David Briceno: Space Force: a space farce?
“Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea…We have the Air Force. We’ll have the Space Force.” — President Trump on creation of a new branch of the armed services. (March 13, 2018)
Whether it’s Reagan’s SDI “Star Wars” or a future president creating a lunar installation (“Moon Base Alpha”?), or even Trump’s envisioned Space Force, whatever catchy euphemisms they’re called by, they all mean the militarization of space. It’s attacking in or from space.
A fighting U.S. Space Force sounds like a fantastic idea. Great. But really is it? After all, what could possibly go wrong? Here’s what can go wrong:
Not to appear prophetic, a future contingent space force can ignite a competitive arms race which inevitably will lead to nuclear war leading to nuclear holocaust and lead to the end of life as we know it on this planet. No small matter.
While it’s excusable Republicans don’t believe in climate change, it’s not excusable that Republicans don’t believe all-out nuclear war can cause climate change. Scientists in the early 1980s have already concluded Nuclear Winter occurs after a catastrophic nuclear war resulting in prolonged subzero temperatures that will cause a new planetary Ice Age. Life will end (Google “nuclear winter”) as people now know it, then total extinction.
Space defense systems should always be incorporated within the Air Force apparatus. They should be operationally integrated not separated from it. Why? When carrying out any emergency war order mission, it’s coordination not uncoordination that’s crucial for any mission’s success and always has been militarily. Another separate armed forces branch is an unnecessary additional governmental bureaucracy. A Strategic Space Command (my name for one) suffices, not another entirely different service.
Trump’s proposal hit the force field of reality last month in earth’s Democrat-controlled House Appropriations committee. While the beginning part of the spacey plan looked pretty good, the cost of a separate space-related military branch was out of this world. To note, to Republicans, liberals may characteristically be all wasteful big spenders, but when it comes to throwing unnecessary millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to a voracious Pentagon’s insatiable appetite, Democrats can be as stingy as even the most miserly Scrooge.
They didn’t buy it. Not any of it. They photon torpedoed it.
Besides, the U.S. Air Force is already highly space-orientated as it is now. With later highly advanced R&D that enables easily maneuverable spacecraft someday maybe things will be different. But it doesn’t make much sense to establish an entirely different distinct military service now since flying saucers are still science fiction not science non-fiction. It’s putting the cart before the horse. So a military Space Force headquarters isn’t needed. Actually, at this pre-launch stage no one really knows exactly what a Space Force is or will even actually end up looking like, which was another reason why Trump’s spaced-out dream crashed and burned.
But even if Trump’s out-of-orbit proposal eventually launches, don’t expect the Russian or even the Chinese military to just chill. Even before its booster stage first fires, Russians will have been traveling at warp speed to develop ways to beat us. Why? Simple.
Throughout China’s and Russia’s histories, the now-military superpowers have been invaded often. They’re not about to let another invasion to occur again — especially via space. No, they’re going to use their thrusters to counter America’s upcoming superior Space Force whereby causing an inextricably escalating arms race. After all, Russians and the Chinese feel sorta uncomfortable if they know someone like the U.S. can completely annihilate all their people with impunity and end all life as they know it. They know a nuclear holocaust causes extreme widespread destruction, suffering and genocide. And that nuclear war causes Nuclear Winter that inevitably ends all life on the planet. They hate their cities being nuked and not being able to prevent it by a credible threat of retaliation if someone thinks about crossing the line and decides to attack them.
When the balance of power becomes unbalanced and doesn’t lean in their favor they get threatened. They feel vulnerable. That’s dangerous. So an arms race is not only destabilizing and expensive, but offers a false sense of security.
Trump’s space farce project is that and more.
Finally, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the landing of man (men) on the moon. JFK would’ve been thrilled to know his dream came true. Let’s hope Trump’s doesn’t.
David Briceno lives in Alta Sierra.
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