Aaron Mehta talks about all the issues with the F-35 fighter jet, a plane that has been in development for 20 years and still can’t do many of the things it was designed for. Mehta describes his long investigation into the F-35 project, which upon initial release had 13 “category 1” deficiencies, which are problems that could result in the death of the pilot or loss of the airplane. Some of these deficiencies have been fixed or “downgraded,” but serious questions remain about the F-35’s safety for its intended uses. Mehta also explains the ways the project was made politically untouchable from the very beginning by distributing the manufacture of its components among 48 states and many foreign countries. Now a project that produces planes that basically don’t work can never be dismantled.
Discussed on the show:
- “Five F-35 issues have been downgraded, but they remain unsolved” (Defense News)
- “The Pentagon has cut the number of serious F-35 technical flaws in half” (Defense News)
- “The Pentagon is battling the clock to fix serious, unreported F-35 problems” (Defense News)
Aaron Mehta is Deputy Editor and Senior Pentagon Correspondent at Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Department of Defense and its international partners. Follow him on Twitter @AaronMehta.
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Listen and Think Audio; TheBumperSticker.com; and LibertyStickers.com.
The following is an automatically generated transcript.
All right, y’all welcome it’s Scott Horton Show. I am the director of the Libertarian Institute editorial director of antiwar.com, author of the book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. And I’ve recorded more than 5000 interviews going back to 2003, all of which are available at ScottHorton.org. You can also sign up to the podcast feed. The full archive is also available at youtube.com/ScottHortonShow. Okay, you guys on the line, I’ve got Aaron Mehta from defensenews.com Welcome to the show. How you doing, Aaron?
Aaron Mehta 0:48
I’m good Scott. Thanks for having me.
Scott Horton 0:50
Happy to have you here. I love this subject. We’ve been covering this thing for years and years here. unresolved issues in the F 35. Will they ever be resolve says here five f 35 issues have been downgraded, but remain unsolved. A piece with let me mention your co authors here, Valerie in cinah. And David B larder and Valerie incentive had done this huge piece last year, I guess, about a year ago. All about that. 35 there for defense news that’s also worth looking at for sure. So I guess let’s go through it. First of all, what does it mean? That it these issues have been downgraded from what category two what here?
Aaron Mehta 1:38
Yeah, sure. So just a brief history. As you mentioned, my colleague Bao last year got a hold of some previously somewhat classified as fo Yo, which isn’t legally classified, but basically means we don’t want to have to tell people about these stuff. documents that basically laid out what are called category one deficiency For the F 35, that’s defined essentially, issues that could cause death, for the pilot can cause loss of damage to the airplane, basically means you can’t operate the thing in combat, or be able to perform. And it’s actually the missions it’s supposed to do. Basically, category one is bad. So that we found that there were 13 of these things time. And so this would have been covering through the end of 2018. So we did a big project on that, as I mentioned, and kind of ran through each of those individual issues. And finally in April managed to get follow up basically say, hey, you had these 13 issues, what’s going on? What we were told is five of those problems were basically closed out, they solved them, they’re not considered issues anymore. Three of those issues remain open and they’re still working on those, although at least one of them they’ve just kind of thrown their hands up and said, Hey, we’re gonna have to live with this. There are four new ones, which we as of right now, don’t know what those actually are, though. We’re certainly hoping to find out. And then there were five that had been switched to category two considered going from category one to category two deficiencies. Essentially what that means is, these are issues that we know we need to just kind of keep an eye on, but we don’t think they’re going to actually impact mission, we don’t feel there’s real a chance of loss of life or loss of plane. They’re just issues that we’re aware of. And we’re gonna keep an eye on and we think we’ve mostly fixed. Now, some experts have argued, good government experts say, look, it’s pretty easy for a program office, like the one that runs the F 35. To say, hey, this was a category one, we did something now it’s category two, we’re not worried about it. It’s kind of wishy washy how they classify these things. And that’s why we felt it was still important to highlight that, yes, these were brought from cat one to cat two, which is an improvement on paper, but they’re things worth keeping an eye on as
Scott Horton 3:54
well. So one thing that jumped out at me and I’m not exactly sure if I understood this right, but this severe kind of One problem where if they pull up 20 degrees, they lose control of the plane. And, and which that’s not even, you know, they shouldn’t even stall at 20. But now sudden they’ve lost their yaw and whatever other controls, and this is the kind of maneuver that they would definitely have to do if they were ever in a dogfight. It sounded like their explanation of how they solve that problem was they said, Well, we made a software improvement, that it was kind of weird language, but it read as though they were saying, you won’t have to pull up to 20 degrees anymore. We’ve made your lateral turning abilities greater. So you won’t have to pull up to 20 degrees, which will cause you to lose controls like this. Did I read that? Right? And did you have that part too?
Aaron Mehta 4:50
Yeah, you know, so this is this is why the category one versus category two thing gets kind of wishy washy, right is you know, do they actually solve the issue of being able to do that Not really, they basically created a workaround saying, Well, if we do this, then you won’t have to do the 20 degree change, as you mentioned. That’s great in theory, you know, pilots have said, Look, if you’re in a dogfight with these things anyway, like, that’s, you’re gonna have to do what you have to do, you’re not going to say, Oh, well, I know I can’t do the 20 degree, I got to go laterally instead and do this maneuver, instead. No pilot in that situation is thinking in that way. It’s just got to react got to do what you got to do. And so yeah, that’s one of those things where, yes, it is technically improved. They did kind of come up with a workaround solution. Did it actually solve the problem? I think your reading is right. It leaves a lot of questions about that. You know, that’s one of the things where the F 35 is kind of a weird plane in that you know, we always think of fighter jets as being designed for dogfighting Top Gun stuff, that type of thing. And proponents of the F 35 people who flat out say, you know, look if we ever get in a situation where we’re actually in a dogfight something has gone really, really wrong because the core concept of Dec 35 is that way before an enemy can see you and since you you’ve been able to see him since him and shoot him down. So people will say, hey, this, you know, when we did our original story about this particular issue, we talked to some people from the F 35. side and they said, Look, this isn’t really a huge issue because you’re never gonna be a dogfight, then you talk to Navy pilots to say, That’s great in theory, but I don’t want to ever be in a dogfight and find out that I can go 20 degrees up and down. So it’s it’s it’s kind of this weird issue where one side says it shouldn’t be an issue, but we’ll put in this fix and there’s head says, that’s really not that comforting.
Scott Horton 6:40
Yeah. Well, and you know, I wasn’t there anything but that sure sounds like after the fact excuse that Well, the thing can’t dog fight, so we’ll just say it never was supposed to Anyway, when well say
Aaron Mehta 6:55
on that front, it’s To be fair, the other five the idea, this goes back here. Because the F 35 was awarded, it’s actually crazy to think about. They awarded the contract for Lockheed Martin to make this plane a month after 911. It was middle of October 2001. That’s how old this thing is. They’re still going through some of the testing and developing it famously messed up in the first decade plus the program. Really, with the development, a lot of issues. One of the things that happened along there was that in 2009, Bob Gates, who has been Secretary of Defense has started a secretary fence under bush and then stayed on under Obama was looking at the budgets and basically said to the airforce Look, this f 22 plane, which is designed to be the dogfighting plane. looks great, but f 35 was our future fighter in production and F 22 and focus on F 35. That was not a popular decision in the Air Force at the time and remains controversial among pilots still to this day. But ultimately the plan had been when they first were developing the F 35 that fit To be the dogfighting plane f 35. We’re never getting near other enemy planes. Now the F 35 has to fill up both roles because there just aren’t enough f 20 twos. Again, that’s kind of the argument you’ll get from people to say, hey, this thing was never designed to be that way. If you’re a pilot now, you’re saying, hey, for at least the last decade, we’ve known this thing could end up in a dogfight. So what are we doing about it?
Scott Horton 8:20
Yeah, now? Well, so in all your coverage of this thing. I guess there’s a couple of points of view I’ve seen about this. There are some that say this thing is just the Edsel. It’s supposed to be a Lamborghini. And it’s just nothing but a piece of junk. And it’s never going to be anything but a piece of junk. And there are others who say, No, no, no, it has a trillion dollars worth of problems with it. Sure. But if you throw a trillion dollars at it, those problems will be resolved one by one, and eventually we’ll end up with a really great plane here. Where do you fall on that spectrum?
Aaron Mehta 8:52
I’m probably somewhere in the middle. I mean, look, the first you almost have to look at the F 35 program as two different programs the first decade was an incredible example of mismanagement and cost overruns. mismanagement both from the Pentagon and from the contractors primarily Lockheed Martin is the the main contractor but it has many subcontractors. You could argue the core design idea of the F 35 was flawed, which is that it was going to be one plane with three variants, one for the airforce one for the Navy one for the Marines. And you have this way of all the parts of common everything be simple and just be slightly different systems ended up not being that way the marine f 35 b which is the STOVL variant. So basically it can land kind of flat down. It’s something I believe it’s less than 30% common with the F 35. A, which is the main model used by the Air Force. So the core concept the F 35, kind of go with Doom with bringing that version in. All that said in 2012, kind of new leadership came in at the Pentagon writing this Office. This guy Chris ballgames in general for the Air Force took over the program. And the very first thing he did was to very publicly light up Lockheed Martin and say, we can’t trust these people. I don’t want to work with these people. They’re awful we’re gonna have to figure something out. And that scared a lot of people into actually making some fixes. Locky sacked its leadership brought in new leadership on this particular program. And there was some movement there for a couple of years now the relationship has kind of gotten back to normal. That was normal. But there’s been more tension in the last couple years and there were fears point being the first decade this program is basically last time. Yes, they were developing the plane. Yes, they were producing early crafts, but the number of planes was very small is produced. There were a ton of issues with them, some of which are still being impacted today. And it was way overpriced and way behind schedule. It’s improved since that kind of 2011 2012 timeframe. But yeah, there’s still a very legacy of a lot of issues. And the truth is some of these issues just aren’t going to get fixed because they’re too fundamentally baked into the design of plans.
Scott Horton 11:06
Yeah. Such as a single engine isn’t powerful enough to push a plane that heavy as fast as it needs to go to accomplish its missions. Right. What are you going to do other than start all over again and design double engine jet?
Aaron Mehta 11:21
Yeah, and he talked about, there’s been four years talks about trying to develop a second engine, a competitor engine. That just hasn’t happened. Now. The services are working on future engine concepts that they say could potentially flow back into the F 35. But those are seeing more as technology demonstrators are working really towards whatever the next fighter jet to me.
Scott Horton 11:44
So pure spray. I guess that’s how you say it. The guy that designed the F 16. He gave an interview to this Canadian broadcaster, it’d be a few years ago now. But he said listen, the reality is and this is just It’s true. It’s not the way they talk about it usually. But the F 35 is, in fact perfect for its mission, because its true mission is to separate the American people from their money. And that this is a jobs program for Lockheed, and especially for their executive vice presidents and their stockholders. And we’re the fool, and they’re parting us from our dollars. And that’s the reason why it’s not fast. It’s not stealth, it can’t climb, it can’t turn it can’t dog fight, it can’t carry more than two missiles at a time. It can’t do anything worth a damn if you eject the helmet will break your head right off your shoulders, and on and on down the list. Because it’s not really supposed to be used in a war. It’s supposed to be used just to continue on as this Make Work Project for this major company. And so say at the guy that designed the F 15 and the F 16.
Aaron Mehta 13:00
Yeah, I mean, I know Pierre certainly covered him my time covering the airforce. He’s a legend in the field. He’s also I think it’s fair to say on the more cynical side of these things. Look, the F 35. Do I think, again, especially in that first decade, where there are a lot of people who figured, hey, there’s a war on terror going on, the budgets are just going up, up up, and nobody notices if this thing takes longer than it should and cost more than it should? Because it’ll be okay. Absolutely. There’s, the reality is you can’t really say that. That said, I do think again, kind of in the second decade of his life, there are people who are trying to make this thing work and we’ve seen it be used in operations. The Israelis have been using it for I believe, almost 18 months now in combat operations and everything we’ve heard from them is they’re really happy with how it’s operating. You’ve seen a number of partners around the world, buying it number of who would like to buy it, but we aren’t selling to this point in the Middle East. It’s an expensive plane the fact that partner made Continue to say, Hey, this is the plan that we want to buy, I think does show that there is at least things they’re seeing and belief that this is a good product that said again, is it ever going to be what they promised? Which is the cure all claim for all missions? No, is never going to be a great dogfighting plane? I don’t think so. What is probably always going to be best at is something that stands off from, you know, an enemy has long distance sensors and radars and some black technology that’s never really been made public and some stealth capabilities and can launch weapons and fill that mission. That’s a useful mission for the military. Is it the mission that the main really the way it’s designed to be the only fire that we would have for three decades is supposed to fill? I think that leaves a lot of gaps and you’re starting to see the Air Force in particular, saying Okay, we got to figure out how to fill some of these gaps left over by the F 35. In terms of the industrial participation, zero question very early. On the strategy for this plane from Lockheed Martin was, hey, let’s get pieces made into every state. Let’s make sure that every place has some sort of industrial participation so that it’s basically politically impossible to kill this thing. If you go to F 35 comm which is Lucky’s main site, they have a map and it says there’s 42 jobs in this state 52 jobs in the state and 3000 jobs and this one impacted by the F 35. Some of those numbers are iffy, but it’s a good argument that they can make to members Congress saying I believe it’s every state minus two has some part of the F 35. That’s not even getting into the international participation, which is a big part of the industrial plan, where countries all over the globe make parts of this and have workshare to also encourage them to keep buying it. So yeah, 100% Industrial strategy was built in from the beginning to basically make this thing impervious to being killed.
Scott Horton 15:54
Yeah. And which is all funny because it’s just a simple case of the scene versus the unseen. When this money’s going into this jet, it’s not really going anywhere else. Whereas if the money was being invested in producing actual goods and services for the free economy, that would actually be, you know, productive for the gross domestic product and all this, this thing is more like a black hole, you just keep shoving money in to no effect at all, other than the people who are directly getting it. But, you know, that’s 150 year old lesson in economics that nobody’s learned since then, I guess.
Aaron Mehta 16:31
Yeah, you could, you could say that for probably every product that the Defense Department spends money on, and they certainly spend their money on a lot.
Scott Horton 16:39
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Aaron Mehta 18:49
Yeah, so kind of all of the above so try to not get too technical with this, which can happen even cover this stuff for years now. Basically, The core of the F 35 is you know, we think of it as a stealth fighter, right? That’s a simple concept to understand you can’t see it, it gets in it can shoot your guys, what really, people who have dealt with the F 35 program in depth say consistently is the thing that really is cool about this plane is actually the suite of sensors and like radars and Joint Information Sharing on the planes, so one plane can be miles away from the other. And actually, they can create a like a digital map of everything that they’re seeing between the two of them to get more information. So people say it’s actually one of the best kind of Intel gathering systems that we have. So then you compare that with long range weapons. So in the case theory is an enemy plane is coming out. You see it long before they see you if you’re an F 35. And then you can trigger your weapon you’ve got a long range missile, which can hit them take them out accurately, before they’re even aware that you’re in the area. The other argument is against stealth capabilities, it should be able to penetrate into an enemy’s airspace, although there’s now a lot of questions about, particularly with China has several advanced air defense systems and there are some people who are arguing Look, the F 35 capability isn’t actually gonna be able to survive these systems. Because we designed the stealth capability for a 2005 2006 situation, that’s just not where China’s at anymore. In those cases, again, the argument is, well, you put long range weapons on it, and you you have it kind of hanging around and firing. There’s been talk about using it for missile defense capabilities, the Pentagon is something that they’re looking at is the idea of, you could put a bunch of three fives in the year North Korea, and if they try to launch a missile, you could actually kinetically strike it. While it’s just the very early stages. You also see a lot of people talking about, again, the sensors and information gathering, maybe there’s a way that they should be filling more of that role. If it sounds like there’s a lot of Have people looking for ways to use the f 35? It may be ways that wouldn’t obviously be the one that you first think about. That’s absolutely the case. People are saying, look, we got to figure out what to do with these things, and how to use them in a kind of current world operation. A lot of this just goes back to the fact this thing was first planned out in 2001, which means that the requirements for it from the Pentagon go back to 1998 1999. The world was a different place, the US was the only true great power, even chosen one. We spent the next decade bombing people with no real air defenses. The China’s situation in the meantime, China and Russia both invested heavily in their air defenses, particularly China took a major leap, Russia as the 400, which you’ve probably heard a lot about, which is also capable, and us kind of wasn’t paying attention to what those countries were doing as it developed the F 35. Because again, it was very focused on kind of just the situation in the Middle East where this wasn’t a major issue. And now everyone’s trying To figure out, okay, it’s 2020 The world is what it is, we have to figure out the best ways to use these things.
Scott Horton 22:06
Yeah. All right. So that really brings up the question about, you know, America’s relationship with Russia and China in the military, his attitude about all that, but I wanted to ask you one question first about the stealth coating on here and there’s this report, you know, if you fly it fast, the stealth coating peels off, but I’m not sure if it was Mandy Smith Berger, who it was I talked to about this years ago, said that, you know, the same goes for the F 117. And the B two as well as the F 22. And the F 35. They’re not stealthy at all. All you have to do is point a world war two era long wave radar at them, as opposed to the more modern kind, and they jump right out. They’re not stealthy in any sense. And believe you me, the Russians have long wave radars and That was, I think, suspected, as one of the reasons that they were able the Serbs were able to shoot down that one. That f1 17 in the Kosovo War of 1999. And so I wonder if in your reporting that’s come up very much.
Aaron Mehta 23:16
Yeah. I mean, I’ve certainly talked with Mandy a lot of times about this. I think we probably disagree a little bit on it. I don’t think it’s that simple. Certainly, yeah, the F 117 was shot down in Serbia. And that was kind of a big wake up call. The F 117. Also was built in the early 1980s. And that was a very different stealth coding than what the v2 has, which is different from the F 22, which is different from the F 35. I haven’t ever really come across something that says it’s simple as you push a strong radar at it and it’s going to totally Ping. Now, part of the issue is the way stealth is you know, and we tend to think of Okay, it’s stealth code and the whole plane itself can’t see it. A lot of what stealth actually is, is in the design of the plane, and that’s why you see you know, the B two is kind of this weird design And the F 117. If you go back and look at it has a lot of weird angles to it. The same is true for the F 22. In the F 35. If you actually get up close to an F 35, there’s weird bumps and kind of strange angles picked on the bottom. And that’s to create a stealth profile. The issue is, you know, you mentioned the ability to carry weapons earlier in this conversation. For an F 35, to kind of be loaded up, you got to put weapons on the wings. And if you do that, then the stealth design the shape, which is supposed to have radar flow off of it. Even with stealth coating that’s working perfectly, you’re gonna see stuff because hey, you’ve got missiles, and that messes up the thing, and that’s going to ping on the radar. So that’s an issue because while it can carry some weapons internally, to really go into a full on situation that you’d want for, again, kind of standoff capability to be able to launch a bunch of weapons. You got to put things on the wings, and that’s going to mess up the stealth capabilities and make you Ping. So that’s one of the trade offs that again, when I say people are trying to figure out how to use this Things It’s okay. In what mission? Are we willing to accept that lack of stealth to carry more weapons? In which missions? Do we feel? We need to do everything we can to get as much stuff as possible.
Scott Horton 25:10
Yeah. All right now. So let me ask you here in last few minutes about our militaries attitude toward Russia and China, you know, I wanted to talk with you about this article that I thought was brand new, and it turns out was two years old. But anyway, I’ve read you on this subject and a lot of other people writing about the subject of the new Cold wars with Russia and China and you know, wargames, various war games, Red team and blue team. And this kind of thing. There was a report not long ago that says, Oh, well, we fight Russia, in Eastern Europe and China, in East Asia at the same time, we’ll lose and all this kind of stuff. But one thing that I’ve noticed in years of this is that the existence the possession of thousands of hydrogen, Bombs by America and Russia and at least hundreds by China, of course goes without saying everybody knows it. And yet it goes completely unsaid because it goes without saying maybe. And so you seem to have all kinds of proposals and plans and war games and game theories and who knows what, that revolve around America going to war with Russia and Eastern Europe, or going having, you know, some kind of naval confrontation with China over Taiwan or something else. And this fantasy that somehow we could have these wars one or both at the same time, and that nuclear weapons just wouldn’t even be at play. Don’t even worry about that at all. Now, they’ll have a little war game where they say, Well, what if we used a Tactical Nuke and then they used a big one, and this and that, but that’s kind of separate. It seems like you get these, you know, real in depth kind of plans and conversations centered around these battles that don’t even include the idea Have nukes even being brought up at all? So could we win a conventional war with Russia and Eastern Europe when that’s not one of the options, a war with Russia and Eastern Europe means we lose our entire civilization. everybody already knows that. But somehow we pretend that that’s not so. And maybe we could have a real great set piece battle over there. So what’s the deal?
Aaron Mehta 27:23
Yeah, you know, it’s, it’s a couple of things. I think first, you got to start with kind of what the Pentagon is. And what the Pentagon is, is a five sided building that produces papers. And every one of those papers has, you know, a lot of people who spent a lot of time thinking about these things and coming up with policies and strategies and what ifs. And there is a large binder for invading going to war with five times different ways with every country in this world. And we have, I’m sure, somewhere in the building, there is a intensely in depth strategy for invading Canada. It’s just one What the Pentagon does they have whole teams whose jobs just to Okay, who are we figuring out? If we have to go war with this country? How do we do it? So that’s part of it. Obviously, Russia and China stand out because they have the other great powers, right? Part of with Russia, particularly the idea of, oh, we’ll have 10 cores and Eastern Europe is, you know, there’s a saying that people in DC use a lot in this world, which is people are policy. And in this case, you got to remember the people who are now writing the Pentagon came up and were trained in military academies in the late 1980s. So while they actually fought in wars in the Middle East, and that’s where they cut their teeth, they grew up reading and studying and thinking about, well, we’re going to have the great tank wars in Poland and here’s the great Cold War stuff. And there’s a little bit particularly in the army of Hey, that would be kind of cool to get back to that. No, now we get to actually, you know, think about this stuff and maybe have our little wargames with this stuff. So that’s part of it too, that I think is driving the interest once Russia popular Back in 2014, invaded Ukraine in terms of the nuclear stuff, it’s actually interesting. Under the Trump administration, there was a big report called the Nuclear Posture Review, which came out in early 2018. And essentially, what that was, was a relook at nuclear weapons for America, what we have what we need, what our strategy is for deployment. The idea was always Mutual Assured Destruction, right? The idea, as you mentioned, if Russia would never use nuclear weapons, because, you know, we would use our nuclear weapons and we’d all die. Russia, in particular, has invested a lot in the last 10 years and kind of, for lack of better terms, a regular, quote, unquote, tactical nuclear weapons. People who study this stuff will pretty much agree there’s no such thing as a tactical nuclear weapon. It’s just a lower year nuke. But they’ve invested a lot of kind of these smaller nuclear weapons. And there’s a belief among certainly the more hawkish members of the military community, that Russia has a stance that okay if we ever had to face off against The US will use a couple of these small nukes in Europe, and the US will freak out and say, well, we don’t have we can’t use our big nukes and wipe them out because they didn’t use their big nukes. And that’s an escalation. We don’t want to cross. So they’ll get away with it. And we’ll just have to back off because they have the smaller nuclear weapons. That there is controversial in a lot of circles that say, but it’s a theory that’s driven a lot of work that went into this Nuclear Posture Review. Coming out of that the Trump ministration decided to invest in new nuclear capabilities. One of those is a lower yield kind of smaller than the weapon that we use in Hiroshima submarine launch nuclear missile, which is already now active, they were able to very quickly turn that project around. There’s a second future lower year weapon that they’re just starting to research on. But again, this is this new policy from the Trump administration that was very different from both the Obama Bush administration’s saying if our enemies are going to have All tactical nuclear weapons that they could potentially use trying to stay under the threshold of mutually assured destruction. We need to have those weapons convinced them, they can’t use those weapons. And on and on the spiral goes and a lot of money gets spent for weapons that I think we can all agree we hope never see deployed.
Scott Horton 31:17
Yeah, I mean, this is really the problem for the Pentagon, right is that Earth is only so big, and there are only so many powers in the world. And the cold war with the Soviet communists is over 30 years now. And they’re not any kind of world power in any sense, really, unless you just want to pretend really hard to believe. I mean, even as you just said that they invaded Ukraine when they never invaded Ukraine. They sent special operations forces across the border to help the people of eastern Ukraine defend themselves from invasion by their own government. But they never invaded the country as as Sergei Lavrov said in the wiki He leaks. Hey, if we wanted to we could be in Kiev in two weeks, you know that they never pushed that they have no designs on the Baltic states or whether it’s the Americans who are chomping at the bit for some kind of fight there.
Aaron Mehta 32:14
I’m going to respectfully disagree with that point, Scott, but we probably don’t have time to get into that one fully.
Scott Horton 32:20
Okay, well, alright. It’s kind of a funny place to leave it. Did they send the infantry across? Did they absorb any territory?
Aaron Mehta 32:30
I mean, there’s been incredible Well, yes. First off, they absorb Crimea. And, well, it’s whether you can argue that should have been or not, it was a part of Ukraine and no longer is now part of Russia. I mean, that’s we can’t argue that point.
Scott Horton 32:42
Well, it’s hardly an invasion. But that’s not what you were referring to Anyway, you were talking about the Donbass. Right.
Aaron Mehta 32:48
Yeah. And there’s conflicts there still. And I mean, we’ve seen plenty of open source information out there saying that we can track Russian units that are you know, taking their patches off and then crossing the border
Scott Horton 33:00
sure is still, it’s still a matter of defense for the Russian speakers of the East after the American coup of February 2014. And the declaration of the War on Terrorism by the government there. It’s not like the Russians just decided to invade eastern Ukraine. So it’s, you know, again, yeah, they had their personnel there. But to say that’s the dawn of a new era of Russian aggressiveness is kind of silly, don’t you think?
Aaron Mehta 33:30
Again, I think rafted respectfully disagree on what happened there.
Scott Horton 33:35
Okay. Well, you do know about the coup d’etat of February 22. And how the democratically elected government was overthrown by American backed right wing thugs, etc. Right.
Aaron Mehta 33:47
Again, I think there’s different viewpoints on what happened there. Okay.
Scott Horton 33:53
Well, anyway, great talk. I really appreciate your time on the show.
Aaron Mehta 33:56
Yeah, I appreciate you having me.
Scott Horton 33:58
All right, you guys that is Aaron Mehta. Writing for defense news. That’s defensenews.com. This one is called Five f 35 issues have been downgraded, but they remain unsolved. The Scott Horton show anti war radio can be heard on kpfk 90.7 FM in LA APSradio.com antiwar.com dot com scotthorton.org and libertarian institute.org