The Most Grandiose Foreign Policy Gesture in History

I’ll see Rob’s War on Men and raise him a War on the Universe.

This story only came out earlier today, but somewhere in Hollywood the rough draft of a script is already being formed. From CBS DC:

Would Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin even had a moon to walk on if the United States had its way in the 1950s?

During the height of the Cold War, U.S. officials debated whether to detonate nuclear bomb on the moon in order to send a message to the Soviet Union, the Asian News International reports.

The secret project dubbed, “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” and nicknamed “Project A119,” was seriously being considered until it was scrapped because military officials were worried it would hurt the people on Earth.

Oh, and by the way, read the reports in full … Carl Sagan was in on it. Box office gold, people.

Here’s the part I’m still getting my head around: you’re a senior Soviet official in 1950s Moscow. What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weapon on the moon?

  1. Crow

    A bit loony if you ask me….

    Putting the men there sent a more powerful message to Moscow, and our lack of a serious space program today sends another equally powerful one to our foes. 

  2. Southern Pessimist

    I suppose there might have been unintended consequences to blowing up the moon, I mean the tides are a good thing I think, but it still would have been pretty cool.

  3. KC Mulville

    What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weapon on the moon?

    The US Guidance system is seriously out of whack.

  4. Drusus

    Somewhere, Newt Gingrich is stroking out. 

  5. C. U. Douglas
    KC Mulville:What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weapon on the moon?

    The US Guidance system is seriously out of whack. · 1 minute ago

    Edited 0 minutes ago

    “We are so freakin’ nuts, we bomb planetary bodies THAT HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING TO US!  Are you sure you want to mess with us?!”

    Clearly it would be an attempt to play the Crazy Card.  As a former aspiring Mad Scientist, I approve.

  6. Roberto
    Troy Senik, Ed.:  Here’s the part I’m still getting my head around: you’re a senior Soviet official in 1950s Moscow. What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weaponon the moon? · 

    If we’re willing to nuke the moon simply because they looked at us funny the official wonders: how will those crazy Americans deal with those who truly irritate them?

  7. Roberto
    C. U. Douglas

    KC Mulville:What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weapon on the moon?

    The US Guidance system is seriously out of whack. · 1 minute ago

    Edited 0 minutes ago

    “We are so freakin’ nuts, we bomb planetary bodies THAT HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING TO US!  Are you sure you want to mess with us?!”

    Clearly it would be an attempt to play the Crazy Card.  As a former aspiring Mad Scientist, I approve. · 3 minutes ago

    I see we’re on the same wavelength. 

  8. BrentB67

    I don’t think it would’ve blown the moon up, probably just put another crater on it.

    The question becomes – if someone detonates a nuke on the moon and nobody was watching did anyone see it happen?

  9. Bye!
    Roberto

    C. U. Douglas

    KC Mulville:What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weapon on the moon?

    The US Guidance system is seriously out of whack. · 1 minute ago

    Edited 0 minutes ago

    “We are so freakin’ nuts, we bomb planetary bodies THAT HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING TO US!  Are you sure you want to mess with us?!”

    Clearly it would be an attempt to play the Crazy Card.  As a former aspiring Mad Scientist, I approve.

    I see we’re on the same wavelength.

    Along with Frank J. Fleming, as noted by our friendly Vodkapundit.

    Good company.

  10. Group Captain Mandrake

    General Hawk:  Sir, are you suggesting that we blow up the moon?

    President: Would you miss it?  (to the other assembled officers and politicians) Would you miss it?

    (From “The Spy Who Shagged Me”).

  11. Troy Senik, Ed.
    C
    Roberto

    Troy Senik, Ed.:  Here’s the part I’m still getting my head around: you’re a senior Soviet official in 1950s Moscow. What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weaponon the moon? · 

    If we’re willing to nuke the moon simply because they looked at us funny the official wonders: how will those crazy Americans deal with those who truly irritate them? · 6 minutes ago

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this was their controlling though process, but, were I in Moscow, I’d be just as likely to look at as an impotent exercise in bravado. I’d think you were crazy enough to be feared if you bombed a helpless and unantagonistic population. If you bombed an uninhabited satellite, I’d think you were crazy enough to be mocked.

  12. C. U. Douglas
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Roberto

    Troy Senik, Ed.:  Here’s the part I’m still getting my head around: you’re a senior Soviet official in 1950s Moscow. What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weaponon the moon? · 

    If we’re willing to nuke the moon simply because they looked at us funny the official wonders: how will those crazy Americans deal with those who truly irritate them? · 6 minutes ago

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this was their controlling though process, but, were I in Moscow, I’d be just as likely to look at as an impotent exercise in bravado. I’d think you were crazy enough to be feared if you bombed a helpless and unantagonistic population. If you bombed an uninhabited satellite, I’d think you were crazy enough to be mocked. · 0 minutes ago

    Well, reading the full article, seems we fell well short of “Crazy Enough.”  When we’re worried about the possible ramifications on our own population should things go wrong, we aren’t crazy.  Remember the days when we worried about possible ramifications before undertaking an activity?

  13. flownover

    This explains alot about :

    1. NASA and the Shuttle and the results we are left with

    2. CIA, NSA, and all the big rewards like Bay of Pigs, Iran , Turkey , Cuba, and on ……

    3. How we let the Soviets kill 40 million and let the Chinese kill 60 million .

    4. Vietnam

    5. Mutual Assured Destruction (probably had nothing to do with nuclear)

    6. Jimmy Carter

    7. Duck and cover

  14. Austin Murrey

    Frank J Fleming can time travel?  Now I know we’re all doomed!

  15. Roberto
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Roberto

    If we’re willing to nuke the moon simply because they looked at us funny the official wonders: how will those crazy Americans deal with those who truly irritate them? · 6 minutes ago

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this was their controlling though process, but, were I in Moscow, I’d be just as likely to look at as an impotent exercise in bravado. I’d think you were crazy enough to be feared if you bombed a helpless and unantagonistic population. If you bombed an uninhabited satellite, I’d think you were crazy enough to be mocked. · 14 minutes ago

    Just as well we didn’t go through it then. Give Khrushchev ammunition for mockery to firm up his shoe banging… who knows what the results may have been? The West might have collapsed in the 1960′s after having been thoroughly mocked a second time following Yalta. 

    Actually the most interesting item I noticed about that article is that it is cribbed from the British press. One sees a great deal of that lately, odd.  

  16. BlueAnt
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this was their controlling though process, but, were I in Moscow, I’d be just as likely to look at as an impotent exercise in bravado. I’d think you were crazy enough to be feared if you bombed a helpless and unantagonistic population. If you bombed an uninhabited satellite, I’d think you were crazy enough to be mocked.

    It depends on how you play it off.  It works best if the moon bombing was followed by a cool, controlled message from the top, with a deadpan delivery.  “Oh that… yeah, we just wanted to test how far we could successfully obliterate stuff.”  The commies get the message pretty clearly.

    If the lunar nuking was followed by Congress making an [expletive elided] of themselves… well, more than usual… with bravado and chest thumping and “see what great terrors we have wrought!” kind of bragging, then yeah, the Soviets would rightly look on the US as dangerous lunatics.

    Sometimes the medium is the message, and earth-visible explosions on a planetary satellite is one heck of a communications medium.

  17. Palaeologus
    Troy Senik, Ed.

    Roberto

    Troy Senik, Ed.:  Here’s the part I’m still getting my head around: you’re a senior Soviet official in 1950s Moscow. What message exactly are you taking from the America detonation of a nuclear weaponon the moon? · 

    If we’re willing to nuke the moon simply because they looked at us funny the official wonders: how will those crazy Americans deal with those who truly irritate them? · 6 minutes ago

    …If you bombed an uninhabited satellite, I’d think you were crazy enough to be mocked.

    I agree Troy. Nuking Canada is a terrible idea.

  18. Jimmy Carter

    Actually, this was the original recipe for fried cheese.

  19. Tom Meyer, Ed.
    C
    John Walker: As I remarked earlier on Twitter, this article about “blowing up [the] Moon” may not just be the scientific innumeracy of the day, but perhaps of the decade.  It is far more difficult to blow up a planet or moon than that!

    I second John’s nomination for the most misleading lede in recent memory: we’re not even close to technology that would allow us to “blow-up” a large asteroid, let alone something orders of magnitude larger, like the Moon.

    That’s right: Michael Bay is more scientifically accurate than this headline.

  20. Jimmy Carter

    How awesome it would be: First We bomb the hell out of it, then We cover the face of it with Pepsi advertising. I love it.

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