Re: "Space War" (fwd)

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 13:42:36 MDT

Eugene Leitl wrote:
> -- Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
> On Mon, 6 Aug 2001, Jim Windle wrote:
> >This weeks New York Times Sunday magazine has an article about "space war".
> King George II seems intent on drumming up support for a space
> weapons platform. This is interesting for a couple of reasons.
> First, it looks likely to drive a massive wedge between the US
> and its current allies. Nobody who can't afford to put up their
> own orbiting weapons platform is going to be happy about the US
> doing so.

Since few of the US' current allies have nuclear weapons, those that
don't have no need to worry, and those that do are more concerned with
the perceived devaluation of their smaller stockpiles than in actually
reexamining the new strategic situation in the world. In otherwords,
nothing much seems to ever change with the european nations. I recall
that around the same time that the world was embarking on a three decade
spree of battleship building, the first aircraft ground attack mission
occured (in 1911 in the Italo-Turkish war, four bombs were dropped
rather inaccurately and with little effect, only 34 years before a
single air dropped bomb wiped out an entire city). The governments of
the world looked at air bombing of ground installations as somehow
unethical in 1911, less than a decade before strategic bombers were
constructed in large quantities, and 30 years before carpet bombing was
a standard military tactic.

> Second, it pretty much means the US is going to have to withdraw
> from the space treaty of 1965, which bans space weapons. This
> latter is actually more interesting to me, because that treaty
> also bans national claims of sovereignty over off-earth property
> (or else Neil Armstrong would have been saying the ancient
> incantation, "we claim this new land in the name of...." when he
> planted that American flag on the moon in '69) and, more
> importantly, private claims of ownership on off-earth property.

Moreover, the US never ratified the treaty until the first two years of
the Clintoon administration. It's history is one of the have nots/nevers
trying to socialize space and tell those that had the capability that
they couldn't do something that the have nots had no ability to enforce.

> As far as I know there is no direct legislation banning such
> ownership in the US -- so it looks to me like the US withdrawing
> from that treaty would allow US corporations to do things like
> register mining claims or other claims on the moon or other
> off-earth real estate, or a US expiditionary force to make
> a national claim of sovereignty over the Moon or Mars or
> whatever the next time there's a government-sponsored landing
> on either of those bodies.
> If someone actually tries it, we'll se an interesting test.
> Although, perhaps not coincidentally, a space weapons platform
> orbiting Earth is also exactly what you need if you intend to
> *defend* claims of national sovereignty on the Moon, asteroids,
> Mars, etc.

As opposed to, say, claims of world sovereignty over the US.

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