US plan to militarise space

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Final Frontier or just another butcher’s shop?

Wat Tyler looks at US plans to militarise space

The ABM treaty was finally scrapped last week and given the media coverage, you would think that it was all about one thing: missile defence. But while missile defence has given the US a seemingly valid excuse to tear up what they like to portray as an out of date treaty, it is nothing more than a diversion to hide America's real motive.  The real reason America wanted out of the ABM treaty can be summed up in one word. Space. And I don't mean the stuff that is between George Bush's ears.

Apart from missile defence, one other thing the ABM treaty prohibited was any development, testing and deployment of space-based weaponry. And while that on its own might not seem to be a cause for concern, one only has to take a look at voting records in the UN to see the direction the US are clearly going to take.  Since the early 1980s there has been a resolution every year at the General Assembly that states that there will not be an arms race in outer space. The resolution has been adopted almost unanimously every time. But each year, the one country that has never voted in favour of it is the US.  The message that the US has been giving each year could not be clearer. America wants an arms race in outer space.  And now, thanks to the ABM treaty going the way of the dodo, they will get it.

Not that it will be much of a race though. The US spends more money on "defence" than the rest of the G7 combined, and 6 times more than Russia, the second largest spender.  By allowing the US to tear up the ABM treaty, the rest of the world has given a green light to the American military control of space. During the cold war, each side's nuclear arsenal worked not as a threat, but rather as a deterrent against the other side. Each side keeping a check on the other.  In outer space, the now inevitable domination that America will one day achieve will not be checked, there will be no deterrent against any American action.

The first steps to a future where America has complete military control over the whole world have been taken. The sad thing is that it seems the rest of the world is letting it happen without a fight.

Wat Tyler is the pen name of an Englishman stranded in New York City. This is the first of a regular column.