What makes these blue diamonds so valuable they are

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“What makes these blue diamonds so valuable?” “They are going to change the world,” Ross said, in a soft voice. “They are going to end the nuclear age.” 2. War at the Speed of Light IN JANUARY, 1979, TESTIFYING BEFORE THE Senate Armed Services Subcommittee, General Franklin F. Martin of the Pentagon Advanced Research Project Agency said, “In 1939, at the start of World War II, the most important country in the world to the American military effort was the Belgian Congo.” Martin explained that as a kind of “accident of geography” the Congo, now Zaire, has for forty years remained vital to American interests—and will assume even more importance in the future. (Martin said bluntly that “this country will go to war over Zaire before we go to war over any Arab oil state.”) During World War II, in three highly secret shipments, the Congo supplied the United States with uranium used to build the atomic bombs exploded over Japan. By 1960 the U.S. no longer needed uranium, but copper and cobalt were strategically important. In the 1970s the emphasis shifted to Zaire’s reserves of tantalum, wolframite, germanium— substances vital to semi conducting
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239 electronics. And in the 1980s, “so-called Type IIb blue diamonds will constitute the most important military resource in the world”—and the presumption was that Zaire had such diamonds. In General Martin’s view, blue diamonds were essential because “we are entering a time when the brute destructive power of a weapon will be less important than its speed and intelligence.” For thirty years, military thinkers had been awed by intercontinental ballistic missiles. But Martin said that “ICBMs are crude weapons. They do not begin to approach the theoretical limits imposed by physical laws. According to Einsteinian physics, nothing can happen faster than the speed of light, 186,000 miles a second. We are now developing high-energy pulsed lasers and particle beam weapons systems which operate at the speed of light. In the face of such weapons, ballistic missiles traveling a mere 17,000 miles an hour are slow- moving dinosaurs from a previous era, as inappropriate as cavalry in World War I, and as easily eliminated.” Speed-of-light weapons were best suited to space, and would first appear in satellites. Martin noted that the Russians had made a “kill” of the American spy satellite VV/ 02 as early as 1973; in 1975, Hughes Aircraft developed a rapid aiming and firing system which locked onto multiple targets, firing eight high- energy pulses in less than one second. By 1978, the Hughes team had reduced response time to fifty nanoseconds—fifty billionths of a second—and increased beam accuracy to five hundred missile knockdowns in less than one minute. Such developments presaged the end of the ICBM as a weapon.
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