It might have some utility in the age of Anti-Access/Area Denial, since its speed would make it too fast for most anti-ship ballistic missiles to catch it (if it takes a DF-21C say thirty minutes to reach the location of the Pelican at missile launch, then the Pelican could be anywhere in a 138 mile radius, and the cross range on a DF-21C probably isn't that large) and can fly low enough to frustrate any long range SAM.The thing was ENORMOUS, as in carry 3,000 passengers or 17 Abrams MBT enormous, with a max lift of 1,400 tons. It makes the AN-225 look like a C-130.
In the Cold War it would have been a gimmie to get at least a hundred of them built. 40 aircraft could lift an entire Armored Division from the U.S. to Europe in a day. They would have been terrific during the Gulf War. Instead of facing the entire, tank heavy, Iraqi Army with RDF light units it would have been the 1st & 3rd ID there virtually from Day One.
To get it built you would need that sort of mission or at least a Congress that could be convinced that the U.S. needed to be able to put half the U.S. Army half a world away in a week (which, to be frank, it does, but try convincing Congress). One selling point might be that the U.S. would need to forward deploy less material and standing troop commitments in Europe could be reduced.
Of course, soon as it comes within enemy air cover with decent look down radar capability, it's screwed (sea mines with an aerial attack capability may also be an issue, but given the large size of the Pacific Ocean, probably not)