Stop Laughing at Space Force
Was Trump on to something? Space is key to winning the coming great power conflict with China.
Vladimir Putin's threat to invade Ukraine comes just months after Chinese President Xi Jinping used similar saber-rattling rhetoric against Taiwan. Regardless of how the ongoing saga on the Ukrainian border plays out, one thing feels all but certain, we are entering a moment of heightened military tensions between great powers. Despite wanting to leave the geopolitical analysis to the experts, I'm increasingly worried that a key space where conflicts will play out isn't getting the attention it deserves. That space is, well, space.
For better or worse, it is impossible to broach the topic without talking about Donald Trump.
In the grand arc of history, President Trump's creation of America's Space Force might end up being his most notable and lasting accomplishment. Many observers falsely believe Space Force to be Trump's brainchild. This misconception has caused many in the media to mock the newest branch of the Armed Services—for its logo resembling Star Trek or its unfitted uniform pants—rather than grappling with the implications of the militarization of space. In fact, both of Trump's predecessors laid the groundwork for the program. Journalists who laugh off these developments as some idiosyncratic (or idiotic) relic from the Trump years, do a disservice to their readers.
Luckily for us, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, takes space seriously:
Space is already an arena of great power competition. Chinese and Russian space activities present serious and growing threats to U.S. national security interests. Chinese and Russian military doctrines also indicate that they view space as critical to modern warfare.
Austin's analysis is worth underscoring again and again until the point sinks in.
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