable in the event of a third world war.

(Image source: Image courtesy of New York Times)

 

They eventually named it Yama.

Through careful reconstruction and forensic analysis, experts surmised the virus may have originated from Belorussia. There, it was embedded into the rootkits of printed circuit board (PCB) components used in Russia's nuclear mainframes.

Whoever designed Yama was intimately familiar with Russia's highest security protocols. They designed the virus to lay dormant and wait for system reboots and updates.

In these brief moments, it would copy small component files across systems.

Automated sweeps weren't even up and running by the time the transactions were complete. And even manual inspection wouldn't have seen anything out of order. Experts believe the payload included active Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) components to manage secrecy.

It took three years for Yama to undermine critical firewalls, alarm systems and comms protocols.

On the day, it's rumored that most missile crews were taken by complete surprise. No alarm bells. No klaxons or blinking red lights. Just an ICBM suddenly vaulted into the stratosphere before their whole control room darkened.

On May 3rd, 2033, at 9:04:32 am EST, 95% of Russia's nuclear missiles were fired at key targets in the E.U. and the U.S. The remaining 5% failed to fire, after which the virus detonated them in their silos.

American security forces tried but failed to execute a manual override of their automated systems. None of these officials survived the first blast, but it's believed they were foiled by faulty software or computer interface.

Thus, America's nuclear security AI Caesar launched a corresponding alpha strike just 17 minutes after Russia's volley. D.C. was struck with a cutting-edge hypersonic less than 10 minutes after Caesar's counter-attack.

By noon, 2 billion were dead.

It would be decades before anyone realized another A. I. created Yama.

Essential Survival Gear for World War III

As I mentioned above, there are a few items that you must have in your arsenal if you're concerned the war virus might spread …

Thyrosafe

The Thyrosafe Potassium Iodide tablets flood your system with safe iodine, which prevents your thyroid glands from taking in deadly Iodine-131 (I-131). The compound is an extremely common byproduct of nuclear meltdowns, causing thyroid cancer in those affected. Each dose of Thyrosafe provides up to 24 hours of protection, giving you enough time to get your family to safety.

This is essential, and there are no excuses not to have it in your home. When the war broke out in Ukraine in early 2022, America's Thyrosafe supply instantly sold out. The threat of a true Ukraine Russia nuclear war was on every neighboring country’s mind. So if you wait until you need it, it will be too late to buy it.

CM-6M Tactical Gas Mask

(Image source: Image courtesy of 1911 Syndicate)

A CBRN rated, full face respirator or gas mask can quite literally be the difference between life or death when it comes to exposure to possible exposure to various forms of chemical warfare agents and nuclear fallout materials. Luckily, the MIRA Safety CM-6M Tactical Gas Mask is the perfect tool for the job.

The bromobutyl rubber construction will prevent the user’s face from being exposed to said deadly agents. The durable polycarbonate panoramic visor is strong enough to take a hard impact without cracking while also providing a wide field of view for easy navigation. Every survivalist with even the slightest likelihood of encountering a warzone should keep on hand a professional-grade gas mask like the CM-6M.

NBC-77 SOF Gas Mask Filter

(Image source: Image courtesy of The Iridium Group)

Of course, a gas mask is only as good as the filter that comes with it. MIRA Safety's flagship gas mask filter, the NBC-77 SOF, has two essential qualities that could help save your life in the event of nuclear fallout. The first is a P3 particle rating, which means it can sufficiently filter out all irradiated particulate. The second is a Reactor rating, which means the filter is specifically designed to protect you from the radioactive iodine mentioned above.

The NBC-77 SOF filter will also protect you from various chemical weapons, biological threats, and industrial contaminants. The filter has a 20-year shelf life, so that it will last as long as your MIRA Safety gas mask.

MIRA Safety HAZ-SUIT

(Image source: Image courtesy of Blue Line Syndicate Group)

Full-body protection may become essential in the event of nuclear fallout, chemical weapons, or in many other scenarios.

The MIRA Safety HAZ-SUIT is a fully impermeable Level B hazmat suit in various sizes. It's compatible with any respirator and CBRN-rated gloves and boots (such as the MIRA Safety HAZ-Gloves and Overboots) as well as designed to be sealed with Kappler Chemtape, which will help to ensure that fallout, chemical warfare agents, or other particulate make contact with your skin in any area.

These suits are tear-resistant with a virtually endless shelf life, making them a significant investment in your family's protection.

Conclusion: Surviving Thucydides' Trap

The "Thucydides Trap" is a term used to describe the tendency towards war when an up-and-coming power threatens to replace the existing world order.

(Image source: Image courtesy of Live Science)

Graham Allison points out that when a new power starts to replace an old one, they go to war about 75% of the time. That's pretty grim, especially when you account for the killing power of deadly new weapons like hypersonic missiles.

A third world war or even a nuclear conflict might seem practically impossible at the moment. But things always seem impossible until they're suddenly a reality. History has shown us these things can spiral out of control without warning.

So it's crucial to take those critical steps and stay ahead of the curve in terms of protecting yourself and your family. Do not become complacent, monitor world events, purchase essential survival equipment well ahead of time, and plan accordingly. Your and your family’s survival could depend on it.