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The 20th century technological inventions provided an opportunity to man to explore outer space with a lot of ease, something that had not been attained during any other time of human history. Whereas space issues were captured only in tales, technological inventions have made it easier for man to deploy and sustain equipments in space. However, there is a race among nations to conquer space and use it for military purposes. In line with this, this paper will focus on the cons of weaponizing or rather militarization of outer space. The research paper will emphasize on mitigating arms race and adversary interpretation of aggressive and non-aggressive actions and their impact on treaties and starting a war. Notably, whereas the provision of national and global security is an important goal that must be pursued by every nation, militarization of outer space is and will always be a venture that threatens global security and peaceful coexistence of different nations that are involved.
The outer space has been utilized for many years for constructive and peaceful purposes by different nations across the globe for the benefit of all human beings. This has been done under a mutual consent by nations around the world with activities such as weather monitoring, assistance in potential natural disaster detection, research in sciences and health, etc. With this in mind, different nations agree on a mutual basis either to collaborate or share space resources in their research and other activities. However, recent trends indicate that there is a seemingly total shift in the use of space resources with nations across continents working on deploying far much more than research equipments in space. These are military weapons.
It is important to understand that throughout the history of mankind, man has invented different technologies that have improved his life substantially. However, the technological inventions have either been used for peaceful or for military purposes. In other words, the technologies are used as a way of enhancing the relationship among people from different nations across the globe or for defending and attacking each other with an aim of declaring state sovereignty, not only within the specified national boundaries, but also across the globe. This is based on the fact that resources are scarce and one has three choices: either to defend what he or she has, or fight for new resources or both. With this in mind therefore, the exploration of outer space is a history of struggle and mutual influence of two trends: the aspiration to transform outer space into a domain of peaceful cooperation, and attempts to use it as an arena of military hostility.
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Currently, there are rising concerns over a continued quest to militarize space. However, it has been observed from history that one cannot possibly overlook the indications that space research was a follow-up of military aviation, and a new tool of pursuing of balance of power, this time in space. Therefore, issues that arise from international politics such as the quest to remain on the frontline in these politics as well as possessing considerable political, social and military power are the main driving force behind militarization of space. However, these issues are more inclined towards ruling the world by nations that succeed in deploying and sustaining military equipment in space. It cannot be forgotten that the British mastered the sea and ruled the world. The same case applies to the United States who mastered the airspace and ruled the world too. Therefore, the outer space offers a unique opportunity to nations with a desire to rule the world if only these nations can be able to dominate it.
It is also important for one to understand that there are many reasons and excuses that have been given out by nations that are involved in militarization of outer space. So to speak, these nations have argued that there is increased lack of national security that has forced them to seek for other alternatives of securing their borders and maintaining global security. Nations such as the United States have continually argued that they are global superpowers with a mandate of protecting their own citizens and allies around the globe. As a result, they need to possess appropriate technology that would detect threats and counter them with a lot of precision. In this respect, deploying and managing arms in the outer space is the way to go. There are other reasons that have been cited such as reducing civilian casualties in time of war, etc.
There are many reasons that have been given to allow for mitigation of arms race in the outer space. To begin with, the United States, as a superpower has sought out for way of increasing its military superiority bearing in mind that it has continued to be vulnerable to outside attack from its enemies. In this regard, this nation continues to argue that it would be in a better position not only to protect itself against the enemies, but also to protect its allies. Additionally, there have been arguments that the United States, with such military power would intervene in military contentions in other parts of the globe with facing a lot of challenges as it has faced before. Consequently, nations that are engaged in outer space arms race argue that the outer space is an expanse that offers an opportunity to engage in military operations of a strategic scale with great effectiveness. Such effectiveness includes the ability to fight a winning war without necessarily sending soldiers outside the US border.
Political issues also play a major role in mitigating the outer space arms race. Notably, the arguments that the United States and Britain conquered the world by establishing themselves as kings of the air and sea respectively are important motivating factor for this space race. In other words, since the other three military domains are already being utilized by nearly every nation across the globe, there is need to search for an alternative military domain that would offer an opportunity to the country involved to emerge with a unique military domain. In this case, the outer space is a perfect military domain, taking into account the fact that there are already tremendous developments that have been made in regard to development and utilization of space equipments in research and gathering of important information that relates to the security status of nations.
Another reason that has been given out in regard to the arms race in space is the fact that the outer space provides a chance for an efficient war or rather military attack which is precise and has limited casualties. In this regard, whenever there is an outbreak of war or an occurrence of an incidence that requires military intervention, then measures would be taken with swiftness and accuracy that is required. More important is the fact that the use of space technology in military action would reduce by a large percentage the number of civilian casualties that are involved since with the accuracy of these technological inventions, it is easier to launch missiles against the enemy with astonishing accuracy.
It has also been argued out that the autonomy of the United States in space is paramount. Following this point, the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, had previous warned that the United States was likely another 'space Pearl Harbor' was likely to occur if the United States did not take appropriate measures to create space weaponry that would be utilized in case of armed conflict with its adversaries. Not only is this a threat to the United States ground and air security, but it also a threat to its 'heavenly' equipments that are important for surveillance and research. The proliferation of nuclear technology across the globe and specifically among nations such as Iran, China and North Korea posed a serious threat to the security of the United States and its allies. As a result, the mission of space control is to ensure the freedom of action in space for the United States and its allies and, when directed, to deny such freedom of action to adversaries.
The United States of America is a key player in global politics. Remarkably, ever since the world emerged from World War II, the globe has been divided mainly between socialist and capitalist countries. Despite the tension that existed between the two divide, the United States has played a key role in ensuring that stability is maintained through its political influence and military power. Therefore, the security of the United States plays a critical role in ensuring that global peace and stability is guaranteed. However, this cannot be achieved until this country is able to developed military option that would deal with its opponents on the international front. Therefore, militarizing space is a perfect option for this nation, taking into account the fact that if it does do this, the Russia, China, Iran and North Korea will do it. Thus, remaining ahead of its adversaries technologically is the key to maintaining this stability.
Inasmuch as the United States has continued to defend it programs of getting into space and using it as a military base, there are dire consequences that accompanies this space exploration. Note that the current global economic and financial crisis has its origins in the United States. Therefore, massive investment in military power, especially in space is poised to affect negatively the economic power of the United States. With this in mind, the global economy cannot in any way survive unless drastic measures are implemented to slow down the actions of the United States. One of the issues that have been noted with military investment is economic problems. When Russia, (then USSR) invested heavily in the military during the cold in an endeavor to compete against the United States, the results were bankruptcy, a situation that is yet to recover from completely even at present. A similar case can be observed from the Greek point of view where Greece, as a result of having fears of Turkey, invested heavily in the military and ended up in economic problems. The United States is not an exception. This nation, if it continues to pursue it plans, would end up in even more problems that it is at present and this will totally destabilize the globe in terms of economy and military power.
The issues of aggressive and non-aggressive actions have also featured greatly on weaponizing space agenda. In this regard, one action by a particular nation may be termed defensive yet be interpreted as an aggressive action. It must be remembered that when Russia (then USSR) launched Sputnik into space, the United States interpreted this as an aggressive move. Therefore, the United States moved in and took appropriate steps that were meant to ensure that it was not intimidated by the Russia technologies. However, from the current status of the United States, it is clear to nations across the globe that this nation is pursuing an aggressive action in preparing to takeover space as part of its military domain. According to Butler (1990), the United States policymakers have argued that the nation which enjoys the advantages of a new theatre of military operations...inevitably becomes the leading nation. Surprisingly, the United States has declared openly that it is committed to taking over space as one of its military domain and would attack anyone whom it perceives as an adversary.
The memories of the standoff between the United States and USSR during the cold war season in 1960s have never been erased from the minds of both the Americans and the Russians. As a result, any military development is termed as aggressive, whether it is true or not. From a broader perspective, military activity may have an aggressive or a non-aggressive character. More important is the fact that the international law does not prohibit military activities in space except certain activities on celestial bodies such as the moon.
The Muslim world has also expressed fears that the proliferation of nuclear weapons in space could be a target to destroy Muslim nations. In line with this, the Arab countries such as Iraq have made a choice against the outcry of the United Nations and the International community to develop nuclear weapons with a clear mind that if it is attacked by the United States, then it would retaliate. Such moves have continued to destabilize the Middle East, a global region that has continued to face peace challenges since the end of World War II. Therefore, whereas the United States argue that its military space programs are meant to be non-aggressive, and only designed to defend this nation, other nations across the globe have perceived this as aggressive moves that are aimed at intimidating them in global politics and military.
There are numerous threats that the globe faces as a result of weaponizing the space. To begin with, the current world depend heavily utilizing space as an important location for launching satellites for communication and other research purposes. Therefore, launching military weapons into space could easily destabilize these communication satellites and thus affect communication and research processes completely. Opponents of weaponizing space point to the world's growing economic dependence on satellites, and the risk of damaging those capabilities should weaponry be based or used above the atmosphere.
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It is also important to understand that the actions of the United States in its quest to deploy military missiles into space have affected greatly the enactment of important treaties that were aimed at controlling the arms race across the globe. Arguments have been put forward that the United States withdrawal from the treaty that has been underway to restrain arms race could lead to a collapse of the larger arms control regime and therefore, to avert this risk, the United States need to forgo testing and deployment of missile defense weapons into space. These treaties are significant, especially in balancing economic and military power thus being able to avert war. On the other hand, the United States needs to understand that having military power is not a solution to their problems. Research indicates that when nations feel threatened by others, irrespective of their military power, they would also develop aggressive actions to shake off the threats of the mighty nations. Thus, whereas the United States believes that having military might is the solution, this will only encourage less powerful nations such as China, India and Iran to join the arms race by doing research to acquire the same military technology. This would still be a threat to the United States.
There are various recommendations that can be made in regard to the issue of discussion in this research paper, i.e. the cons of weaponizing space. To begin with, all nations across the globe must be treated equally irrespective of their influence on global politics. To be more specific, whereas the United States has chosen to pursue space militarization, it is important that this will only make other nations to be aggressive and enter into the arms race as a way of guaranteeing their security. Therefore, this would worsen the situation rather than improving on space arms situation.
The United Nations and the UN Security Council should consider introducing policies which level the ground among different nations and as a result take the leading role in implementing measure that would discourage mitigation of space arms race. In other words, whereas the United States recently refused to abide by the laws that control arms race, there is need to bring this country under the subjection of the United Nations. In this sense, the United Nations would be in a position of dealing with other countries around the globe which are determined to join the arms race.
Most nations that are involved in the arms race have done so under the umbrella of self protection. In other words, nations continue to develop military power as a way of protecting themselves against their perceived adversaries. Therefore, the United Nations need to take a leading role in protecting nations against attacks from fellow nations. For instance, most Arab nations believe that they are not safe since they can be attacked by the United States. However, if the United Nations can take the leading role in protecting such nations, then there would be a drastic reduction in the arms race across the globe.
Whereas the provision of national and global security is an important goal that must be pursued by every nation, militarization of outer space is and will always be a venture that threatens global security and peaceful coexistence of different nations that are involved. Essentially, every nation has a desire to become influential on the international scene, especially in regard to political and military power. Yet this cannot be taken as an excuse to develop weapons and deploy them into space owing to the fact that this is a dangerous move that could spark aggressiveness among different nations. On the other hand, pursuing of these plans to deploy missiles into space would also act as a catalyst to other nations around the world that are endowed with nuclear capabilities. With this in mind, the treaties that have been formed in the past to slow down arms race would be violated leading to a fresh arms race across the continents. On the other hand, threats of other countries' satellites in space could easily trigger war between the involved nations, thus threatening the global security.
Therefore, it can be concluded that weaponizing space is a dangerous venture that requires urgent move by nations across the globe to bring it to a halt if not an end. Arguably, when one nation develops weapons of any kind, this will as well activate the other nation to follow suit. Consequently, the understanding of this concept should help nations across the globe to come to a mutual consensus to halt any development of space weaponry as this could worsen the security situation of the globe more than it has done before.