Trump Nuke Tweets and Rouge One Death Stars

No I have not yet seen Rouge One. But apparently there is a nasty Death Star that has to be retrieved before all known organic, chemical, and sedimentary life forms are deleted in one big, big, bang. And Oppenheimer thought he was the real evil genius. Maybe President-Elect Trump has seen the film, or maybe members of his family or staff certainly have, if he hasn’t.

So when Trump tweets about boosting America's nuclear arsenal, or at least upgrading aging components of the system - with a suddenly wary eye on Russia's upgrading of its own nuclear arsenal - perhaps nuke disarmament wonks will use Rouge One metaphors to express their shock and horror. Because while it is just a tweet, it may indicate a sharp turn away from America's decades old policy of disarmament. And that is big news, as much for Moscow and Beijing as it is for the Defense, State, and other Departments in Washington D.C.

Of course, this means money. Lots and lots of money to invest, in order to bring America's nuclear capabilities up to some subjective level that perhaps will make both China and Russia a little more nervous. Is it true that Trump has bought into Nixon's apparent Madman tactics? I'll be so unpredictable they won't know what my administration is capable of and will react accordingly when it comes time to negotiate points of disagreement - whether military or economic - between our nations. Could it be? You can be sure Putin was advised of the tweet within minutes and one would love to have seen the look on his face as his advisers whispered nervously in his ear.

Is this an even scarier new world that we can look forward to? Perhaps. But it is just a tweet for now. We would need to go through Congress to appropriate the funds and that would be some debate. Even among Republicans. But there's another point as well: nuclear is so old-school. Didn't you know?

What gets defense contractors salivating nowadays is Directed-Energy Weapons. You might also know it as laser. But it also includes mega-powered microwaves to fry opposing electronic systems, or even to control crowds as is suggested by its proponents. A giant microwave to control rioters? Now that's scary. Actually, it's called Active Denial and it has been unclassified, but apparently unused, since 2001. Which is also scary.

How do DEW systems work? Ah, that's the point. They're almost there, but they need money. Lots and lots of money, to ensure that America maintains an edge (trying hard not to make a bad Star Wars joke here) over China and Russia. And who knows who else? For example: the older DEW systems used chemical-powered laser systems. They were, or are, bulky and dangerous. The solution? Solid state systems that focus the energy through a crystalline material. Dilithium crystals maybe? Sorry, sorry. But according to Booze Allen Hamilton Executive VP, Terry Obering in an article in the Cipher Brief, "we are technology rich and funding poor." We being the DEW crowd. You being the taxpayer who will pay for all this.

There's a new administration coming in and no one knows quite how foreign and defense policy will change over the coming months and years, but change it certainly will. And defense contractors like Booze Allen Hamilton are leaking up a storm about their really cool new weapons systems in order to start the process of getting funding from government. That means that nuclear technology and DEW systems may end up competing with each other for Defense Department dollars in the coming years. One suspects that Trump will lean towards the proven, while perhaps giving some money to the DEW guys.

And that's a decision and a debate that China and Russia will be watching very closely.

Posted by Keeley at December 23, 2016 9:09 PM
Comment #411570

Cheap energy made this country the #1 industrialized nation, and cheap energy will again. We have enough gas and oil to break the banks of Russia and the Middle East. It was recently said the Russia is a 3rd world nation, with a first rate military. It’s about time we had leadership that would fight for the greatness of America. Obama has spent 8 years trying to dish out to America her just deserts. The left believes America is the evil empire and along comes Trump with audacity to say “let’s make America great again”. Words that Americans have longed to hear.

Posted by: RL at December 23, 2016 11:12 PM
Comment #411592

Keeley, thanks for the post.

The new Navy RAILGUN is awesome. No gunpowder required.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 24, 2016 3:51 PM
Comment #411595

“We have enough gas and oil to break the banks of Russia and the Middle East.”

Not exactly. We have a lot of both, due to fracking. The problem is that a lot of US & Canadian oil fields have a high break even point, and anything below $60 will not cut it for American producers. The Trump administration will be about driving oil prices higher. This is about THEM making money, NOT you. In addition, Russia needs higher oil prices. They are extremely dependent on oil and commodity prices, and the Obama administration brought them to their knees with sanctions. The
Trump administration will do Putin’s bidding and end sanctions. Why? Because Exxon wants to re-instate that deal with Russia for arctic drilling. At $500 billion, it will be one of the biggest deals in world history. But the break evens for arctic drilling are very high. What to do, what to do… How can they get oil prices higher? A war in the Middle East should do nicely.

The Trump promises to help people in coal country get their jobs back is just cruel. Those jobs are not coming back. Coal is uneconomical due to fracking, and all those promises were lies. Most likely, people in coal country knew that all along.

Remember, this is about a bunch of multi-millionaires and billionaires figuring out how to put more money in their own pockets. The money will be coming from YOU.

Posted by: phx8 at December 24, 2016 4:37 PM
Comment #411596

Same old Grinch Crap phx8.


Posted by: Royal Flush at December 24, 2016 4:44 PM
Comment #411604

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year, and many happy returns!

Posted by: phx8 at December 25, 2016 12:43 PM
Comment #411611

Happy Channukah! We’ve survived Antiochus before. We’ll have no problem with Trump.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 25, 2016 7:50 PM
Comment #411663

Why do we need to spend more money on weapons? The Nukes we have are sufficient to blow all our enemies to hell. We’re already paying a lot of money to the Defense Department for a mediocre return. We could strengthen America and its business far more by spending money on energy independence, space exploration, and infrastructure. But the Republican party is a party of vested interests, rewarding people who already have money and power for the money and power they already have. It doesn’t care to renew or reinvigorate the country, just let the top one percent coast on their previous gains.

It’s time to make the military lean and mean, to push things more towards effectiveness rather than added bells and whistles. We have naval ships that can’t afford to fire their guns, and fighters so kludged together as machines that it’s a major achievement to get them functional, much less as effective as the machines they are meant to replace.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 28, 2016 1:06 PM
Comment #412383

Politics and politicians are something that only a few people can understand, just like maths or chemistry. Politicians make changes in the policies every now and then so do the syllabus is changed, sometimes I found it very hard To do my article so I get the help from my friend.

Posted by: UK Essay Service - EssayGlobe at January 19, 2017 6:39 AM
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