Is Space the Place for the Next Arms Race?

Independent Institute fellow Mike Moore on how to avoid an arms race in space

During a lecture on the dangers of weaponizing outer space at UT's LBJ Library, the Independent Institute's Mike Moore (who has a quite nice journalism resume as well, might we add) joked that the space-related arms race the world's powers are inching toward could transform the doomsday clock into a nice modern little digital number.

Moore said that the US' repeated refusal to adopt a treaty banning weapons in outer space has only made more likely the future star wars. But it's not going to play out like George Lucas vs. Commander Worf. More likely, Moore said, was that advanced anti-satellite weapons would be developed by powerful countries, like China, that could bring the international economy to a halt by crippling global communications and navigation systems.

Since the US has more satellites in orbit than any other country, and China has already demonstrated at least the potential power to knock one out of the sky, wouldn't that kind of treaty benefit the U.S.?

Moore said that China is not out to get the U.S. militarily – in fact China needs the West to sell its cheap goods to – so why wouldn't the U.S. be a part of this treaty to show good faith?

It's not like we need any boosts to our world reputation or anything.

If you're looking for the other side of the story, it played out in the elevator as I was leaving the library. "Oh, he's just a neo-liberal," said my fellow Longhorn. "Going against the neo-cons. You gotta watch the watchers, man." So there you go.

During his time in Chicago, Moore said that he would sometimes run into Donald Rumsfeld at public policy gatherings and the like, and that 'Ol Rummy was one of the heads (who Moore calls "Space Warriors") talking up the role in the military should play in the U.S. space program. That's enough for this blogger. I'd go with Mike Moore over Don Rummy all day. Hell, I'd let Michael Moore annoy me all day before listening to a guy like Rumsfeld.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

University of Texas, Outer Space, Arms Race

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