A national space policy has just been approved by the Bush Administration, with serious international implications. Naturally, a missile-impervious United States causes a major security dilemma for its stately rivals, but perhaps more importantly it bears the disturbing overtones of the potentiality for offensive capability.
The claim is that "The notion that you would do defence from space is different than the weaponisation of space." Of course they're different notions, but are they really different means? I'm far from certain. US seeks to monopolise space From Aljazeera.Net on Wednesday 18 October 2006 10:53 PM GMT
Analysts say the new US policy fails to admit the rights of others
George Bush, the US president, has approved a new national space policy which seeks to deny adversaries the use of space technologies deemed hostile to the US.
The new document replaces a 1996 space policy. It was approved by Bush on August 31 and was published quietly by the White House on October 6.
"United States national security is critically dependent upon space capabilities, and this dependence will grow," the strategic document says.
"The United States will preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space ... and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests."
The text also rejects any treaties forbidding space weapons.
"The United States will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit US access to or use of space." No weapons
The US government said the new policy document did not signify moves towards using weapons from space.
"It's not a shift in policy," Tony Snow, White House spokesman, said.
"The notion that you would do defence from space is different than the weaponisation of space."
Nonetheless, the policy document has surprised some.
"While this policy does not explicitly say we are not going to shoot satellites or we are going to put weapons in space, it does, it seems to me, open the door towards that," Theresa Hitchens, director of the Centre for Defence Information, said.
According to Hitchens, this view is confirmed by US army documents that clearly express an interest in space weapons. Shift in direction
Hitchens noted the new policy also represents a significant shift from the previous policy document initiated under Bill Clinton, the previous US president.
"This is a much more unilateralist vision of space. The United States in this policy seeks to establish its rights but fails to acknowledge the rights of other countries in space, where the Clinton policy was very careful to acknowledge the rights of all nations in space," Hitchens said.
The US currently dominates space. Russia has lost most of its means and China is still in the development phase.
But the US supremacy in space faces threats from other countries. "The United States is in particular concerned about China," Hitchens said.
"While both China and Russia have been promoting a space weapons ban, it is clear to me that the Chinese at the same time are considering ways to do damage to US space assets." Source http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3A56CACD-3CDB-4367-A6B7-12081C9AA
B48.htm Alternative Source http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6063926.stm
The issue of missile defense was the salient reason that prompted me to vote against Stephen Harper in the 2005 Canadian Federal Elections (meaning that I voted liberal), so it is necessarily one that I consider to be very relevant to the international community.