One dares hope that our latest foreign policy disaster, Afghanistan, might derail us from our foreign policy disasters in the making, such as Russia and China. That President Biden’s first phone calls were to them is encouraging.
Of course, by now we know better than to think Washington might finally place a premium on stable relations above intrigues and war profits, or that foreign policy might finally pause and reevaluate itself rather than march forward into oblivion. For that reason, the summer’s biggest foreign policy story was reassuring, even if it got lost amid Haiti, Cuba and Afghanistan. The Pentagon announced June 25 what we spent the better part of a century getting it to acknowledge: UFOs are real.
The one TV program consistently on the case, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” in May hosted Luis Elizondo, the man who for years oversaw the Pentagon‘s UFO investigations. His group Skyfort obtained official government correspondence that “demonstrates quite clearly that we’ve had issues with these [unidentified aerial phenomena] for at least 70 years.”
Quoting from a “60 Minutes” interview with former Lt. Ryan Graves, Mr. Carlson emphasized journalist Bill Whitaker’s words: “The Pentagon admits it doesn’t know what in the world this is.”
Mr. Carlson said: “From a national security perspective, that is a very big problem. The U.S. military has observed unidentified flying objects maneuvering in restricted airspace off the coast of Virginia ‘every day for two years.’
“Sound like a potential threat? You think? So what has the Pentagon done about it? We don’t know that they’ve done anything about it other than ignore it and then cover the fact they ignored it by declaring the whole subject classified for decades and then spending the rest of the day thinking about how to bomb Syria again and rid the Marine Corps of people who voted for Donald Trump.
“No one seems especially alarmed. Just days ago, the Pentagon confirmed that an 18-second video of three UFOs harassing the USS Russell [in 2019] is, in fact, real.”
Indeed, the military’s fixation on wokeness suggests it has less interest in defending America than, like any other bureaucracy, in becoming whatever it needs to perpetuate itself. But what Mr. Carlson is essentially asking is for our failures to go intergalactic. Ignoring the visitors is the most constructive thing our destructive security apparatus can do. With World War II and Korea the most recent exceptions, it’s whenever we “Do something!” that things get worse and threats are created or solidified.
Consider also that this national security “problem” may be closer to a solution, that the visitors are here because of everything the smartest man on television rails against: concluding, as he does, that we are our own biggest national security threat. Just a few of our recent maneuvers: the English HMS Defender’s incursion into Russian naval waters, accompanied by a U.S. spy plane; the transfer of our missile defense systems from the Middle East to locations nearer to Russia and China, as holy terror takes a back seat to “great power competition” (though Afghanistan fallout may prove otherwise); ongoing bipartisan anti-Russian indoctrination, the substance of which was measured this summer by the predictable collapse of last summer’s story about Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan; and, of course, NATO’s continuing war provocations along Russia‘s borders.
In April, Mr. Carlson repeatedly warned: “You may have noticed that we seem to be moving closer toward some kind of conflict with nuclear-armed Russia. The White House has called Russia a national emergency.”
He didn’t connect to this looming catastrophe his subsequent observation that “there seems to be a connection between these [unidentified flying] objects and nuclear reactors, nuclear warheads, nuclear-powered vehicles, submarines and warships.”
Mr. Elizondo confirmed: “Once the United States and other countries really entered into the Atomic Age, we began to see an uptick [in] what appeared to be some sort of reconnaissance or surveillance of our nuclear development.”
Mr. Carlson listed several incidents, including one in 1967 in which “10 ICBMs at a Montana Air Force base were temporarily knocked offline. At the same time, base security noticed a glowing red object floating in the sky. According to journalist George Knapp, ‘All of the nuclear facilities — Los Alamos, Livermore, Sandia, Savannah River — all had dramatic incidents where these unknown craft appeared.’”
And it’s not just us, but India, Pakistan and a “British Roswell” in 1980. The Russians too, Mr. Elizondo recalled. “After the Berlin wall came down there was this new romance between the U.S. and Russia, where they shared a lot of UFO information with us, and they were seeing exactly the same thing in their skies that we were,” he said.
Indeed, UFOs are perhaps the one thing not being pinned on Russia. Our officials even correct public conjecture to that effect.
Former National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe told Fox News host Trey Gowdy: “A lot of people say, ‘Well, maybe it’s Russia or China. [But] things like transmedium properties and hypersonic speed, meaning vehicles that go at five times the speed of sound Russia and China clearly did not have that.”
In the 1950s, on the other hand, the government was perfectly willing to use UFOs as a pretext for attacking Russia, as illustrated in the History channel’s “Project Blue Book,” based on astronomer J. Allen Hynek’s memoirs of the Air Force program studying the phenomenon.
In one episode, a mechanical engineer tells Hynek: “When the Air Force hired me, they told me I was reverse-engineering Soviet technology. But the craft we’ve been working on, it’s not Russian. The technology on these things, it’s way beyond our capabilities.” He explains why he is reporting this: “My brother died in the war. So when I see these reports about Russians being responsible for UFOs, it makes me think that people here, they want to start another one.”
If UFO activity increased at the dawn of the Atomic Age, and if we see an uptick as we come nearer to doing something globally stupid with it, then there’s a good chance the UFOs “are here to protect us from ourselves,” as “Project Blue Book” chronicler John Baker posits on the Three If By Space blog.
If our otherwise blustering brass’ response has been muted, perhaps it’s not only because they know they’re outmatched technologically, but also because that makes these masters of the universe something smaller, their global overlordship more provincial.
It’s really something when the Pentagon is more honest about UFOs than about Russia. Perhaps these bumblers are just a little humbled by the idea that someone they can’t lie to is watching.
• Julia Gorin was a child refusenik and is editor of the humor volume “Hillarisms: The Unmaking of the First Female President.