If there happens to be anyone reading LGF who opposes nuclear disarmament for any reason, you probably need to know that our doomsday arsenal is less secure than a revolving door in a prison. I’m just saying that we’re lucky to die of climate change instead of Dr. Strangelove levels of radiation released by sheer incompetence.
I know its a couple days off, but I really thought that people who were into science, history and space exploration would enjoy reading this piece by Lee Hutchinson.
On July 20, 1969, at about four minutes before 10:00pm Central Daylight Time, former naval aviator and test pilot Neil Armstrong became the first human being to stand on the surface of the Moon. About 20 minutes later, he was followed by Buzz Aldrin, an Air Force colonel with a PhD in astronautics from MIT (Aldrin had, quite literally, written the book on orbital rendezvous techniques). Armstrong and Aldrin’s landing was the culmination of almost a decade of scientific and engineering work by hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. Even though the lunar program’s goals were ultimately political, the Apollo project ranks as one of the greatest engineering achievements in human history.
The six successful Apollo landings between 1969 and 1972 still inspire awe today, almost half a century later. A big part of that awe comes from the fact that those voyages from the Earth to the Moon were accomplished with only the most basic of computing assistance. There were no supercomputers as we’d understand them today; although the computers that eventually powered the Apollo spacecraft were almost unbelievably advanced at the time, they are alarmingly primitive when viewed through the lens of 21st century computing.
from Boneyard Safari
28 May 1987: At 12:21 p.m., 18-year-old Mathias Rust, a pilot with just 50 flight hours’ experience, took off from Malmi Airport, Helsinki, Finland, aboard a rented Reims Aviation F172P Skyhawk II, D-ECJB. At 6:43 p.m., he landed the Skyhawk in Red Square, Moscow, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Rust was prosecuted for entering Soviet air space without authorization and “malicious hooligansim” and sentenced to four years in prison.
Rust was intercepted several times during the flight but fighter pilots and ground defenses could not get permission to shoot him down. Adding to the embarrassment, Rust was on the ground in Red Square for two hours before anyone thought to arrest him.
Rust was freed in 1989 as a good will gesture to the west. How good it was is open to question since the 18 year old aviation hooligan has grown up to be a chronic lowlife. Soon after his return to West Germany he was convicted of stabbing a woman co-worker who had rejected his advances. She was not seriously injured and he served only 15 months in prison for the crime. In 2001, he was fined 600 DM for stealing a cashmere sweater and in 2005 was required to pay 5000 Euros in restitution after being convicted of fraud. He now describes himself as an analyst at an investment bank in Zurich (!).
His aircraft, a rented Cessna 172 with West German registration G-ECJB, was returned and eventually made its way to the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin, where it is currently on display.
The incident gave rise to many urban legends and rumors, mainly that one or more Soviet officers were executed over the incident. In fact, several very senior generals were dismissed. It is thought that this helped Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms by giving him an excuse to get rid of hard-line generals who opposed his programs, thereby damaging their anti-reform political patrons.
More: Mathias Rust at wikipedia
2014 john McCain : Obama Is ‘Near Delusional In Thinking The Cold War Was Over’
2008 John McCain : “The Cold War is over, the Soviet empire is gone and neither one is missed,”
2014 John McCain : ‘Obama’s foreign policy “feckless” “We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression.”
1980’s John McCain: The fundamental question is: What is the United States’ interest in Lebanon? It is said we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said we are there to stabilize the region. I ask, how can the U.S. presence stabilize the region?… The longer we stay in Lebanon, the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place.
East Germany’s Stasi has long been considered the standard of police state surveillance during the Cold War years, a monitoring regime so vile and so intrusive that agents even noted when their subjects were overheard engaging in sexual intercourse. Against that backdrop, Germans have greeted with disappointment, verging on anger, the news that somewhere in a U.S. government databank are the records of where millions of people were when they made phone calls or what video content they streamed on their computers in the privacy of their homes.
Even Schmidt, 73, who headed one of the more infamous departments in the infamous Stasi, called himself appalled. The dark side to gathering such a broad, seemingly untargeted, amount of information is obvious, he said.
“It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won’t be used,” he said. “This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place.”
For more than 60 years, most Americans have thought of nuclear weapons as an all-or-nothing game. The only way to win is not to play at all, we believed, because any use of nukes will lead to Armageddon. That may no longer be the game our opposition is playing. As nuclear weapons proliferate to places that might not share our reluctance to use them in small numbers, however, the US military may face a “second nuclear age” of retail Armageddon for which it is utterly unprepared.
Outside the US, both established and emerging nuclear powers increasingly see nuclear weapons as weapons that can be used in a controlled, limited, and strategically useful fashion, said Barry Watts, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, arguably the Pentagon’s favorite thinktank. The Cold War “firebreaks” between conventional and nuclear conflict are breaking down, he wrote in a recent report. Russia has not only developed new, relatively low-yield tactical nukes but also routinely wargamed their use to stop both NATO and Chinese conventional forces should they overrun Moscow’s feeble post-Soviet military, Watts said this morning at the headquarters of the Air Force Association. Pakistan is likewise developing tactical nukes to stop India’s much larger military. Iran seeks nuclear weapons not only to offset Israel’s but to deter and, in the last resort, fend off an American attempt to perform “regime change” in Tehran the way we did in Baghdad. The US Air Force and Navy concept of “AirSea Battle” in the Western Pacific could entail strikes on the Chinese mainland that might provoke a nuclear response.
It’s precisely because US conventional power is so overwhelming that the temptation to turn to nuclear weapons to redress the balance is so irresistible.
Fragmentation is the current leitmotif of international geopolitics.
In his masterpiece Diplomacy, Henry Kissinger describes, probably too idyllically, the international balance-of-power system that, following the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15, produced what came to be called the ‘Concert of Europe’. As Kissinger describes it, after the Napoleonic Wars, “There was not only a physical equilibrium, but a moral one. Power and justice were in substantial harmony.” Of course, the concert ended in cacophony with the outbreak of the First World War in the summer of 1914.
Today, after the brutality of the first half of the 20th century, the temporary bipolarity of the Cold War, and the United States’ brief post-1989 hyper-power status, the world is once again searching for a new international order. Can something like the Concert of Europe be globalised? Unfortunately, global cacophony seems more probable. One obvious reason is the absence of a recognised and accepted international referee. The United States, which best embodies ultimate power, is less willing - and less able - to exercise it. And the United Nations, which best embodies the principles of international order, is as divided and impotent as ever.
But, beyond the absence of a referee, another issue looms: the wave of globalisation that followed the end of the Cold War has, paradoxically, accelerated fragmentation, affecting democratic and non-democratic countries alike. From the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia’s violent self-destruction, and Czechoslovakia’s peaceful divorce to today’s centrifugal pressures in Europe, the West, and the major emerging countries, fragmentation has been fundamental to international relations in recent decades.
The information revolution has created a more global, interdependent, and transparent world than ever. But this has led, in turn, to an anxious, Balkan-ising quest for identity. This effort to recover uniqueness is largely the cause of the international system’s growing fragmentation.
In the Concert of Europe, the number of actors was limited, and they were mostly states, whether national or imperial. Essential values were widely shared, and most actors favoured protecting the existing order. In today’s world, by contrast, the nature of the actors involved is no longer so clear. Trans-national forces, states, and non-state actors are all involved, and their goals are complex and sometimes contradictory, with no universal commitment to preserving the status quo.
At ground level there is nothing out of the ordinary about the former Atlas E missile base in Dover, Kansas.
But delve below the surface and beyond the military detritus and you will soon discover a subterranean wonderland.
Ambitious Edward Peden spent 12 years converting the bunker into the place he now calls home.
Where once there was a cutting-edge missile ready to be deployed at the height of the Cold War, there are now homely rugs, sofas and even a few bongos.
The former schoolteacher purchased the 37 acre site in 1983 for $48,000, converting one third of the 18,000 square feet silo into a living space for his family.
When he initially drove out to investigate the area, near his hometown of Topeka, Kansas, most of the concrete tunnel labyrinth was flooded with rainwater.
Comment: Everyone needs a hobby!
Read more: dailymail.co.uk
I was twelve when it first dawned on me that humanity might have no future. It was 1980. The Soviets were in Afghanistan and hourly expected in Poland; Ronald Reagan was on his way to the White House, and Checkpoint Charlie was still in Berlin. As for me, I was at school in Salisbury, a pleasant and sleepy market town in the south of England. Nothing much had happened there since the Middle Ages, when the local citizenry had built a cathedral that still, seven centuries on from its original construction, proudly sported Britain’s tallest spire. A place less on the frontline of the Cold War it might have seemed hard to imagine. It came as quite a shock, then, when a friend of mine, looking to make my flesh creep, solemnly informed me that a secondhand bookshop just beyond the cathedral close was third on the Soviet hit list of UK targets to be nuked.
Quite how he had come by this startling information he neglected to reveal. Today, of course, I do have the odd, faint doubt as to its veracity. At the time, however, I instinctively believed it. Something had dawned on me. My school was positively heaving with children whose parents were in the military. Why? I already knew the answer to that. Salisbury, in addition to its cathedral and the nearby prehistoric monument of Stonehenge, boasted something altogether more twentieth century nearby: the headquarters of Britain’s land forces. Clearly, then, in the event of any nuclear war, it was indeed likely to take a hit. The sudden realization of this, and the seeming imminence of apocalypse with it, lurched and thickened in my stomach. That afternoon, as I sat in the back of my mother’s car, I looked out at the silhouette of the cathedral, as slimline and sublime as it had been ever since the early thirteenth century, and wondered if it would still be there in the year 2000. Would I be there, and my family, and my friends, and humanity—and indeed the planet? Would any of us make it to the twenty-first century?
I had not, of course, picked the date 2000 at random. It had a sonorous finality about it. The idea that I might actually be alive in such a year appeared so implausible as to be fantastical. And even if I did it make it, the world around me seemed all too likely to be irradiated, or filled with murderous robots, or ruled by Big Brother—or perhaps all three. Yet if my imaginings of the year 2000 were colored by dread, then so also were they touched by hope. Only make it into the twenty-first century, I used to imagine, only breast that particular tape, and everything would somehow be alright. A paradoxical response, it might be thought, to feel both nervousness and anticipation at the approach of a date; and yet not, I think, a wholly unusual one. The year 2000, when it did finally dawn, was greeted both by hysteria about the possible effects of the Millennium Bug, and by frenzied partying. And then it had come and gone—and nothing much seemed to have changed. The world had not ended, but neither had it entered a golden age. Time just went on—and not for a thousand years would there be another millennium.