Don't touch our outer space

Posted Oct. 27, 2006

Claims of intergalactic domination are no longer science fiction as news has come to light of a signed order claiming what amounts to the role of “high masters of the universe” to the United States.

President Bush signed an order in August asserting the United States’ right to have access to outer space without being limited by its adversaries.

This newly signed order updates the U.S. space policy, which had not been updated in 10 years. Aside from the basic information in the policy detailing the nation’s goal of exploration in harmony with other nations to better mankind, the policy takes a turn and addresses the possibility of restrictions that can be placed by others. Because of this apparent danger, the United States has stated that it will not tolerate any acts that will restrict the United States in its outer space goals.

In essence these statements sprinkled throughout the order let other nations know that the United States should have unilateral freedom when it comes to determining access to outer space. Since Bush cannot be the master of the world, why not become the gatekeeper of the cosmos? Although it is not put in those words, that is what Bush is trying to say by adding these statements in the space policy. The policy hints at the fact that the United States has become dependent on outer space projects, such as satellites for communication purposes and the like. This does not mean the United States is the only one that is dependent on such technology, but it is clear that it is the only nation that cannot be bothered with threats and restrictions. The order states that the United States rejects, “any claims to sovereignty by any nation over outer space or celestial bodies and rejects any limitations on the fundamental right of the United States to operate in and acquire data from space.” What it does not state is whether the United States will allow other nations that same right. After all if any nation cannot claim sovereignty, then why should one nation have more control? The question that comes to mind is whether the United States will tolerate other nations attempting to proclaim their right to outer space exploration and other related projects.

The order also highlights a need to have outer space dominion in order to ensure the safety of its citizens. The document introduces the need for “strategies that result in an operational force structure and optimized space capabilities that support the national and homeland security.” This brings to mind past attempts to make the nation a better place by way of outer space weaponry – President Regan’s ill-fated “Star Wars” plan, for one. The government is to cooperate with foreign nations on space activities that are beneficial for peaceful exploration but at the same time must advance national security and homeland security policy objectives such as providing space surveillance information.

The document acknowledges the United States using photoreconnaissance for mapping, warning and planning conduct for military operations, collecting scientific data and monitoring compliance with arms control agreements.

That is all good, but the document also states that the secretary of defense and the director of national intelligence can classify space activities if they believe that public knowledge will compromise the activities.            

This revised policy does nothing but try to put the United States in control of space activities by being the nation with the right to space programs without interference. If this policy is to be taken seriously, it must uphold one central phrase, a rejection of any nation’s (including the United States’) claim to sovereignty over outer space.

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