Laser guns

“Star wars” was a primitive misnomer for President Reagan’s high-tech war strategy. One thinks of the succession of great American peacemakers: Nixon, Reagan, Trump. All of them turned their physical attention upward. For the war that Reagan contemplated, and thus wanted to provide against, was entirely sublunary. Verily, all our wars — and we cannot prevent all of them — have been, are, and will be sublunary in the foreseeable future. This is because our one superlunary opponent does not use material weapons. (Perhaps that is why peaceniks tend to identify with him.)

I have been quietly pleased, or rather gleeful, at the technological developments in this line. This includes Israel’s high-energy laser weapons system, made by Messrs Rafael. It replaces the hideously expensive though effective “Iron Dome” system, which was intercepting thousands of cheap, poorly aimed missiles sent by Hamas and Hezbollah. (Many continue to score own-goals.) These lasers can destroy any of the incoming at a price below that of a picnic (with wine) on the Gaza beach.

The Ukrainians could have fun with this, not only pinging Russian missiles out of the sky, but trying it out on supersonic aeroplanes. Indeed, all NATO should get in the game.

And now the Japanese have come up with something better, and smaller, as they are wont to do. It is a ground-based laser system that can vaporize small items of space junk (which, unlike things like “junk DNA,” is genuinely worthless) — being able to locate it from far below. Another clever Japanese company has designed a satellite whose lasers can redirect larger objects, causing them to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. They look to launchpads in beloved Australia.

This is marvellous, and I am so happy that the Japanese have migrated to our side, against the Chinese Communists. I’m not as well acquainted as I might be with the latest American and West European advances, not to mention the Indian and South Korean essays, but already I look forward to much cheaper wars, when the hardware of mass destruction has been obviated.