So many of you saw various versions of this story, and were kind enough to link various articles to me in your emails, that this absolutely had to be included in the "finals pile" for this week's blogs, and when you read them(pick any one), you'll see why:
First, let's put all this into context. You'll recall a few months ago I blogged about a Japanese architectural firm that had put forward a study of turning the entire Moon into a gigantic solar energy power plant. The proposal called for ringing the entire equator of the Moon with panels, collecting enormous amounts of energy, which would be beamed back to the Earth in the forms of microwaves, converted to electricity, and voila, Japan's energy problems would be solved. Except, there was a hitch. In my book Cover Wars and Breakaway Civilizations, I outlined a 1960s US Air Force study to orbit satellites which would do the same thing. The trouble was the collecting antennae on the Earth would exist in dead zones created by the microwaves. Japan's plan, in other words, was to make the Moon a kind of "Death Star", and no sooner had the Japanese firm put forward its proposal than the Chinese, realizing what was up, put forward their own version, and even made reference to he fabled "Death Star" of the Star Wars movies. The Chinese, in other words, weren't buying the idea that this was solely for "peaceful production of energy," for one and the same technology could easily be weaponized.
As the first two articles make clear, the "cover story" for selling this program is to protect satellite assets from "space debris," and it is also made clear that Japan is undertaking these moves in concert with American strategic planners. But as the second and third articles also make clear, this is being done partly as a response to the successful test of a Chinese anti-satellite missile system in 2007.
But as regular readers here have probably already guessed, I think there is more going on here than even these explanations, and the "more going on" falls into two major but related categories: (1) the growing move to privatize and commercialize space and assets in space - think only of asteroid mining in this connection - will require minimizing risk, and part of that minimization will mean inevitably protecting assets from competitors, and this implies, ultimately, not just the militarization of space but the weaponization. In other words, what we are looking at is the first stage in a long-term plan to weaponize not just near-Earth space, but deep space. (2) The second factor is international financial clearing and other communications, for since much international clearing is handled by satellites, he who controls the satellites (and for that matter the trans-oceanic cables) controls international financial clearing.
As the BRICSA nations appear to be set on the course to create rival development banks and international currency agreements, this implies inevitably the construction of their own independent international clearing, and this will require the expansion of their space-based assets, with the inevitable protection of those assets, from military intervention. In short, what is emerging is a new kind of space race, one in which space commercialization and geopolitical agendas on Earth are driving the weaponization of space.
The merchantmen always drive the creation of the war galley, of the frigates and ships of the line, or in this case, the anti-satellite, and anti-anti-satellite capability, and as commercialization broadens and deepens, so too will the technologies of space weaponization.
What this might portend in terms of geopolitical implications here on Earth is equally disturbing. One can expect the bi-lateral agreements among the BRICS bloc, which has already seen bi-lateral space agreements between Brazil and China, to continue. Most interesting to watch will be Europe, which has already seen a backlash against the USA in terms of the Snowden-NSA spying scandal, and European calls for its own independent internet. Similarly, Europe will move to protect its space assets. But this will place Europe vis-a-vis the UK into an interesting position, since the UK has participated in the European Space program, but is widely seen as being too integrated with the Washington-London financial oligarchy. One possibility to watch for is a more independent French and German national effort to create their own space-asset defense technologies and platforms. Germany and France both, with GDPs larger than Russia's, are in a position to create such independent programs should those nations think they are necessary, and events may compel them to do so. In short, space may have an unusual effect on the geopolitics of the Earth, and in particular, on European Space affairs. This may be yet another one of those things to watch
See you on the flip side...