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  • Too Bad We Can’t Ban Stupidity

    Posted by Shannon Love on January 25th, 2009 (All posts by )

    The Obama administration will seek a treaty “banning” space weapons. [h/t Instapundit] That’s really great except such a “ban” will have no other effect than to disarm America and other liberal democracies while leaving hostile authoritarian governments in control of space. 

    We have internal checks and balances which enforce the treaties we sign. Authoritarian states have no such checks and balances. Authoritarian states always create internal mythologies in which liberal democracies are duplicitous villains. They expect us to cheat on any treaty so they cheat as well. 

    No arms-control treaty between liberal democracies and authoritarian states has ever worked unless the authoritarian state lacked the physical ability to break the treaty. The canonical example would be the 1973 Biological Weapons “ban” between America and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union began violating the treaty immediately and developed a massive biological weapons capability that America could not match. 

    Space weapons are doubly problematic because you can’t look at a satellite from a distance, or even up close, and tell if it has offensive capabilities. Any satellite that can maneuver, which is all of them, can turn itself into a bullet that can obliterate any other satellite by ramming. You can’t even tell when a weapon is being tested. A satellite will simply fail or explode into debris and you can’t tell whether it was destroyed intentionally or just suffered an internal failure or hit a piece of space junk. 

    These realities make any space weapons “ban” completely unenforceable save by the internal mechanisms of the signatory states. In practice, that means any treaty will only prevent the development and deployment of weapons by liberal democracies. 

    Obama and other supporters of these types of treaties are a strange group of people who are deeply paranoid about the shenanigans inside the military-industrial complexes of liberal democracies but who are completely trusting of the military-industrial-dictator complexes of authoritarian regimes.  


    9 Responses to “Too Bad We Can’t Ban Stupidity”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:

      20 to 1, China won’t sign on.

    2. Helen Says:

      The most depressing thing about politicians is their incapacity to learn from history. We just go round and round the same racetrack. Well, let’s hope there is another Reagan waiting to take over in 4 years’ time.

    3. david foster Says:

      One possible function of space weapons would be shooting down enemy ballistic missile early in their trajectories. But, as I noted in this post:

      Very clearly, “progressives”–and even many mainstream liberals–have long been hostile to the very idea of missile defense. They were hostile to it when the principal threat was from the Soviet Union, and they are hostile to it when the principal threat is from rogue states, terrorists, and a brutish theocracy. They were hostile to it when the latest thing in computer technology was the IBM System/370, and they are hostile to it several generations of technology later. It seems to really bother them that any system should be so presumptuous as to interpose itself between Americans–and citizens of allied nations–and those who would launch missiles at them.

    4. Methinks Says:

      Well, let’s hope there is another Reagan waiting to take over in 4 years’ time.

      Helen, that’s my hope too. Unfortunately, this is shaping up to be the same kind of Dumbocrat entrenchment that FDR and his Soviet/Stalin worshiping advisers ushered in. Unfortunately, I think it’s more likely that we will see a decline to European decrepitude and a massive brain drain from the U.S. before we see another Reagan.

    5. Methinks Says:

      It seems to really bother them that any system should be so presumptuous as to interpose itself between Americans–and citizens of allied nations–and those who would launch missiles at them.

      Which is just evidence that liberalism/”progressivism is a form of retardation. They claim a superior way of life and then refuse to defend it and threaten anyone who does (irony?). Anyone enemy is a friend and any friend is an enemy. They can’t stand the church but are more religious about socialism (which is all faith based as it has never ever worked) than most Christians. They even have their own Obamessiah. I see another immigration – this time from the United States – in my future.

    6. hugo james Says:

      Read the piece with care. It is a suggested world-wide ban. China doesn’t sign, then probably no deal…Of the many items we send aloft, how many do you think are simply that which they are said to be? Most include special items that are both used and/or tested, and they are not part of a science study project.
      ps: anti-missle defense is not anti but rather a show-me-it-works approach.

    7. hugo james Says:

      a proposal ONLY. That would require signatures from world-wide…No China no deal.

      Any awareness of what sometimes goes into space under the guise of science?

    8. Shannon Love Says:

      Hugo James,

      It is a suggested world-wide ban. China doesn’t sign, then probably no deal

      Read the parent. The Chinese will sign a treaty and them promptly break it. We won’t even have definite proof they broke the treaty until they use the weapons. This is exactly like the 1973 world ban on biological weapons. The Soviets and Chinese signed it and properly broke it in utter secrecy. Americans who claimed they broke the treaty prior to the fall of Communism were decried as hysterical warmongers in the pay of defense companies etc.

      Of the many items we send aloft, how many do you think are simply that which they are said to be?

      Rather my point. There is no way to tell what is in a payload headed for space. Over the last 50 years we have shot a lot of stuff into orbit and looking back no one at the time had a clue they even existed much less what they did. The Russians and the Chinese could have nukes sailing over our heads right now and we wouldn’t have a clue.

      ps: anti-missle defense is not anti but rather a show-me-it-works approach

      No, its “it will never work and will make the world a worse place if it does work so we will oppose even researching it” kind of deal. It’s kind of hard that credibly claim a show-me-it-works approach when you oppose the research to demonstrate that it works. Almost all the arguments to date about missile defense have been over whether to even fund research. Had leftist had their way, today we wouldn’t even have the technology to argue over deploying.

    9. david foster Says:

      Hugo…the fact that a nation *signs* a treaty does not guarantee that said nation will actually *comply* with the treaty. Surely this should be obvious?…

      “anti-missle defense is not anti but rather a show-me-it-works approach”…would you have opposed Britain’s deployment of a radar-and-communications-based air defense system in the late 1930s, on grounds that it had never been tested in combat?

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