Donald Trump is floating a new plan for when (if) he is re-elected: he wants to build an “impenetrable dome” over the United States to prevent nuclear attacks.
When it comes to nuclear war, a pound of prevention is worth a world of cures, and one of the reasons that there is global support for Ukraine in its current war with Russia is to prevent Vladimir Putin from a power grab that could put other nations on a target list.
However, the former president has made a habit of praising Putin and defending Russia, even suggesting that Ukraine should have made a deal in order to get the invaders out.
Instead of a forceful response to Russia, he’s now proposing a system like Israel’s “Iron Dome” over the U.S. to protect against an attack.
Americans of a certain age may recall a similar initiative from then-president Ronald Reagan during the 1980s when he proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative, a missile defense system to block nuclear attacks that was derisively nicknamed the “Star Wars” program.
Trump’s new version of the idea — if that’s not too generous a term for a fevered rambling — fails on multiple levels.
In a 2024 campaign video, Trump seems as though he’s conflating Israel’s “Iron Dome” — a system that launches Tamir missiles with sensors and warheads to protect against attack — with an actual physical dome off of which an attack would bounce.
Even if he does understand the phrase “missile defense system” and means to use “impenetrable dome” metaphorically, a former president of the United States should probably be aware the nation has already created similar defense systems.
In the clip (which you’ll see below), he says:
“World War III would be a catastrophe unlike any other…the best way to ensure that such a conflict never happens is to be prepared with unmatched technology and unrivaled strength…When I am commander in chief, to build a state-of-the-art next-generation missile defense shield…America must have an impenetrable dome to protect our people.”
In fact, the system has been in progress for years, with defense companies teaming up to create a U.S. version of the iron dome under the name SkyHunter, DefenseNews reported.
However, the system isn’t any substitute for simply not allowing Russia to gain power.
In fact, the Boston Globe reported almost a year ago on how woefully inadequate it would be against an attack by Putin’s forces:
[T]he ability to defend against an attack by Russia, which is estimated to have nearly 6,000 nuclear warheads and highly sophisticated missile technology, is practically nonexistent. The US system is no match against a large number of incoming missiles — precisely the kind of attack that Russia would launch, experts said.
The report cites the Pentagon and other experts, including MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy fellow Laura Grego, who explained that an “impenetrable shield” is a “fantasy,” something that just isn’t possible to build in a way to effectively defend against a barrage of Russian missiles.
Then again, having experts explaining why a plan would be ineffective has never stopped Trump from touting it before. Southern border wall, anyone?
Trump is simply using his usual tactic of ginning up the fears of his base to motivate them to buy into his poorly-considered, cockamamie plans as a method of attracting support.
One would think that, by now, the public would be wise to Trump’s game, but he knows that fear is a potent motivator and won’t hesitate to abuse it for his own benefit.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.