Sunday, July 09, 2006

Weapons in outer space

Tensions IN the United Nations over space-based weapons ran to new heights recently when the United States delivered a hard-line statement on its right to develop such weapons.

Responding to repeated and increased international pressure in recent weeks, John Mohanco, US deputy director of the Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs, said ``our government will continue to consider the possible role that space-related weapons may play in protecting our [space] assets."

Russia, which is pushing for a new treaty on such weapons, wanted countries to ``refrain from any practical activities aimed to place weapon systems in outer space while the international agreement on non-weaponization of outer space is being elaborated." Apparently the US reaction was only to harden its stance.

This adds to the alarming change of course last year when the United States became the first country to oppose the annual non binding resolution on Preventing an Arms Race in Outer Space. Essentially the world considers it important to develop a treaty to prevent an arms race in space by prohibiting weapons there. The need for a treaty is compounded by the US withdrawal in 2002 from the ABM Treaty, which had key restrictions on space weapons.

Naturally, Americans want to protect their space assets, so why not pursue space weapons? The most compelling reason is that they would actually make the situation worse.

Earlier posts on weapons in space


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