Although under the current POTUS, Americans in general have much to fear—nuclear strikes, the tariff-based collapse of the economy, the long-term debasement of the American political and justice systems, successful Russian fear-mongering and rampant distrust of American systems and values, etc.—there are a few existential threats to American and Western civilization that make the other issues look like momentary annoyances. The biggest of those issues is the potential collapse of America’s electrical power grid system, sometimes called the largest interconnected machine on the planet.

This would be a ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment for us all—the plantation big house afire along with every living structure on the master’s land ablaze simultaneously. The accidental or deliberate collapse of this country’s electrical grid—and Russia, along with a few other assorted countries have been practicing for such an American attack for quite a few years—for a sustained period of time, in spite of American ingenuity when faced with such bleakness, would literally put this country back into the 18th century.

No electricity means no gasoline (no pumping), no water filtration, no food preservation, no electronic communications, no production of medicines, virtually no distance transportation, etc., according to grid experts.

The way the system is currently structured, there are three interconnected regional grids servicing the USA: the Eastern, the Western, and Texas. Bring down a small number of substations within each of those 3 interconnects, and you not only break the relays, one cannot repair the breakage without serious damage being done to the whole system. For example, a highly trained mobile team of terrorists can overpower a few substations by simply shooting high-caliber bullets through a few transformers.

The transformers cannot be repaired, they must be replaced. If there are limited spare transformers available—terrorists hitting multiple targets—that whole regional grid goes down in a cascading series of failures and for a substantial period of time. Because there is a severe limit on available transformers, maybe even the entire national grid goes down. It takes several months to build new replacement transformers.

Clearly, a severe solar storm or extreme weather event can disrupt and fry the electrical grid naturally, as has happened in the past. In 1989 in Quebec everything went black because of severe weather, and in 2003, power was shut off from Detroit to New York City because several large trees shorted out power lines. But the real danger, says a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, is a coordinated cyber attack by outside state actors against America’s electrical grid. Some experts have even said that the next 9/11-type event in this country will be such an attack.

The Trump administration is in no way preparing to handle such a crisis. According to many military and computer experts, this country is highly vulnerable to a devastating attack on our national electrical grid any day now, and we are doing very little to prepare resistance or positive responses to such an event.

Under the previous administration, President Obama called for an enhanced protection protocol for the nation’s grid system, but the current president has treated this issue as another place to cut regulations and safeguards. The USA’s grid currently is like a half-naked lady in a stiff wind waiting for the inevitable. This is something to really be afraid of for all of us. We can protect ourselves against man-made mayhem, and we can shore up our abilities to bounce back after natural causes, but inaction will lead to certain catastrophe in the near future. Russia has already shown recently that it can shut down sections of America’s electrical grid. Why hasn’t such Russian activity been punished and blocked?

Is this how America gets (or stays) great again? Hardly.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.