The unveiling of the new Northrup Grumman B-21 “Raider” long-range bomber, with its stealthy design, app-style updates, and $2 Billion price tag, was pure Hollywood. If you want to watch it, the CEO begins her spiel at minute 39.
B-21 technology is capped at 2010 standards; it flies with F-35 engines. The planes (two have been built) will fly for the first time this spring – 18 months behind schedule. These real secrets were not unveiled yesterday, nor was how much the US taxpayer has paid and will pay for these bombers. No doubt, this would have spoiled the fun.
The mantra “This Changes Everything” was repeated several times by several speakers, indicating the opposite must be true – it changes nothing. As with 12 year old technology and the underwhelming F-35 engine, the B-21 Raider is part of a US security strategy that offers little security for our country, and reflects a strategy from the 1960s, where the US was freshly nurturing the biggest economy in the world, a golden reputation for governance, and global military domination.
Some 60 years later, the US has shifted from manufacturing to financialism. Previously low government debt and spending exploded to obscene and uncontrolled levels. The US today is one bad government decision away from collapse and tyranny. Our reputation for good governance has evaporated, whether we look at law and order in our formerly beautiful cities, transparency of government at any level, political oligarchies, cronyism, and corruption, or at the increasingly obvious deficiencies in our elections. Our vision of global military domination – once linked rationally to our economic and technological productivity and a liberty-oriented and tolerant value system – is today linked to nothing but a “technological elite” that has morphed into a grifting MICIMATT that lies, cheats, steals, and uses the full power of the state to intimidate and silence critics and skeptics at home and abroad.
The reality of the US has changed, but its military strategy has not. It isn’t fair of me to judge the event by the peccadilloes of the various speakers, but I was put off by the constant lip-licking of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. I could not get over the fact that he comes from this same military industrial establishment – and played a sad caricature of what he is – not a patriot, not a visionary, not a strategic thinker, but just a guy who understands that weapons like these, funded by the taxpayers, make a lot of people a lot of money. He also verbally stumbled a bit when he spoke of the B-21’s nuclear payload, probably the result of thinking he was offending someone. To his credit, he seemed like he wished he was somewhere else.
The B-21 requires the same extensive ground support – long runways and wide hangars – as its predecessor the B-2. It is part of an old-fashioned and largely obsolete array of force projection capabilities – reluctantly and jealously “shared” between the five branches of the US military and its various global combined commands. None of this has worked make the world a safer place, or to win a war, but I guess that’s not the point. It has, however, demonstrated the clear advantage in global logistics that the US Air Force and Navy to some extent can bring to bear – and the bizarre speech a few months ago by Air Mobility Commander General Mike Minihan indicates that this actual success is apparently not fully appreciated by the rest of the defense establishment. Instead of reflecting on what this might mean in terms of US security and leadership – he claims the piles of the dead for himself, for the Air Force.
Clausewitz considered war as resting on the will of a people, advocated by their leaders only when necessary, and conducted by a talented and unified military machine for purposes of actually winning an actual national objective. The United States today offers instead frenzied blood lust, worship at the altar of ever more autonomous death machines, and an incestuous MICIMATT never-ending orgy that spawns war for its own sake. Losing – as we have done for 70 years, are doing in Syria and Ukraine today, and intend to do elsewhere and everywhere – is actually “winning” to these people. Nothing has changed.
My disrespect, and I hope yours, for our political leaders, and their lackeys, dependencies, apologists and associated criminal elements, is boundless. Offering a better defense strategy for their “consideration” is a waste of everyone’s time. Our country’s founders had plenty of pithy advice worth echoing: Stop looking for monsters to destroy, avoid entangling alliances, trade with everyone, limit the power of the government godhead/President, and worship God, not man. None of it was followed, even in the early 1800s.
More current perhaps, is President Eisenhower’s “Cross of Iron” speech. He shared five pillars that he believed, in 1953, to be “the way chosen by the United States…[to] govern its conduct in world affairs.”
First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy — for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.
Second: No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation — but only in effective cooperation with fellow nations.
Third: Every nation’s right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.
Fourth: Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.
And fifth: A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments — but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.
Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Reading these words, one is overwhelmed by an intense shame at what US security policy has become. Perhaps this collective shame – a shame inchoately demonstrated by Secretary of Defense Austin himself as he licked his lips and stumbled through his prepared speech lauding a beefed-up, jaw-droppingly expensive, nuclear-equipped UAV – is what will really change everything.