In an essay in the online publication World Politics Watch, Richard Weitz reviews the international controversy about space weaponization triggered by the release of the new national space policy last month. The key section of his essay is the following:
The major source of tension between the United States and other nations results from the military logic underpinning the new space policy. Typically, countries react to external threats in two ways. On the one hand, they can seek to resolve their disagreements through arms control — either with detailed treaties or less formal “rules of the road” agreements specifying appropriate practices (e.g., a possible prohibition on illuminating foreign satellites with lasers). On the other, they can rely on the classic tools of defense and deterrence — combining unilateral protection measures with threats of retaliation against hostile actions.
However, as Jim Oberg noted in his article in The Space Review earlier this week, one of the flaws in proposed bans on space weapons is a lack of a verification mechanism. “If it all comes down to blind trust of non-binding ambiguous promises, why bother with signing anything at all, ever?”