Thoughts by Richard Bleil
One year ago yesterday (December 20, 2019), the US Space Force was founded. Unfortunately, it was founded by people who are very bad at politics.
Fair disclosure; I do not know the inside story. There might be a very real reason for the creation of the space force. The president, even Trump, is privy to intelligence to which I am not. There is an argument that the Outer Space Treaty from 1967 is currently recognized by 14 UN members including the US and prohibits militarization of space including placing nuclear weapons in orbit or the moon.
Trump, from very early in his administration, has shown disdain for international treaties, having walked away from the Iran treaty on nuclear development, the SALT II treaty on development of nuclear weapons and most recently the open skies treaty to permit oversight of military buildup and troop movement. The argument for the “Space Force” is that it is for peaceful purposes only, and therefore the claim is that it is not a violation of the Outer Space Treaty. Unfortunately, other nations may not see it that way. However, I doubt that anybody will really take it seriously.
In the past year, that have been several organizational decisions made that, frankly, make the entire space force appear to be a massive joke. For example, the logo decided upon for the force is strikingly remarkable to the badge of Star Fleet Command in the Star Trek franchise. Immediately this decision made the US Space Force the butt of sci fi jokes galore. Today has take the joke farther.
It was announced just today (yesterday by the time this is published) that the members of the US Space Force will be referred to as “Guardians”. Yes, a force based in space that are the “Guardians”, no doubt, to guard the Galaxy. Well, and why not? If we’re offending the Star Trek franchise by stealing their logo, we might as well offend the Marvel universe by stealing their Guardians. I’m honestly surprised that it wasn’t announced that the mascot would be a raccoon.
Four years ago, Trump won the White House by announcing that he was not, after all, a politician. Enough people to win the Electoral College decided that this was a good enough reason to vote for Trump, while a majority of us worried about the lack of experience he would bring, and with it, the lack of decorum. This is but one example.
The space force is an old idea. Reagan suggested the “Star Wars” defense shield (actually using that name, yet another Hollywood theft by the highest office in the land). This was, much like the US Space Force, made a brand-new branch of the US Military. There are a couple of reasons for this. See, first of all, it’s a Republican tag program. This matters, and it is the reason that so many Republicans are so set on undoing the Affordable Care Act since it is a Democratically tagged program.
I find it intriguing that the Democratic tag program is meant to protect people, and the Republican tag program is meant to expand the military.
By making the US Space Force a branch of the military, it is very difficult to eliminate it. The desire is to create a standing Republican tagged program, such as the Mexican wall for example, that can be pointed to for years to come for political gain. Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (a.k.a. Star Wars) was announced in 1983. Once it became clear that it was not scientifically viable, it was defunded (but not eliminated), and in 1993 renamed the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. This allowed it to eliminate the space defense concept and develop anti-ballistic missile systems, but, being part of the US military, remains today. By making the Space Force part of the US military, it will be equally difficult to eliminate. Defunding is possible, as they did with the Star Wars program, but elimination is not easy.
Frankly, I’m a little bit tired of party tag initiatives. They frequently lead to poorly thought out initiatives (like Star Wars, the Southern Wall and the Space Farce), and poor support (like the Affordable Care Act). These programs and resistance to them are examples of putting party politics over the good of the people, something that democracy is supposed to protect us from. Unfortunately, even the citizens of this formerly great nation have been engaging in party politics as well, voting for party members instead of looking at the people running for office. I voted for Biden because I didn’t want Trump to win, not because I’m a Democrat (if you must know, I’m independent because I vote for the person, not the party) but because I saw the harm he has done in four years. In 2024, there’s a good chance I’ll try to vote Biden out of office, depending on the individual running against him. But, see, it’s not a given; it’s a choice that will be based on observation and the direction Biden takes us in the next four years.