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Missiles Galore, Rants and Raves

July 20, 2006

The vaunted war dividend following the Cold War never materialized. We can blame the powerful military-industrial complex and hawks in the U.S. government for that. The next gotta-have gun/missile/killing-device they are trying to dupe our chronically under-cared-for taxpayers into buying is the non-nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). So we can attack the terrorists! That is what the world needs, more missiles.

This new non-nuclear missile is nearly as bad as the nuclear variety. Imagine, you are a radar officer somewhere in the middle of Russia. You see that the Americans have launched an ICBM, which seems to be coming in your direction, maybe to Uzbekistan or somewhere in Central Asia. “Holy crap, the Americans are nuking us!” you think. With your sophisticated command and control infrastructure (did I mention that Moscow’s telephone system was purchased from Finland in 1911?), you try to alert your bosses of the impending attack, not knowing that maybe the ICBM is non-nuclear and aimed at terrorists. With any number of possible scenarios, the consequences could be disastrous.

So the U.S. might build new missiles, why shouldn’t other countries? They are. The last few weeks have seen a flurry of tests, announcements of planned tests and proclamations about supposed payload and range capabilities. The ICBM is on the rise, especially in Asia.

The more ICBMs, the less stable the world is. Think India vs. Pakistan, China vs. Taiwan, North Korea vs. the U.S., the U.S. vs. the world. Here is a little info on each of the new ICBM related developments:

  1. Even though India’s new Agni III doesn’t work yet, when functional, it should be able to reach 1900 miles with a 200-300 kiloton nuclear warhead. That’ll nuke anywhere in Pakistan, pretty much any city in China, the Middle East and a bunch of other places.
  2. Taiwan’s Hsiung Feng III, while not an ICBM, is capable of hitting many cities in China. Don’t forget, China has hundreds of missiles on its Taiwan Strait coast aimed at Taiwan, and has a military doctrine which calls for using them and attacking Taiwan if it makes any moves toward independence.
  3. North Korea, the U.S. unpredictable foe in the Axis of Evil, recently launched 7 missiles, including one aimed toward Hawaii. While none hit anything, North Korea has pledged to test more missiles despite overwhelming international criticism. North Korea’s Taepodong-2 missile is allegedly nuclear capable and can hit targets in the U.S.
  4. Russia’s President enjoys boasting about their new missiles impervious to U.S. missile defense. They are following up tough talk with more missile purchases.
  5. The U.S. has plans for new nukes and non-nuclear ICBMs. As if we didn’t have enough. Our NATO allies even have trouble working with the U.S. military because the weapons they it uses are so sophisticated they can’t communicate well.
  6. Don’t forget about Iran! They’ve got them too, but aren’t making too big of a stink about missiles right now. They are helping proliferate missiles to other countries though, and Iranian rocket scientists were in North Korea during its most recent missile test.

The U.S. is the security guarantor for much of Asia. For example, the U.S. has a law requiring it to maintain the ability to help Taiwan resist coercion and aggression. The U.S. military has de-facto command over the Korean military during conflict. The U.S. military also has responsibilities by treaty to protect Japan.

Has this overwhelming U.S. military presence brought peace and made Asia safer? No.

Will long-term U.S. presence in Asia ensure U.S. and Asian security? No.

Must the U.S. and Asian countries begin considering how to maintain stability in and bring peace to Asia without American battle groups, nuclear weapons, EP-13 spy planes and ICBMs? Yes

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