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And Yet More Luddism

China and Russia, in hit at U.S., urge space arms ban

Yeah, I’m sure they’re doing it out of global altruism, too.

“We are ready to take on such a commitment immediately as long as the leading space powers join in a moratorium,” he said.

Hey, it’s like a Kyoto for space! “Yup, you betcha, just as soon as them American cowboys sign up to it first, we’ll be all over this treaty.”

Ah, but this part is a real gem:

Proponents of a pact, which include many European and nearly all developing countries, say it is vital to ensure that the 1967 treaty banning weapons of mass destruction in outer space is not undermined.

With the U.S. withdrawal last year from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with the old Soviet Union, they argue there is no reliable legal pact barring countries from using space for military purposes.

So…we have a treaty barring weapons in space, but we can’t be sure that that treaty is worth the paper it’s written on, so we need…another treaty?

Right. Okay.

And note the clever (or stupid, take your pick) misrepresentation of what is being discussed here. The last sentence implies that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans military activity in space, generically, when it does no such thing:

Article IV

States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.

The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military maneuvers on celestial bodies shall be forbidden. The use of military personnel for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes shall not be prohibited. The use of any equipment or facility necessary for peaceful exploration of the Moon and other celestial bodies shall also not be prohibited

Now, if the Russians and Chinese wish to deorbit their military surveillance, navigation, and communications satellites, and ban such things in the future, as part of this new treaty they desire, well, that would suggest that they are serious about banning “military activity” in space. Otherwise, it’s just another whining attempt to undermine our NMD program.

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