Some things just don’t work out. Sometimes the best of intentions and plenty of money can’t overcome problems that were inherent in the design of a thing. And when the thing gets built, the shortcomings predicted from dispassionate analysis become showstoppers. There is no shame in abandoning projects as long as they are killed off quickly enough so that not too much damage is done. Thus the Seawolf submarine was killed off after building three of them and was replaced with the more cost-effective Virginia class. The same thing should happen to the Zumwalt class. Originally 32 were to be built. That has been cut to three.
David Archibald | All Articles
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David Archibald is a Perth-based scientist working in the fields of oil exploration, medical research, climate science, and energy. A true polymath, his achievements include pioneering the study of how climate change is linked to the solar cycle. Through his work both in oil exploration, and as a stockbroker in Sydney, he has developed an intricate understanding of how climate, energy, and the economy interact. Archibald uses this knowledge to make predictions about how the forces already in motion in the global economy and climate will affect the future prosperity and security of the world. In the past, Archibald conducted oil explorations for Exxon, and he is currently a visiting fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., where he teaches a course in Strategic Energy Policy.
Our next big war will be at a time of China’s choosing. To recap, China has built seven big, new, shiny military bases in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea. Other countries also have bases in the Spratly Islands, bases that they have had for decades. China considers the continued existence of these other bases an affront and at some stage will scrape them all off their islands. Japan will come to the aid of the Philippines because they will be next on the agenda if China isn’t stopped. China knows that so their opening move will include surprise attacks on Japan and the U.S.
On 7th December 2015, Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States until we “can figure out what is going on." The San Bernadino attack by Muslims who had entered the United States was five days earlier. But since then, nothing. Everyone realizes that a Muslim attack on U.S. soil before the November election will boost Mr Trump’s chances. Perhaps even the Muslims who would like to keep up President Obama’s tolerable level of terrorism.
Anyone still puzzled by the rise of Donald Trump should consider this fact – that Congress voted the 2016 Defense Budget to include 10 extra F-35s beyond the number requested by the Pentagon. This comes at a cost of $1.33 billion when the United States is saddled with $18 trillion of federal debt and the budget can’t stretch to all the things the U.S. military actually does need. The House of Representatives and the Senate have been controlled by the Republican Party since the mid-term elections of November 2014. So the extra F-35s are a gift from the Republican establishment to Lockheed Martin. Those 10 aircraft will join the 180 already completed F-35s, none of which has met performance specifications and all unable to fly in combat.
The 2016 presidential election will determine how the United States responds to the most decisive challenges for more than a century to its wealth, strength, and security. But none of the presidential aspirants have yet to outline a coherent strategic policy. With one exception, Hillary Clinton, all the candidates oppose the actions and policies of the incumbent president but all have accepted the overt and covert agendas of that same discredited president. These include supporting the wrong side in Syria, the demonization of Russia and insufficient attention to China’s irredentism.
In H.G. Wells’ book The Shape of Things to Come, published in 1933, the Air Police of the World State establish an air base in Basra, the city in southern Iraq, in 1979 and set about eliminating the Moslem religion by aerial bombardment. About 40 years behind schedule, something like that has been instituted. A number of countries now have aircraft based in the region and are bombarding the world’s most hardcore Islamists, the immolators of the Islamic State. Until Russia joined the effort in 2015 that effort was ineffectual, by design.
Australia is considering conducting its own freedom-of-navigation exercise in the South China Sea. That is good because things are coming to a head and everyone in East Asia should state, unequivocally, where they stand. Even the UK has chosen, wisely, and announced increased defense cooperation with Japan. The head of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris, has said that freedom-of-navigation exercises will grow in frequency, complexity and scope.
One thing that has helped keep the F-35 program going is a perception that there is no ‘Plane B.' As Margaret Thatcher famously said,“There is no alternative.” No matter how bad the F-35 is, it is going to be built because the U.S. Air Force needs something to replace its worn-out fighters. That appears to be the fallback position in Lockheed Martin’s marketing plan for the F-35. The Department of Defence though is fully aware of the extraordinary cost of the F-35 relative to its performance and is looking to scale back its procurement. That could result in a death spiral as falling numbers send unit costs through the roof.
“Coldest Mardi Gras Ever?” asked the New Orleans Times-Picayune as revellers sported long underwear under their costumes to cope with temperatures in the thirties. On the same day it was four degrees Fahrenheit at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, an all-time low — breaking a record set in 1873. Niagara Falls has frozen over twice this winter, and the ice cover on Lake Michigan reached 90 percent, matching the all-time record.