At first, I didn’t want to write this article because I felt it wasn’t necessary. I thought “I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s a horrible idea. What could there be to say about a half-baked idea to make Starship Troopers a reality?” Well, unexpectedly, Trump is actually trying to make the unrealistic into a reality. And, since he has decided to pursue the idea, I feel a responsibility to talk about why this is a ridiculous idea.
The first reason the “space force” is a stupid idea: diplomatic relations would be tested. Ever wonder why we don’t store nukes on the moon? That’s because, in 1966, the United Nations enacted the Outer Space Treaty. This treaty declared all of space neutral territory unable to be militarized. It states that all astronauts are to be treated as envoys of mankind and any exploration in outer space should be for the benefit of all states.
Though Trump doesn’t seem to care much for the United Nations these days, or mankind for that matter, building a Space Force with military installations orbiting the earth would be directly violating the Outer Space Treaty. The only thing that would come from having “American dominance” in space as Trump described it, is a space arms race to see who can militarize the final frontier the fastest.
My second reason may sound contradictory to a previous article which I wrote about Elon Musk. While I believe that allowing the private sector to have total freedom to do with space as they please is an extremely dangerous idea, letting the military be led by a man with a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality is even more dangerous. Elon Musk represents, to a lot of people, the good for mankind that can come from entrepreneurship; how capitalism can give brilliant people the ability to shape the world.
Even though I think people glorify him for no reason, I have to begrudgingly say that we need to leave space for people like Elon Musk. At least with him, we know that he is striving to benefit mankind as a whole, rather than to create bloodshed the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Finally, and the most obvious reason, is that making a space force would be absurdly expensive, and only reiterate the rest of the world’s perception that we are the nuclear equivalent of a schoolyard bully. This has a lot in common with and reminds me of another Trump idea that rhymes with “Border Mall.” Building a space force would be about as expensive as one can assume forming a new branch of the military can be.
As a liberal, I’ve always believed government spending to sometimes be extremely costly but necessary. However, in this situation, it would be a massive misuse of funding. While people standing on American soil are still dealing with food deserts, shoddy infrastructure and a struggling healthcare system, using tax dollars to send guns into space would be a foolish misstep.
I think at this point it is inevitable that one day space will be militarized. As the private sector pushes forward and makes space exploration the new gold rush, there will be a need for military presence. However, that day has not come. Being the first country to make that move while there is no immediate need for it shows a great deal of barbarism from us. Not only that, but it corrupts the potential for space exploration, and would be a massive misdirection of government funding that could be used for saving American lives. Building a Space Force would be completely absurd, and just the fact that this conversation is being held at all shows just how troubling the Trump presidency is.