Monday, December 28, 2009

Reagan's Secret War

One thing that I always look forward to during the holidays is to read several books through at a leisurely pace and simple enjoy them.  Most times, I am simply not that patient.  Part of that is because far too many books are built on a simple premise that could be well presented in a much shorter form. Thus I will often quickly gut a given text and jump to the next item.

This time I picked up ‘Regan’s Secret War’ subtitled ‘the untold story of his fight to save the world from nuclear disaster’ written by Martin Anderson and Annelise Anderson.  It reveals through his writings and the day diary that he kept how fully engaged he was in managing relationships with the USSR.

Plenty of drivel has been written by his opponents about the idea that much of what he accomplished was accidental and the changes that took place were inevitable.  To the degree that was ever true, the fact is that he made it all happen on his watch rather than a generation later.  It is clear that he set out to break the Soviet Union.  He understood the enemy was at war and that he needed to ramp up the stakes.

Under his watch, he took a shaken and economically weakened USA, not unlike the present situation, restored the economic situation through tax reduction ala Laffer and began rebuilding the military.  He invented the SDI initiative purposely to confront the USSR on a battle field of defensive systems they could not counter.

These were simple changes and ideas.  However he drove them home and the cold war was terminated.

Remarkably, his argument for SDI (or star wars) continues to be even more valid today.  The threat is totalitarian states eager to gain a counter to eminent invasion by their neighbors in response to their abuses.  We have Iran, North Korea, and yes Pakistan who makes everyone nervous.   We still have inventories in India China, Russia and the USA.

Reagan’s objective was to persuade everyone to eliminate all such weapons.  We have forgotten that.  Restoring that priority would be very wise and would end the present nonsense.

The importance of SDI was central to any such scheme.

A workable strategy is to establish in orbit hunter packs of red hot space torpedoes.  Each pack would be networked to a command module able to resupply and release the torpedoes as needed.  A shell of such packs can be kept in orbit, able to cover all launch locales including oceans on a continuous 24/7 basis.  The torpedoes would carry a ballistic warhead with a minimal charge to possibly increase the kill diameter.

Any missile in launch mode lifting out of the lower atmosphere carrying a warhead is slow.  An incoming torpedo is traveling at thousands of miles per hour and cannot go too deep before burning up, yet it does not have too.  It merely needs to intercept and hit the missile to destroy it.

The fundamental technical problem was damping the vibration of the torpedo’s sensors.  The torpedo had to be able to remain locked on the target.  The problem was solved a long time ago with a robust magnetic suspension system.  That is why present missile defenses have become surprisingly good.

Extending this to a space borne torpedo pack regime would make a nuclear launch obsolete.

Reagan wanted the SDI system, not so much as a response to the USSR, though that too, but as an answer to every whacko out there.  Today he looks prescient.

1 comment: said...

Reagan also with the help of the CIA and his friends in Saudi Arabia collapsed the world crude oil price during the 1980s which basically bankrupted the Soviet Union as their oil revenues diminished. The invisible economic hand can be more deadlier then the latest modern technological weapon system devised from the US aerospace industry.