Sunday, April 21, 2024

Regan's 'Star Wars' led to the Iron Dome...and guess who voted against it. Yep, Joe Biden

‘Star Wars’ vindicated!

I was in the United States Navy, embarked on a guided missile frigate, when President Ronald Reagan gave his landmark speech in 1983 introducing the concept of an advanced integrated weapons system to defend the United States and our allies from attacks from nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles.  Reagan was a staunch critic of the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, which since the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the 1950s had been in place to in theory preclude the first use of nuclear weapons.

Despite pushback from many scientists in private industry and even military senior leadership, Reagan was convinced that the Soviet Union would be unable to match the United States in its quest to build a similar defensive weapons system.  The concept was termed the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or, derisively by many, simply as “Star Wars.” 

Afterward, some lauded Reagan’s vision as an example of embracing technology as a distributive platform to defend against Soviet nuclear weapons.  However, many of his opponents and the media mocked him and called the concept sheer fantasy, which would never come to fruition.  In spite of this, Reagan pressed on and was convinced that the former Soviet Union would not have the financial resources or the advanced technology to field a similar system. 

Fast-forward to 1991, and I was sitting at the U.S. Army War College, watching the Berlin Wall being torn down.  Before our eyes, the former Soviet Bear was imploding, due to a faltering economy and the realization that the USSR could not complete with the United States militarily — especially if we implemented Star Wars, which would render its massive nuclear arsenal obsolete.

Although not directly a space-based platform, we witnessed Reagan’s concept of a large-scale integrated weapons defense system in action last week, when Israel intercepted almost all of Iran’s 300 cruise missiles, drones, and rockets aimed at Israel with aircraft and the Iron Dome, and Arrow Missile defense systems.  This was only round one, and I suspect we will witness several more missile and drone barrages from Iran before the conflict is brought to its logical conclusion.

I am sure that The Gipper was smiling from above, knowing that a concept he envisioned almost forty years ago was brought to bear against the country that held American hostages for 444 under the Carter administration and then released only hours before his inauguration.  A coincidence?  I think not.

Strategic leaders craft a vision and inspire others to achieve beyond what they thought possible.  Other “leaders” just keep the seat warm.  I will let you draw your own conclusions.

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