If you’re the type who raises an eyebrow—or something more—when new alien content comes out, then surely you’ve already seen the story of Haim Eshed, the retired general who was head of the Israel Defense Ministry’s space directorate. Eshed, now is in his late 80s, made some incredible claims about our universe, the most notable of which was that there’s a “galactic federation” who have already made contact with leaders on Earth, and the only reason the rest of us don’t know about them is because we’d panic:
“The Unidentified Flying Objects have asked not to publish that they are here, humanity is not ready yet,” Haim Eshed, former head of Israel’s Defense Ministry’s space directorate, told Israel’s Yediot Aharonot newspaper. The interview in Hebrew ran on Friday, and gained traction after parts were published in English by the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
A respected professor and retired general, Eshed said the aliens were equally curious about humanity and were seeking to understand “the fabric of the universe.”
There’s more here—Eshed talks about an underground base on Mars where human astronauts and aliens mix, for one. Now, obviously a lot of this is suspect. Eshed is indeed a respected figure, but he’s got a book to sell, and, who knows, he might have gone nuts. NASA denied it, and nobody is really backing him up on his staggering claims. That said, a former Canadian defense minister named Paul Hellyer has made very similar claims in the past, and, as Jake Weindling documented for Paste in the past, the existence of aliens within our sphere is probably a lot likelier than most would imagine.
With that in mind, one of the translated quotes from Eshed stopped me in my tracks:
Eshed added that President Donald Trump was aware of the extraterrestrials’ existence and had been “on the verge of revealing” information but was asked not to in order to prevent “mass hysteria.”
Now, let’s forget Eshed for a moment and turn to our outgoing president. In general, it’s likely that if there’s something to know about aliens, Trump knows it in his capacity as president. Obama admitted to Stephen Colbert that he asked about extraterrestrial sightings when he took office, and then got cagey when pressed for specifics. It would be hard, it seems, for various defense agencies to keep that information from a sitting president.
And if Trump, of all people, knows the truth about aliens? Folks, it can’t be long before the rest of us learn.
Think about it. In order for a former president to spill the beans on aliens, assuming there’s any truth to them, he would have to meet a few criteria. First, he’d have to be someone who is completely incapable of self-censoring, and whose communication style is a just-mildly-coherent stream-of-consciousness monologue. Second, he’d have to be narcissistic to an incredible degree, such that he didn’t care about the consequences of spilling the beans to the world. Third, it would help if he was the kind of person who dwelt endlessly on slights and losses, and who felt bitter about losing an election.
Bingo, bingo, bingo: Trump ticks every box. And he’s leaving office at a time when our “alien discourse” seems to be peaking. When outlets like the New York Times run serious stories about UFO sightings and venerable figures like retired senator Harry Reid are outright saying that the government has covered things up, our attention is hyper-focused on the great unanswered question of our universe.
The Fermi paradox asks a simple question: With billions of stars in our galaxy alone, and an incredibly high probability that other earth-like planets (and hence, intelligent beings with older civilizations and greater technical capacity than ours) exist…well, where is everybody? Why haven’t they been in touch?
One answer, which I have always found compelling and quite cynical, is that it’s the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself. In other words, the way creatures like human beings evolve eventually clashes with the technology they develop, and for one reason or another are doomed to destroy themselves. Watching the trajectory of our world, it’s hard not to think there’s something there; that if we don’t destroy ourselves, we’re at least giving it a shot.
If that’s the case, we won’t hear anything from Trump, because there’s nothing there to be heard. But if the U.S. has experienced any contact at all with extraterrestrials, from the frankly unlikely scenario outlined by Eshed to simple encounter with alien craft, Trump probably knows, and if he knows, he’s going to tell. It would be against his nature not to.
If he does, it may be the one silver lining of his presidency. That’s speculative, though; the one point Eshed made that might not be completely crazy is that we’re generally unprepared as a society to deal with the reality of advanced alien life. It would upset our sense of importance, possibly shatter the collective faith in organized religion, and usher in unknown psychological and material consequences. Trump telling us about aliens might, indeed, be a net negative.
Of course, who is he to care about something like that? In the days to come, when he finally leaves office, somebody is going to score an interview with him, and somebody is going to ask him about aliens. I have a feeling that when the moment arrives, we might learn more than we ever have before…for better or for worse.