You are the leader of a country on Earth, 2017. Some time soon, a world war will break out, in which many powerful countries will join together and attempt to destroy your nation. Your only interest is in defending yourself. Your country is not an enclave nor an island.

Given a somewhat arbitrary but still realistic and feasible amount of time, ressources, knowledge, and technology, what is the best defense system that you can come up with, which would essentially ensure your ability to repel and negate all realistic and feasible attacks, both ground-based and aerial, and guarantee both your survival and limited casualties (or, if such guarantees are not possible, how close can one get?).

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    $\begingroup$ It is unclear if your aim is to save your Nation or just yourself. In both cases answer may depend heavily on why you ended up in the "bad guys" list. $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Aug 20 '17 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ Without a threat model this question is unanswerable. Nothing is impenetrable. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Aug 20 '17 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding Haroo! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Aug 20 '17 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ Your question has been put on hold for the time being. This means that no new answers can be added as the current form doesn't align with the guidelines of the community. You can edit your question to narrow the scope down so that it becomes answerable. For example you could try to focus on ground-based or aerial combat for now and explain what limits you would find acceptable for casualties. Questions that are too broad can be salvaged most of the time by splitting the question into multiple posts and focussing on details in each one linking to the others and incorporating the feedback. $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Aug 21 '17 at 11:13

Preemptive Surrender.

Since your only concern is survival, announce openly your willingness to step down from the throne in return for your countries safety. Admit that whatever offensive actions that your country performed (to put it on the "bad guy" list) are solely your responsibility as the Leader. Offer to assist in the transition process from monarchy to democracy. Request that the moneys that the world was about to spend destroying you, instead be invested to the benefit of your country and your victims.

Earnest repentance will greatly reduce your opposition's ability to assault you without putting themselves and their countries on the "bad guy" list. You may spend the rest of your life in a private white collar prison, but you will survive and the burden of insuring your survival and safety will fall upon those who imprisoned you. If played with enough humility, you might even come out of this as a hero.

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    $\begingroup$ Probably not what OP was looking for, but deserves an upvote for out-of-the-box thinking. $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Aug 20 '17 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ Sweet answer! The other thing is that if you surrender to just one of the alliance of powerful countries, you shift the balance of power. Now in any future attack, the putative allies of that country will need to fight both it and you. $\endgroup$ – Willk Aug 20 '17 at 20:00

Okay, all those countries are set to come after yours, and they really mean it? Then you have lost. So what can be done?

Raise the cost of starting the war

This may be considered cheating, because the author of the story said they will attack, but think about something like MAD coupled with making a show of being a "chess player" rather than a "poker player" -- convince them that you can be deterred, just as you deter them.

This MAD could consist of a global component (ICBMs with thermonuclear warheads, nothing less will be cost-effective on an ICBM) and a regional component (TBMs with nuclear or chemical warheads).

  • You might consider a deployment by special forces, but that risks looking unstable. Missiles in silos and subs are something that nuclear strategists understand.
  • If you have a sufficiently large lake, consider basing a conventional SSB there.
  • Do not pull any crazy stunts that get you placed on an Axis of Evil.

Similarities and differences with an existing country in North-East Asia are not coincidental.

Raise the cost of starting a land war

If your headquarters are dug in deep enough, a couple dozen "punitive" cruise missiles won't hurt you. (Edit: conventional ones, that is. Henry is right in pointing out that nukes will crack any reasonable bunker.) It is the invasion that will change the regime.

  • Issue chemical ammo to your artillery, and make threats of their use credible.
  • Prepare to fall back slowly towards a National Redoubt. While playing it defensively will never win your war, it will increase the casualties of the attacker, and credible plans to bleed the enemy might make them hesitate.
  • As a side benefit, such clearly defensive operational plans will reinforce the image that you will not lash our with the MAD unless you are sorely pressed.
  • If the citizenry is generally trustworthy, every young man or woman does concript service, and they all get to take a rifle and a hundred rounds of ammo home afterwards. That means anybody who would die for the Dear Leader will have an opportunity to take an invader with him.
  • Make sure that every house has a NBC shelter in the basement, stocked with water for a month and dried food for a year.

Similarities with an existing country in Europe are not coincidential.


Aside from the above mentioned MAD scenario and depending on exactly why you are in the current predicament, another option may be "preemptive strike".

Real or just menaced, some kind of surgical strike minimizing life loss, but crippling opponent's war capabilities may be what you need to buy the time needed to remove causes for the war.

It is very important, in this case, to make plain you do not have any wish to harm the other Nations, you only want to be left alone.

Again (I'm beginning to sound monotonous even to myself) much of the strategies are open, but they deeply depend on details of current situation and its evolution.

To build an impregnable citadel may be possible for a certain period of time, but it won't save the Nation, just yourself. After Nation has been conquered it's only question of time before they dig you out from wherever you holed up, but it may buy you time enough to escape in some "friendly" country with enough money to live a Maharaja life.



"There are 10 bombs in low Earth orbit, they are quite stealthy. Each is 10 gigatons. So long as we broadcast the proper code key of the day they will do nothing. If those broadcasts cease they will detonate when they pass over points pre-chosen for maximum devastation. They will detonate if attacked."

If they don't believe you and attack anyway you detonate one over the South Pole. The EMP will fry the electronics in the bases down there and thus doom the crews but beyond that the damage will be minimal.

In reality there are only 5 bombs, any attempt to find all 10 and take them out simultaneously is doomed.

(Note: Bombs of this power will fry basically all electronics within a huge range and the thermal pulse will light so many fires that the area to the horizon--which is hundreds of miles--will burn unless there's simply nothing there to burn, such as with the demonstration over Antarctica.)


Since the advent of atomic weapons (and to a lesser degree poison gas weapons), the construction of a fortress or any physically impenetrable defense has become impossible. If your enemy is willing to use nukes, you cannot build anything that can survive their attack. Even if your fortification somehow survives the first such attack, subsequent repeat nuclear attacks would eventually crack any defense. NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain facility may be able to survive a direct hit, but I am certain in the case of nuclear war, it will have to deal with more than one direct attack. It was designed to survive long enough to insure that none of its enemies survive at all, but it was not designed to actually survive as such a design is impossible.

There is only one solution which can guarantee survival on a hostile modern battlefield and it is so close to insanity that even its advocates cringe at its implications. That solution is the extremely apply named policy, MAD which stands for mutually assured destruction. When your enemy cannot attack you without suffering your retaliation; and when your retaliation promises to be so intense that no life on earth will survive it...

chances are pretty good that they will never attack at all. They will find other, peaceful ways to get what they want. The battlefield will move into the boardroom and political/economic pressure will be used rather than open conflict.

Have your country's best scientists create a perfect biological weapon; a highly contagious airborne guaranteed killer with a symptom free, yet contagious incubation phase and no known cure. Then publish enough videos of your human trials that no one in the world can doubt the weapons existence or effectiveness and end each video with your simple request...

If you want this planet to live, leave my country alone!


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