COMMENTARY | In a sure sign that Cold War 2.0 is in full swing, the Washington Free Beacon reports that China and Russia a proposing a treaty that would ban all weapons in space. For various reasons this is too rich even for the Obama administrations blood.
The reasons for the pushback are logical.
First, the United States is increasingly reliant on space based systems for its own defense. Eventually the Pentagon would like to deploy missile defenses in space, as first envisioned by the Reagan era SDI program.
Second, the Russians and the Chinese would cheat on any treaty anyway. The treaty is unverifiable and therefore designed to cripple American defenses while allowing Russia and China to build space weapons at will, which they are.
The strategy is one that was used to effect during the Cold War. The Soviet Union would insist on some kind of arms control treaty that would leave its advantages in nuclear arms intact while inhibiting America’s ability to catch up. Part of the reason Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 was because he refused to play this game. It was touch and go for a while. The nuclear freeze proposal was fairly popular in the West, causing hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets in support of it. But Reagan held firm and, along with the collapse of the Soviets, managed to negotiate real nuclear arms reduction.
In any case President Obama must know that any space weapons treaty is not likely to get the votes in the Senate that it would take to ratify it. With his administration caught up in multiple scandals and chaos breaking out all over the world, Obama can ill afford a bruising fight over a space weapons treaty that his own people are telling him is a non-starter.
The ending question is, will the next president actually start building weapons systems to counter the Russian and Chinese ones now in development? The current president certainly won’t.