Sunday, January 20, 2019

The World Is Moving Into Dangerous Space Warfare

The Bush administration’s announcement of a more unilateral approach to space may put American satellites orbiting Earth (such as the one in this image) in grave danger should a space arms race begin. (Credit: Istockphoto.com/Cristian Matei).
When space crops up in conversation, ownership does not immediately spring to mind. But as the human race continues to advance in this field, and with commercial space enterprises just around the corner, questions about geopolitics, military and their interactions.

In 1959 the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOUS) was established and as currently 2019, it has 87 member states, including major space-faring nations such as the United States (NASA), Russia (Roscosmos), Japan, China, Canada, Brazil, Australia and other member states of the European Space Agency. All nations are committed to this Space Treaty,which is overseen by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). It sets out important principles, such as the concept that space should be considered the province of all mankind, and that outer space is free for the exploration and readily available for use by all states. Be it the Moon or be it other celestial bodies cannot be claimed by a sovereign nation. Additionally, the Moon and celestial bodies are to be used purely for peaceful purposes, and weapons will not be placed in orbit or in space. "This is frequently referred to as the outer space constitution," says Dr Jill Stuart, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Editor of the Journal Space Policy

As President Donald Trump announced in June 2018 directing the Pentagon to create the "Space Force" as an independent service branch for U.S.  Recently Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Pentagon's new missile defense strategy will trigger an arms race in space and further undermine global stability. The tough Russian statement came in response to the U.S. administration's Missile Defense Review released Thursday during President Donald Trump's visit to the Pentagon.

The Pentagon's new strategy calls for a new array of space-based sensors and other high-tech systems to more quickly detect and shoot down incoming missiles. It makes clear that the new defense technologies are needed to counter advanced weapons being developed by Russia and China along with threats from North Korea and Iran. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the new U.S. strategy as a proof of "Washington's desire to ensure uncontested military domination in the world." It warned that the expansion of the U.S. missile defense system "will inevitably start an arms race in space with the most negative consequences for international security and stability." "Contrary to what the Review's authors say, the implementation of its plans and approaches will not strengthen security of the U.S. and its allies," the ministry said in a statement. "Attempts to take that path will have the opposite effect and deal another heavy blow to international stability."

Trump, in a speech at the Pentagon, declared that space is the new war-fighting domain and vowed that the U.S. will develop an unrivaled missile defense system to protect against advanced hypersonic and other threats. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the Pentagon's review as an attempt to reproduce President Ronald Reagan's 'Star Wars' missile defense plans on a new technological level and urged the Trump administration to "come to its senses" and engage in arms control talks with Russia. Earlier Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov again rejected the U.S. claim of Russian violations of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, charging that Washington hasn't offered any proof.

President Donald Trump announced the creation of the "Space Force" on 18 June 2018.
The U.S. has accused Russia of testing and deploying a missile that violated provisions of the INF Treaty that bans production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,400 miles). Washington said it will suspend its treaty obligations if Russian does not come into compliance by Feb. Lavrov insisted the Russian missile has only been launched at the range allowed by the treaty. "If they think the range was excessive, they must have satellite images or something else, but they haven't shown anything to us," he said after the talks with visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who called on Russia to destroy the type of missile that the U.S. alleges is in violation of the treaty, saying he doesn't think "anyone in Europe would like to see the beginning of a new arms race."


Lavrov charged that the U.S. made it clear during diplomatic contacts back in October that Trump's decision to abandon the pact isn't subject to talks. "Our American counterparts told us during official contacts ... that the decision is final and irreversible and statement on the U.S. intention to exit the INF Treaty isn't 'an invitation to dialogue,'" he said.

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