Skip to comments.The War Over Space
Posted on 01/26/2004 4:32:27 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
Political Combat Over Space Defenses
Stand by for a war over space. While questions still remain over the technical capability of a missile defense, the success or failure of a future space war will be dominated more by earthly politics and money than by star-wars-like science.
The new National Missile Defense system is slated to go online this year. In response, political efforts inside Moscow and Beijing are under way to handicap the United States missile defense program with international treaties and internal politics.
The American political opposition to a national missile defense will pick up as information becomes available from Russia and China, forcing the issue to become part of the 2004 presidential election.
Democrat opponents of President Bush's plan to field a missile defense in 2004 have much in common with Moscow and Beijing. They clearly do not want the U.S. to defend itself in the face of a growing threat and fear changing the status quo of mega-death nuclear retaliation that dominated the last half of the 20th century.
Clinton Suicide Pact
The nuclear-suicide pact politics adopted by President Clinton and then universally accepted by the Democrat party is to rely on paper treaties. For example, the Clinton administration steadfastly stuck to the obsolete and often violated Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty signed with the now-defunct Soviet Union.
The Clinton stand included a perpetual national campaign to lie to the American people about the very real missile defenses fielded by Moscow in violation of the ABM treaty. The fact is that Russia never adhered to the ABM treaty limitations, fielding hundreds of nuclear-tipped S-300 missiles as part of its own national anti-missile defense during the 1990s.
The Clinton administration elected to ignore the nuclear-tipped interceptor missile sites sprouting up around Russia and continued to maintain that the U.S. would not break the phony treaty. President Clinton agreed to limit the performance of the U.S. Army Patriot and the U.S. Navy Standard missiles while Pentagon and CIA analysts showed that Russia was openly violating the ABM treaty limits with its own missile systems.
The Clintonian policy effectively froze or canceled all efforts to develop a national missile defense. Simple tests that might violate the sacred cow of the ABM treaty were never performed, and many systems already fielded by the U.S. military were restricted from performing intercepts.
Moscow did not complain because Clinton never asked about its S-300 and S-500 missiles. President Clinton also declared that Russia was no longer a threat to America and that nuclear-tipped missiles no longer targeted U.S. cities.
1995 Doomsday Mistake
The stark reality, however, as compared to political fiction presented by Clinton, was that America was in the nuclear crosshairs. On Jan. 25, 1995, a report published by the Russian news agency Interfax stated that Russian air defense forces had shot down a missile aimed at the country from Western Europe.
In response, NATO defense sources quickly revealed that Norway had launched a civilian research rocket from Andoya, in northern Norway, to investigate the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) over Svalbard, a group of islands some 650 kilometers north of the country.
According to the reports from NATO, three Russian radar sites observed the rocket, but it did not cross Russian territory and was not fired at by air defense forces.
In a televised appearance on Jan. 27, 1995, Russian President Boris Yeltsin praised the Russian military for detecting and tracking a Norwegian research missile on Jan 25. The event caused a stir after Interfax erroneously reported that the missile had been aimed at Russia and then shot down.
Yeltsin said he used his "black box" for the first time during the event. The military thought the missile was a U.S. first strike launched from a submarine. In response, Yeltsin consulted with top military officials using his "black box" emergency communication equipment.
"I immediately contacted the minister of defense and the generals, and we kept track of that missile from beginning to end," said Yeltsin.
On Jan. 31, 1995, the Russian minister of defense announced that the military had been informed in advance of the Norwegian rocket launch. A Russian Foreign Ministry official said his department had twice passed on advance information to the Defense Ministry regarding the launch of the Norwegian research rocket.
Yuri Fokin, Russia's ambassador to Norway, confirmed that Norway had complied with the usual notification procedures regarding the rocket launch. Fokin said the confusion was caused by a "misunderstanding which must not be repeated."
According to reports published in Aviation Week and Space Technology, Yeltsin came within two minutes of launching a nuclear strike against the United States. The report also noted that the Russian Federation president was drunk during the entire event.
While the above events read like something out of "Dr. Strangelove," the fact is that the world missed World War III by only 120 seconds and a shot of vodka. The lack of any real defense against missiles, the keystone to Clinton White House policy, left America vulnerable to even a small mistake.
Bush on Target
George W. Bush's election to the White House brought with it a promise of a U.S. missile defense. Predictions from Clinton and the Democrat left that Russia would react violently to the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty never materialized. The Bush administration knew that Moscow would not react, simply because Russia has already thrown the ABM treaty limitations out the window.
Bush critics declared the new policy as yet another example of the neocons running the White House, calling the unilateral withdrawal an end to diplomacy. The critics still refuse to recognize that the Bush decision energized and renewed diplomatic action with both our allies and our potential adversaries.
One direct result of the ABM withdrawal was a sudden flurry of Bush-led diplomatic activity with our allies to create a joint missile defense. The diplomatic efforts have paid off recently, with Australia and Japan joining the U.S. in forming a shared defensive effort to protect the Pacific region.
Washington also has similar efforts under way with South Korea and Taiwan, much to the dismay of Beijing and Pyongyang. Both Asian communist states have placed much military emphasis on building their offensive missile capabilities, in order to bully their neighbors.
The prospect of a joint missile defense with America turns the billions of dollars that China and North Korea dedicated to their nuclear-tipped missiles into so much wasted money.
Having failed to stop the U.S. from deploying a land-based missile defense in 2004, the next step planned in Beijing and Moscow is to prevent any U.S. space-based missile defense. The plan includes diplomatic efforts at the U.N. and one-on-one meetings to prevent the deployment of a true global defense against missile attacks.
Expect the global fear society led by the left to join on cue with Moscow and Beijing, calling for paper treaties to substitute for real defense. The strategy is similar to the ABM treaty deal: Lock the U.S. into a restrictive treaty while developing and deploying active military systems that violate the treaty.
In fact, Beijing has already begun its own space weapons program, designed to knock out U.S. satellites. China has already tested micro-satellites called "parasite" vehicles.
These parasite vehicles hunt down and attach themselves to a target satellite in an effort to destroy it. In addition, Beijing has tested a large land-based anti-satellite laser system designed to knock out or blind U.S. imaging space vehicles.
Anti-satellite systems are part of a first-strike package. Clearly, a space attack would be the prelude to a general war, including missile attacks against the U.S. and our allies.
U.S. Space Superiority
The threat of a first strike against America starting with a space attack is so real that the Pentagon has dedicated a program to counter the threat. The Rapid Attack Identification, Detection and Reporting System (RAIDRS) is slated to field its first hardware in space by 2008.
The highly secret RAIDRS system is designed to improve space satellite operations, in order to take rapid action in space and to zero in on attackers.
"We have space superiority but we have to maintain it," stated Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Leaf of the USAF Space Command. "We need to provide defensive capabilities against the attacks we can anticipate, and where appropriate provide an offensive capability. There will be no free ride for [those] trying to attack U.S. space capabilities," stated Gen. Leaf.
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