Assuming the Inevitable? Overcoming the Inevitability of Outer Space Weaponization and Conflict

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Is armed conflict in and from space inevitable? In recent years a consensus has emerged that space has become increasingly militarized - in the sense that technologies placed in outer space are increasingly used to facilitate and augment traditional military activities. But actual use of weapons in or from outer space remains highly controversial. The aim of this article is to assess the attitudes of major space-faring powers towards space weaponization. Central here, the article argues, is the question of whether the weaponization of space and/or conflict in space (taken here to mean the occurrence of military conflict in outer space itself, or from the Earth directed at any systems deployed in outer space) is inevitable, and the extent to which the major space powers espouse this proposition. This article shows that the idea of inevitability retains a prominent place (although for subtly differing reasons) in American, Chinese, and Russian perspectives on space weaponization. What it is that is inevitable frequently varies, based on assumed but underspecified technological developments. This risks creating a discursively constructed security dilemma that increases the likelihood of actual space weaponization. It leads to the conclusion that renewed negotiations between the major space powers and international cooperative agreements are essential to combat the fatalism of the inevitability thesis.
Translated title of the contributionAssuming the Inevitable? Overcoming the Inevitability of Outer Space Weaponization and Conflict
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502 - 520
Number of pages18
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge

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