Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled on Thursday a new nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile he said would render defense systems “useless,” but surprise, assholes: Our current missile defenses probably couldn’t stop your old ones, either.
The new ICBM has a longer range and “can reach almost any target in the world,” according to NBC News. And ol’ Vlad, with some bravado, boasted, “missile defenses will be useless against it.”
Now is about the time I think of President Ronald Reagan’s push for a strategic defense initiative — often referred to as “Star Wars” — which was billed as a potential shield against Soviet nukes. It was basically Reagan holding zero cards while claiming he had a full house, and the Soviets kept spending money trying to counter it until they went bankrupt.
Which brings us to today, as we look at Russia’s super secret amazingly-awesome new nuke. Moscow, with a defense budget barely more than 10% of the Pentagon’s, is spending its taxpayer money on something that doesn’t need to be developed and that most likely will never be used.
And what's more, U.S. missile defense — if you can even call it that — is a joke. They are, in the words of the Union of Concerned Scientists, "hugely expensive, ineffective, and offer no proven capability to protect the United States."
Just look at the track record. The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance keeps a running tally on its website, which shows a success rate for various missile defense types that are all over the place. The Aegis Ballistic Missile system has an 84% success rate, while the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system boasts a success rate of 56%.
Boy, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Still, the U.S. does have one better option, which it has already deployed to the Korean peninsula: THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense. The new-ish interceptor has a powerful radar and a 100% success rate, but, and this is a big but, it has never been tested against a salvo of multiple missiles at once.
"The use of multiple shots, timed ever-more-closely together, appears destined to rehearse saturating a defensive system by presenting it with an overwhelmingly complex radar picture,” Joshua Pollack, editor of the U.S.-based Nonproliferation Review, told Reuters.
So yeah, good job, Vlad. You made a missile that can defeat the missile defense that's already been defeated.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005
Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.
Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.