Geopolitics of Space
THE AMERICAN PLAN TO MILITARIZE AND COMMERCIALIZE THE OUTER SPACE AND THE NECESSITY OF A MULTIPOLAR ALTERNATIVE
American Vice-President Mike Pence, at a meeting of the National Space Council with Pentagon officials on August 20, announced that the US Space Command will officially start on August 29.
"The United States Space Force will ensure that our nation is prepared to defend our people, defend our interests, and to defend our values in the vast expanse of space and here on Earth with the technologies that will support our common defense for the vast reaches of outer space," Pence said.
So, the recent decision by the American President to create an American Space Force, as a new component of the American armed forces, has a great and deep meaning, that cannot be comprehended without a large background of historic and juridical knowledge. Each human conquest is subsequent to the need for a new legal norm. Among the greatest scientific and technological advances of the twentieth century, the exploration of nuclear energy and ultra-terrestrial space are some of the most prominent and most noteworthy concern regarding the need for regulation by the international community.
In 1959 the United Nations Committee for the Pacific Use of Outer Space (Copuos) emerged and later a series of treaties on space colonization were signed in the context of regulationg the latest scientific innovation which was presented to the bipolar world. What resulted was that the Sputnik I flew on October 4, 1957, as the only alternative to the imminent threat of the development of new warfare techniques and modalities that surpassed the very limits of the planet.
The fear of a nuclear colonization of space became evident at the first sign of the universal beep of Sputnik I, a rudimentary satellite, whose entire rocket launcher structure coincided with that of a ballistic missile. It can be said, without contradiction, that the entire space race in the Cold War period, marked by the US-Soviet global polarization, was a race. What was most interesting to both sides was the assertion of its sovereignty in each territory conquered, which could not be different before the conquest of this “new ocean,” to use the words of former U.S. President John Kennedy.
In Article 4 of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Cosmic Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (or “Space Treaty”), 1967 we read: “States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner.”
It is interesting to note the normative breach opened by the treaty with the above statement, which is very well translated by José Monserrat Filho in a publication for the Brazilian Association of Aeronautical and Space Law: “Passing through space, without going into orbit, does not seem to mean placing such weapons in orbits of the earth or in cosmic space. Therefore, their transit through space is not prohibited. So it's allowed.”
The premeditated normative vacuum elaborated by the world powers shows the balanced search for a weak peace, limited under critical circumstances, which, while alleviating immediate crises to world peace, does not completely unlawfully all attempts to violate the same peaceful stability, failing this and all other international mechanisms of space law to completely exhaust the legal possibilities of military use of space, preserving it as a legal strategic zone in cases of war on Earth.
However, it is necessary to emphasize that the transport and the allocation of weapons of destruction in the earth's orbits do not exhaust the possibilities of warlike use in cosmic space. The wide range of possibilities for the strategic use of satellites is practically inseparable from any war plan today, as civilian life in the great metropolises can no longer be conceived without objects thrown into ultra-terrestrial space. Monitoring these activities requires an international effort that falls outside normative and declaratory competence into fiscal merit, to which no nation in its sane sovereignty and conscience seems willing to engage.
So, considering these facts, we need to contemplate the recent history of the Outer Space’s exploration and see its constant use for military and defense strategic purposes. This reality reveals the real dimension of contemporary international law, that is, without any intention of defending a supposed “legal nihilism”, almost completly insignificant when we talk about the great potencies and their power of using the force.
Since 1945, a lot of International Relations and Geopolitics specialists have considered the possession of the atomic bomb as the most important condition to guarantee a country’s sovereignty. It’s not our intention to attack this position, rather to consider it to other and deeper dimensions that are more appropriate to the contemporary scenario, as the real necessity nowadays of countries to dominate the space technology.
Russia has its armed space force since 2015. China, India, Pakistan and other developing countries with significant sovereign power in international relations have been witnessing a kind of progress in this field. And we don’t need to take into account here the developed countries with their incontestable power in space technology.
Also, as being the center of the liberal West, the United States have its protagonist place in this new space race. However, the creation of the Space Force cannot be analyzed outside its real context.
In 2015 the US approved the infamous and international illegal Space Act, in which the commercial exploration of space’s natural resources (waters, mineral etc.) is legalized and promoted by American individuals and corporations. This act clearly violates the Space Treaty, in which the appropriation of the outer space is condemned.
We can say that the U.S., more than promoting a new space race in military technology, is violating international norms when legalizing the acquisition and commercialization of space resources. In parallel, they could not be safe in promoting such an ambitious plan without a military security. And that’s the real reason behind the posterior foundation of the American Space Force.
Contradicting this tendency, we need to promote the international pacific solutions of those controversies, trying to avoid the use of space weapons, which would be a great problem to the international security and human safeness. The only way to fight this tendency is promoting an international coalition of sovereign non-aligned countries, such as the an Axis of Resistance, against the American position, towards the materialization of a Multipolar World, in detriment of the U.S. global centralization.
The omission in building this Axis could be catastrophic if we consider the fact that the outer space resources are infinite as while the terrestrial ones are not, and that in a near or distant future all the international potencies will need to acquire these resources to survive in Earth, as we will be facing a great crises of resources here.
If we do not desire the acquisition of natural outer space resources by purchasing them with great private corporations in the near future, as while submitting ourselves to the military power of western potencies, the only possible position is the immediate act for the construction of a Multipolar World.