Stranger Than Fiction | Matthew Kriese
Over the course of the winter break, global news cycles have not ceased in producing the standard doom and gloom that the contemporary world has seemed to grow accustomed to. A crippling flu has pummeled the United States, Trump has continued to use his Twitter feed with varying reactions from the American public and children held captive in a basement were found in horrific conditions.
But only recently has particularly ominous news hit the United States military as B-52 Stratofortress bombers have been sent to Guam. The Stratofortress is a remarkable piece of military engineering, capable of large scale transport and offensive missions. These planes are responsible for delivering 40 percent of all weapons used by allied forces in operation Desert Storm. They are also capable of holding either 51 or 45 munitions depending on what pylon it is carrying at that particular moment. This translates to a total of 45 bombs. It is also capable of mid-flight refueling, meaning it seemingly is only limited in terms of range by the endurance of crew members.
This maneuver is particularly frightening as the Seoul Olympic Games loom ever present on the horizon, and North Korea will likely use this global platform to make a statement. Reading between the lines, it would seem as though this incredible machine is being used as a means of preparing for some sort of retaliation strike maneuver, if that is what is required of America’s armed forces. These machines are not necessarily designed to be solely transport oriented, meaning there presence in a region that has not historically been a zone of hegemony for the United States could mean that Trump is attempting to exert broader American control.
Of course, this is all hypothetical until conflict breaks out, but I can’t help but wonder why militaristic manners such as this one are necessary at this moment in time. In a recent statement given by the Air Force they said, “This forward deployed presence demonstrates the US continued commitment to allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.” But in what context is this support necessary in that region of the world? Beyond rhetoric that has existed since the end of the Korean War, what threats are present that have merited the movement of massive war machines such as Stratofortresses? As of this time, these decisions seem to point toward something more sinister.