Just when the black-comedy shit gets real, and it’s WTF:
One of the few actual capabilities of the T-Rump is in sowing uneducated chaos — an acknowledgment of that talent last month from Joe Balash, assistant secretary for land and minerals with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, speaking podium-wise at a conference for folks in the fossil-fuel exploration business.
The T-Rump’s people are pushing-gushing about getting undeveloped federal waters opened-up to oil and gas drilling: ‘“One of the things that I have found absolutely thrilling in working for this administration,” said Balash, “is the president has a knack for keeping the attention of the media and the public focused somewhere else while we do all the work that needs to be done on behalf of the American people.”‘
Frightfully maybe in a throw-back to T-Rump’s revenge — a nightmare plot.
In the first, from today’s BusinessInsider:
Global approval of China’s leadership is gaining ground, while that of the US is waning.
That’s according to a report this month from Gallup, which said that the median approval of China’s leadership across 134 countries was 34-percent, rising from 31-percent in the past two years.
Meanwhile, the US’s standing is at 31-percent: “Approval of US leadership plummeted around the globe during President Donald Trump’s first year in office and has yet to recover,” Gallup said.
“China’s advantage over the US in terms of leadership approval has widened.”
Russia posted a 30-percent approval rating, which Gallup says is “the first time this country has been on equal footing with the US.”
“Trump’s foreign policy of ‘America First’ in its second year may have opened the door for China and Russia to flex their global influence,” the report said.
“It is currently unclear if this firmer footing will continue to give China’s leadership a leg up over US leadership,” Gallup said.
Meanwhile, developments in a little-noticed story-line — also via BusinessInsider, but from yesterday:
Russia will deploy what’s been described as the deadliest nuclear weapon ever aboard mysterious submarines by 2020, Russian state media said, citing a Russian defence-industry source.
The “Poseidon” nuclear-powered torpedo — reputed to carry a 100 to 200 megaton nuclear warhead and meant to erupt underwater for maximum effect — will reportedly deploy aboard the Project 09852 sub Belgorod, which is a converted nuclear-powered cruise-missile sub expected to go on combat duty in 2020.
The new Belgorod submarine is “not operated by their navy.
It’s operated by a separate branch of their ministry of defence,” Metrick said.
In addition to six Poseidon torpedoes that experts say could wipe out almost all life on earth, Metrick and Sutton speculated the Belgorod could carry a smaller sub that could dive deeper to cut undersea cables and dramatically disrupt international communications and national economies.
The weapon is said to use a warhead, perhaps the strongest ever, designed to come into direct contact with water, marine animals, and the ocean floor, kicking up a radioactive tsunami that could spread deadly radiation over hundreds of thousands of miles of land and sea, and render them uninhabitable for decades.
In short, while most nuclear weapons can end a city, Russia’s Poseidon could end a continent.
While a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia would cause incredible death and destruction, and plunge much of the world into the dark ages, a stealthy submarine designed to launch six “doomsday” devices would be the most deadly weapon in human history and pose a direct threat to life on earth.
And a relatively-recent piece of hardware, too — from NPR last year, in February 2018, a piece culled from the Nuclear Posture Review, a report that ‘…establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to ten years‘ and thus, a discovery:
But buried in the plan is a mention of a mysterious Russian weapon called “Status-6.”
On paper, at least, Status-6 appears to be a kind of doomsday device.
The report refers to it as “a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.”
“The radius of total or near-total destruction is the size of a pretty large metropolitan area, actually,” says Edward Geist, a Russia specialist at the Rand Corp. who has spent time looking at the weapon.
“It’s difficult to imagine in normal terms.”
Status-6 made its first public appearance in 2015, while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting with his generals in the city of Sochi.
Status-6 would probably be used as a “third-strike” weapon of last resort.
If Russia fell under attack from the U.S. and couldn’t retaliate with its missiles, it might trigger Status-6: a doomsday machine.
Or at least a doomsday-ish machine.
In a more bizarre, Twilight Zone-ish scenario:
Then again, the whole thing might be a fake.
“The drawing of this drone looks more like an enlarged drawing of a smaller torpedo,” says Podvig.
In other words, it looks as if the Russians may have just taken some torpedo clip art, blown it up to terrifying size and then broadcast it on state television.
“It’s a way to get our attention,” says Geist.
I don’t know how much attention was drawn to it, this is the first I’d read about it. Yet the Russkies are messing with an idiot man-child who is seeking a way out of prison.
Further on the T-Rump’s war chest, at Washington Monthly this past Tuesday:
With that in mind, we can ask what this latest budget says about the Trump administration’s approach to foreign policy.
As we’ve seen in his past budgets, this one increases military spending by nearly five percent — more than the Pentagon even asked for.
But Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, identifies something even more troubling.
The proposed budget would increase spending on nuclear weapons by $12.4 billion, an 11.8 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.
Trump’s pitch for more nuclear weapons spending should surprise no one.
The administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review — the cornerstone of its nuclear policy — seeks to move the United States closer to nuclear warfighting with new weapons and looser restrictions on use.
Trump’s nuclear agenda is underpinned by myths of ‘controllable escalation’ and ‘winnable nuclear war,’ as well as a profound misunderstanding of America’s bloated nuclear arsenal, which easily matches Russia’s and is more than four times larger than the rest of the nuclear-armed nations’ combined.”
To the extent that a budget is a reflection of policy values, Donald Trump’s shows that he wants more nukes and less diplomacy.
That is also a recipe for a horror show.
Another sub-plot in this on-going, freakish narrative…
(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘Agonizing Horse,’ found here).