OPINION: Space: The Final Frontier—or the Last Battlespace?

America’s pursuit of military dominance risks damaging the peaceful—and scientifically and economically enriching—exploration taking place today.

By Mark Hannah

Late last month, the new head of Russia’s space agency announced that Russian crews will leave the International Space Station at the end of 2024. This decision abandons a long tradition of scientific cooperation as powerful countries begin to compete through anti-satellite warfare—a capability Russia, China, and the United States have already tested.

Russia’s ominous announcement follows the first images from the James Webb telescope, a triumph of human engineering. We live in a renaissance of cosmic curiosity—the advent of commercial space flights, NASA’s return to Venus, plans to further explore the moon and Mars. A pivot from cooperation to conflict now would be tragic.

Given how satellites surveil and navigate missiles, governments have a legitimate interest in space as a war-fighting domain. But while space might be infinite, the attention and resources of governments are finite.

Space has long been a domain for international rivalry. The US and USSR were fierce competitors in space during the Cold War. The International Space Station has nevertheless served as a model for cooperation. But the current diplomatic breakdown between Russia and the United States makes it harder to develop common rules for further space activity.

Read the full article on TheNation.com.

This post is part of Independent America, a research project led out by EGF senior fellow Mark Hannah, which seeks to explore how U.S. foreign policy could better be tailored to new global realities and to the preferences of American voters.