US Missile Defense Review
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Expanding US missile capabilities is all about targeting Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and other sovereign states earmarked for regime change.
The Trump regime's so-called Missile Defense Review (MDR) is unrelated to hostile threats. No real ones exist, just invented ones, the way it's been since WW II ended.
Yet on top of trillions of dollars already spent for militarism and belligerence, Trump, regime hardliners, and Pentagon commanders want hundreds of billions or trillions more for the nation's military, industrial, security complex at the expense of vital homeland needs, including eroding social justice earmarked for elimination.
That's what imperialism is all about, enriching the privileged few at the expense of ordinary people, along with indifference toward humanity, threatening its survival in pursuit of global hegemony - by whatever it takes to achieve an objective that could result in catastrophic nuclear war.
On Thursday, Trump explained Washington's MDR, saying "I will accept nothing less for our nation than the most effective, cutting-edge missile defense systems. We have the best anywhere in the world. It's not even close."
Not so! Russian S-400 air defense systems are superior to the Pentagon's best. Its more advanced S-500 system is undergoing trials.
Some of its highly advanced features already "successfully passed the basic part of trials," according to a senior Almaz-Antey official, the company developing the missile defense system, adding:
"Trials are coming to a close for the surface-to-air anti-missile designed to intercept targets in the upper layers of the atmosphere."
S-500s are expected to be approved by Russia's Defense Ministry for production and deployment in 2020. They'll exceed the capabilities of any other systems designed for the same purpose.
Russian super-weapons are more advanced than any in the West - developed for defensive purposes, unlike US weapon systems, developed for use in endless wars of aggression.
It's unclear how much funding Congress will authorize for all weapon systems the Pentagon seeks.
US national debt is increasing by over $1 trillion annually. House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Adam Smith said "(i)t's not sustainable to (develop and) expand everything," adding:
"I mean, you saw the Air Force, they wanted 25% more planes than were currently projected. We got the nuclear modernization program that's enormously expensive."
"We're hellbent to have a 355-ship Navy. They want an end strength — I forget what the hell it was Trump said about that. Missile defense, they want more for that. I would like to have a discussion about the choices involved."
Former HASC chairman Mike Rogers voiced the same concerns, saying "(i)t's going to be a challenge" to fund everything. Missile defense is a top Pentagon priority.
Its technology chief Michael Griffin and Missile Defense Agency head Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves haven't explained all the precise capabilities of weapon systems they want.
Whatever is agreed on will be enormously expensive. Pentagon waste, fraud and abuse is notorious. When one of its senior officials calls a new system affordable, it's most often far more costly than what's budgeted for.
Russia is able to develop superior weapons and technology at a small fraction of what the US spends.
MDR systems the Pentagon seeks will take years to develop, some objectives unattainable near-or-intermediate term.
The Pentagon's wish list includes space-based sensors able to monitor, detect and track missile launches "from locations almost anywhere on the globe," according to the MDR, adding:
The sensors "enjoy a measure of flexibility of movement that is unimpeded by the constraints that geographic limitations impose on terrestrial sensors, and can provide 'birth to death' tracking that is extremely advantageous."
The Pentagon wants its F-35 stealth warplane equipped "with a new or modified interceptor capable of shooting down adversary ballistic missiles in their boost phase."
Aircraft, including drones, equipped with "high-energy lasers (to) burn through a missile's critical structures, control surfaces, and/or control systems, causing the missile to structurally fail or become uncontrollable" is another technology sought.
So are space-based interceptors, development of hypersonic missiles, and more advanced cruise missile technology.
Last year, air force general John Hyten, head of the US Strategic Command, said "(w)e don't have any defense that could deny the employment (a hypersonic) weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat."
The Pentagon currently intends deploying ground-based interceptors (GBIs) in Alaska by 2023. According to the MDR, "up to an additional 40 interceptors" may be positioned in the continental US at sites to be chosen.
The report admitted that "(m)issile defense necessarily includes missile offense" - what these systems are all about, nothing defensive about them at a time no foreign threats exist.
According to Russian military expert, retired colonel Mikhail Khodarenok, the US MDR will assure escalation of an arms race, increasing the danger of confrontation, not lessening the risk, adding:
"The militarization of space is inevitable, and the United States will quit any relevant non-proliferation treaty that stands in the way."
Mikhail Gorbachev earlier slammed what he called the Trump regime's intent "to release the United States from any obligations, any constraints, and not just regarding nuclear missiles," adding:
"The United States has (effectively) destroy(ed) the entire system of international treaties and accords that served as the underlying foundation for peace and security following World War II."
A space arms race, along with Washington's refusal to cooperate with and recognize Russia's legitimate concerns, greatly increase the threat of confrontation between the world's dominant nuclear powers.
The US MDR, Nuclear Posture Review, National Military Strategy, and similar initiatives are all about warmaking instead of stepping back from the brink of potentially catastrophic confrontation in pursuit of world peace and stability - notions bipartisan US hardliners reject.
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