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Wasserman writes: "The Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, has announced a new mission into the realm of martial excess. It is one is that will surely enrich the aerospace industry while spreading the global battlefield to a new dimension."

Donald Trump has called for the creation of a sixth branch of the U.S. military called the 'Space Force.' (photo: U.S. Air Force)
Donald Trump has called for the creation of a sixth branch of the U.S. military called the 'Space Force.' (photo: U.S. Air Force)


Trump's Space Force: Military Profiteering's Final Frontier

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

21 July 18


“The heavens are going to be littered with radioactive debris.”

he Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, has announced a new mission into the realm of martial excess. It is one is that will surely enrich the aerospace industry while spreading the global battlefield to a new dimension.

Trump is calling for the creation of a new Space Force as a sixth branch of the U.S. military, to militarize the heavens.

“It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space,” Trump told a meeting of the National Space Council in mid-June. “We must have American dominance in space.”

To this end, the President has taken a page from Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars playbook. Reagan’s scheme, according to a recent article by Karl Grossman, was built around “nuclear reactors and plutonium systems on orbiting battle platforms providing the power for hypervelocity guns, particle beams and laser weapons.”

Grossman, a journalism professor at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury and author of the book The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet, has been reporting on the militarization of space for decades, says the move will likely spur a new international competition to weaponize space.

In an interview, Grossman told me that “the Russians and Chinese are hesitant because of the high cost. But if the Americans proceed with this, all bets are off. They’re not going to sit for it. They’re going to get up there before you know it.”

“It will all be nuclear,” Grossman adds. “It’s the ultimate nightmare.”

Trump’s move contradicts the letter and spirit of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which was won after years of epic negotiations, mostly during the Vietnam War. The landmark United Nations accord brought the Soviet Union, China, the United States, and 120 other nations together in a monumental agreement to designate space as a global commons, reserved for peaceful purposes.

“States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner,” the treaty states.

“The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military maneuvers on celestial bodies shall be forbidden.”

Now Trump has instructed the Pentagon “to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces; that is a big statement. We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal, it is going to be something.”

The proposal for a Space Corps as part of the Air Force could likely pass in the House but faces tougher going in the Senate.

“There’s a lot of resistance to this,” says Grossman, “because a lot of the current work is located in Colorado Springs, and in Huntsville, Alabama. So there’s geographical lobbying from the Pentagon because they thought a new Space Corps might be competition to some of the vested interest in those towns.”

“It’s hard to know how much this would cost,” says Grossman. An article in Roll Call has estimated “$500 billion or more in the coming decade.”

“The real cost will depend on how greedy the aerospace companies are,” Grossman says. “So much of space is now private business, with Elon Musk and Bezos and all kind of companies talking about making a buck out there.”

Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, seems to agree, telling Roll Call that “a big payday is coming for programs aimed at developing weapons that can be deployed in space.”

According to Franks, “It was a Democrat mindset that caused us to step back from space-based defense assets to ostensibly not ‘weaponize space,’ while our enemies proceeded to do just that, and now, we find ourselves in a grave deficit. In every area of warfare, within the Geneva Conventions, America should be second to none. That includes satellite warfare, if it’s necessary. We cannot be victims of our own decency here.”

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty was the result of worldwide recognition that war is incredibly costly in terms of lives and resources—and that more needed to be done.

“The U.S. led the effort to de-weaponize space in the wake of Sputnik,” says Grossman. “I was told by Craig Eisendrath of the State Department that the U.S. feared the Soviet presence in space. As a model they used the Antarctic Treaty, which banned weapons down there.”

Since the mid-1980s, key players at the United Nations have tried to expand the ‘67 accord. The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space Treaty, proposed in 1985, would have banned from space all weapons, nuclear and otherwise. Canada, Russia, and China pushed hard for its ratification. But no American president has been willing to sign it. The United Nations committee working on it was dissolved in 1994. In 2008, China and Russia submitted an updated draft to the U.N. General Assembly which the United States alone has continued to oppose (Israel has abstained). Even Putin, at their infamous Helsinki presser, chided Trump about it.

Now Trump is heading where no President since Reagan has gone before. “My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a warfighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea," he says.

“Trump’s plan, like Reagan’s, involves laser beams, particle beams and hypervelocity guns, all of which will have to involve nuclear power,” says Grossman. “If there’s a shooting war it will be Chernobyls and Fukushimas in the sky. Some of it will come down, which will be catastrophic. And some will take millennia to fall, which means the heavens are going to be littered with radioactive debris.”

As Grossman sees it, “Of all the many, many terrible things the Trump Administration is doing, opening space to war will be the most destructive.”



Harvey “Sluggo” Wasserman hosts the “California Solartopia” show at KPFK-Pacifica in Los Angeles, and the “Green Power & Wellness Hour” at prn.fm. His History of the US is at solartopia.org, where America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Life & Death Spiral of US History, From Deganawidah to The Donald will soon be published.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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-19 # wantrealdemocracy 2018-07-21 17:56
I think this suggestion of a military force in space has to do with the extraterrestria l beings that have been seen again and again by pilots who are totally impressed with their ability to fly in ways that we mortals on earth can no way do. Several of these space ships have crashed on earth and scientists are studying their bodys.
 
 
+6 # Caliban 2018-07-21 23:10
Hey, #real, isn't this an X-FILE?
 
 
+38 # Dumbledorf 2018-07-21 17:57
I wonder how many people at this point in time would just like to see The Donald put on a rocket and blasted into space,( point of destination anywhere in the sky) so long as he doesn't come back?
 
 
+35 # ddd-rrr 2018-07-21 18:29
This needs to be stopped, NOW!

Recent idiocies, brought to us by the trumpian monster and his minions,
have been bad enough, but an arms race in space tops them all!

What's with this stupid "will to destroy" of the ‘Bublicans?!
 
 
+17 # economagic 2018-07-21 19:58
Weaponizing space would be far more destructive in far more ways than might appear on the surface.

Nothing occurs in isolation. Just for starters, the vast cost of such an endeavor would drive interest rates up, a blessing for those who can save but a curse for those who cannot. But overall it would be a drag on the real economy, as the MIC is extremely capital intensive, meaning that most of the gains would be distributed into the "global investment community," aka "The One Percent."

More important, it would set nations against one another at precisely the time global cooperation is most needed and possibly in sight. The Sixth Extinction seems to be humming along, and far from compensating for Pestilent Trump's giveaways to Putin this particular bit of USian hubris--attempt ing to dominate the planet on an even grander scale than that imagined by the neoCONS and their piddling "Hundred Year Reich"--could only make the demise of the USian Empire much more dystopian than it might otherwise be.

This is but the tip of a very large iceberg, but it's late and I've had a long day.
 
 
+8 # Robbee 2018-07-22 14:29
Quoting economagic 2018-07-21 19:58:
compensating for giveaways to Putin this particular bit of USian hubris--attempting to dominate the planet on an even grander scale than that imagined by the neoCONS

- putin is holding up his end of the space race, showcasing new "invincible" NUCLEAR - WARHEAD DELIVERY MISSLES

- perhaps in response to dickhead's sky net of of anti-ballistic missiles to shoot down, from space, any incoming warheads?

like stalin and hitler, there can be only one? - 2 egomaniacs egging each other on? in the eternal contest for world domination?

meanwhile the 3rd stooge, er, egomaniac, un, has the apparent capability of wiping out north america, by exploding 2 nukes in our atmosphere? - you can't make this stuff up?

how do you stop this train wreck? without taking back congress in 2018?
 
 
+16 # tedrey 2018-07-21 19:59
It's not just a Republican mindset. The neocons and the world dominationists have no party loyalties. They do have quite a history of luring, lying, and/or terrorizing both parties and the public into unneeded, expensive and murderous wars.
 
 
+16 # margpark 2018-07-21 20:14
My personal wish is for a peacenik in the oval office in 2020.
 
 
+1 # Sunflower 2018-07-24 19:00
Quoting margpark:
My personal wish is for a peacenik in the oval office in 2020.


OMG, that would be Incredible-- can we do it??
 
 
+3 # Citizen Mike 2018-07-21 21:39
Heinlein would have loved this and as an old science fiction fan I must say I sorta like it myself. But an arms race in space is really a bad idea tactically and economically. However, it may be the inevitible next development for Homo Sap.
 
 
+13 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-07-21 22:11
So the heavens are to be filled, not with the glory of God, but the gory of Trump. Bad idea.
 
 
+12 # janie1893 2018-07-22 00:29
Sooo! now mankind has morphed from having the ability to destroy the planet into the potential ability to destroy a piece of the universe!!! Watch out, God!!
 
 
+12 # wrknight 2018-07-22 02:25
“It’s hard to know how much this (space force) would cost,”

A jillion gazillion.

And we'll pay for it with another tax cut.
 
 
+4 # DongiC 2018-07-23 07:44
Our species is not homo sapiens but homo sap. And, the biggest sap of all is our beloved bully and inveterate liar Donald J Trump.
His idea to militarize space is without doubt one of the most stupid thoughts ever to escape from his febrile brain. We need improvements in our infrastructure not bonanzas in space. What is this nut thinking?
 
 
+4 # Sunflower 2018-07-24 19:02
Infrastructure? ?? We need to put all our efforts into switching to clean energy!

This guy is pathological and suicidal, but
he can only do these things IF We Let Him!
 

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