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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/10/20

Keep War, Environmental Degradation And Profit Out Of Space

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

The 21st Century nuclear arms and developing outer space arms races, which began under Obama and are increasing under Trump, are going to be something the world has never seen before. They are a bonanza for weapons makers, the Pentagon budget and capitalists in space. They will create a less secure world, a greater wealth divide, a tattered safety net and new, more dangerous forms of war.

Last week, the United States increased the risk of nuclear war by deploying "low yield" nukes. While this sounds friendlier than planet-killing "thermonuclear missiles," it is a step toward the US preparing for a "limited" nuclear war. The US has been withdrawing from nuclear weapons treaties and the risk of nuclear war is now counted in seconds rather than minutes. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight given that nuclear weapons are on hair-trigger alert.

The US is escalating the arms race because it sees its hegemonic military and economic power weakening. Rather than respond by seeking to work with other nations in a peaceful approach with a foreign policy based on diplomacy, it is seeking continued domination by escalating a new, more dangerous arms race. This will be the most expensive arms race in history. China and Russia, as well as other nations, will not allow the United States to upgrade nuclear weapons and dominate outer space militarily without responding.

This is a quixotic effort to hold onto unipolar power when the rest of the world is seeking a multi-polar world where large governments and small governments have influence in the direction of global policies.

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The US Space Force

The new US Space Force is the first new military service in more than 70 years since the establishment of the US Air Force in 1947. General John Raymond is the first general of the space force and the newest member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The creation of the Space Force received bi-partisan support with 188 Democrats voting yes in the House and overwhelming Democratic support in the Senate in the passage of the newest National Defense Authorization Act.

The Space Force is turning the heavens into a war zone. This sixth branch of the US Armed Forces is being put in place in violation of a 1967 treaty signed by virtually all nations on earth. The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that is the basis of international space law.

The treaty prohibits the placing of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in space. It limits the use of the Moon and all other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes only and establishes that space shall be free for exploration and use by all nations and that no nation may claim sovereignty of outer space or any celestial body. It treats space as a global commons.

The US falsely claims that it needs the Space Force because Russia and China are developing weapons in space. In fact, China and Russia are seeking to expand the treaty to include a prohibition of all weapons in space. The US has been fighting the proposed Prevention of Armas Race in Outer Space (PAROS) treaty in the United Nations that would update the 1967 treaty.

If the US proceeds with an Outer Space Force, it will destroy the vision of keeping space for peace. In response to the US' plans to militarize space, which have been developing since President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative or Star Wars, other countries have said they will be expanding their weapons arsenals in order to defend themselves.

The weapons industry is already taking resources from urgent environmental and human needs. The world spends nearly $3 trillion a year on military expenditures, with the US driving 79% of the globe's weapons trade according to the State Department's World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers report. The US exported four times more arms around the globe than the next nine countries combined, $143 billion annually. The new 21st Century arms race being propelled by the United States will increase this spending on weapons.

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Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)
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