Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan may claim the US will win any war in space, not realizing that such conflict will forever make humanity prisoners on Earth. Thankfully, his words are just propaganda, analysts say.
“I’m fully confident we could win a conflict in space today” against Russia, China or any other adversary, Shanahan told US senators, who are deciding if he’s fit to take on the job on a permanent basis.
When asked to comment on this ambitious statement, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, remembered the words of US astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who was the sixth person to walk on the moon.
“Years ago, I organized a protest at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and one of the speakers was Mitchell. And he said if there’s one war in space – it’ll be the last because so much space junk will be created by blowing up the satellites that we won’t be able to get a rocket off Earth anymore. It just won’t be able to get through this ‘minefield.’”
However, the acting defense secretary’s words “are really not new” as Washington had been talking about controlling and dominating space since the days of President Ronald Reagan back in the 1980s, Gagnon told RT.
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“The US sees space as another fighting domain. They have a slogan, reading ‘full spectrum dominance’ and what this means is that the US military should control a conflict at every level – on the ground, in the ocean, in the air and now in space.”
The activist praised Russia and China for their decades-long effort to promote Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), regretting that “the US and Israel keep blocking that treaty at the UN.”
“Russia and China have been saying: ‘Let’s close the door to the barn before the horse gets out.’ But the US refuses as its weapons corporations are committed to making huge money off a new arms race in space.”
Military expert from the Russian magazine Arsenal Otechestva, Aleksey Leonkov, said Shanahan’s bravado is nothing but a “propagandist move.”
“The question is – with what hardware exactly is the US going to achieve this victory?” he wondered.
The analyst recalled that US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) marked three perspective directions in developing military space technologies back in 2002. “They were space interceptors, which would eliminate ballistic missiles; space platforms with powerful lasers, most likely nuclear powered, to protect the US territory; and special systems to strike targets on Earth with space-to-surface missiles.”
According to Leonkov, “none of these American projects is even close to practical implementation” at the moment.
Unlike the US, “Russia has recently developed a real military laser system and possesses technologies to deliver it to orbit,” he said. And if Soviet experience in the field is restored, “it’ll all be fine” for Russia.
“The USSR produced several space military systems and even tested them. One of them was the R-36ORB missile, which was able to remain in orbit as a satellite and hit a target on the ground on command from the control center. This system was even on combat duty until 1993. We also had Almaz space battle stations that could tackle spacecraft and ballistic missiles.”
China is also a strong competitor, as it already has “anti-satellite and anti-missile systems in orbit,” while actively developing its manned space program, Leonkov said.