Star Wars: So long and farewell

  • By Stephen Merrill
  • Sunday, March 25, 2018 2:54pm
  • Opinion

Alaska has always been the First Frontier when it comes to the post-WWII nuclear standoff because of its proximity to Russia. In the 1950s, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos came online at Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright to defend military installations. Or maybe to launch the most effective first strike the U.S. could, just in case.

The unwelcome side effect of the nuclear standoff for Alaskans was becoming a prime target for Russian and Chinese ICBMs. Death by radiation beckons for all.

The U.S. has been pursuing effective interceptor missiles on land, at sea and in the air now for 40 years. This Pentagon Star Wars Jihad has been estimated to cost in the range of $1 trillion.

When it comes to intercepting ICBMs though, as of 2018, the capacity to sometimes knock down a single ICBM taking a planned course is all that has been achieved. Even if this capacity were increased, the interceptors could never possibly defend a nuclear WWIII with Russia or China, or both, involving thousands of warheads. Former President Ronald Reagan was so wrong.

That is, unless you believe thousands of opposing missiles could be made to disappear in a sneak first strike, thereby allowing Star Wars to handle only the remaining few missiles that do get through. This is hoped by the Pentagon to be the ending of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) in favor of winning a major nuclear war that could be launched by the U.S., should it choose to.

Small Fort Greely near Delta Junction now is the Star Wars Launch Base for winning WWIII, along with smaller missile sites in Poland and Romania. With 40 interceptor missiles known to be online now at Fort Greely, the Pentagon is planning to increase the number to 100 over the next three years, as publicly announced.

All of the cold war rhetoric and real-world confrontations with Russia in recent years has made for a real chance of nuclear annihilation, far higher than during the first cold war, with Alaska very first on the list for destruction, as Alaskans remain blissfully unaware of the growing threat to their lives.

That was true though only until three weeks ago when the world learned of the new balance of global strategic power.

Turns out, the U.S. has lost the nuclear arms race it started anew in 2002 by ending the Anti-Ballistic Arms Treaty with Russia. Badly, too. All despite spending more than triple the money on strategic warfare compared to Russia and China together.

And, oh, what a missile gap it is.

Russia now has a hypersonic ICBMs that fly at four times the speed of any U.S. interceptor missile. Since it is a global weapon, it could come to the U.S. via the South Pole as easily as the North Pole. It is like trying to knock down a bullet with a bow and arrow.

And that is just the beginning.

There is also the Russian hypersonic cruise missile launched from land or air, doing U-turns as programmed, hitting any target sought over a range of 2000 km.

Finally, there is the nuclear-powered submarine drone traveling at hypersonic speed that can destroy coastal cities while funneling along the ocean depths with the mobility of a jet fighter.

China soon will have essentially the same weapons. Long before the U.S. ever does.

So, Alaska thankfully will no longer face radiation annihilation because a deranged president and his generals decided that WWIII could easily be won. MAD is back and here to stay. Star Wars defense seems less feasible now than it did 40 years ago. Russia and China also know this.

So, it is way past time then for the U.S. to return to the peace table with the world’s nuclear powers to finally seek to bring an end to the madness. The newest weapons make the point just like the hydrogen bomb explosions did in the 1950s.

A good first step for peace for the U.S. would be removing the now outmoded Alaska missiles to be replaced with none. Alaskans far prefer peace to global madness. Time to take a stand for peace right here at home.

• Stephen Merrill is an Anchorage attorney and an author on sociology and politics making the case for libertarian government. He served as a Navy JAG Corps officer and then as a top-secret cleared intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve.

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