I’m a bit bummed that Trump didn’t say more – or, rather, that Woodward didn’t publish everything that Trump blurted out. Remember, Woodward has a history of being barely oppositional to the presidency. Generally, he is sympathetic, because that’s how he gets access.
I guess it’s sad to see open confirmation of what I have long suspected, namely that the US withdrew from the intermediate-range missile treaty because the US has been cheating on it for close to a decade, and it wants to be able to add the new mysterious whatever-it-is to its public list of options. That only makes sense if the big surprise is a first-strike weapon. We’ve already got ridiculous, over-the-top, deterrent.
Remember, as I’ve said before [stderr] you don’t gain any extra deterrent by having a stealthy missile that makes the smouldering rubble bounce. The value of stealth, speed, and proximity is so the weapon can serve as a decapitating first-strike weapon.
As we know from watching the long, painful, constipated roll-out of the F-35 you don’t just birth a new weapons system without some teething pains and testing. Stealthy systems take a lot longer to develop because you can’t just model the stealth in software and assume it’s going to work right. In other words, the US has been building this super sekrit missile or whatever it is for years, already. My guess is that it’s what has been going up into space in the X-37B [wik] – does anyone really expect the US to follow the space-based weapons treaty? Is anyone still that naive? The announcement of “Space Force” at around the same time as the withdrawal from the intermediate missile treaty also tweaks my suspicions.
I guess I just want to register my bet that Bob Woodward suppressed some part of the story where Trump blurted out the nature of the weapons system. Because that’s the kind of hard-hitting anti-establishment journalist Bob Woodward is.
The Citations Needed podcast just dropped an episode about the “always ‘lagging’ US war machine”  that focuses on the budgetary game the pentagon and “think tanks” have played with “missile gaps” and “mineshaft gaps” etc. It’s worth a listen, if you’re interested in this kind of stuff. I don’t think they pay enough attention to the strategic implications (i.e.: that the US is positioned now to ‘win’ a nuclear war against any other powers on the planet) of what has been going on; it makes the lies more comprehensible. The budgetary games are ludicrous. As Adam and Nima point out, the Trump administration’s most recent increase to the Pentagon budget was larger than the entire Russian military budget. And we’re supposed to be terrified.