Richard Mueller, an emeritus professor of physics at the University of California-Berkeley, believes that Vladimir Putin's losses in Ukraine and the Wagner Group rebellion have increased the chances of the Russian president expanding the 17-month-old conflict.
However, Moll argues in an article in the Wall Street Journal that the outbreak of World War III may not be what we expect. The current model of escalating nuclear conflict was separated by physicist Hermann Kahn, founder of the Hudson Institute, 60 years ago, but other technologies have come a long way since then.
Mueller explained that conventional weapons, bombs, missiles or troops may never appear in World War III. Biological viruses and computer viruses are likely to be the weapon of choice. He gave the example of COVID-19 that it was not a deliberate attack, but it hit the U.S. economy quickly and successfully.
Any country considering using a deadly virus as a weapon of war will first need to vaccinate its people, perhaps under the guise of flu vaccination, the physicist said. He added that long-term immunity at the population level would force the virus to be sufficiently improved before it is released, to reduce the likelihood of another mutation. This is what happened with the new coronavirus where no serious mutations occurred for 9 months.
Computer viruses Mueller
added that using the virus as a weapon would also need to incorporate the immunosuppressive gene, as was the case with COVID-19 or RF-8, which reduces early symptoms, making it easier to spread through asymptomatic carriers.
For a covert attack to succeed, the virus must be released in the target country and not in the country of origin, and perhaps near a biological facility so that the world can mistakenly conclude that it came as a leak from a clandestine local program.
For a covert attack to succeed, the virus must be released in the target country rather than in the country of origin, perhaps near a biological facility so that the world can mistakenly conclude that it came as a leak from a clandestine domestic program.
Mueller, who is also the national security adviser at the independent consulting group Jason, which includes elite scientists, spoke of computer viruses as another weapon in World War III, such as ransomware that can simultaneously target power grids, power plants, factories, oil refineries, trains, airlines, shipping, banking, water supply, sewage treatment plants and more.
Hospitals Key Targets
But Mueller believes hospitals will be the most prominent targets, and avoiding obvious military targets will reinforce the illusion that this war has not begun. An attacker or attackers may falsely claim that their systems are also under siege, as wrong routing can be more effective than just camouflage.
He pointed out that this is not a catastrophic scenario that is excluded from the writing of Hollywood writers, because biological and electronic viruses have been, to some extent, tested in the field.
The great value of a dual biological and cyber attack for an attacker lies in the possibility of achieving destructive goals while keeping the entire process secret.
America's leaders should take seriously the prospect of defeating their country without being invaded or even knowing it is under attack. He said the way to deter such an attack, was to convince potential hostile actors that success was impossible and that the consequences for the attacker would be quick and dire.