The United States is completely vulnerable to Chinese, Korean, and Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and will soon also face the same vulnerability with respect to Iran. This is because arms controllers and crony defense firms have been blocking a truly effective space-based missile shield, the technology for which already exists. The U.S. also lags in quantum computing and international competition in math and science.
In an interview with Asia Times published several days ago, U.S. strategic and intelligence expert Angelo Codevilla reports that adequate defense requires “orbit-based, infrared systems”
and that “In the 1980s, the US was developing such a Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS)-low network of satellites. It was canceled when arms controllers pointed out, correctly, that such a network would have enabled relatively easy interception of Russian and Chinese missiles as well as of North Korean and Iranian ones.”
In other words, such a system would have been too effective!
How could that be? Arms controllers have dominated the thinking of every U.S. administration from Nixon’s Henry Kissinger down to the present. Arms controllers believe that rather than building a missile shield to defend the homeland against missile attack, the best U.S. policy is that of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), namely, that if an enemy wants to destroy the U.S., this country will leave itself hostage to annihilation but will visit an equivalent devastation on its attacker.
In an article six weeks ago — featured the next day by Founders Broadsheet — Codevilla denounced the Wall Street Journal and the Republican political establishment for favoring crony defense firms and labs producing limited, MAD-compliant anti-missile systems rather than implementing the space-based system — even though the technology for it is available.
Codevilla concludes his earlier article on an optimistic note: “Here is hoping that Donald Trump, a practical man, sees the foolishness of much of what we have been doing for the past 34 years; that he will reverse the ban on defending against China and Russia, and that he will use our money to build things that actually destroy missiles of all kinds no matter whence they come.”
But there’s a second national security crisis that also needs to be addressed: quantum computing. This headline captures the crisis:
China speeds ahead of U.S. as quantum race escalates, worrying scientists
The accompanying article continues:
“U.S. and other Western scientists voice awe, and even alarm, at China’s quickening advances and spending on quantum communications and computing, revolutionary technologies that could give a huge military and commercial advantage to the nation that conquers them.
“The concerns echo — although to a lesser degree — the shock in the West six decades ago when the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite, sparking a space race.
“In quick succession, China in recent months has utilized a quantum satellite to transmit ultra-secure data, inaugurated a 1,243-mile quantum link between Shanghai and Beijing, and announced a $10 billion quantum computing center.”
The intelligence community is also worried.
How is the U.S. going to compete economically and militarily if its youth can’t match up to the international competition in math and science? Here’s a recent report:
“One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science.”
China wasn’t assessed in this test, but its teaching methods in math are similar to those used in other East Asian countries. Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, and South Korea all placed at the top of the list.
What’s the problem with math instruction in the U.S.? During the past half century math instruction in the U.S. has passed through two math education fads. The first — the “New Math” — was excessively formalist. It was based on the work of the French Bourbaki school of mathematicians and made no sense for the developmental level of children in elementary school. Morris Kline eviscerated the pedagogy in his 1973 best-seller, Why Johnny Can’t Add, available free here.
The math educrat establishment then launched another fad — untested, of course — but still rolled out nationally. This is the Common Core math curriculum, adopted by 45 states under the prodding of the Obama administration. Its flaws are described here and here.
Although some argue that the Common Core math curriculum was too recently implemented to be assessed by international tests, here are the 2015 test results. Not good. Can we afford to wait for the 2018 tests and create another cohort of math illiterates?
The pornographic painting that leads this review of an art exhibition in Hamburg, Germany should have been placed at the end of the article. The painting, Gerard de Lairesse’s “Schlafende Bacchantin” (Sleeping Bacchant) ca. 1680-1685, came at the decadent end of the Dutch Golden Age, the age of van Ostade, Rembrandt, and other outstanding painters. The review summarizes that period, focusing on Rembrandt’s skill as a businessman and art market innovator.
We must leave it to readers to speculate what this cinematic preference of today’s movie-going public means. But the fact the cinema of Germany’s pre-Hitler Weimar period (the 1920s) also gravitated toward the macabre is not encouraging.