The news item this morning on the Bush administration’s new space policy (ABC News, The Guardian) caught my attention and, for me, exemplified precisely what’s wrong with the goals and motivations of this administration.
The new policy rules out any treaties that limit America’s access to space, then goes on to call for the development of greater space-bourne weapons capabilities. Together these messages make clear that Bush intends America to control space, with force if necessary. But what’s the big deal about this when our foothold in space is still so tenuous?
Currently our local space is a shared resource, useful for communication, observation, and experimentation, but an impractical battlefield. For exactly that reason, this is the best possible time, especially as the dominant power, for America to press for the treaties to avoid the militarization of space. At this early stage, when there are no competing national interests to interfere, gathering international support for such treaties should be easy. And enforcement of these treaties then becomes in the international interest. Future escalation is avoided, and space is preserved for broad scientific and commercial gain.
The only thing America stands to lose, by pressing for such treaties while we are the dominant space power, is another platform from which to wield our power over the rest of the world — but that apparently is exactly what Bush does not intend to give up. This isn’t a real and immediate tactical concession. There is no advantage we give to the terrorists by pushing for the nonmilitarization of space, but that clearly isn’t what’s important to this administration. Our freedom and security aren’t ultimately what’s important to this administration. Absolute American power is.
The last 6 years certainly make a lot more sense viewed through that prism, don’t they?