Who has some ideas of possible extropic spinoffs of the terror war?
Here's one: cheap launch vehicles.
The geographic isolation of afghanistan as well as the growing sense of
opposition to American action against the Taliban and al Qaeda in
Pakistan and other middle eastern countries could result in the
elimination of US access to bases in muslim countries, especially if
governments like those of Musharraff, Mubarak, and the Saudis are
overthrown by popular rebellion. In such a scenario, and unless Russia
allows us to use bases in the three 'stans north of Afghanistan, we will
be reduced to using extreme standoff weapons against the Taliban, with
no ability to cross normal muslim airspace.
This development would require the development not only of a ballistic
delivery system of conventional explosives on guided munitions (simple
refitting of ICBMs should do the job), but we would likely also need to
develop the ability to deploy ballistic transport systems to move men
and materiel into bases within Afghanistan.
As a historical analogy, this is much like the situation that developed
in WWII. Prior to the war, automobiles and air travel were still
considered luxury items for most Americans, even many solid middle class
families. It was only after the war, when the vast wartime manufacturing
infrastructure was converted back to peacetime use, that automobiles and
airline travel became items that most American families could afford,
and even two car families started to become common, and business
travellers found airline travel to be a common occurence.
Similarly, if we are forced to develop the infrastructure for massive
ballistic transport of men and materiel for this war, the postwar period
would likely result in the popularization of cheap space travel for
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