DOES AMERICA’S NUCLEAR DETERRENT EVEN WORK?
Many people spotted the following article and passed it along, and I think I know why. The "why" is that if you've been watching American and Russian tests of their missiles lately, you'll be singularly impressed with the Russian launches, and singularly unimpressed by the few American launches, the most recent test launch of which was a failure:
Now, granted, I'm in that camp that thinks ICBMs and nuclear weapons are ... well... obsolescent if not obsolete. I also think billion-dollar-plus aircraft carriers are nothing but missile-and-torpedo magnets and about as useful as muskets in modern warfare, and indeed, the musket may be more useful. It's certainly less expensive and therefore perhaps more cost-effective for your defense dollar investment. But as for ICBMs, they're a very expensive and fussy way to rain down mass destruction on the planet. H-bombs are messy things. They have a really big "bang," but they leave fallout all over the place. A much better solution if you want to take out cities or regions are satellite-based kinetic weapons - "rods of god". They can cause the same amount of destruction as h-bombs, they can be precisely targeted, and there's no fallout mess to clean up, but rather, messes of a different sort (just ask the Chinese, if you've been paying attention).
I have also no problem with the idea that there's a "hidden group" of people on this planet with access to such weapons. After all, I've written a great deal about the idea.
But where does that leave the rest of us without access to such weapons and who are still reliant on things like muskets, aircraft carriers, ICBMs, and H-bombs? Well, if you've been following those types of developments lately, you'll be aware of the fact that China has built a few aircraft carriers, but the real news is Russia. That country spends a fraction of the USA's defense budget, and has nonetheless managed to do the following in recent years, months, and weeks:
(1) decimate a NATO-and-USA-trained and equipped large army in the Ukraine, using older Soviet-era equipment;
(2) successfully test launch hyper-sonic ICBMs that can change targets while in flight, and land virtually anywhere in the world, whose speeds and independent targetability thus make them incredibly difficult if not impossible to defend against; and
(3) successfully (and recently) launched the world's largest nuclear submarine, which can and does deploy nuclear torpedoes.
And let's not forget the two USS Donald Cook incidents where an obsolescent Sukhoi 22 fighter jet apparently shut down the electronics of US Navy's most recent class of missile frigate while on patrol in the Black Sea.
Which brings us to two statements in the article that gave me profound pause:
A late night ICBM missile test in California ended in disaster, as it exploded just seconds after lift-off on Wednesday.
Officials with the Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lompoc, California confirmed that "The Minotaur II space launch vehicle exploded approximately 11 seconds after launching off the test pad at 11:01 p.m. local time, Vandenberg," which was announced Thursday morning.
"The military base was testing the U.S. Air Force’s new missile rocket, which is expected to be used with the future LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile," one area report details.
"Both are being developed by the Air Force’s Nuclear Weapons Center to will replace the aging Minuteman missiles that have previously been tested at the Central Coast base, located near Lompoc," the reported added. (Emphasis added)
Now for those who don't know, both the USA and Russia have traditionally relied upon a "triad" base of nuclear weapons delivery systems as their deterrents: land-based ICBMs, submarine-based ICBMs, and finally, aircraft-delivered bombs and cruise-missiles, which require bombers to do so. Again, I'm not taking much comfort in America's deterrent, for as noted in this article, the land-based component of America's deterrent is "the aging Minuteman missile," a missile that first was deployed when I was a boy, and which is an immobile, silo-based weapon. Russia, meanwhile, has developed and deployed whole generations of land-based ICBMs that are actually road and country mobile, and that can move around and are thus relatively more difficult to target. One can only presume that America's submarine launched ballistic missiles are still the old Tridents, themselves but an update of the late 1950s Poseidons. Even the French submarine launched ICBMs are more recent generation weapons.
Meanwhile, our replacement for the Minuteman blows up after launch....
... this is not a good posture to exhibit, or message to be sending, in a world of western provocations against Russia in the Ukraine, especially when one adds into this mix the doubts being aired on who, really, has control over the USA's nuclear football.
Stop and think about that; that is a disturbing mix: who has control of the football, and do those aging Minutemen missiles even work any more?
See you on the flip side...
Help the Community Grow
Please understand a donation is a gift and does not confer membership or license to audiobooks. To become a paid member, visit member registration.