Wednesday, June 15, 2005

China Announces Program to Dominate Space

June, 2005

Saying "it must secure space to protect the nation from attack," China has approved a national-security directive that moves it closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons.
Yeah well, I thought that might get your attention.
Actually, it’s just Rummy quietly dropping the other shoe and the opening quote is accurate, except that it’s the United States who’s rattling all those sabers.
The actual announcement, according to the New York Times article is: The Air Force, saying it must secure space to protect the nation from attack, is seeking President Bush's approval of a national-security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons, according to White House and Air Force officials.
You can imagine, if you’re Chinese or French, Russian or Japanese, the shock at an announcement that casually indicates our intention to dominate the earth.
Too strong a statement? I think not. For whatever reason, Washington has determined that domination of the earth is acceptable policy. It could be for any number of reasons, including:
  • Embarrassment over Iraq, a war that made astonishingly clear that we’re unable to fight more than one conventional war at a time . . . maybe not even that.
  • Defense-contractor angst over the end of the Cold War and the need for another trumped-up enemy to develop weapons systems against, in this case the entire world.
  • Unwillingness on the part of our own inefficient and financially ruinous system of government-by-congress to deal with the United Nations’ inefficient and financially ruinous system of government-by-nations.
  • President Bush’s confusion over having found Christ and given up drinking, not realizing that the experience, no matter how profound, doesn’t equate to making the world subservient to American interests.
  • Penis envy, pure and simple.
World powers and regional dominations ebb and flow and since the founding of our nation it has been policy to leave these cyclical forces pretty much to themselves, exerting pressure here and making alliances there, as it suited our national purpose. For the most part our international reputation was that of a self-interested country that stumbled through a relatively unfocussed foreign policy, occasionally brilliant and more often harmless enough in our naivety.
Not any more.
With no national debate and without consulting the congress, this thinly-elected sitting president and his Dr. Strangelove Secretary of Defense are preparing to take America to the brink of a form of dictatorship.
Who controls access to space controls the planet.
If each and every communications satellite (or spy satellite for that matter) cannot exist in orbit without the tacit permission of America, there is no power but our own. May as well turn the UN into condominiums, it’s over, a goal Bush and Rumsfeld and certainly Cheney would agree suits their narrow and aggressive purposes perfectly.
But does it serve us as a nation and has that question even been asked? No, it does not and no, it has not.
It does not serve us as a nation because no nation is trustworthy to run the world, not even our own idealized version of ourselves. Just as America thrives because of its diversity, so the world thrives. Just as America struggles with equity, faith and opportunity, so the world struggles. The question has not been asked because demagogues never ask, preferring to appeal to fright and greed and ghosts in the night. That has been this administration's hands-on-hips, strap-on-the-six-guns stance since 9-11.
Those largely failed policies bring the Air Force, at Rumsfeld’s direction, to ask a new 'presidential directive' to develop and install space weaponry to “assure free access in space.”
Not global access, American access.
There are no ghosts in the American night. There is no other nation capable at the moment (nor are we) to carry out such a program. But its announcement is sure to begin another financially destructive arms race. This wrong-thinking policy will drive nations to their formerly polarized positions . . . positions that crippled productivity and pissed away national resources for fifty years of Cold War. Eisenhower cries from his grave, “Beware the military-industrial complex,” and here it is in spades.
The last armaments race destroyed the Soviet Union and made paupers of half the world. This one will push a financially fragile America into decline, leaving us as Martin Luther King, Jr. so accurately called us, a nation of “guided missiles and misguided men.”
This is not my America. I have witnessed this mind-set before and seen the misery, the nations made poor, the societies laid waste by this same misguided patriotic zeal of sixty years ago. My America cannot at the same time espouse freedom and democracy for the world’s peoples, and dictatorship by taking proprietary control of the earth’s space.
This is no stumbling into a poorly thought-out war, as was Iraq. This president and his zealot Secretary of Defense have a dismal track-record that has taken us from the world’s most idealized nation to its most despised and mistrusted, even by its allies. This president, who holds no mandate for anything, must not be allowed to claim a mandate for everything.
Since its founding, this American nation has been the beacon to the world of freedom and opportunity. It is on the brink of having that glorious reputation hijacked by partisans, narrowly elected and beating drums behind the banner of 9-11.
In the name of all that we stand for and have stood for, this upcoming presidential national-security directive must not be tolerated.

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