The dangerous idiocy of current Red Menace JournalismMay 18, 2023
Many contributors have exposed the blatant ethical corruption of recent journalism that presages combat with a rampaging China. Just as before, now again, there are ‘interested’ parties more than happy to be the beneficiaries of the click-bait journalism on display. Eisenhower cautioned against complacency towards the military-industrial complex. To this we can nowadays add too much of the mainstream media (‘MSM’) and the advertising industry.
My contribution to this debate derives from many years ago, studying modern (in about 1975) strategic developments (specifically, the submarine element of potential nuclear warfare) plus a continuing interest in developments since then.
An inauspicious background; however, a significant element of that study was provided by Des Ball at the ANU. His appreciation of the world strategic picture was unequalled worldwide. USA President Jimmy Carter publicly credited Des with saving the world from nuclear warfare. The US military regarded him as a dangerous subversive, because his analysis penetrated the curtain of misinformation they used to pursue their objectives.
That was the era of MAD: ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’ – the philosophical basis of the USA-Russia nuclear arms race. Des Ball’s analysis proved to the White House that MAD was what the result would be. ‘Dr. Strangelove’ was satire, but so close to the bone that on reflection from our current perspective it is frightening.
Now we substitute submarines for mineshafts. Germane to the current situation was something that Des Ball led me to explore: the emergence of the MIRV technology and deployment. It is well worthwhile to read the history of this development.
MIRV stands for Multiple Independent(ly-targetable) Re-entry Vehicle. In practical terms that means up to 10 precision small kiloton nuclear devices on one Minuteman (or submarine-launched equivalent) missile.
For context: one MIRV swathe could precision-strike selected high-value targets from roughly Brisbane to Wollongong. The USSR responded mainly by adding large (20-megaton) warheads to the SS-9 missile, on the basis that one could more or less vapourise large chunks of, say, Montana…or more specifically, clusters of Minuteman silos. The USA had at one stage 1,000 Minuteman missiles in silos; currently that figure is around 400; how many are armed with which MIRV sets is I think unknown. Potentially, between 1,000 and 4,000 nuclear warheads remain in play.
So how is this relevant to today?
The impetus for the development of MIRV technology came from a ‘wargaming’ exercise held in a US military defence research think tank; from memory, this was under the aegis of the Defence, Research and Engineering division of the US Dept. of Defence.
This was in the era of an unfounded paranoia in the USA about the emergence of a ‘missile gap’ with the USSR – a situation in which the balance of MAD was, theoretically, upset in favour of the USSR by its having more strike missiles. Postulation about the (theoretical and subsequently proven false for the time) possibility of a ring of anti-missile missiles encircling Moscow, thus reducing the effective threat of the USA missile force, was raised and measures to mitigate this eventuality were trialled.
MIRV was seen as the answer: swamp any missile defence system with too many warheads travelling on independent flight paths, delivered by existing missiles from a distance too great for an anti-missile defence launch to be effective.
Sanity would suggest that before rushing off to make this fundamental change to an existing geo-strategic balance, the existence of the potential threat ought to be verified. Sanity stood naked and defenceless against the interests of the military in gaining more power, the arms manufacturers in gaining more profit and the politicians in gaining voter approval of their readiness to ‘defend the nation’.
I cannot now remember the exact figures, but when I was studying this subject, I think nuclear weaponry in the USA was potentially capable of destroying 50% of the population and 75% of the industrial infrastructure of the USSR 4.5 times over in missiles (Minuteman and Polaris/Poseidon) alone; plus 1.2 times in Strategic Air Command bombing from B52’s.
What sort of MADness possess those planning to destroy on such a scale 5 times over? Dead is dead…
Does any of this sound familiar, and contemporary? It damn well should, because that is essentially the same as what is being whipped up here at this time. The New Bosses are the same as the Old Bosses.
Eisenhower cautioned against complacency towards the military-industrial complex. To this we can nowadays add too much of the mainstream media (‘MSM’) and the advertising industry. Plus special interest groups such as ASPI and the IPA and others who in one way or another, snuffle up the crumbs of the armament manufacturers’ investments in positive propaganda. And those crumbs come from pockets of unfathomable depth.
Welcome back, Dr. Strangelove (though you never really went away).
‘Mr President, we must not allow a mineshaft gap’. Sardonic humour, within a wafer-thin distance of ghastly reality.
It would be comical, except that the potential of the push of a Crying Wolf circle-jerk of media stupidity plus the enthusiastic manipulation of the situation by more potent agents could end up in conflict. In which case, life will most assuredly become nasty, brutish and short for all those involved and monumental numbers of innocent bystanders.
We must not allow journalistic stupidity to push us closer to this eventuality.