My rocket's bigger than your rocket.
31 March 2018, 20:50
Vladimir Putin test fired Russia's new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile this week. He got it on video, so we could celebrate the launch too.
This supposedly 'invincible' hypersonic weapon can duck and weave its way to the intended target, thus outwitting any response from clunky old western military defence systems, which can’t duck and think weaving is for sissies.
Putin looked as pleased with himself as anyone could without actually bursting out laughing.
The jaunty black and white chequered rocket popped out of the ground like a whack-a-mole, paused as though to check its route, then blasted off into the sky so as to rain down his displeasure on anyone he can't have killed by poison.
It is a hypersonic weapon, has a speed of Mach 20, and can carry about ten tonnes of Russian ill will.
Ten tonnes is about the weight of 24 of their new Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles, which sounds like something Superman might use when he's too tired to fly.
Each one of those can sport a nuclear warhead that could give a country a headache they would never recover from.
The Russians have a name for it. They have dubbed their newest, most special weapon “Satan”.
I am not making that up.
Vladimir Putin is not a fan of the subtle approach.
It's like Vlad is auditioning to be the next James Bond villain.
He said his new missile strikes 'like a meteorite, like a fireball', and then he crossed the bridge in his underground lair over the shark tank while stroking a fluffy white cat.
Or he could have been strangling it. Hard to tell.
While Russia has called its monochrome missile the name of the most evil thing of our imagination, NATO has gone in the opposite direction, as though to reassure us.
They have named it “Snowflake”.
Doesn't that sound comforting? Who was ever hurt by a snowflake?
It is the description given by usually old people to describe usually young people of a sensitive disposition that they disagree with.
It is a term of derision: “bloomin' snowflakes worrying about pollution – it’s just a bit of lead in the air – cancer never 'urt no one” or, “bloomin' snowflakes worrying about offending people, we never minded about offence when I were a lad – bullying never 'urt no one” - that sort of thing.
This particular snowflake is reportedly so robust a thing that in order to intercept it, at least 500 American counter missiles would be needed.
Or at least that's the claim of the chairman of Russia's Defence and Security Committee.
But then he would say that wouldn't he?
This was Putin doing his usual hard-man routine before the sham elections that he unsurprisingly won because all of the people who could challenge him were either in jail or dead.
This rocket boasting is playing to his Let's Make Russia Great Again rhetoric.
Why change a successful formula?
The large fly in his ointment is that the US outspends the next nine countries combined on military hardware.
If you didn't know any better, you could be forgiven for thinking that Putin and Trump going back and forth with the military willy-waving is just an excuse to throw vast sums of public money at their friends and donors running the weapons manufacturers that are the only ones that will benefit from all this.
Sometimes, it really is all about the money, honey.