Regarding Trump's Wall, I did not write this but I'd like to share it.
Let's say we build this wall.
Let's say we give Trump the money and we build a wall 30 feet tall, 2000 miles long. Doesn't matter how, doesn't matter what it costs, don't worry about the details.
Just go ahead and build the wall, right?
No. No. Don't roll your eyes. It's not a trap. This isn't me doing that thing where I seem to ask a provocatively obnoxious question, but I'm REALLY fishing for something else entirely. Nope. Not that.
I'm saying: we build Trump's wall. 30 feet high, 2000 miles long.
Now, bear with me here:
The US/Mexico border is 1954 miles long. Currently, about 700 miles is fenced in some fashion.
Meaning a bit more than 1200 miles isn't.
Well, because most of the border is remote, away from urban development, in rugged territory, deserts, etc.
So, if you build this wall, 30 feet high, 2000 miles long, 1200+ miles of it would STILL traverse remote territory. Follow?
Now, people being people, it won't matter how high the wall is, or how thick, or whatever passive systems (such as spikes or concertina wire, etc) you include. Given enough time and resources, human ingenuity will find a way over, under, or through your wall in short order.
Particularly in remote areas, outside of full time observation. In our case, that's about 1200 miles worth of remote territory.
You don't need to take my word for this, you can research the effectiveness of such barriers from the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, from Hadrian's Wall to the West Bank Barrier...
Oh, right. The West Bank Barrier, the wall which divides Israel from Palestine.
It WORKS, you say.
It does. BUT it's not just a wall, it's a multi-layered defense system. Barbed wire, anti-sniper concrete wall over part of its length, vehicle ditches, electronic systems, patrols. It's monitored over its full length 24 hours a day, every day. It is patrolled over its full length 24 hours a day, every day. The cost to Israel (and Palestine) is high. It works. Yes it does. It keeps people penned up, keeps them apart, keeps people out, maybe keeps them from killing each other. Just as it was designed to do and a number of American conservatives look to that Israeli model as an example.
The American version would have to be 3 times as long and vastly more expensive.
That barrier was designed, rightly or wrongly, to separate nations and people at WAR.
And the ONLY way a such a barrier works is with constant monitoring, constant patrolling. Because otherwise, as I mentioned up above, all you need to defeat it is a ladder and some quiet time. This is true of the West Bank Barrier. And it was true of Hadrian's Wall. And the Great Wall of China. The Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall, Saddam's line. Etc. They ALL had to be monitored and patrolled. Or they were no more an impediment to movement than any natural barrier, any river, or hill.
Up above, I mentioned the Maginot Line.
The French spent enormous resources to fortify their border. But once in place, those resources were fixed. They could not move or be used elsewhere.
When the Nazis did a rapid end run around the fortifications through the Ardennes Forest, all the enormous resources of the Line were immediately rendered moot, left behind in their fixed, immobile positions. It's still there today, rotting, rusting, useless.
By its very nature, a wall is fixed in position. Meaning, the defenses and resources of a wall are only useful AT THE WALL.
At the wall.
Walls are good for small, limited, controlled areas where the wall is part of a larger system, and continuously monitored, protected, and maintained. Where those manning the wall have a SIGNIFICANT advantage over those the wall is designed to control.
Like a prison. Or a fort in hostile territory.
For Trump's wall, 2000 miles long, to work, you will HAVE to monitor it in real-time along every inch. You will have to install cameras and sensors, fly drones and aircraft, and put out daily patrols. The wall will be constantly probed. Constantly tested. Constantly watched by those we're trying to keep out. There isn't any way to hide it. 2000 miles long, 30 feet high, and visible in orbit. We become anchored to our wall, constantly trying to find any weakness before the adversary does. Any moment of inattention, any blind spot, any weakness, will be found -- and exploited. The odds are with the attacker, not the defender, especially over that distance.
Because that is human nature, ask any prison guard.
Of course, the people of the US and Central America are not at war.
Those seeking refuge in the US are unlikely to storm the border with a Blitzkrieg of tanks and dive bombers -- and if they were, WE WOULDN'T BUILD A WALL ANYWAY because the US military doesn't fight from fixed positions.
Those who build walls in the desert often die on them. As Saddam's army learned -- or didn't actually, given how the second war with the US went.
Again, walls are useful for certain limited applications. But they are utterly impractical over thousands of miles. Your assets become fixed, inflexible, unable to adapt, and if bypassed they're useless.
You will NEVER get a return on your investment.
If you have to have eyes on the border ANYWAY
if you have to patrol the entire length in real time ANYWAY
if you have to monitor the cameras and sensors and drones ANYWAY
if you have to counter any breach anywhere anytime ANYWAY
THEN YOU DON'T NEED A PHYSICAL WALL.
For a wall to work, to DO what Trump promises, it CAN'T be a simple barrier, no matter how long, no matter how high.
Like the West Bank Barrier, or the Great Wall of China, it would have to be a complex system of technology and human beings where the physical wall itself is the LEAST part, its defenses fixed and inflexible, unable to adapt to changing circumstance.
And here's the thing: Once you implement the supporting systems and personnel you need to secure the wall, YOU NO LONGER NEED THE WALL outside of a few small areas.
And without a wall, those security systems become much more flexible, mobile, unpredictable, and adaptable. They then have the advantage.
And it is cheaper. Vastly cheaper.
History, our own military strategy, and our national security policies learned over two painful centuries, demonstrate just how useless and ill advised a fixed defense is.
A simple wall is a simple solution for simple minds and worthless for anything else.