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The Military Republicans United States

Ted Cruz Proposes Reviving SDI To Counter N. Korean Nuclear Threat (blastingnews.com) 349

MarkWhittington writes: One of the more substantive issues that was discussed during the Republican presidential debate in Detroit concerned the latest threat to come out of North Korea. That country's mad, bad, and dangerous to know leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered his nuclear arsenal prepared and is firing missiles in the vicinity of Japan. The United States and South Korea have started military maneuvers, partly as a result of North Korea's actions. Discussions on deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea have also become urgent. Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas would go one step further. He proposed reviving the idea of space-based missile defenses that were part of the Reagan-era Strategic Defense Initiative.
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Ted Cruz Proposes Reviving SDI To Counter N. Korean Nuclear Threat

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  • by JeffOwl ( 2858633 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @10:37AM (#51636307)
    Spending a bunch of money and making it look like we are making great progress in missile defense so that NK bankrupts itself trying to counter the counter measures? Aren't they already basically bankrupt?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Aren't they already basically bankrupt?
       
      Yes, the US is bankrupt. 19 trillion in the hole in wasted tax breaks, welfare and wars.

      Oh, you mean the North Koreans? Yeah, them too.

      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:04AM (#51636473) Homepage Journal

        You don't know what "bankrupt" means. It refers to liquidity; you are bankrupt when you can no longer meet your current obligations, which the US government has never been close to.

        You also seem to be of the delusion that the US spends a lot of money on public assistance. It spends very little. For what we paid for the Iraq war (not including nation building expenses) we could fund US public assistance programs at the current levels for 219 years.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cold fjord ( 826450 )

          You also seem to be of the delusion that the US spends a lot of money on public assistance. It spends very little. For what we paid for the Iraq war (not including nation building expenses) we could fund US public assistance programs at the current levels for 219 years.

          That is rubbish.

          Two-Thirds of All Federal Spending Went to Entitlement Programs in 2014 [heritage.org]

          Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014: Government Spending Trends in Graphics, Tables, and Key Points [heritage.org]

          Share of 2013 Spending

          23.55% Social Security
          18.33% National Defense
          15.53% Income Security
          14.41% Medicare
          10.37% Health
          06.39% Net Interest
          04.02% Veterans Benefits and Services
          02.65% Transportation
          - truncated -

          The US spends a great deal on public assistance / social welfare. The additional spending for the war in Afghanistan

          • by hey! ( 33014 )

            Entitlement programs aren't welfare. I know you feel the same way about them as welfare, but it's dishonest to treat them if they're the same.

            If you were to go down to Florida with the message, "Eliminate all welfare!" that'd be a popular program with all the elderly people there, because they would assume you meant what you were actually saying. But if you said, "Eliminate Social Security!" I guarantee you'd get a different response.

          • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            Two-Thirds of All Federal Spending Went to Entitlement Programs in 2014 [heritage.org]

            Of course, Social Security and Medicare are not part of the federal budget They're an entirely separate organization funded from an entirely separate income source. We pay into those programs in exchange for a promise of income or health coverage later, which means these programs cost the government nothing, because every penny in those trust funds is owed back to the people who paid into it, and thus cannot legitimately

    • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @12:10PM (#51636945) Journal
      We should just build a wall around NK.

      And get MX to pay for it.
  • >> Reagan-era Strategic Defense Initiative

    Why not? The Star Wars movies no longer suck, so the populace is ready to digest the sequel. Personally, I can't wait for green 45-degree lasers travelling a bit under the speed of light.
    • ....Why not? The Star Wars movies no longer suck....

      I vote for the Chewbacca defense against North Korean aggression.

      • >> the Chewbacca defense

        Shaggy dudes with crossbows? I have to think that's already been a crappy reality show on TLC already. (Does anyone on SlashDot still have cable so we can find out for sure?)
  • Push that button (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

    Personally, I'm uncomfortable with the possibility that we could have the Zodiac Killer with his finger on the nuclear trigger. But that's just me.

    And according to this news report, he also ate his own fucking booger on national TV.

    http://www.inquisitr.com/28530... [inquisitr.com]

    • Just in case someone actually falls for that idiocy, it was obviously the remnants of a Tic-Tac or some other breath mint. Sheesh. It was bright white, just like ... a breath mint!
      • Quite, most Canadians keep Tic-Tacs up their noses in case they need a breath mint while they're speaking. Nothing wrong with that at all.
  • Meanwhile, more and more unstable third world dictatorships and Islamic theocracies are either on the path to developing or already having nuclear weapons.

    I support missile defense because I trust American engineers far more than third world lunatics.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      Meanwhile, more and more unstable third world dictatorships and Islamic theocracies are either on the path to developing or already having nuclear weapons.

      I support missile defense because I trust American engineers far more than third world lunatics.

      You do realize that the costs involved with developing missiles capable of carrying nukes (which again have to be designed for use on missiles which also costs a lot of money) over the necessary distance means that unstable 3rd world dictators and Islamic theocracies are very unlikely to even bother developing said technology, much less use it, right? The only use SDI had in the Cold War was to help bankrupt the Soviets who were trying to copy everything the US was doing.

    • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:20AM (#51636565)

      Meanwhile, more and more unstable third world dictatorships and Islamic theocracies are either on the path to developing or already having nuclear weapons.

      This is what happens when you won't get along with your neighbors. Trotskyist Neocon Nirvana.

      Anyhow, thanks for revealing your fearful nature.

      I support missile defense because I trust American engineers far more than third world lunatics.

      They've all been replaced with H1-B visa holders from India. Make certain you trust them.

      The original Star Wars was a feelgood pork project. A new version would be much the same. The problem of course is that you have to kill the missile early in the boost phase of operation. That phase doesn't last long, and if you go detonating your enemy's missile over another country, you almost certainly make yourself another enemy. If it makes it to your airspace to be detonated, you still have a failure what with EMP and radioactive snowflakes and all. How are people going to access their facebook? Ooops, sorry, cheap shot.

      Are we any better now? Electronics certainly is, but there still isn't much time to react. And in a country where everything is considered "too expensive" any more, And the political situation abroad, I don't think planting the equivalent of ABM's right against the borders of our enemies - which in your case, appears to be everyone - will happen.

      These considerations are't even political - they are some physics issues, which in the past have proven remarkably resilient to votes on whether they were true or not.

      • The problem of course is that you have to kill the missile early in the boost phase of operation. That phase doesn't last long, and if you go detonating your enemy's missile over another country, you almost certainly make yourself another enemy.

        I'm pretty confident that a space-based missile defense would not be "detonating" an enemy missile. If anything could be done, it would be to destroy the missile, almost certainly before it was even armed.

      • This is why there are all these crazy plans to colonize Mars... Those are the people that are ready to say "You want a war, go nutz! I'm out of here, go fight with yourself."

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @10:51AM (#51636391)

    Seems like the ideal weapon to use against DPRK launch targets. Enough destructive power and penetrating ability to use against primary launch sites or bunkers, yet almost undetectable enough against a country like DPRK that you might even get away with plausible deniability and blame target destruction on a mishap.

    • I don't imagine it would be too hard to trace the source of a Rod from God. They should show up on military radar for one thing. The best bet at plausible deniability would be to blame a meteor, but a targeted nation will only buy that line once at most.

    • I was thinking something similar... after all, why keep depending on old-fashioned nukes? We got railguns [navy.mil] - why not work on miniaturization (of sorts) and launching same into orbit*? If nothing else, we could do the relatively low-tech route of carefully aiming large meteors [wikipedia.org] at a city (or seven) that needs to die, wiping 'em off the map completely without so much as a single sievert of radiation as byproduct.

      * yes, yes - treaties and such... but if used purely for defensive purposes, I think it counts as ut

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @10:51AM (#51636393) Homepage
    This actually makes a bit more sense than it did in the 1980s. The technology has improved but more importantly this will be only defending against a small number of missiles. One of the big issues was that it wasn't feasible to scale up a system that could defend against a massive number of advanced missiles with good countermeasures and decoys from the USSR or China. But this would only need to defend against a very small number of missiles without sophisticated countermeasures. Probably not worth the cost but it at least makes more sense than it did in the 1980s.
    • by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:03AM (#51636465)

      Unable to achieve 100% intercept rate with SDI was not a "big issue". It was hyped as a big issue by people wanting to discredit the effort, mostly by smart-ass journalists and other ivy-league "intellectual" types to mock Reagan and make him seem like an imbecile. Achieving even a 10% intercept rate would be materially useful and save millions of lives, 50% tens of millions, and 75% a few hundred million.

                That's what they were mocking - a man trying to save American lives. In the end, he ended up more-or-less ending the threat of world destruction from the Cold war.

                Brett

      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:38AM (#51636703) Homepage Journal

        Well, how close you get to 100% matters, and the amount it matters depends on the scale of the threat you're dealing with.

        Suppose you are 90% effective. That's well worth it when you're talking about an adversary with the capability of striking you with ten, or even a hundred warheads, especially if they're small and unreliable. Russia currently has 1800 deployed warheads, with a stockpile of some 8500. But let's say conservatively in a period of high tensions the Soviets have a thousand warhead targeted at the US. 90% effective would mean we get hit with about 100 warheads, which in the Soviet era ICBMs were in the 3-5 MT range, or 200x to 300x the yield of the Hiroshima bomb. Two or three, or even a half dozen such warheads would be survivable for a certain value of "survive", but a hundred would mean a highly probable total collapse of our society.

        Now at the risk of sounding like a scare-quotes-intellectual, you really ought to consider how the opponent in this game will perceive and react to your missile defense system. If a hypothetical missile defense system is 100% effective or very close to it, it's game over; your enemy's missile arsenal is just useless junk. But if we're talking 90% effective, we're talking about a system which cannot stop the enemy arsenal from destroying us, provided that arsenal is intact.

        So if you are a defense planner in the Kremlin, what is your assessment of this situation? That the Americans are stupid? Or that they intend to whittle down your arsenal with a first nuclear strike and then whittle down the survivors with the missile defense system? And if you are in a tense situation with the Americans, how does this affect your decision making? Do you use your arsenal early or risk losing it later?

        So yes, those of us "intellectuals" with the handicap of being educated do rather think how close a missile defense system gets to 100% matters quite a bit. How close it has to be varies by situation of course. A 10% effectiveness rate would be materially useful against North Korea; it would have been merely destabilizing against the Soviets.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think you understand how many bombs and missiles Russia had during the Cold War. In 1988, Russia had ~45,000 nuclear devices [wikipedia.org], spread across ICBMs, submarine launched missiles, bomber dropped bombs, etc. Many of them were MIRV designs, which had up to 14 active warheads (and possibly dozens of decoy warheads) in them, all of which were substantially more powerful than the Hiroshima nuke.

        In a full scale nuclear war, most of those would be launched. If you took out 99% of them, that would still be 450+

      • SDI was/would have been worth it for any of 3 distinct reasons.

        First, life. If it worked when needed, even a little, as you pointed out, it would have saved millions of lives.

        Second, MAD. By defending our retaliatory capability, it would have enhanced the A and the D, further increasing the costs of an initial attack.

        Third, Strategy of Technology (google it). Chasing us helped bankrupt the soviets. Communism produces mostly poverty, at a time when the west was producing apparently endless wealth. The s

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Complaints about this in the past basically amounted to the Nirvana Fallacy [wikipedia.org]: it can never work good enough to completely protect us with absolute certainty, so let's do nothing instead.

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        Complaints about this in the past basically amounted to the Nirvana Fallacy [wikipedia.org]: it can never work good enough to completely protect us with absolute certainty, so let's do nothing instead.

        Wasn't it more the fact that the Soviets had so many nuclear weapons that it simply wouldn't have mattered? And SDI really only works against ICBMs. Even if it had a 50% intercept rate that still leaves thousands of missiles. There there are aircraft armed with nuclear bombs/missiles, submarine-based nuclear missiles, you name it. The best case scenario had we fully developed SDI and there was a nuclear war was that you would have a slightly better chance of not getting bombed but would probably still e

  • by Jahta ( 1141213 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @10:55AM (#51636419)
    I'm here all week :-)
  • Crazy Cruz (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:06AM (#51636491)

    A small government conservative proposing pork barrel politics to counter a non-realistic threat in order to seem like he is the big man on the international stage solely for the purpose of getting elected.

    As has been mentioned a lot of times before Kim thrives on crazy threats, and China needs a relatively stable NK (that doesn't actually carry out stupid shit) in order to maintain a buffer.

    • ...China needs a relatively stable NK (that doesn't actually carry out stupid shit) in order to maintain a buffer.

      This brings up a fun question:

      A "buffer" against... what? Puny South Korea? A Japan that is too demographically old/rich/disinterested in China to bother invading? The Philippines? Mongolia?

      Historically, I get it - post-WWII, fears of Japan and such were rather justified. But it's been what, 70 years and a metric shitload of geopolitical changes? Pretty sure the whole buffer idea is a bit, shall we say, outdated.

      • Re:Crazy Cruz (Score:5, Interesting)

        by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @12:25PM (#51637049)

        ...China needs a relatively stable NK (that doesn't actually carry out stupid shit) in order to maintain a buffer.

        This brings up a fun question:

        A "buffer" against... what? Puny South Korea? A Japan that is too demographically old/rich/disinterested in China to bother invading? The Philippines? Mongolia?

        Historically, I get it - post-WWII, fears of Japan and such were rather justified. But it's been what, 70 years and a metric shitload of geopolitical changes? Pretty sure the whole buffer idea is a bit, shall we say, outdated.

        The main reason for the existance of NK was to break up Korea and prevent a unified Korea from being an economic powerhouse dominating North Asia.

        People look at NK today and its a basket case. But if Korea hadn't been broken up and that unified Korea had been under an economic management such as developed in South Korea, the agricultural wealth of the south and the mineral wealth of the north would have resulted in a nation which would be able to challenge even China, would have dwarfed Japan and would have been seen by the Soviet Union as a threat to their Eastern maritimes. South Korea has been doing pretty well industrially, great shipbuilding and other heavy industries. But thats nothing compared to what Korea COULD have been.

        Consequently it was in the interest of all the regional powers, including the USA, to ensure that Korea was broken up.

        For the Chinese, NK isn't a buffer in the normal sense of the world; its a handicap they are imposing on Korea as a whole.

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        A "buffer" against... what?

        A buffer against a few million NK refugees is a probably a good place to start.

        But it's been what, 70 years and a metric shitload of geopolitical changes? Pretty sure the whole buffer idea is a bit, shall we say, outdated.

        But do you really think that the people who control china have a modern mindset?

    • I suppose you think you have made some sort of point by specifically mentioning small government conservative. I guess maybe you did but it isn't the one you think. Small government conservatives recognize constitutional powers and defense is a legitimate constitutional power. In other words, defense spending does not go against the small government conservative ideology.

      So I guess if you had a point, it might be that you talk about stuff you don't understand.

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        defense spending does not go against the small government conservative ideology.

        Pork barrel spending on anythings is not small government ideology in any way shape or form.

  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:18AM (#51636549) Homepage

    All Cruz proposes to do is admit that the research never really stopped, and take a look at deploying what we have. It would certainly be prudent to do SOMETHING to defend against rogue states (Iran, NK).

    • ...and, in deploying it, open the door to militarizing space. Because what we really need to do is extend the worst parts of our nature to space too, right?
  • by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:37AM (#51636697) Homepage Journal
    The threat is against South Korea and US forces in Japan. Seems like launch phase rather than ballistic phase interception would be best. Star wars wouldn't work. Need Navy or Air Force systems.
    • We already have capable enough defenses for countering North Korea, both in terms of vs South Korea and Japan, as well as Guam/Hawaii and theoretical attacks on the US west coast. The only thing left to do is to deploy them to cover places (like South Korea) where we don't have them yet, and we're in talks with South Korea on it right now. These include THAAD, Aegis Cruisers/Destroyers armed with the SM-3 missile, both ours and the ones we've sold to Japan. South Korea has Aegis Destroyers, but is still usi
  • by Beavertank ( 1178717 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @11:53AM (#51636847)
    I know the GOP is the party of pimping out Zombie Reagan, and they're favorite past-time is cherry picking things about the man to back up what they want to do now, but reviving Star Wars? Really? They're not even trying to pretend they didn't jump the shark now.
    • Another prime example of this pimping was back in 2012. Even Colbert called them out when referring to Romney. "They love Ronald Reagan so much they nominated his haircut for President!"
  • A tiny smart bomb, aimed at the Supreme Commander's location could save the lives and well-being of countless deprived citizens of N. Korea. It might be the greatest humanitarian action of this century. It would cost almost nothing to accomplish. Or we could do what we always do and kill citizens and soldiers by the thousands while leaving evil kings and dictators to continue their course. Even if our smart bomb missed the little guy it would give him something to think about and an incentive for him to cha

    • A tiny smart bomb, aimed at the Supreme Commander's location could save the lives and well-being of countless deprived citizens of N. Korea. It might be the greatest humanitarian action of this century. It would cost almost nothing to accomplish. Or we could do what we always do and kill citizens and soldiers by the thousands while leaving evil kings and dictators to continue their course. Even if our smart bomb missed the little guy it would give him something to think about and an incentive for him to change his attitude.

      Ok lets see.

      Millions of starving people kept in check by an oppressive regime. Remove repressive regime. Whats millions of starving people, who now have no overwhelming political or military control directing their lives, going to do? What could possibly go wrong? My guess is they'd eat one another. Then eat the South Koreans, Chinese and Russians.

  • ...because Republican presidential politics has become all about dick size. Heaven forbid they actually address real issues, that affect real Americans, every day. No. They think we'd rather hear about ways to beat down a noisy, but ultimately inconsequential petty dictator.
  • How about we get the rest of the world to agree to begin to deorbit their old sats onto Pyongyang instead of a parking orbit or into the ocean.
  • by jasnw ( 1913892 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @01:18PM (#51637469)
    So, has Senator Cruz not heard of the Missile Defense Agency [mda.mil] (MDA)? Still alive and kicking, although they do have their own problems. However, one very big reason for MDA and its presence in Alaska is our good buddies in North Korea.
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Friday March 04, 2016 @05:26PM (#51639597)
    Yeah, Ted, that would be a great idea.. if SDI actually worked. All tests done demonstrated that it didn't work reliably at stopping missiles. Republicans: still offering imaginary solutions to real problems. What do you expect from people that still think the earth is only 6000 years old?

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