Let Mike Do It!
Send Vice-president Mike Pence out to the microphone to tell the world that you intend to “birth” a new arm to the already bloated Pentagon, The Space Force, to be operational by 2020, presumably just in time for your re-election in January 2021.
As if you haven’t already done enough damage to planet earth, with your rescinding of Obama’s environmental protections, your lifting of the gas-guzzling limits on autos, “so drivers will buy more oil,” your arming any country in the market for American-made military materiel, and your total disregard for anything that looks like an institution dedicated to world peace, economic stability and collaborating on world problems.
And now you intend to declare space another potential battlefield where you and your perverted country (perverted by your leadership) can wage war on whomever has the inclination to take on America. Apparently, there are a few high ranking military leader in that very Pentagon willing to bring truth to power and resist your proposal. There are likely more than a few, and hopefully there will be more, members of Congress willing to refuse to pass the necessary legislation providing funding for such a proposal.
Let’s waste a few more words here, by proposing a different path on this issue: the future of Space.
Currently, there are devices from a number of different countries floating, flying spinning, and even treading atmosphere up there. Their respective “lives” vary, and their potential date for falling back to earth ranges into the foreseeable and perhaps non-foreseeable future. So, with those nations, and the several privately funded entrepreneurs who have already successfully fired rockets and supply ships to the space station, where research is currently being conducted by an international crew, why not pursue the obvious opportunity. Granted, such an opportunity is completely outside both your comfort zone and your intellectual capacity, but why not seek consensus among all the nations of the world to preserve space as a shared, non-violent, non-competitive and unarmed region for as long as the human imagination and the legal accords will embrace.
Peace, even if it were barely visible, except through special lenses, dramatically deploying the latest technology, would be an inspiration to all future leaders that, this generation of leaders could claim for their legacy. If we could postulate a peace accord for space, then, just possibly we might stretch our minds and hearts into such a proposal for this planet.
The heart of this argument is the centrality of the premise: that all “territory” must be a battlefield for which arms and the military establishment are the only or primary deterrence. Not only is this premise unbalanced, it is also unsupported by the evidence of history. While it is true that wars and civil conflicts have been a significant component of human history, it is also true that many counter proposals and steps have been theorized, researched, documented and implemented. It is also true that the United States has, if not the most conflict-centric history, certainly one of the histories more dependent on military conflict. The country was conceived in war, delivered in war, raised on war and has now come to the unenviable place where it has to face the reality that war is not a solution, given the experiences in Korea, Viet Nam and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The cultural and mind-set that military answers are optimal, or even predictable, has been exposed in the latest evidence around the cyber hacking of election systems in some 20 states during the 2016 federal elections in the U.S. Certainly, the United States has “enemies” in other nations attempting to undercut their superiority, their dominance of world diplomacy, their dominance of world trade parameters, issues and disputes, and their unilateral “me first” attitude under the current administration.
Exacerbating the risk, as trump is doing and will continue to do, may feed his argument about militarizing space; it does not, however, justify the proposition.
If one grows up with the notion that the whole world is “enemy” then one is imbued with a notion that is unsustainable, untethered to reality, and also disengaged from all other world view premises. Nature, for example, while engaging in conflict in order to survive, is highly sophisticated in its deployment of force. The falcon’s snatching of smaller animals or other birds, for example, is tethered to the notion of basic survival. And while we have to be conscious of protecting ourselves, and keeping a vigilant eye out for danger, our identity is much more complex and nuanced than one based primarily or exclusively on the notion of personal, economic, psychological, political and/or military defence.
Such a premise would, for example, militate against budgets for education, health care, social assistance, libraries, schools, colleges and services like transportation, communication and marketplace structures and systems. All of these “systems” have built into their design some from of mutuality, some formal and informal expression of their social value, their moral value, their economic value, and their sustainability, given the basic needs of the society. In fact, one of the central tensions in any democracy is how the various “goods” will be balanced without tilting too far in any one direction. Already increasing the military budget by from some $72 billion, when former Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, argued for reductions in the Pentagon budget, is nothing short of morally, politically, ethically corrupt.
Ironically, this Space Force proposal comes at the moment in which the trump administration, with the support of the Republican Congress, has turned down a modest expenditure to “protect” the security, reliability and trustworthiness of the upcoming November election against cyber attacks already proven to be happening. This paradox is not merely laughable; it is also indefensible and demonstrates such extreme imbalance in the “thinking” of the White House that it merits investigation for incompetence, if not for failure to perform the duties to which the president was elected.
Sometimes, it is more appropriate to examine critically those things NOT DONE, as opposed to those things that ARE done. Failures of omission, while not nearly as visible, but certainly often more penetrating and hurtful, do not attract the same kind of critical intelligence. Ask the people of Puerto Rico! Their plight before and certainly after the latest hurricane was, is and will continue to be deplorable. Last week, the island government reported that the death toll from the hurricane is well over 1000, while official federal government reports have the total under 100. Do we think there might be some agencies and some personnel covering their backsides?
And then there is the failure to re-connect over 500 children with the parents, at the southern border, after the government separated them, “to deliver a message not to come to the U.S. Once again, prevention of the migrant tide would necessarily have to begin with foreign aid, social assistance, and intelligence in the elimination of violent gangs in Central America. Another failure by omission.
One of the first lessons an artist learns is that “light” on the canvas requires “negative” or dark areas in order to be a complete work. Similarly, in poetry and drama, in music and dance, focussing on the light, while essential for young people’s literature and theatre, leaves the canvas without a coherence. Artists deploy positive and negative space, in their work, as a way of creating the necessary tension that engages the characters who read/view/study and the characters within. Unfortunately, trump's universe has only his massive self, everything that cheer leads him in the shining light, and everything that opposes, quite literally trashed. And both the predictability and the downward spiral of this dynamic is dangerous for his administration and his country.
This president wants to build walls, built nuclear arsenals, block trade with tariffs, and then he complains when he sees NATO member “failing” to pay their fair share. When is he going to acknowledge the multiple, serious, and even potentially lethal failures of omission his administration is inflicting on the American nation, its democracy, its social institutions and its system of justice?
So long as he can, like some awkward illusionist, keep throwing “mirages” of his own imagination to feed his hollow and insatiable ego, perhaps he believes that his trickery will continue to deceive his base, long enough for him to be re-elected.
His Space Force, like other fantasies, is another force-feeding for his starved core, another display of bravado, exaggerated promises for the purpose of generating more fog, in the personal war he is “using” the office to wage for his own personal needs.