President Donald Trump has ordered the creation of a ‘Space Force’ to serve as the sixth branch of the United States military.
Trump had stated, that the goal of this is to establish American dominance among the stars.
Let’s be honest, by following through with his current idea he’s in fact handing his opponents more ammunition to use against him. What a ridiculous plan right?
Setting up an extraterrestrial army to defend the spirit of freedom. It sounds like a bad science fiction movie. Trump’s really screwed up this time, you’re probably saying to yourself. There’s no way any other American President would do something so outlandish.
Queue the iconic John Williams theme.
The Reagan Era
A long long time ago in an America far far away — more specifically 1983 — Republican President Ronald Reagan publicly launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).
You see, at the time America was still in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviets. Reagan was an opponent of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), a particularly horrifying doctrine.
MAD was exactly what it sounded like. The policy was as follows; If a nation were to use nuclear weapons to attack another, it would result in the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender. It was based on the theory that the threat of a nuclear apocalypse would deter the USSR from ever using nukes against the US, and vice versa.
Reagan, saw this for what it was. A twisted suicide pact that could go horribly wrong with only the push of a button (If you want to give yourself nightmares, you can check out just how close this policy was to being realized).
Reagan wanted an alternative. A stronger deterrent that didn’t gamble on the theory that the Kremlin would necessarily act in his people’s best interests.
The SDI was his answer to nuclear disarmament. It was a proposed missile defence system intended to render nuclear weapons obsolete, using a wide-array of purposed weaponry such as lasers, particle beams and space based missile systems.
Many were quick to criticize Reagan for trying to move away from the MAD policy, which people feared would reignite the arms race. It took no time at all for the media and the Democrats in particular, to turn the initiative into a mockery, referring to SDI derisively as ‘Star Wars’.
Despite the fact that Reagan asked the media to discontinue the term, which was of course a reference to the 1977 movie, they continued to use the moniker. This — along with the cost and the fact that the technology wouldn’t be available until decades later— led the program to become one of President Reagan’s most controversial missteps while in office, and is still mocked in current times.
Regardless of the seeming failures surrounding the SDI, no one can dispute that Reagan was reacting to a very real and imminent threat. He eventually got what he wanted in the form of a disarmament treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union. Reagan also increased the American defence budget to such an extent that many historians credit him with the eventual bankruptcy of the Soviets, evidently coercing them into attempting to keep up with American spending. This in turn led to the fall of the USSR.
The Current Situation
This begs the question; why would Donald Trump go down this road, knowing full well that it made Reagan a laughing stock during that time?
It could be a maneuver meant to take attention away from the recent controversy involving children who illegally cross the border.
It could also interconnect with the fact that he often bases his own policies on Reagan’s presidency. He even repurposed the Gipper’s campaign slogan when he was running in 2016. So maybe he’s just a fanboy?
Here’s my personal theory; Last April, former military commander of NATO and Bloomberg columnist James Stavridis, wrote an article outlining what would happen if a rogue state such as North Korea attempted to attack the US utilizing nuclear weapons “in order to create a devastating burst of energy called an electromagnetic pulse” which by some estimates could wipe out 90% of the American population.
This concern had been brought to the President’s attention as early on as 2017 when Trump first decided to engage the issue of North Korea.
Given the fact that there’s a realistic chance this technology could already exist, it’s only a matter of time before countries like China or Russia have access to it, if they don’t possess them already. I don’t think it’s completely out of the realm that the White House has decided to take extra precautions against such an attack, even if it does seem incredibly misguided.