Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Impact of Militarization and Weaponization of Space on Peace and Development.

                           The Impact of Militarization
Weaponization of Space on Peace and Development.

Peace may sound simple – one beautiful word – but it requires everything we have, every quality, every strength, every dream, every high ideal.’ – Yehudi Menuhin (1961-1999)

Peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence and justice.’ -- Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677).

The history provides us with concrete facts and details that it was filled with battles and wars which have shaken mankind by overshadowing terror’s darkest mantle by means of causing collateral damages, genocides, blood baths, guerrilla warfares, turmoils, immolations…. the list is endless. The war tactics and war ammunitions have always gained momentum as time elapsed, decades rolled and centuries passed. The 20th and the 21st century have witnessed the escalation of war and the Red Cross estimates the death rate over millions since the dawn of the century. The World War II which was supposed to be the end of all the wars has witnessed 150 major wars in the later years. The nations are becoming ‘warholics’ by up surging in weponizing and militarizing itself with WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction) but in contrast shedding little or no light on the importance of peace, development and progress of the nations in constructive ways. In the near past too the consequences of the nuclear age as seen in the nuke-hit areas, especially Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been devastating and can be unimaginable more than ever, as we are heading towards the next phase i.e. The Space Age -- the age where peace and understanding are the only ultimate condition for survival.

The need for global peace and harmony vis-à-vis the uprising of nuclear arms race and use of weaponry in space is the bone of contention that is alarming the national securities and their interests world-wide. This consciousness among the nations arose after the White House released the new U.S National Space Doctrine from the Bush Administration. First and foremost it stated that it could deploy offensive weaponry systems in space, thus making the other countries satellites more vulnerable against the anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) of the U.S. Secondly, the U.S will oppose any new legal regimes that may be against their interests in regard to the use of Space. Thirdly, the U.S in order to protect its corporate interests will employ ‘unilateral decisions’ around the world. Therefore it finds space technology as a major criterion that is must in order to establish ‘total global control.’ In addition to this the U.S military-industrial complex views Space as a new market to increase corporate profits. Nevertheless, this will only pave way to a new maddening arm’s race that can proliferate the nuclearization in space and convert it to graveyard for the generations that are yet to come. Over all, the Bush’s new space policy is opposed to the United Nation’s Outer Space Treaty of 1967 that banned all the weapons of mass destructions in the Space; as Space was reserved for peaceful purposes. If neglected, this can increase risk in the space environment and affect global peace and concord.

However, the Weaponization of space should be retained as space is meant for common good and welfare. It can have serious ramifications if actions are not taken into consideration. For example; in case the U.S places their weapons in space it will surely be followed by the Russians and the Chinese for whom it is not difficult to meet the standards and demands of the United States. This will also enable other nations to respond likewise by attacking the satellites and putting them to risk. Lately the U.S has developed some kill vehicles like the Anti-Satellite weapons that are designed to destroy satellites in the orbit. The Space based Laser i.e. a laser firing satellite, Constellations of micro-satellites that act as space mines, Hydro velocity Rod Bundles nicknamed as ‘Rods from Gods’ can destroy targets on earth from the Space. Although space was militarized long back as militaries heavily depended on the satellites for command, control, early warnings, telecommunication, navigation, weather prediction, global positioning and espionage but lately these can also be weoponized if mixed motives exits among states. Surely this will convert space into a new age war zone.

This will be a grave peril to the development of nations as the arms will surely be utilized one or the other day in order to achieve supremacy and dominion over other nations and if precautions are not taken then the history will surely repeat the same cataclysm that took place in the World War II. It is better to prevent the development of such arms through treaties like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Nuclear Disarmament Treaty, Limited Test Ban Treaty, and Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS). This is far better than building arms and then healing the wounds of the repercussion. On the other hand when the issue for the first time appeared on the U.N general Assembly agenda in 1981, the United Nation tried its best to put a ban on all weapons of mass destructions and setting up of military bases in Space. This was broken when the U.S space command in 1997 published ‘The Vision for 2020’ document that clearly stated U.S’s intention for space weponization.

The use of space should be discreet as it can threaten the progress in future space launches by creating ecological disasters in space. There are presently over 12,000 pieces of space debris like dead satellites, exploded rockets, nuts, bolts including 32 defunct nuclear reactors and all this trash is rotating amidst more than 850 active satellites in the low earth orbit. According to some researches it is said that firstly: - the Weaponization of Space would worsen the creation of space debris or space litter and in case even the tiniest of space debris if collided with a satellite can be disastrous. This will also limit the possibilities of space explorations by carpeting the earth’s atmosphere with debris that will prevent the sun’s rays by reflecting it back into the space. Secondly- the exploded rocket fuel can affect the health of the people as ammonium per chlorate; a toxic ingredient can affect the brain development in fetuses. This is already been discovered in the soil and water throughout the United States. Similarly the rocket fuel if gets exploded can increase the risk of cancer. There are many such instances wherein such cases are been reported especially in Kazakhstan and the village of Ploskoye in Siberia. Reports from these nations’ show 15 percent of higher cancer rate than recorded earlier. Thus the prevention of Anti-satellite weapons on ground or in space is of paramount importance to safeguard human health and development around the globe.
Furthermore the building up of highly sophisticated nuclear war gadgets can risk the human existence from the face of the world if they fall into the wicked hands of the terrorists. This will create havoc by helping terrorism to grow exceedingly stronger in magnitude by challenging even the international authorities. The response of every nation around the world should be that of Russia, China, Canada and India i.e. ‘to have a total ban on space weapons.’ The nations should utilize their energies not by strengthening their military power but through human development and economic growth. This will be the yeoman’s service for the whole humankind in order to establish overall peace and development on earth.

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki disaster has seen the unacceptable face of vengeance and has experienced its long-lasting effects. This was a tragedy that was waiting to happen and can repeat itself if evasive actions are not taken at the earliest in this present global scenario where the policy is ‘eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth’. The humankind is racing against death as war wave has increased since the past couple of decades as nations are becoming power hungry and subject to avarice. The nations are dreaming of building superior weapons of mass destruction rather than investing their time and riches in building a peaceful, warless and disarmed world. The mankind is loosing its spiritual morale by becoming dealers of death and destruction instead of becoming protagonists of love, compassion and non-violence. The nations should reignite and rekindle this fire – to heal rather than to hate, to pardon than to be the cause of injury and to love rather than to fight and cause bloodshed. In the words of Prophet Isaiah (2:4) –“and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks, nations shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore (The Bible).” This will perk up the solidarity, brotherhood and tolerance between nations and there shall be no more war, strife, hatred and misery. And for the second time in the history of whole mankind, man will be able to rediscover fire on earth.

- Bryan Francis Rego.


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  1. Other important Resource Materials: - ,