Fostering greater multipolarity in space

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Fostering greater multipolarity in space
McCandless, Sean Andrew
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viii, 124 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Astronautics and state -- United States ( lcsh )
National security -- United States ( lcsh )
Astronautics and state ( fast )
International cooperation ( fast )
National security ( fast )
International cooperation -- Outer space ( lcsh )
Outer space ( fast )
United States ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 109-124).
General Note:
Department of Political Science
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sean Andrew McCandless.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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518013692 ( OCLC )
LD1193.L64 2009m M32 ( lcc )

Full Text
Sean Andrew McCandless
B.A., Colorado State University, Pueblo, 2005
B.A., Colorado State University, Pueblo, 2007
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Sean Andrew McCandless
has been approved
Amin Kazak

McCandless, Sean A. (M.A., Political Science)
Fostering Greater Multipolarity in Space
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Steven Thomas
In this thesis I argue for greater cooperative multipolarity in space and that the U.S.
should enter into and foster this multipolarity to help ensure greater national
security as well as to realize the inherent benefits of multipolar space relations.
First, I argue that the fundamental astrorealist assertions about the nature of power
in space relations are fundamentally flawed and that unipolarity cannot be
maintained and that unipolarity creates and exacerbates conflict, not ameliorates it.
This means, essentially, that the U.S. should abandon its astrorealist policies because
they are not working for the benefit of the United States. Second, I argue that
multipolarity is a more stable form of international space relations in that it: a)
fosters normalization of space relations and establishes norms of behavior; b)
balances space power, thus leading to a decline in tensions in space and over space
assets; c) is pragmatically wise for the U.S. to encourage since it makes the U.S.
defensive position more secure in the long run; and d) allows for national and
worldwide benefits of cooperative multipolarity that far outweigh the benefits of
unipolar unilateralism and unipolar multilateralism in space. Third, I argue that such
cooperative multipolarity is especially important in helping to avert the most likely
future space conflict, that between the U.S. and China. Fourth, I argue that the
European Space Agency (a federation of 18 smaller, national programs) provides the
best example for how multipolarism provides tangible benefits both on the national
and supranational levels and how cooperative multipolarity versus unipolar

unilateralism, unipolar multilateralism, and even competitive multipolarity provides
the most tangible, sellable, usable, and beneficial results planetside.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its

I dedicate this thesis to the successful realization of a united humanity, a species
that can acknowledge its differences while also knowing it is one.

I wish to acknowledge my wonderful and gracious committee members: Steve
Thomas, Lucy McGuffey, and Amin Kazak. Without your wonderful advice and
thinking that a thesis about space policy could actually work, this document would
probably not exist.
Special thanks to my parents, Elaine Anderson and Charles McCandless, for telling
me I could do anything and actually believing in that.
To YouTube for allowing the space ambient music I would listen to while writing this

1. WHY SPACE AND WHY NOW?...............................................1
Principle Assertions...........................................3
The Argument...................................................4
Outline of Chapters...........................................10
2. ASTROREALISM: ITS ASSUMPTIONS AND ITS FLAWS..........................12
Astropolitics: Realism in Space...............................13
Astropolitics/Astrorealism and the major assertions.13
The Realist Rollercoaster.....................................18
The Dawn of the Space Age: Creating Unipolarity.....18
The New Space Age: Maintaining Unipolarity..........31
3. THE STABILITY OF MULTIPOLATRITY......................................45
Peace through Stability.......................................47
The Need for New Regimes............................48
The Composition of New Regimes......................54
The European Space Agency...........................63
The Benefits of Cooperation.........................71

The Role of Space in China Today..........................82
The Eagle and the Dragon Face Off.........................85
Weaponization Concerns..........................87
Anti-satellite Systems..........................90
What Cooperation may look like..................94
5. A MULTIPOLAR FUTURE..............................................98

Increasingly, space policy has become an area of growing international relations
(IR) scholarship. This body of research is small compared to other areas of IR study,
but as countries become more closely connected through globalization and as a
greater number countries are becoming space powers, the issues of space and what
it means in IR are becoming all the more important. Current issues that have been
investigated by researchers include space competition (including weaponization,
space exploration, and private space programs), international space cooperation,
the role of space in third world development, and survival. While there are
numerous research strains and tentative conclusions, one remains certain: space is
an evolving field and can serve numerous different purposes for those countries that
wish to brave its frontiers.
Fundamentally, the U.S. is the primary author of space policy: it has the greatest
technological sophistication, the most space assets, and the greatest overall
presence in space. Simply, the U.S. is the chief power in a unipolar world and in
space. Historically, the U.S. has taken a realist approach to space relations,
specifically a defensive realist position. However, U.S. space planners have

historically tweaked many assertions of the defensive realist school and have
established a growing sub-realist school, astrorealism. Astrorealism differs from
other realist schools in several fundamental assumptions: 1) it unequivocally aims to
establish continual U.S. unipolarism in space; 2) it asserts that this unipolarism
exactly equates with ensuring U.S. security; 3) it maintains that this unipolarism can
be maintained through the constant improvement of space technologies (e.g.,
defensive, reconnaissance, missile, and even manned assets)and denying other
countries access to space; 4) it warns against multipolarity as being against the
historical record and as being an invitation to future conflict; and 5) it asserts that
multipolarity destroys countries' incentives for getting involved in space because it
assumes that multipolarity destroys competition, thus forestalling space
development. While it remains to be seen whether astrorealism is yet a full-fledged
sub-school of realism, U.S. space policy, as will be demonstrated through this thesis,
is astrorealist. What is all together more important about this policy assertion lies in
the maintenance of this system, which is what Gills (2005) would call the
globalization of empire, in which a unipolar power envisions a world dominated by
and for that said power. With the greater integration of the world through
globalization, the fairness and also more practically the maintenance of such a
system remains in question. With the world metaphorically shrinking, the viability of
such a system, both for the U.S. and the world, also is questionable.

Principle Assertions
In this thesis I argue for greater cooperative multipolarity in space and that the
U.S. should enter into and foster this multipolarity to help ensure greater national
security but also to realize the inherent benefits of multipolar space relations. First,
I argue that the fundamental astrorealist assertions about the nature of power in
space relations are fundamentally flawed and that unipolarity cannot be maintained
and that unipolarity creates and exacerbates conflict, not ameliorates it. This
means, essentially, that the U.S. should abandon its astrorealist policies because
they are not working for the benefit of the United States. Second, I argue that
multipolarity is a more stable form of international space relations in that it a)
fosters normalization of space relations and establishes norms of behavior; b)
balances space power, thus leading to a decline in tensions in space and over space
assets; c) is pragmatically wise for the U.S. to encourage since it makes the U.S.
defensive position more secure in the long run; d) allows for national and worldwide
benefits of cooperative multipolarity that far outweigh the benefits of unipolar
unilateralism and unipolar multilateralism in space. Third, I argue that such
cooperative multipolarity is especially important in helping to avert the most likely
future space conflict, that between the U.S. and China. Fourth, I argue that the
European Space Agency (a federation of 18 smaller, national programs) provides the
best example for how multipolarism provides tangible benefits both on the national
and supranational levels and how cooperative multipolarity versus unipolar

unilateralism, unipolar multilateralism, and even competitive multipolarity provides
the most tangible, sellable, usable, and beneficial results planetside.1
The next section demonstrates my rationale for these assertions.
The Argument
To the astrorealist, unipolarism is equal to security. The astrorealist makes
numerous distinctions in forms of polarity and lateralism. Polarity, roughly, deals
with centers of power, where power lies, and from where it is executed. Lateralism
deals with the number of actors participating in a given action (Dolman, 2002).
Thus, an astrorealist makes a distinction between unipolar unilateralism and
unipolar multilateralism but notes that both can equally serve the interests of the
unipolar power (Davis, 1997). For instance, unipolar unilateralism can serve the
interests of the U.S. in that it is the U.S. as the sole power executing a mission or
taking command of an area of space that is key: the U.S. takes direct power over a
certain area, and since power equals security in astrorealism (indeed in realism in
general), the benefits are obvious. According to David (1997), an equally secure and
logical astrorealist policy position is unipolar multilateralism and is best seen in U.S.
defensive arrangements with allies: through cooperation with close allies, the U.S.
has and continues to expand its defensive uses of space through the use of allies'
territories, technologies, and cooperation. David (1997) envisions that cooperation
in space-based defensive technologies between the U.S. and its allies represents the

most viable, most profitable, and the wisest use of U.S. unipolarism in space to
direct multilateral efforts at a larger space-based security sphere.
Thus, the U.S. astrorealist typically believes that security in the modern world is
intrinsically connected with space-based military assets and that the U.S.'s security is
only assured through U.S. unipolar dominance of space, albeit allowing both for
unilateralism and multilateralism directed unipolarly. Multipolarism is outright
rejected as being a threat to security. However, through historical analysis, I present
in this thesis the argument that U.S. security is actually lessened through unipolarity.
U.S. security, perhaps ironically and counter intuitively, is best served through a
balance of space power. My examination of the historical record indicates a five-
part trend that backs this up.
First, unipolarism in space has historically been unsustainable in that the day's
given space hegemon's position is precarious in that smaller space powers will
always seek to usurp the hegemon's position by attempting to "level the playing
field." To protect its unipolar power, the space hegemon will take a two-pronged
approach: a) enhancing its own space abilities to ensure their military sophistication;
and b) forestalling global space technology development to ensure security through
strength in space assets and ensuring a dearth of abilities to strike back at the
hegemon. Second, the leveling of the playing field has happened quite often in
space relations and during those times of equality of space-means, there usually

occurs a paradigm shift in which space powers view either cooperation or
rapprochement as desirable. Third, during periods of equalization of space power
(historically this has meant bipolarity), the results have been space-based regimes
regulating weaponization, both in space and with space-ancillary technologies: SALT,
ABM, 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and others are examples of this. What this means is
that during times in which power is more balanced, the results are the beginnings of
the normalization of space relations and the declining tensions of space
weaponization. Fourth, historically, this multipolar security and stability is disrupted
when at least one power tries to break free from this power sharing and assert or
reassert its unipolar dominance. Last, this assertion or reassertion causes the
previous cycle to repeat itself, namely through another power or powers attempting
to once again level the playing field.
Currently, the U.S. finds itself currently in the position of the space hegemon,
and numerous smaller and/or less adept space agencies have missions of creating
greater multipolarity in space both for national and global benefit; according to
Guterl (2005), Newberry (2004), and Solomone (2006), the ESA, the Brazilian Space
Program (Instituto Nacional De Pesquias Espaciais), and the PLA-controlled Chinese
space programs, respectively, all have missions of fostering greater multipolarity in
space to counter (either peacefully or forcefully) U.S. unipolarity in space. To these
organizations, unipolar multilateralism is not good enough; true multipolarity must
be achieved. This is eloquently demonstrated in the ESA's goal in its space missions:

to foster the benefits of space by promoting cooperation among with NASA as being
"partnership among equals" and refusing to "accept a role as a junior partner"
(Guterl, 2005, p. 66).
The result can either be cooperative or competitive multipolarity (DeMontluc,
2009). The most peaceful of these is, obviously, cooperative multipolarity, and this
thesis, as mentioned previously, argues that this is the best form of global space
relations and that the U.S., to secure its own space assets and foster both national
and global security, should foster this multipolarity. This is wise pragmatically as,
historically, it has not been possible for any space power to maintain unipolarity,
and with the rise of the ESA, indigenous space programs, and non-U.S.-led
cooperative ventures between space programs, the likelihood of the U.S.
maintaining its unipolarity is both questionable and a source for future space
conflict: there are simply too many rising space powers in the current era, and U.S.
attempts to forestall global space development will undoubtedly result in a backlash,
and in many instances already has. Historically, the result of the U.S. drive to retain
unipolarity has included missile proliferation risks, the advancement of space-based
or space-ancillary defensive systems, and an overall dangerous space environment.
Cooperative multipolarity, on the other hand, allows for the greater normalization of
space relations and laws and norms of behavior governing missile proliferation,
space asset protection, and even the management of the growing problem of
human-created space debris which pose serious threats to all countries' space

assets. With the U.S. as the primary author of space policy, its intent of use, to
foster unipolarity or multipolarity, is either the source of conflict or the source of
greater cooperation.
The astrorealist, as noted earlier in this chapter, assumes that multipolarity
destroys countries' incentives for getting involved in space by destroying avenues of
competition and thus forestalling space development. This, however, I argue, is
fundamentally incorrect, and the example I use is the European Space Agency. The
ESA is a federated agency composed of 18 members and several ancillary
participants. Rather that forestalling development, the ESA has historically been
able to encourage space development through the promotion of multipolarity: the
selling point here is that the intrinsic benefits of space technology (e.g., earth
observation, telecommunications, telescopic and robotic missions, and even
possible manned missions) can only be realized when the benefits are spread to the
greatest number of countries. What is different in the ESA is that the intent to use
space is different than in America: America's chief use of space has been defensive
(e.g., astrorealist), whereas the ESA's intent in space use has historically been to
realize the benefits of space planetside. Rather than forestall development and
discourage activity in space, the ESA has been able to foster the greatest integration
of space agencies since the dawn of the space age and creatively use space
technologies to address serious development issues. If the case of the ESA is
accurate, the U.S. would be able to benefit far more through greater cooperative

multipolarity in space then it ever could through either unipolar unilateralism or
even unipolar multilateralism and, of course, especially competitive multipolarity.
For all of these reasons, it will behoove the United States to abandon its astrorealist
policy orientations and adopt more cooperative multipolar orientations.
Last, the U.S. should foster cooperative multipolarity in space to help avoid a
future space conflict with China. Numerous scholars (e.g., Hitchens & Chen, 2008;
Martel & Yoshihara, 2003; Solomone, 2005; 2006) have noted that the possibility of
a future space war is greatest in U.S.-Sino relations. According to Gilks (1997),
Chinese defense planners, long concerned about protecting the sovereignty of
China's borders against future historical incursions, have since Mao seen space as a
way to ensure defense, and the U.S. helped both theoretically and practically inspire
this position. Theoretically, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. set the precedent during the
Cold War of space being the vehicle for modern state defense; practically, China
began seeing investment in space technologies as a way of "leveling the playing
field" against the far superior U.S. space technology. According to Martel and
Yoshihara (2003), Chinese defense planners know that while the Chinese space
program cannot directly compete with the U.S.'s program yet, the Chinese space
community can ensure that the U.S. would be less likely to attack China or Chinese
space assets if China has strong space assets as well; in this way, a fundamental
aspect of China's space program has been to foster as least a national security-based
challenge to U.S. space power, a logical strategic position considering the historically

strained-relations between the U.S. and China (see Meisner, 1977/1999). The U.S.
astrorealist policy, meant to ensure security through unipolarity in space, is one of
the chief reasons behind China's defensive response vis-a-vis space technologies. It
has also inspired other countries (e.g., Israel, Iran, Malaysia, Japan, and the Koreas,
to name but a few) to augment defense through either investigating the use of
space-based technologies or actually developing and deploying them, either with or
without U.S. help. Due to this fundamental flaw in U.S. astrorealism, the U.S. would
be wise to foster greater multipolarity so as to ensure its own security.
Outline of Chapters
This thesis is divided into five chapters, including the introduction. Each chapter
deals with a specific sub-aspect of my overall argument so that the thesis builds off
of itself. The first chapter is an in-depth discussion of astrorealism's assumptions.
There I present the theoretical basis behind astrorealism and its major assumptions.
I then divide the chapter between the U.S.'s trends at fostering unipolarity and
maintaining this unipolarity. Both emphasize that while the U.S. was not the first
unipolar power in space, it has sought to level the playing field in terms of space yet
began to foster outright unipolarity after the end of the Cold War. The principle
argument in this chapter is that astrorealism is inherently unstable and
unsustainable. The second chapter presents a discussion about the benefits of
multipolarity, albeit specifically cooperative multipolarity. Here I chart the reasons

why multipolarity in the coming era of space relations is a necessary not only for U.S.
security but also for global security. I use the European Space Agency as the chief
example that the astrorealist assertions that multipolarity destroys countries'
incentives for getting involved in space is incorrect and that multipolarity has
inherent characteristics that make it a desirable form of power distribution. The
second chapter discusses the specific case of China and the U.S. and why
cooperative multipolarity is needed in these relations. China and the U.S. are largely
augured to be the only two countries in the world at present who could engage in a
space-based conflict, so the normalization of the relations between these countries
is highly desirable and highly urgent. The last chapter summarizes the argument and
chapters together into a whole.

According to Davis (1997), Dolman (2002), Kaufman (2006, October 16), and
others, the United States has largely pursued a defensive realist security policy.
According to Guzzini (2004), Mingst (2007), and Thies (2002), this defensive realist
policy theoretically means that the United States is largely obsessed with security.
According to Guzzini (2004), the fundamental realist assumptions in defensive
realism, a school that shares the common tenets with other forms of realism, is that
the world stage is anarchic, that actors act rationally to promote self benefit, that
the state is the primary and most important actor on the world stage (leaving states
to determine relations and positions to one another on the world stage without
reference to a larger, transnational authority), and ultimately that states seek the
maximization of power. Astrorealism is located within the defensive realist school
yet offers several space-based assertions to add to realism. Chief of these
assumptions is that unipolarity in space ensures U.S. security and that multipolarity
leads to conflict, not peace. However, in this chapter I argue two primary points:
that astrorealism, the dominant U.S. space policy theoretical paradigm, as a sub-
school of defensive realism, is flawed in that 1) unipolarity is a source of conflict, not

a resolver of it; and 2) unipolarity cannot be maintained because it is often (and so
far, always) successfully challenged by different forms of polarity. Both of these
make it unwise for the U.S. to continue pursuing astrorealism as a policy in space.
Since I am also arguing that astrorealism is a sub-school of defensive realism, I
will cover the major theoretical works in this field, the U.S. historical precedent of
engaging in astrorealism, and then chart the historical changes that have convinced
me to argue that the unipolarity for which astrorealism aims causes conflict, in
unsustainable, and is an unwise space policy for the United States to pursue.
Astropolitics: Realism in Space
The primary theoretical discussion of astrorealism is through Dolman (2002)
who set out to define and describe the U.S. realist policy orientation that deals
specifically with the role of space assets in security. Dolman called this policy
astropolitics and had, among many, the goal of arguing that the U.S. should continue
to expand its space assets and establish a benevolent hegemony in outer space,
controlling access to space for both friend and foe alike. In this section I chart the
theoretical assertions of astropolitics and this school's obsession with unipolarity as
the ideal form of space relations.
Astropolitics/Astrorealism and the major assertions
Dolman (2002) defines astropolitics as an extension of 19th and 20th century
theories of geopolitics combined with the study of space terrain and technology with

the development of political and military strategy (pp. 1-15). To Dolman, space is
the new realm of geopolitics, and countries who fail to get involved risk being left
behind politically and militarily: in this paradigm, the U.S. would be foolish not to
protect its unipolarity and unilateralism in space. In astropolitics, international
space cooperation's realization is sketchy at best, namely in that cooperation in
space seemingly "belies the historical record" (Dolman, 2002, p. 87, emphasis
added). Dolman (2002) notes that achievement in space exploration and uses of
space came with "wary superstates attempting to ensure their political survival" (p.
87). Dolman (2002) notes that the United States should take the incentive to
establish military control of low earth orbit, or at the very least a watchdog capacity,
a benign hegemony (p. 157).
Dolman's assertions are in line with a particular strain of U.S. military
thought which outright argues that the intent of the U.S. should always be to
maximize its security potential, especially in space since it is the new realm of
modern security. Paikowsky (2007), citing the earlier works of Dolman (2002) and
Suzuki, notes that space policy and power struggles in space programs are
essentially results of competition because space policy has been formed by the
larger powers who were historically motivated by competition, whose intent had
and has remained to augment security. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the
decline of Russia's space program, this intent to augment security essentially means
the United States since no other country has the resources, capital, and hawkish

defense community all combined to accomplish such a feat. What is also important
here is that astrorealism assumes that conflict in space is inevitable and that the
only thing stopping and/or forestalling it is U.S. power.
According to Davis (1997), astropolitical unipolarity can be broken down into
two sub-forms: unipolar unilateralism and unipolar multilateralism. In unipolar
unilateralism, the power to engage in space relations lies with the U.S., yet the U.S.
for a given mission or task is acting alone. This would be incredibly important for
certain types of advanced weaponry deployment or testing of new technology.
Since defensive realists advocate a country doing what it necessary to increase
security, the astrorealist would see obvious benefits to unipolar unilateralism: both
the power and the means are held and executed by the United States, and this
would be the most secure means of ensuring that dangerous space technology
would not and could not fall into the hands of enemies of the U.S. However, Davis
notes that unipolar multilateralism is also an acceptable form of space relations,
albeit solely between the U.S. and its closest allies. In this way, the U.S. still retains
the power in the relationship (the unipolarity) yet acts multilaterally with allies to
guard against common threats and establish a security sphere (Rumsfeld, 2001; see
also Oppenheimer, 2003). The benefits here are obvious: the U.S. would use its
allies to augment space based security, ensure more sources of funding, foster
greater technological development through allied foreign research, and establish a

larger U.S. controlled security sphere. The U.S. has pursued both unipolar
unilateralism and unipolar multilateralism.
A key feature of astrorealism is the abhorrence and condemnation of
multipolarity in any form. As will be demonstrated later in this chapter,
multipolarity in space policy has resulted in the normalization of space relations
(with varying degrees of success), specifically international treaties governing space
relations. These treaties were the results of the equalization of countries' defensive
means (typically the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.) and resulted in treaties that sought to
resolve weaponization and security concerns and make not only the two space
powers more secure, but also the world. Thus, astrorealists tend to be adamantly
against multipolarity and space treaties. For example, Dolman (2002) criticizes the
1967 Outer Space Treaty that forbade weaponization of space as well as offensive
and most types of defensive systems noting that it destroyed individual countries'
incentives for getting involved in the development of space policies and technology.
Numerous defense planners (discussed below) also criticized such treaties, arguing
that they essentially leveled the playing field and hurt U.S. security. In this way,
there arose a bifurcation in U.S. defense and space policy: 1) those who saw the uses
of space in defense but wanted to forestall conflict through international regulatory
regimes; and 2) those who also saw the uses of space yet saw opportunities for the
U.S. to spring ahead of both friend and foe alike and establish unquestioned military
and security superiority through the U.S. space-based defensive and offensive-

systems. Those in the first category still made realist arguments about U.S. security,
yet they began to abandon astrorealism and criticize it for creating conflict. Those in
the second camp are the astrorealists, and many defense planners in the U.S. space
security community are astrorealists, the most famous modern example being
former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who in 2001 chaired a blue ribbon
commission on protecting space assets, noting that the U.S. was within its rights to
secure space for defensive uses and deny access to anyone (Rumsfeld, 2001; see
also Gagnon, 2003 & Oppenheimer, 2003).
In summary, theoretically, the astrorealist is a brand of defensive realist who
believes that modern state security is intimately connected to and dependent on
space assets. Astrorealism asserts that unipolarity in space is the desired
distribution of power, that unipolarity can be executed in numerous forms, that
unipolarity ensures security through U.S. space dominance, and that multipolarity is
a dangerous distribution of power that hurts U.S. interests. Perhaps not surprisingly,
the former U.S.S.R., modern Russia, and modern China all have tenets of astrorealist
policies, with the exception that they find themselves in secondary positions to the
United States. In the next section, I investigate these assertions by charting U.S.
space policy from the beginning of the space age until the George W. Bush

The Realist Rollercoaster
In the previous section, I overviewed the major theoretical assumptions behind
astrorealism. Here I chart U.S. policy to examine primarily the often rapid cycling in
space policy between unipolarity, bipolarity, and multipolarity, and through this will
argue that unipolarity is the source of conflict in space, not the resolver of it, and
that this unipolarity in space is unsustainable. This is profoundly important for
numerous reasons, not the least of which is that if the U.S. has largely pursued an
astrorealist space policy, one that seeks to ensure security through unipolarity, and
that this policy has made the U.S. less safe, then the efficacy of astrorealism can be
debated, thus making room for my advocating cooperative multipolarity as the ideal
for of space power distribution.
The Dawn of the Space Age: Creating Unipolarity
The dawn of the space age occurred in the late 1950s when the U.S. and the
U.S.S.R., wary of one another's power, eager to seek new forms of power projection,
obsessed with reconnaissance as a way of preventing an attack, and also with armies
of former Nazi scientists in their employ to perform advanced rocketry research,
began to see space as the new venue of national security (Walsh, 2000). The
progenitors of satellites were reconnaissance balloons and advanced spy aircraft
(Rentmeester, 2002). However, the true space age did not begin until the U.S.S.R. in
1957 launched Sputnik, man's first official successful foraying into outer space.
Launched atop the Russian-made R-7 Semyorka rocket, the first intercontinental

ballistic missile, Sputnik signified not only the dawn of the space age but also that
the U.S.S.R. was the world's first space power: the Soviet Union created unipolarity
in space simply because they were the only ones who could reach space.
Historical analysis of the space age has led me to see five basic patterns: 1)
unipolarity is challenged, causing other countries to attempt to level the playing field
while causing the space hegemon to respond by enhancing its own sophistication
and forestalling global space development; 2) an equality of means is often
established, leading to defensive fears which have typically resulted in arms
controls; 3) the rise of space regimes as a result of the equality of means; 4) the
attempt by one power to break free of this unipolarity; and 5) the repetition of the
process. This historical analysis is based primarily on the relations between the U.S.
and the Soviet Union, and I use it as the basis for arguing the position of unipolarity
in modern space policy. Through this five pronged pattern, I will demonstrate that
unipolarity is inherently unstable and unsustainable.
Unipolarity is determined by the exercise of power, and the U.S. became the first
to be in second place in space relations. The U.S.S.R. had unipolar power first and
would not give it up (Kay, 2003). The U.S. sought to respond to and challenge this
unipolarity out of fears of U.S. security. Moreover, numerous scholars (e.g., Belote,
2000) assert that the U.S. first got involved in space for the purposes of spying and
augmenting national defense; the argument especially that of Eisenhower was that
the United States needed to get involved in spying using space technologies not

because the U.S. was aggressive but because the U.S.S.R. was secretive (p. 46).
Eisenhower, however, specifically rejected the idea of weapons in space, noting that
no country's security would benefit (Belote, 2000). Eisenhower sought to address
U.S.S.R unipolarity through negotiation primarily, yet the U.S.S.R's unipolar position
in space was challenged through the beginnings of weaponization regardless.
Between 1957 and 1962, the first phase of space security relations, both the U.S.
and the U.S.S.R. tested nuclear weapons in space (nine times) in addition to upper
atmospheric tests (Moltz, 2007). Nuclear testing in space by the U.S. and the
U.S.S.R. occurred in the same year as Sputnik, demonstrating that the U.S.
challenged Soviet unipolarity in space and that the U.S.S.R. responded through its
own nuclear testing to extend its technological sophistication and preserve its own
unipolarity. In this way, the U.S.S.R. was also adopting an astrorealist orientation:
modern state security was increasingly becoming dependent on space technology.
The irony is that both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. invented this reality: they "predicted"
the rise in the defensive uses of space simply by engaging in space-based defensive
With the U.S.S.R. as the world's first space hegemon, the U.S., as noted in my
first identified principle, sought to level the playing field and to secure its own
security. For instance, while Eisenhower initially rejected space-based weapons, the
United States Air Force soon began pushing for the weaponization of space (Belote,
2000). This weaponization of space, according to the fledgling astrorealists present

in the U.S. defense community, was a way of ensuring security through an equality
of means, to challenge Soviet unipolarity in space and, consequently, ensure U.S.
security. The goal was to create a fledgling competitive multipolarity, however ill-
conceived and dangerous for world security, to make the idea of one attacking the
other a Pyrrhic victory (see Kay, 2003). For example, Major General Oris B. Johnson
(1968) warned against the U.S. not getting involved in space and that negotiations
with the U.S.S.R. would be fruitless: the U.S. would have to challenge Soviet space
power and the USAF would inevitably have to expand its scope to include space
technologies. Johnson (1968) also outlined that any space defensive system must
have four aspects: detection, identification, interception, and destruction; if the
United States wanted to maintain military superiority and the safety of its citizens, at
the very least the first three options would have to be pursued by defense planners.
Thus, we can see a few aspects of the fledgling astrorealist school: 1) security is the
most important aspect of state policy, and space technologies best address security,
and 2) international regimes are undesirable since force is interpreted to be the
guarantor of peace. The Soviet Union in particular was against cooperation of any
kind, mostly because Khrushchev feared that such regimes would eliminate the
Soviet advantage.
With Soviet unipolarity in space being challenged, tensions over space assets
began to rise. Khrushchev refused to undertake a cooperative mission to the moon
with the Americans, noting that it would forestall Soviet space power through

cooperation and leveling the playing field (Kay, 2003; Rentmeester, 2004). Kennedy
initially wanted cooperation yet only took an unwavering hard-line approach after
the Gagarin flight in 1961, noting that Soviet space ascendancy needed to be
challenged (Kay, 2003; Rentmeester, 2004). Also, the Starfish Prime test of July
1962 disabled at a minimum six U.S., British, and Soviet satellites, and then-U.S.
secretary of state Dean Rusk warned of the increasing risks of space becoming
"man's newest battlefield" (Moltz, 2007, p.188). However, the U.S.S.R. was
additionally concerned with space-based weapons systems and maintain an edge
over the U.S. and put significant funds into the Fractional Orbit Bombardment
System [FOBS] that would deliver nuclear weapons from orbit (Mowthrope, 2003).
Thus, in line with the first historical principle I mentioned, the U.S.S.R. (the unipolar
power) sought to retain its unipolarity, and the U.S. (a smaller power) sought to
challenge it. Both were engaging in astrorealist chess moves. U.S.S.R. unipolarity
did not actually create security for itself: the constant pushing of the envelope
inspired the U.S. to do the same, to challenge Soviet space hegemony, and to ensure
at the very least an equalization of space means. Terrible and dangerous weapons
systems, both actual a theoretical, came into policy discussions: the maintenance of
unipolarity reduced space to a potential battlefield, making the entire world unsafe.
However, as I noted above, historically the growing equalization of means and the
realization of profound security threats led the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to begin
entering into the second and third phases I noted: the rise of defensive fears

through the equality of means and then space-based regimes that resulted to
address those fears.
With the realization of the growing leveling of the playing field and the
achievement of very strained competitive multipolarity, it was the mutual
recognition of both the U.S. and the USSR of the numerous negative consequences
of weaponization and the looming possibility of nuclear war that stimulated the first
round of space-based security agreements (Kay, 2003; Moltz, 2007; Rentmeester,
2004; see also Dolman, 2002). This led to policies such as Open Skies, ensuring
equal intelligence gathering potential for both sides (Newberry, 2004). The first few
sets of treaties included banning nuclear testing in space through the 1963 Partial
Test Ban Treaty, the UN Resolution of December 1963 that banned competition on
the moon, both territorially and militarily, and the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which
demilitarized the moon, forbade weapons of mass destruction in space,
conceptualized space to be used for peaceful purposes, and encouraged national-
level consultations regarding space activities (Moltz, 2007, p.189; see also Graham &
Hansen, 2007). Furthermore, between 1970-1975, the detente era, the discussions
between the U.S. and USSR expanded upon the early nuclear-arms-centered
discussions: both sides were restricted from interfering with the other's satellites (in
the Interim Agreement of the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks), establishing missile
defensive systems (the ABM treaty), with both sides forestalling programs of
conventionally armed, co-orbital anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) (Moltz, 2007, p. 189).

A key here was for both countries to ensure arms verification as a means of ensuring
peace (David, 2009).
This last period is key: fears about space-based weapons led to talks, to a
competitive multipolarity in space. This multipolarity was a necessity for both the
U.S.'s and U.S.S.R.'s political survival: none truly wanted to be under the thumb of
the other, so a tense equalization of power resulted that gave birth to several
international treaties. This is not an ideal multipolarity in that, as will be
demonstrated below, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. sought almost any way possible
to break free of such a system and establish unquestioned space power. While it
may not be an ideal form of multipolarity, at the very least the equalization of power
led to security talks; at the very least the talks demonstrated the fledgling potential
of competitive multipolarity while also pointing to a higher form of multipolarity,
that being cooperative.
These second and third principles demonstrate that even in the early forms
of space relations, power sharing is a more stable form of power relations than an
imperial monopolization of power (see Gills, 2005). First, through the equalization
of space abilities, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. realized that both could do serious
harm to the other and the other's space assets. There seemed to be no clear
advantage to be taken by either side. Both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. wanted space
dominance, yet the strategic inability to achieve unquestioned space dominance led
to a begrudging acknowledgement that survival in the short term meant more than

dominance; dominance in the longterm could be established later. Both sides'
quest for unipolarity created the conflict, yet it was only when unipolarity could not
be achieved outright in which space relations became more secure. Second, rather
than engaging in constant usurpation of the other, the possibility arose for greater
space cooperation. This is ironic from an astrorealist perspective because as I noted
earlier, multipolarity to an astrorealist is an undesirable form of power relations in
space because it seemingly creates less security, not more, and destroys countries'
incentives for getting involved in space.
However, this is obviously not true based upon the above. Rather than
creating less security for the U.S., the fledgling early multipolarity created more. It
created more security through a few mechanisms: 1) it fostered normalization of
space relations, namely what is and what is not permissible; 2) it fostered security
through the assured mutual protection of the other; 3) it helped to foster the idea
that challenging the other's space assets and pushing the envelope would be
harmful to one's own security; and 4) while nationalistically self-serving, the results
of a lessening of space tensions between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. led to wider
worldwide benefits. The key here is this: multipolarity by itself fosters normalization
of space relations, leading to greater security for all concerned. The problem,
however, is three-fold: 1) competitive multipolarity is begrudgingly entered and is
unstable in that the powers entering into it seek to find an advantage to propel
themselves beyond the others; 2) this multipolarity is challenged when by at a

minimum of one power attempts to assert or reassert unipolarity; and 3)
cooperative multipolarity begins to become the most stable form of power relations,
yet this type of multipolarity at the then-current stage of space relations remained
only something for science fiction and idealists.
This is the fourth historical principle I identified: the competitive multipolarity
achieved through steps 2 and 3 is often challenged through one power attempting
to create or re-foster unipolarity. An astrorealist would assert that this new stab at
unipolarity signals a fundamental breakdown of multipolarity, that multipolarity is
an "unnatural" form of power relations and antithetical to state's aims, and exposes
its weaknesses: a country does not truly want multipolarity, and multipolarity is only
a calm before further attempts at power, an attempt to take a breath, gather
resources, and plan the next grab at power. Astrorealists would also point out that
the normalization of space relations and the treaties that resulted were essentially
failures because they did not stop the attempts at further power grabbing, thus
signaling an overall position that such treaties are inherently worthless. For
example, after the detente period and the Cold War heating up once more, space
based security arrangements between the U.S. and USSR waned: the USSR and the
U.S. resumed ASAT testing, with the U.S. actually launching one in 1985 (Moltz,
2007). Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) that involved plans
for space-based weapons, technology that Reagan apparently planned to share with
the USSR under programs of "cooperative nuclear elimination," yet Congressional

approval was not forthcoming since many in the Congress did not want to abrogate
the ABM treaty, leading to further arms control and space cooperation (Moltz, 2007,
p. 190).
The astrorealists in the U.S. defense community were also highly skeptical of
multipolarity and international agreements; many outright rejected such regimes,
said that they were not working, and advocated the U.S. to break out of those
systems and to refuse discussing any future systems so as to ensure security. For
example, numerous astrorealists writing in the Airpower Journal and Air University
Review debated the efficacy of international regimes. For example, Cady (1982)
launched on Johnson's (1968) work to argue that the viability of a nuclear deterrent
was not entirely reliable and that the U.S.S.R. was possibly ahead of the U.S. in terms
of space-based weapons research, development, and deployment. Cady (1982)
suggested that to preserve American military supremacy, space-based laser/particle
beam weapons should be deployed to destroy enemy missiles and satellites.
Perhaps most interestingly, Cady (1982) categorically rejected observing any
international laws or even creating international space-weapons regimes that could
impede the U.S.'s ability to defend itself using space technology. Cady outright
rejected the efficacy of international regimes, and based upon a pre-supposition
that international treaties inherently did not work and did not foster U.S. security,
he advocated the U.S. breaking out of its enforced multipolarity to establish
astropolitical unipolarity. Also, interestingly, Cady argued that the U.S. was still in

second place, yet the desire remained clear: even competitive multipolarity was not
enoughonly outright unipolarity would suffice to protect U.S. security.
As I mentioned earlier, the result of policy discussions in the U.S. defense
community essentially resulted in two major schools of space policy: 1) those who
sought security through stabilization of power; and 2) those who sought security
through a monopoly of power. This first group, at least as of the late Cold War, was
a minority group of scholars and defense planners who rejected unipolarity as a
source of security, argued against such systems as SDI, and argued that such systems
would destabilize the international environment: both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. (or
indeed any space power) would likely up-the-ante in terms of space based weapons
systems, making it likely that a simple error or even a meteor strike could precipitate
a deadly conflict (Bowman, 1985). These scholars suggested that international
regimes were not inherently flawed but that there was not enough investment in
such regimes and that the regimes were not powerful enough to forestall conflict.
These scholars argued for comprehensive space-based weapons agreements: rather
than spending vast amounts of money on unproven technologies or causing a space-
based weapons race, it was more logical, feasible, cheaper, and safer to ban all
space-based weapons entirely...and to have commitment to such regimes (Bowman,
1985; DeBlois, 1998). Their assumption was that if international space regimes were
actually metaphorically given teeth, they would work, thus making it illogical to

assume that international regulatory regimes failed simply because of some idea of
human nature or due to inherent flaws in multipolarity.
However, these drives toward unipolarity signal a two-part breakdown in
competitive multipolarity: 1) the intent of use of space assets; and 2) the quality of
international regimes. With respect to the first, both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
sought to break free from the enforced multipolarity and establish or reestablish the
hegemony. This was essentially due to mistrusting the other. This also signifies that
while competitive multipolarity is a more ideal form of power relations versus
unipolarity, it is still inferior to cooperative multipolarity, which would not be truly
established until the later European Space Agency (Chapter 3). An astrorealist
would likely point out that this would signify that countries are inherently against
such treaties, due to some aspect of human nature that seeks to maximize power to
gain security, a human nature that is inured against power sharing and inherently
inimical toward such forms of sharing. This, of course, is entirely dangerous all by
itself, not the least of which limits some homunculus of human nature solely to
defensive purposes, a human nature given by nature to do nothing more than
maximize power. The danger here is that astrorealism assumes that this is human
nature and without examining as far as it could whether this is true or not, begins to
make fundamental misassumptions about the nature of power relations based upon
an ill-described idea of human nature.

I, however, argue that the breakdown of multipolarity was not entirely due to
some flaw in human nature but, rather, due to flaws in the international regimes
themselves, and this opinion is backed up by Bowman (1985) and Deblois (1998).
The failure of those regimes is that true normalization of space relations did not
occur, there was not an investment in those treaties, and those treaties were
weakened because, primarily, only two powers were involved: the U.S. and the
U.S.S.R. Both countries, essentially, only had to answer to the other: the space
power was not distributed through the world. In this way, a Madisonian larger and
more inclusive political unit to control the mischief of factions would probably
ensure a more successful space regime in that there would be more powers
involved, more oversight, and greater world investment. Thus, the failure of
multipolarity does not signify a flaw in multipolarity as a concept but, rather, in
those specifics of the international regimes that arose and the lack of oversight from
other countries besides the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
The continuation of the pattern I previously identified is once again coming
into view: it is through the leveling of the playing field, of the achievement of
multilaterality and multipolarity where space-based security agreements come into
being. When unipolarism and unilateralism are asserted, therein is where the
danger lies because it once again causes new strains and new arms races. The key
here is that multipolarism as a whole is the most secure state for security. The flaws
in the multipolarity of past relations come with flaws in the international regimes

themselves: 1) the lack of other space powers; 2) no true oversight; and 3) a
determined astrorealist orientation on both sides that equated unipolarity with
security. Through these historical patterns, the result is clear: conflict comes
through unipolarity, not multipolarity. Even in the short period of the space age, the
drive toward unipolarity created conflict in that other countries will respond to
concerns for their own security by challenging the space hegemon's position. Thus,
unipolarism in space relations is seemingly always challenged. To an astrorealist,
this conflict is inevitable and cannot be changed. Thus, to the astrorealist, the goal
becomes not necessarily the lessening of conflict but, rather, the continual drive
toward the maintenance of unipolarity, thus making the assumption that not only is
unipolarity a guarantor of security but that it is possible to maintain. It is this
assumption about the maintenance of unipolarity that causes the modern
astrorealist to continue advocating and following this political theory.
The New Space Age: Maintaining Unipolarity
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the astrorealists continued to maintain that
security for the U.S. lay in unipolarism in space. The irony was that the U.S. found
itself after the Cold War in much the same position as the U.S.S.R. did after Sputnik
and after Gagarin's flight: as the world's only unipolar space power, eager to stay at
the top, and eager to keep other space powers down out of fears of national
security. The key difference here is that after the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S.
suddenly found itself as the unquestioned leader of a unipolar world, even in space.

The astrorealists quickly responded by saying that now the mission of the U.S. space
community was not simply to forestall Soviet power but, rather, to ensure the
continuation of U.S. unipolarism in space through the two pronged approach I
mentioned previously: a) constant maintenance of technological superiority; and b)
forestalling global space technology development of non-allies and even allies at
time. The key became the maintenance of U.S. unipolarity. With the fall of the
security threat of the Soviet Union, the world's security climate changed from grand
cold battles between superpowers to regional conflicts. Many, especially in Europe,
questioned the need to maintain U.S.-dominated Cold War defensive alliances;
many of those same individuals, especially in Europe, began to circulate the idea
that U.S. power in the Cold War was good for security but that unipolarity was not
needed to foster security but, rather, multipolarism (DeMontluc, 2009; see also
Lubber, 2009). The fundamental European assumption here was that the ideal form
of power relations was shared power. The U.S. astrorealist, however, rejected such
opinions and argued that since U.S. unipolarity in space ensured security, it should
be maintained. The key astrorealist assertion here is that unipolarity can be
maintained. Unlike the Cold War era in which both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were
neck-and-neck almost the whole time, the U.S. would have several years of
unquestioned unipolarity before other space programs became threats. The U.S.
was in a position to maintain its unipolarity at all costs. In the previous section I
argued that unipolarity is a source of conflict and is unstable and challenged. In this

section, I expand upon unipolarism as a source of conflict and counter the
astrorealist assertion that unipolarity is maintainable, thus making astrorealism at
best a questionable theory to follow in security affairs.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the astrorealists turned their attention to
China. The debate over the desirability and maintenance of U.S. unipolarity in outer
space continued in the pages of Airpower Journal and Air University Review. The
astrorealists of the post-Cold War era were increasingly concerned with challenges
to U.S. unipolarity and actively fought against it. They saw the rise of other space
powers and watched with concern that U.S. unipolarity could be challenged by a
fledgling, competitive multipolarity. As I noted earlier, the maintenance of
unipolarity occurs through constant technological advancement and forestalling
global space development.
With respect to the first, defense planners began to argue against the U.S.
becoming lax in space policy by noting that new threats to space assets were rising,
mostly from China. Baum (1994), writing in Airpower Journal, imagined a scenario of
a Chinese sneak attack on December 7, 2011 in which the Chinese used advanced
anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) and kinetic energy weapons to disable or destroy U.S.
space-based systems. While of course a fictional event, Baum (1994) highlighted
numerous fears regarding America losing its ascendancy in space technology; to
Baum, constant and vigilant advancement in space-based weapons and anti-
weapons technology would be required to secure the safety of the U.S, specifically

kinetic energy weapons based in space that were able to be fired onto the ground
and ASAT weapons.
The astrorealists had the most encouragement about the viability of
maintaining U.S. unipolarity in space through the numerous post-Cold War conflicts
in which the practical benefits of space-based augments to defense allowed the
United States to have military supremacy in the Gulf Wars, the Balkans, and
Afghanistan (Graham, 2004; Gray, 2005; MacDonald, 2007; Rumsfeld, 2001). This is
especially true with satellites: they have simply paid off so well for American defense
that their maintenance will likely be continued (Day, Logsdon, & Latell, 1998). In this
way, the U.S. military has not only been able to postulate the growth of space as a
security dimension but, also, to realize its practical benefits in warfare. This has
essentially created a consciousness in the U.S. defense community regarding the
U.S.'s superior defensive position, albeit one that can be eroded if neglected
(Kutnya, 1999). The astonishing superiority of U.S. space assets demonstrates to
the astrorealist that unipolarity is not only desirable but maintainable if there is
constant vigilance in asserting and extending U.S. superiority.
What this has also meant for the U.S. is the recognition of the possible dangers
of unchecked space development, leading to forestalling development of numerous
space programs around the world, especially that in Brazil, which has led to extreme
resentment toward the U.S. for those policies and a partnering with U.S. strategic
opponents, such as China, to foster indigenous space development (Newberry,

2004). This is the second key way that unipolarity is maintained. However, the key
question becomes this: has such maintenance of unipolarity worked? While an
astrorealist would maintain that maintenance of unipolarity is both desirable and
possible, is this actually true? Nospace development has occurred in places the
U.S. has historically sought to cause atrophy, through the forces of a fledgling
competitive multipolarity where countries burned by U.S. unipolarity will establish
space as an important technological sector and will develop regardless of U.S.
objections, usually now with the added caveat of the smaller country being resentful
toward U.S. interference (Newberry, 2004).
The astrorealist's assumptions about the maintenance of U.S. hegemony in space
are based upon the logic that the U.S.'s current ascendant position can be
maintained if constant space defensive capabilities are developed that can
overcome any existing system any other space power could create. However, this is
incorrect. The fundamental thinking here is that the U.S. finds itself the unipolar
power and can and must maintain this to prevent the five part cycle I mention
(unipolarity challenged, fear, normalization, breaking free, cycle repeating) in this
thesis from repeating. The problem here is that unlike the Cold War, the U.S. now
faces numerous space powers, not just a primary power. Thus, America does not
just face one opponent but, rather, several. The issue in the past was that
unipolarity seemingly won out due to the fall of the U.S.'s opponent, yet this is
changed in the modern context in that there are numerous opponents.

The U.S. has responded to maintaining this hegemony in a few ways. After
the end of the Cold War, space policy remained roughly the same as it had been for
years, with no major revisions. However, in 1997, the Clinton-era U.S. Space
Command released the Vision for 2020, the first major revision to U.S. space policy,
which outlined plans for the U.S. domination of space, the design of which was
meant to "assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium,
and an ability to deny others the use of space" (as cited in Gagnon, 2003, p. 12). This
is responding to unipolar fears in Europe by fostering unipolar multilateralism,
ensuring that U.S. allies have access to space while also ensuring that the U.S.
retains the power (Davis, 1997). This was also essential in that it allowed for the U.S.
to track and target dangerous payloads (Kries, 2002).
George W. Bush largely followed this strategy, and in 2001, Bush sent
Rumsfeld, Kissinger, McCain, and Lieberman to an international security conference
in Munich, noting that a missile defense shield was going forward and that countries
should sign on: it had the support of the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, and Japan;
Gagnon (2003) feared that this would cause other countries eager to enhance their
prestige and military abilities to sign onto such an agreement. The result was a
lessening of security as Russia warned that abrogating the ABM treaty would lead to
a new arms race (Kries, 2002). This was essentially the U.S. fostering unipolarity
through multilateralism. Another representative example of this type of relationship
and part of the larger plan of the Vision for 2020 was the U.S. building spy satellites

for its allies, such as for Japan to monitor North Korea, which prompted North Korea
to further develop its anti-missile and anti-satellite capacity and research(Saegusa,
The Vision for 2020 remained the primary document for space security for
roughly a decade, with slight additions such as the 2004 U.S. Air Force-authored
"Counterspace Operations" doctrine which envisioned space systems "utilized
throughout the spectrum of conflict [that] may achieve a variety of effects from
temporary denial to complete destruction of the adversary's space capability" (as
cited in Gagnon, 2003, p. 12). The largest revision, however, came in the Bush-era
2006 National Space Policy. The Policy had numerous longterm implications: 1) it
refused to consider any new treaties for space security; 2) it asserted U.S.
dominance in space and the U.S.'s right to deny space access to rivals; yet 3) also
promoted engagement through the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space (COPUOS) to address the problem of space debris (Moltz, 2007, pp. 191-192).
The result was almost immediate international condemnation and warnings that
such hubris would only cause arms races and suspicion rather than peace, despite
astrorealist claims to the contrary.
This new space policy came on the heels of numerous national security crises
and the growing perception in the Bush administration of the U.S. possibly slipping
in its space dominance. The key here is that the astrorealist orientations present in
these documents uniformly asserted that maintaining unipolarity was both desirable

and possible (Rumsfeld, 2001). Even civilian uses of space came under the umbrella
of larger security concerns. For example, Bush's 2004 Vision for Space Exploration, a
response to China's first manned flight, while lauded by many in the scientific
community also has numerous astropolitical aspects to it, namely a fueling of the
popular desire to have American hegemony in outer space and demonstrate to
China in particular that even in the face of its national triumph, the U.S. could steal
its spotlight anytime that it wished(MacDonald, 2007; Stadd & Bingham, 2004; see
also Kaku, 2009, June 23; & MacDonald, 2007).2
However, what the Vision for Space Exploration did do was to create a new
astrorealist mission to ensure continued U.S. hegemony in space, even in manned
missions (see Lawler, 2004).3 Bush announced that other world powers should sign
onto the existing plan (unipolar multilateralism), but the Chinese were, not
surprisingly, not invited to participate. The Russians almost immediately responded
to the U.S.'s announcement of one-upping the Chinese by announcing that it would
create a new launch vehicle for missions yet also partner with the European Union,
not the United States, in such plans (Zak, 2005). Russia specifically chose the EU
(thus, the ESA) for a few reasons: 1) the ESA is the most powerful (albeit
cooperative) rival to NASA; 2) the ESA fosters greater multipolarity; and 3) the ESA
should be bolstered as a counterweight to U.S. hegemony in space (Zak, 2005).4
However, the U.S. has seen backlash from its unipolar dominance. The result
has been that countries are trying to challenge U.S. space hegemony (either

peacefully or forcefully) to ensure their own security. These countries,
understandably, are skittish about U.S. defense dominance and seek to establish
greater security through multipolarity. Smaller space powers have typically been
fostering non-U.S.-led cooperative multipolarity: examples include the participation
of Brazil with China, or India with South Korea, Israel, Malaysia, and others, and the
ESA with almost all space powers in the world. Despite these threats to U.S.
unipolarity, threats caused by U.S. unipolarity in the first place, the astrorealist
orientation of U.S. space policy continued to be asserted. Of particular concern
remains the extreme astropolitical radicalization under the Bush administration: 1)
the U.S. refused to discuss space security; 2) voted against the UN resolution on
Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space in fall of 2005; 3) cast the only "no" vote
on a space resolution to allow for greater space activity transparency, incidentally
sponsored by Russia; and 4) rejected almost all forms of power sharing in space,
except those that were led by the U.S. (Moltz, 2007; see also Gagnon, 2003). The
U.S., thus, has not fostered faith in the unipolar world, leading new space powers to
seek to break away and establish some autonomy. Astrorealism is self-defeating,
and despite claims that it is sustainable, the growing number of space powers and
non-U.S.-dominated cooperative relationships between space powers demonstrate
that the world's space powers are increasingly finding other ways of utilizing space
beyond U.S. influence. Astrorealism has merely alienated potential space powers.

These new and up-and-coming space powers (e.g., China, India, South
Korea, and Malaysia, to name a few) are outright nationalist in their space ambitions
and seek to use space for defense (DeMontluc, 2009; see also "India develops,"
1994). Even allied counties like South Korea seek to have defensive space assets
independent from those of the United States; many South Korean defense planners,
while acknowledging the benefit of being part of a U.S.-led unipolar multilateral
environment, also acknowledge that Korean security is best fostered by the Koreans
having their own basis of space power that is not dependent on the U.S. Thus, they
seek multipolarity as a way of balancing space power and ensuring that they have
defensive benefits of space technology; they seek to change the unipolar
multilateral system to foster greater multipolarity in space relations (DeMontluc,
2009). Israel has also largely followed this policy, enjoying U.S. support but also
wanting more space power for defensive purposes for itself (Paikowsky, 2007).
Other countries, obviously, are enemies of the United States and seek to use
space technologies as a way of diminishing the power of the U.S. space assets.
Countries like Iran, for instance, make no obfuscation about wanting to use space for
national defense, mostly to secure against a U.S. attack, but also to ensure that U.S.
hegemony in space is challenged (DeMontluc, 2009). The result has been that while
the U.S. has obviously sought to maintain unipolarity in space, it is once again being
challenged. What this signifies is a recycling of the five part historical pattern of
jockeying between unipolarity and multipolarity and back again: the U.S. position is

being challenged, and due to the rising number of space powers, it is not certain or
even viable if the U.S. could maintain its hegemony at allcould the U.S. possibly
forestall such widespread development? Could it maintain such hegemony in space
with so many powers involved? No, of course not.
The space policy world thus has the beginnings of a growing sense of rising
space powers and the beginnings of worldwide competitive multipolarity
(DeMontluc, 2009). The U.S. has responded to these movements through an
extension of unipolar multilateralism, to bring more countries under a U.S.
controlled space world, yet many countries have rejected such approaches, noting
that such a system of power relations is not fair, a system in which the U.S. retains
the power while throwing out (space) bones to participants (Newberry, 2004;
Solomone, 2006). This maintenance of unipolarity is obviously a concern in that
according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, only eight countries
have independent launch capabilities, but this number could go to ten in the near
future; the number of countries who control their own satellite communication
systems has doubled since 1980 (DeMontluc, 2009).
America is facing a type of space rebellion against it hegemony: countries not
wanting to be mere U.S. puppets or subject to U.S. power without any say so are
fighting back through development, employing space-based systems despite U.S.
objections. The problem this raises is that competitive multipolarity can lead to
space normalization, but, as of yet, with the U.S. refusing to negotiate on space-

agreements, the increasing problems of the non-normalization of space relations
despite the growing number of space powers means that a catastrophe in space is
just waiting to happen. U.S. power, thought to be the guarantor of peace in space,
has not created the seeds of peace: rather, it has created the seeds for future major
problems that have to be addressed (see Chapter Three).
According to DeMontluc (2009), twenty-seven countries employ EO satellites
with twenty five space agencies: smaller countries, like Nigeria, Algeria, Argentina,
and Malaysia establish these programs as symbols of national independence. With
the new security concerns presented by 9/11 and the following wars, space is
increasingly being associated as a new strategic venue for national defense by ever
more countries besides the United States (DeMontluc, 2009). Thus, the battle
ground is changing: the U.S. is having its unipolarity challenged with a fledgling
With this information, can the astrorealist unipolarity be maintained? No, it
cannot. With the rising number of space powers, the U.S. has but two choices: 1)
follow the traditional astrorealist approaches to addressing challenges to
multipolarity (and thus risking even greater future conflicts) by a) increasing space
technology development to stay ahead, and b) forestalling development, thus risking
widespread cross-spectrum conflicts across the globe in which the U.S. would be
seen as a bully that can have all the toys but will not share them; or 2) tweaking the
growing competitive multipolarity to make it cooperative by entering into normative

space regimes (see Chapter Three). Astrorealism assumes that the maintenance of
U.S. unipolarity in space is possible, and countries that have had their programs
discouraged by the U.S. are responding by continuing to develop despite U.S.
objections and going to U.S. strategic opponents to help foster that development
(see Newberry, 2004). According to Zaborsky (2003), the issue with the U.S.
forestalling such space development is that it creates resentment and encourages
countries to pursue advanced rocketry technology from non-U.S. sources, thus
increasing missile proliferation risks. The U.S. also cannot respond to all of these
security threats at once, meaning that the maintenance of unipolarism in space
remains questionable: countries are developing space programs regardless of U.S.
intent to forestall such development.
The ESA also represents a rising sophistication in space technology and a viable
counter to the U.S. space community, namely in that its goals is to peacefully create
multipolarity in space by ensuring equal partnerships with the U.S. (Guterl, 2005).
The ESA rose despite a large U.S. military and defensive presence in Europe,
specifically because the goal was to get out from the U.S.-led unipolar
multilateralism. To the Europeans, U.S. dominance in space is no longer necessary
and should be peacefully (and politely) challenged (Gibson, 2007). Despite U.S.
attempts to continue U.S. unipolarity in space (e.g., Davis, 1997), the results have
been that this unipolarity has been quietly challenged since the end of the Cold War.
Even the 2006 National Space Policy had to admit that some internationalization was

inevitable, especially with addressing the growing problem of space debris. Thus,
the beginnings of the five part cycle are repeating themselves: the hegemon's
unipolar space position is being challenged, both cooperatively and competitively,
and it remains likely that since space development is now on such a global scale, the
U.S. will be unable to stop space development and will have multipolarity forced
upon it, a competitive multipolarity which is inferior to cooperative multipolarity.
Thus, the astrorealist assertion that unipolarity fosters peace and security for the
U.S. and is maintainable is falsethe U.S. can either embrace this multipolarity and
help make it cooperative or it can fight this multipolarity and make it competitive.
Either way, something multipolar this way comes.

So far I have been arguing that the U.S. should abandon astrorealist-inspired
unipolarity because of fundamental misassumptions within that school of thought. I
have been arguing that unipolarity creates conflict and is inherently unsustainable,
especially considering the rise in the number of space powers. The U.S., therefore,
has the option of forestalling multipolarity, thus making it competitive, or
encouraging multipolarity, thus making it cooperative. In this chapter, I argue the
second half of the equation, that while unipolarity causes conflict and is unstable,
multipolarity can bring stability and benefits, perhaps far more than many realize. I
have so far distinguished between competitive multipolarity (the form common in
space relations as a whole thus far) and cooperative multipolarity (a minority form
of space relations but most commonly seen through ESA practices) (see DeMontluc,
U.S. space dominance has been increasingly difficult to implement, and
rumblings in the U.S. political system (specifically the 2006 Democratic Congress)
began to question the efficacy of the U.S. continuing to pursue its astrorealist
policies (Moltz, 2007). The Democratic-led Congress of 2006 called for more
openness and international cooperation, specifically in terms of addressing

weaponization concerns and also in addressing space debris. China's ASAT test of
2007 highlighted both issues, fostering concerns among many Congresspersons that
current U.S. space policy is leading the U.S. into a future conflict; many
Congresspersons after China's ASAT test advised the U.S. to enter into COPOUS, a
voluntary debris control regime (Moltz, 2007). Additionally, the non-astrorealist
members of the U.S. space community began arguing for the creation of "non-
destructive methods of defending U.S. satellites and interfering with hostile
spacecraft" that were "regarded by many as cheaper, more effective, more
sustainable, and less likely to engender international condemnation for perceived
space domination" (p. 193).
Multipolarism, from both historical analysis as well as analysis of the current
situation of world space policy, seems inevitable. U.S. unipolarism, as demonstrated
in the previous chapter, is both a cause of conflict and is unsustainable. The U.S. has
had competitive multipolarity shoved upon it, yet the U.S. now has an opportunity
to help foster cooperative multipolarity. In this chapter, I argue the second part of
my thesis, that multipolarity is a more stable form of international space relations in
that it a) fosters normalization of space relations and establishes norms of behavior;
b) balances space power, thus leading to a decline in tensions in space and over
space assets; c) is pragmatically wise for the U.S. to encourage since it makes the
U.S. defensive position more secure in the long run by decreasing its propensities
toward antagonism; and d) allows for national and worldwide benefits of

cooperative multipolarity that far outweigh the benefits of unipolar unilateralism
and unipolar multilateralism and even the former states of competitive
multipolarity. The ESA is the best example in the world of the benefits of
cooperative multipolarity, and I use the ESA as an example of the benefits of
cooperative multipolarity, nationally, supranationally, and even humanistically. In
the first section, I discuss how multipolarity can help to foster a normalization of
space relations and how it balances space power. In the next section, I use the ESA
as an example of this form of cooperation and the benefits of following the ESA's
Peace through Stability
If unipolarity is unstable, then multipolarity will be the result, either competitive
or cooperative (see DeMontluc, 2009). As seen in the previous chapter, when the
unipolar space power has multipolarity thrust upon it, the fears over weaponization
usually lead to a normalization of space relations through treaties. However,
numerous authors (e.g., Kries, 2002) argue that the efficacy of current space-based
regimes is becoming apparent in that they have not forestalled growing tensions in
space. What most often occurs is that the U.S. has historically tried to find ways
around international control regimes to establish greater and greater hegemony in
space: Reagan's SDI and Bush's 2006 National Space Policy are but two examples of
this. However, so far I have been arguing about the U.S. embracing multipolarity

because unipolarity has not worked out. I have not demonstrated the benefits of
multipolarity. It is through the normalization of space relations, mostly through
treaties, where the stability of multipolarity lies. These control regimes will have to
be different from those in the past so as to be stricter, have more members, have
better monitoring, and hopefully foster greater security for all. The flaws of the
former treaties were that they were created in times of competitive multipolarity as
part of a larger pattern in which unipolarism is desirable, pursuable, and sustainable.
The Need for New Regimes
The first benefit of multipolarity is through the beginnings of the creation of a
more advanced information society, which would see greater cooperation in
scientific infrastructures and development of human resources while also
strengthening the economy and society, such as providing job opportunities and
creating a more sophisticated high-tech industry (Paikowsky, 2007). As the growing
number of space powers become more proficient, smaller states (e.g., Brazil and
Mexico) are much more tempted to partner with the U.S. strategic opponents to
obtain the required technology (Newberry, 2004). According to Sabathier and Faith
(2007), the most likely trends for the future of space policy will be an increased
number of space powers, an increased number of space assets in orbit, yet also an
increased likelihood of a space conflict should normalization of space relations not
occur. What this leads to is the heightened risks of unregulated missile proliferation,

proliferation that the U.S. has found increasingly difficult to control (Zaborsky,
2003). Simply put, the U.S. forestalling of international control regimes, especially in
the Bush Administration, has discouraged countries from asking the U.S. for help
while encouraging the trading of advanced rocketry technology (Zaborsky, 2003; see
also Jakhu, 2009).
Several concerns automatically arise, namely that in the absence of a strong
space-weapons control regime it is unclear who will be responsible for space-based
accidents (e.g., exporting or importing governments or some other yet-to-be-
determined supranational authority), whether it will be associated with previous
control regimes such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) or a
standalone agency (see Zaborsky, 2003, p. 194; see also Ozga, 1994). Current missile
control regimes have in large part been successful, yet monitoring such transfers
also remains problematic: 1) occasional visits are likely to be ineffective; 2) sustained
investigations are likely to be offensive; 3) commercial satellite use is not an
effective means of monitoring missile deployment; and 4) photo and radar
reconnaissance along with sensing satellites are expensive (Zaborsky, 2003, p. 194).
Even more disturbing is that missile proliferation cannot be entirely ameliorated for
several reasons: 1) it is unlikely that it could be determined by a monitoring body if
civilian technologies are being used for military purposes; 2) countries who seek to
acquire civilian rocket technology could abrogate agreements easily to create
military use rockets; and 3) some countries may indicate the desire for civilian rocket

technology while harboring desires and aims to use this technology for military
purposes (p. 194).
For example, one treaty that did specifically address space-based weapons
system was the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Von Kries [hereafter "Kries"](2002)
notes that the Anti-Ballistic Missile [ABM] Treaty forbade "development, testing, or
deployment" of "space-based ABM systems" (p. 175). Ronald Reagan's
announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative, of which part would be based in
space, was declared by that administration to be permissible under the ABM regime;
this is in line with what was written above, namely that countries can cleverly cast
new systems as legal under existing treaties, a way of cleverly pursuing greater
power in space through the loophole (Kries, 2002). However, all of this is for naught
since George W. Bush's administration withdrew from the ABM treaty entirely,
prompting Russia to announce plans to develop ground based anti-space weapons
systems, such as laser and particle beam weapons, in response (Kries, 2002). In the
opinion of Kries (2002), the ABM treaty was not successful in preventing the
militarization of space, especially considering that it did not prevent the rise of ASAT
weapons. Kries (2002) recommends a new anti-space weapons regime to avert a
future space war.
The unipolar space world of the United States has, in fact, let several problems
develop over decades, setting the stage for a much larger problem in the future.
First, the astrorealist assertion that unipolarity is maintained through security does

not sufficiently consider the security of other non-U.S. countries and how those
countries' perceptions about their own securities might be affected by U.S. unipolar
dominance in space technologies or, perhaps more insidiously, how the perception
of U.S. dominance would affect security in those countries. What is also important,
perhaps the most important, is that such considerations do not discuss the dangers
of the effects to U.S. security that blatant pursuit of unipolarity could cause, only
that security comes with said unipolarity. Second, the astrorealist assertion about
the maintenance of unipolarity is obviously called into question, and the efficacy of
such power is highly dubious considering that current U.S. military hegemony in
space and defense has not sufficiently forestalled advanced rocketry transfers. In
this way, astrorealism has utterly failed and has left the world with a loosely
organized set of large and small space powers ungoverned by a comprehensive
control regime, without standards of behavior.
The official U.S. position of not negotiating on space matters has essentially sent
the message that international regimes do not matter, only U.S. power does (see
Gagnon, 2003). However, "wary superstates" and even wary smaller states would
have little direct reason to put themselves under the umbrella of U.S. power,
especially if those countries wish to have some degree of autonomy and self-
determination of their own destiny. This is especially important for the developing
Third World whose countries (e.g., Brazil, India, South America, and others) are
increasingly relying on space technologies to monitor demographic shifts, resources,

crops, and foster general development (e.g., telecommunications and education);
these countries either develop their own indigenous launch systems or partner with
other countries for launch facilities, most often the ESA (MacPhail, 2009; Newberry,
2004). Even close U.S. allies such as South Korea, Japan, Israel, and even those in
the European Union can recognize the role of the U.S. in world security, even can be
grateful for such assistance in the past, but they also do not want to exist as a
puppet of U.S. power (Paikowsky, 2007). India has made the point that its space
program is cooperative in nature and that it will partner with numerous foreign
space agencies both to foster benefits for India as well as for other countries (Jakhu,
The U.S. position is left with only a few choices: continue to maintain a doomed
astrorealist policy and have competitive multipolarity thrust upon it or to begin to
change its astrorealist conceptions to recognize that U.S. unipolar power has not
resolved concerns about the weaponization of space and that international control
regimes, stricter and more comprehensive than those in the past, would be needed
to address such concerns.
The astrorealist assertion that such regimes do not work also is highly suspicious,
especially considering that in almost all instances of regimes addressing the control
of space weaponry have almost uniformly been broken by the United States. For
example, when the U.S. determined that the ABM treaty was "not working," which
was an astrorealist push for greater unipolarity, the result was not an increase in

security but a lessening of it. Russia, understandably concerned that the U.S.
withdrawal would result in a missile shield around Europe, automatically responded
by announcing a new devotion of attention to anti-space based systems. Bush
(whose advisors, especially Rumsfeld, were and are astrorealists) asserted that such
a movie was in the best interests of European security and that the U.S. would
continue its post-World War II role of protecting Europethis is unipolar
multilateralism in astropolitics, a way of keeping power within the U.S. while farming
out the responsibility to numerous partners.
To numerous theorists (e.g., Kries, 2002; Moltz, 2007; Zaborsky, 2003), the
problem was not that the ABM did not work (or that all space-based control regimes
do not work) but that the regimes were not sufficiently broad to eliminate
completely the possibility of space-based weapons. Even the 1967 Outer Space
Treaty, which forbids weaponization in space, has been circumvented to allow for de
facto weaponization and even further outright weaponization. The 1967 Outer
Space Treaty, for example, forbids the use of ASATs, and both the U.S. and China, for
example, are signatories, yet both have tested such weapons. In the U.S. instance in
1985, it was in response to fears over Soviet space technology; in the Chinese
instance in 2007, it was in response to fears over U.S. space technology. In all
instances, all sides saber rattle, attempting to demonstrate to the other that all
space assets are vulnerable and that engaging in conflict with that country would be

The astrorealist concern is that such treaties would "tie the hands" of the U.S.,
making defense difficult. The implication here is that one side could develop
technology while another would be forbidden to. On the contrary, a strong control
regime would forbid the development for all sides the development of certain types
of technology. With more and more members in such regimes, the monitoring of
such agreements becomes both logistically extended as well as allowing for more
coverage. The concern here is that some signatories could develop weapons in
secret, and those are legitimate concerns. That is why it is important that the
composition of new regimes is much more specific and comprehensive than those in
the past. In the next section, I discuss possible constructions of new regimes.
The Composition of New Regimes
The U.S. has historically broken, circumvented, redefined, and discouraged
space-based regulatory regimes out of concerns of having its hands tied that would
allow enemies or other countries to best U.S. technological development in space.
These are legitimate concerns, and numerous scholars (e.g., Moltz, 2007; Zaborsky,
2003) note that such new regimes must expressly forbid, in no uncertain terms,
certain types of space technologies and expressly forbid certain technology
transfers. While it is hopefully clear that U.S. unipolarity is not the solution to space
defense issues and that new control regimes are needed, it is not so clear how new
space regimes would be constructed. This is especially important for the U.S.
because since its space technologies are so superior, it currently has access to

certain types of technology that under a new regime would be forbidden. What
should the U.S. do? Destroy those systems? Keep them but not employ them?
Share them? Herein lays the crux of astrorealist concerns: international control
regimes hurt the U.S. However, with the failure of astrorealism and the rising
dangers of missile proliferation risks, ASAT testing, and even space debris, the
growing defense concern in space and the need for an international result is
becoming all the more obvious: a new comprehensive and worldwide regime is
needed to regulate and normalize international space relations, and the simple truth
is that the U.S. may be expected to give up some power in the short term in order to
secure greater security in the long term.
The beginning of establishing a new space regime starts with developing and
institutionalizing new international space security talks (see Moltz, 2007). A major
space power would have to initiate the talks, and the ESA remains the most likely
choice (Gibson, 2007; Zaborsky, 2003). The essential element here is to put all space
programs under the aegis on a missile nonproliferation regime and regulating
technology transfers of advanced rocketry technology. According to Moltz (2007),
such new space security talks could only work through developing a new space
security framework and emphasizing common security threats from outer space
over state-to-state threats. Moreover, such a regime would emphasize a common
global investment in the idea of multipolarity of space and rethinking political
assumptions about space competition. Moltz advises not holding out for perfect

agreements but, rather, building up the new space security regime gradually that
could result in significantly better space systems and better political relations vis-a-
vis space back on earth (pp. 194-195). According to numerous scholars, such a
regime would have to address in truthful and accurate terms that the militarization
of space has been allowed to occur despite regimes to the contrary; this would also
help highlight the problems of previous forms of international regulatory controls
(Harris, 2002; Ozga, 1994; Stares, 1985; see also Bailey, 1998).
The key, according to Smith (2001), Bailey (1998), and Ozga (1994) is in
controlling missile proliferation specifically. The U.S., understandably, could not
enter into such a regime without extreme controls on missile proliferation, and such
an anti-space weapons regime would likely have significant opposition from the U.S.
DeMontluc (2009) notes the U.S.'s new triad of offensive strike systems, defensive
systems, and renewed reactive defense infrastructures as defined by the Nuclear
Posture Review of 2002; in this new triad, space (e.g., command and control,
intelligence and surveillance, and counter-space systems) supports this structure (p.
22). The question of what would happen to this technology and whether other
countries could develop such technologies becomes apparent. According to Finarelli
and Pryke (2005), the issue here is that the U.S. would still be in a dominant military
position, and smaller countries may not be willing to sign onto a space-based
security agreement if those countries would be forbidden from developing
technologies which the U.S. possesses. For example, these countries, even when

signing onto a regime, could possibly complain of entering a U.S. dominated security
regime, causing some space powers not to sign on, develop anti-missile systems, and
maintain a competitive edge (DeMontluc, 2009). As such, the "old way" of
international space cooperation (e.g., "reaching detailed agreement on the roles and
responsibilities of all partners at the outset") will not be possible since some
partners will be more experienced than others and that the total number of required
projects is uncertain (Finarelli & Pryke, 2005, p. 97-98).6
Finarelli and Pryke (2005) proposed an International Space Exploration council
that would seek to give space programs a popular mission, would act as a guiding
mechanism for space functions, and would attempt to achieve alignment in all space
goals, defensive and civilian (p. 98). The chief concern would be to ensure the
maintenance of the space vision, regardless of national or transnational
transformative events (e.g., changes in political situations, for example). The goal,
however, would be the creation of initial forms of space cooperation that lead to
greater and great forms, to establish important networks where they have not
existed before; it is unreasonable to expect an immediate new space regime, but
such a regime would have to be preceded by greater integration, standardization,
and fostering of more networking between space programs (Finarelli & Pryke, 2005).
Without such networks, the likelihood remains that the U.S. will continue to expand
ever outward, into different orbits, to ensure continued unipolarity (Sabathier &
Faith, 2007).

Another key to fostering new control regimes is to emphasize the common
commercial benefits of space technology. For example, originally, GPS systems were
meant to guide missiles, yet the commercial benefits of the cell phone industry and
others saw an explosion in economic benefits of outer space; in this way civilian uses
of military-inspired technology were realized, so there are possibilities that even
military developments will have economic and multilateral benefits (Sabathier &
Faith, 2007).7 Sabathier and Faith (2007) suggest that such a control regime would
be preceded by a popular and global mission encompassing numerous partners,
such as a new moon mission. This would allow the world "to go beyond global" and
provide an international challenge for countries (p. 155). The U.S., in such a
paradigm, would still have to be a leader, yet one that fosters significant updates of
already existing controls regimes, such as the International Traffic in Arms Control
(ITAR) and the inclusion of heretofore excluded partners, such as China. They warn
that if this does not occur, there remains the likelihood that differing Earth orbits
will be new battlefields: should normalization not occur, "activity will be primarily
driven by governments unable to trust each other and striving for autonomy, since
[space] systems are essential for national security and economic activity" (p. 153).
Admittedly, the weakest area of the research into fostering greater multipolarity
in space lies in the form that international control regimes would take. This is
especially important considering that almost any agreement proposed thus far
would require the U.S. to give up some degree of power. This is why astrorealists

are adamantly against international control regimes, and despite their claims about
the sustainability and efficacy of their theory, astrorealists are correct at the very
least that international control regimes are difficult to create and implement.
Currently, any such international control regime would have to have the U.S. as the
primary partner, and historically the U.S. has refused to negotiate on international
control regimes, and this is especially evident in the 2006 National Space Policy. It
also remains to be seen whether President Obama will follow through with such
plans (Sadeh, 2009).
However, while the U.S. is the primary author of space policy, it has a choice to
foster cooperative multipolarity or be dragged into competitive multipolarity. The
U.S., in such a world, does not need to be the primary initiator of such a policy.
Europe, in partnership with the Soviet Union, could begin to foster multilateral
space-based security agreements on their own and get numerous other powers to
sign onto such a regime, such as Canada, Brazil, India, and others, perhaps even
China. A key element here is extending the ESA's commitment to foster integration
in space policy so as to act a counterweight to other space powers. The Russians are
already involved with the ESA, especially in prospective talks regarding future
manned missions to the moon and mars. A larger European-based space security
regime, initiated at first between the ESA countries and Russia, would begin to act as
a counterbalance to U.S. power (see Zak, 2005). With the normalization of relations

between the ESA and the Russian space program, the precedent of the
normalization of space relations becomes all the more powerful.
Thus, the key may be that true multipolarity in normalizing space relations
begins with bilateral agreements. For example, Gagnon (2005) postulates that
Canada, long wary (and weary) of U.S. space power, could be a candidate to foster
such bilateral agreements, thus making multilateral agreements more forthcoming.
However, the U.S. is in a precarious position: to continue with astrorealism and have
its unipolarity challenged through competitive multipolarity or to foster cooperative
multipolarity. What is clear is that astrorealism has failed. What is also clear is that
the maintenance of U.S. unipolarism is unsustainable. The rising number of space
powers and the lack of a normalization of relations and establishing norms of
behavior makes it all the more likely that some type of disaster in space is just
waiting to happen, especially with the rising problem of space debris, the only issue
the 2006 National Space Policy seemed to think required internationalization. Thus,
everything is clear except the exact composition of such an international regime.
The answer may be a rather apolitical thing: faith.
The reality of all (and yes, I do mean all) space based agreements is that the U.S.
has been quite adept at finding ways of circumventing their provisions (see Cady,
1982). This is all done in the name of security, and since American space policy is
astrorealist, security for space assets is a top national priority. However, in Europe
after World War II, countries that historically had been bitter enemies found that

cooperation would pay off far better than war. The result was a long policy,
political, social, historical, and cultural evolution that has led to the modern
European Union (see next section). Multipolarity in Europe has led many to see the
inherent benefits of multipolarity. Political observers from centuries ago probably
could have successfully predicted such a body as the EU, just, perhaps, political
observers of the first tenth of the 21st century may not be able to predict a United
States that is not obsessed with the unipolar and either unilateral or multilateral
maintenance of its own security. Ultimately, the U.S. may have to have multipolarity
(just as it was for the European countries) forced upon it out of necessity. The U.S.,
however, would be politically wise to foster cooperative multipolarity, to be seen as
a leader in the peaceful uses of space, to foster greater internationalization of space,
and to begin a policy of rapprochement with other countries, notably China, when
speaking of space relations. This would require that United States policy makers
take a deep, probing, and brutally honest look at themselves, to admit that
astrorealism (and indeed other realist policies) have not worked, will not continue to
work, and that a new methodology of space relations is needed. Should this
normalization not occur, the recipe could be disaster in space and serious threats to
U.S. security.
This would be a truly revolutionary step, yet all of the aforementioned regulatory
regimes would require either the U.S. being forced into such a regime (such as with
normalization of relations between the ESA and the Russian space program) or by

the U.S. taking the lead and initiating those talks. President Obama came to office
promising change in American foreign policy, to foster friendships and cooperation
while not compromising American security (Van de Walle, 2009). If he was and
remains serious in those claims, then addressing cooperative multipolarity would be
an important step in U.S. defense policy. The likelihood of such an event, however,
is unlikely, especially considering the number of "revisions" Obama has had to make
to his campaign promises regarding international relations, not the least of which is
the conduct of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and the treatment of prisoners at
Guantanamo Bay (Lubbers, 2009). The greater likelihood is that it is better for the
U.S. in the long term to foster cooperative multipolarity, yet the greater probability
is that the U.S. will have multipolarity forced upon it (see Lubbers, 2009). To many
in Europe, Obama has an opportunity to acknowledge the decline of U.S. unipolarity
and to begin entering into not only new space treaties but also into treaties it has
historically fought against, including the proliferation of nuclear materials and
advanced rocketry (Lubbers, 2009). What is perhaps most important is that with the
unquestioned rise of multipolarity, Obama has the ability to foster multipolarity
through creating a common sense of destiny (Lubbers, 2009). Thus, "faith" in a
common sense of destiny may be impractical politically, but it will require a leap of
faith for the U.S. to enter into a multipolar world, especially if it wants to have
security and integration. Should the U.S. not enter into a multipolar world, as

demonstrated earlier, the result will likely be the maintenance of the conditions of a
future space disaster.
However, Europe demonstrates that multipolarity is both achievable and
desirable, even between countries who historically have hated one another.
The European Space Agency
Numerous scholars of the role of space in international relations look to Europe
as the future of international space policy. To space observers, notably those who
are not astrorealists, Europe is the key for greater detente in space, for greater
integration, for a counterweight to U.S. power, for a transnational intent to use
space to address problems on earth, and of the possibilities of multipolarity in space
organization: simply, the ESA is the "living" proof that cooperative multipolarity is
possible, desirable, and workable. The ESA has specifically addressed space as a way
to solve problems on earth and has partnered with numerous space agencies across
the world to launch satellites to monitor climate change, to allow for better
communications, and even resource management. The ESA is also a leader in
robotic missions and the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.8 The rationale
behind the ESA is that greater integration allows for more complex missions, more
inputs into those missions, and the spread of those benefits to other ESA (and EU)
members. According to the ESA (2003; 2009), the ESA is composed of both EU and
non-EU members, yet the Lisbon Treaty gives the EU authority to rule on space
matters. The ESA is also not an astrorealist space agency, and its integration and

drives toward multipolarity demonstrate that the astrorealist assertion that
multipolarity destroys countries' incentives forgetting involved in space is also
incorrect. On the contrary, even non-EU members participate in the ESA, eager to
see the benefits of space technology, interested in having a common investment
into a common purpose, and desirous of having their names part of multilateral
efforts. In this way, the ESA demonstrates that multipolarity has inherent benefits,
benefits that demonstrate that multipolarity is both possible and desirable.
According to Moisi (1982), European foreign and military policies after World
War II were largely influenced by the Cold War and the American military presence.
With vast numbers of American troops on European soil, many countries in Europe
began to become less interventionist in their foreign policies, with solutions through
diplomacy and discussion becoming norms (Brenner, 2003; Moisi, 1982; Rieker,
2006; Treacher, 2000). Young (1990) notes that European policy makers resented
having become so powerless, to being part of a larger American-dominated security
sphere, yet also realized the necessity of having American protection. However, as
individual countries' powers waned and as the benefits of integration began
demonstrating themselves (Rieker, 2006) and as smaller powers (e.g., France) began
seeing their foreign policy projection decline (Brenner, 2003), the idea of a common
Europe, of a common strategy, and as a peaceful counterweight to U.S. power, and
that multipolarity is a more stable form of power relations, became more popular.

The EU and the ESA are also models for future global political, economic, social, and
technological integration (Weiss, 2009).
Europe, to foster the idea of a united Europe, has also been fostering the
idea of a united European space community. The European Space Agency is
technically separate from the European Union, yet the Lisbon Treaty gives the
authority to the EU to deliberate and rule on space matters; however, the ESA is the
largest federated space agency in the world, representing the interests of 18
different countries and encouraging international space cooperation for the benefits
of EU citizens (ESA, 2003). The ESA also proudly boasts that operations in space
increase global interconnectedness; in fact, the ESA recently launched two new
telecommunications satellites whose benefits include covering telecommunications
bands across Japan, Oceania, most of Asia, and Hawaii; it also brings "direct-to-home
TV broadcast, Internet, telephony and data transmission services for Australia and
New Zealand" (ESA, 2009, August 22, para. 3). Additionally, ESA-launched satellite
technology allows tropical economic partners to map deforestation of forests, acting
as a boon to equatorial economies (ESA, 2009, August 21). Again, the ESA's stated
intent is the use of space for cooperative purposes, which has yielded vast payoffs:
greater interconnectedness, partnerships with foreign countries, and enhancing the
development of those countries involved...all without a hint of militarism and
unipolarity. Rather than discourage competitions, smaller space powers
metaphorically line up at the door to work with the ESA.

Gibson (2007) notes that the Europeans have adopted a cooperative multipolar
approach to space relations, and perhaps the most encouraging sign of the efficacy
of space technology and cooperation rather than competition is that international
space cooperation itself has vastly benefited the economies of those countries
involved, and the technological expertise of those countries has been raised as well.
Gibson (2007) even goes so far as to state that the European Space Agency helped to
create the European Union because it fostered a sense of altruism as well as leveling
industrial capacities between member states. This last point is especially important
considering the nature of military issues in space, where the leveling of capacities is
often considered as dangerous and fostering less peace and not more. However, in
Europe's example, the prior existence of the intent to use space for peaceful
purposes has negated military concerns: space is for development and improving
life, and life is not improved through unipolarism in space. Thus, the ESA outright
rejects astrorealism, and unlike predictions from those like Dolman (2002), the ESA
does not lack a popular mission and is able to use space for far more than defensive
The European Union depends upon greater communications integration
between countries, and the ESA has helped to deploy advanced communications
satellites and foster multilateral agreements to bring advanced telecommunications
to all EU members (Gibson, 2007; see also ESA, 2009). The ESA has become a master
of charting a consistent policy course, selling it to governments, and seeing the

larger picture of space with long term goals over smaller, publicizable gains (ESA,
2009; see also Lubbers, 2009). Gibson (2007) calls this having significant political will
behind any space policy. This will comes from the unique theoretical frameworks
behind the growing integration of Europe, a framework that extols the benefits of
cooperation, and friendly competition whose immediate winners might be a given
company or given country but whose benefits will be disseminated to the larger
European community (ESA, 2009; Rieker, 2006). This is what Gills (2005) calls the
globalization of cosmopolis, a form of integration different from imperial forms of
integration (e.g., unipolarism, either unilateral or multilateral, an astrorealist
strategy; see Davis, 1997 & Rumsfeld, 2001), a form of globalization in which the
dominant political consciousness, especially that with advanced technology, is that
realism creates the enemy, but cooperation creates friends. And what are these
publicizable gains? The best gains are in line with the gains already achieved in
space policy, namely using unmanned space technologies, multilaterally developed,
to improve life on earth.
For example, the ESA (see ESA, 2003; 2009) notes that earth observations
should take the greatest precedence in unmanned missions, and numerous
international groups (including the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space) can play important roles in convincing governments both of the necessity but
also of the priorities of multilateral international space cooperation (UNOOSA, 2009;
see also Gibson, 2007). The Third World has especially benefited from these space

technologies as they allow tracking demography, resource use, deforestation,
pollution, and even allow for better disaster response (MacPhail, 2005). Gibson
(2007) argues that while conceivably interesting, manned missions should not be
pursued over space technologies that could benefit the planet at this very moment
and that are, incidentally, far more pressing and less expensive than manned
missions. To Gibson (2007), a successful and profitable space industry should not be
focused on finding another home for humans and should not take precedence over
the very real and solvable problems on Earth itself; thus, where the greatest payoffs
for space cooperation lie in greater cooperation in those projects which could have
the most down-to-earth uses.9
However, despite the seemingly obvious benefits of space technology,
European Space Policy has to adapt to changes in EU membership, to increasing
multilateralism. To Ryzenko (2004), the largest hurdle with respect to selling the
importance of space policy to new member countries, especially those in Central
Europe, is to change perceptions on the nature of space programs and their costs,
namely that space programs have practical benefits; for the lower-developed new-
EU member states, this includes using space technology to close gaps in
telecommunications, high-tech industries, greater cooperative relationships with
other EU economies, and in other fields of endeavor. Ryzenko (2004) writes that
new EU member states, wary of the usefulness of a space program and skittish
about investments, must have the utility of space-based technologies demonstrated

to Central EU-countries' administrations firsthand. Thus, the primary benefit to
Central EU countries will be as aids to economic development, and economic
development is a multilateral effort (Ryzenko, 2004).
The ESA is also at the forefront of encouraging friendly yet competitive
national competitions between space and space-related industries to solve
numerous economic problems for the whole of Europe. For example, in a recent
2008 European Satellite Navigation Competition, ESA's Technology Transfer
Program in conjunction with the German T-Systems/DHL awarded a prize (10,000
Euros) to the German company ubigrate GmbH for inventing a way to use satellite
technology to increase truck carrying capacity (ESA, 2009 August 4). This comes in
conjunction with already-sponsored technology, the Load-Volume Tracking system
which includes electronic sensors and mobile tracking connected to satellites to
monitor load capacity and availability for transportation of goods (ESA, 2009 August
4). The ESA touts this achievement not only as a way of shipping more goods per
container but also as a means of enhancing the ecological soundness of goods
Of course, the ESA boasts one of the greatest track records for international
cooperation, especially in a recent agreement signed with NASA to create a Mars
Exploration Joint Initiative: this has led to the establishment of cooperation between
the ESA and NASA and related programs in numerous industries, namely
engineering, astrobiology, geology, and also joint committees to create "collective

capabilities" in which both agencies would be responsible for developing and sharing
pertinent information, designs, and technology(ESA, 2009 July 8); this is the first
important step I mentioned, namely that creating a more advanced information
society is a key to greater multipolarity (Paikowsky, 2007). The exploration of Mars
enhances science's knowledge of numerous fields, notably geology, chemistry, and
biophysicsits exploration, especially in robotic form, is almost universally
recognized among scientists as a worthwhile venture, a venture incidentally
primarily spearheaded by the ESA, not NASA (Squyres et al., 2009).10
Gaubert and LeBeau (2009) argue that the EU space governance system requires
serious reform because the structures are some 50 years old, modes of space uses
have greatly advanced, and growing EU involvement in space necessitates update.
With the growing integration of the EU, space policy itself must become more
integrated (Gaubert & LeBeau, 2009). To Gaubert and LeBeau (2009), European
space policy should be defined as making full use of space for various projects and
for the benefit of all Europe, namely in making EU space policies. Furthermore, a
European space policy should have its emphasis in space technology, specifically in
the application of EU policies (Gaubert & LeBeau, 2009). More uniform and requisite
decision making processes need to be implemented and imposed upon all actors
involved (e.g., industry, astronomy, technology, governmental) to serve long term
EU goals of self-sufficiency, both civil and military, through the use of space. Thus,
strengthening executive actors (e.g., to promote operation uses of space and create

management structures) and a greater integration of all EU public organizations
dealing with space technology should be implemented to ensure a more coherent,
effective, and beneficial strategic EU space policy that is multilaterally guided for the
widest possible benefit (Gaubert & LeBeau, 2009).
What makes the ESA such a hallmark of international space cooperation is
the enthusiasm of its member countries, the intent to continue using space for
economic benefit, whereas it is often the case in America that such ventures are
wastes of resources (see ESA, 2009). As noted earlier by Kay (1995), in order for
space to be used successfully, countries must have the will and drive to do so; to
make space pay, cooperative ventures between numerous aspects of society must
be taken into account, and there must be political incentive to do so. Fortunately,
the ESA, perhaps more than any other space program in the world, is doing that.
While its technical expertise could possibly rival certain aspects of NASA, one benefit
it does have is enthusiasm for the economic and political benefits of spacethis
enthusiasm is in many ways almost as important as the actual vehicles to get into
The Benefits of Cooperation
Astrorealists assert that cooperation and international regimes destroy
countries' incentives for getting involved in space. To them, international regulatory
regimes inhibit growth in space technology sectors and are detrimental to national
security. The ESA counters this directly. While astrorealists (e.g., Dolman, 2002) can

focus on the negatives of the ESA (such as difficulty in coordinating missions, funding
problems, and so forth (but then, what government agency does not have these
problems?)), the reality as demonstrated above is that a multilateral space
organization, part of a larger and growing multipolar space community, can thrive if
it has a popular mission, especially a popular mission in which the benefits are seen
so readily, so easily, and so multilaterally. Moreover, such cooperation is not
doomed to astrorealist auguries of doom: with a peaceful mission for space
exploration and space utilization within a larger political sphere of cooperation (see
Rieker, 2006), multilateral space organizations can thrive and even challenge in
technological sophistication a military-based space program. As I have noted before,
if astrorealism creates conflict, is unsustainable, and that international regulatory
regimes are needed, what can the ESA say to the U.S. with respect to space policy?
It says that security is not compromised but, rather, enhanced. It also says that
normalization of space relations yields greater results for all concerned parties than
refusing to negotiate, such as what is argued in the 2006 National Space Policy. It
also says that the ESA could be a model for future, highly integrated space programs,
one in which nationalist determination to use space is transcended by more
internationalization and common benefit, a globalization of cosmopolis (Gills, 2005).
According to Dowd (2009) and Sadeh (2009), the importance of using
multipolarity to harmonize space relations is becoming all the more urgent. For
example, Russia is now the leader in terms of satellite deployment whereas the U.S.

has been beefing up security through Joint-Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), drones,
GPS guided missile targeting systems, and other military applications (Dowd, 2009).
China is also expanding its space abilities through its own satellites, including ASATs,
all meant to ensure the survivability of Chinese space assets and to make any
prospective U.S. attack far more difficult to execute (Dowd, 2009). With so many
space powers, so many assets, so much potential for conflict, and no regimes and
normalization of space behavior, space is likely to pose significant policy challenges
for the current Obama administration, challenges that must be addressed
multilaterally to avert a space conflict (Sadeh, 2009).11
The astrorealist position in space is untenable: there are simply too many
countries involved with too many overlapping space interests for the U.S. to
continue its unipolarity: should the U.S. take another radicalization of policy (as it
did in the 2006 National Space Policy), the result could be catastrophic. As noted in
Dowd (2009), almost all space assets experience regular disruption from other space
assets, and even U.S. military satellites are experiencing disruption from foreign
satellites. A growing number of defense policy makers in the Department of
Defense are already warning of a catastrophe in space and that greater
internationalization is needed to address the conflict.
The ESA presents the case that while treaties and agreements are important
to ensure cooperative multipolarity and multilateral efforts in space, space
consciousness is also equally important. As indicated previously, ESA space

consciousness is peaceful, and it is intrinsically multilateral. Space, to the ESA,
belongs to everyone, so it should be used responsibly (ESA, 2003; 2009). The ESA
has normalized relations between 18 smaller space agencies, resulting in a mostly-
unified code of behavior in space. The result is that national space priorities are
directed toward supranational space priorities, and any use of space must be
approved by all members. Thus, within the larger multilateral framework, the ESA
has been able to establish norms of behavior that indicate what can and cannot be
done in space. What this means is that while there are overlapping and perhaps
even contradictory national space policies, the supranational space policy is mostly
unified and coherent, although some updates are required. This means that space
activities are coordinated through a central authority, thus ensuring that there are
not possible space conflicts between ESA members in the future. However, in the
global space community, the ESA counts as one space agency, yet globally there is
also the U.S., Russian, Chinese, Indian, and other space programs. What the ESA
offers is a model for future space cooperation.
The first issue that must be addressed is the issue of space weaponry. Space
weapons and defensive space assets are all based upon the astrorealist assertions
about the importance of space assets. In reality, the U.S., Russian, and Chinese
space programs all operate from astrorealist orientations, yet these orientations are
largely determined by countering U.S. unipolarity in space. What the ESA can do,
however, is to begin to create norms of behavior by more greatly promoting

international cooperation and being the initiator of international regimes regulating
space behavior (Peter & Stoffl, 2009). The desire for cooperation exists in the world,
especially in India and Japan, yet U.S. military dominance of outer space has inspired
other countries to become astrorealist to challenge U.S. power and ensure their own
security (Peter & Stoffl, 2009). What Europe must do is to force multipolarity upon
the U.S. should the U.S. not enter into such a world (Lubbers, 2009). This is not a
declaration of war but, rather, enhancing a peaceful and global space consciousness
that would ensure compliance with international obligations with respect to space
activities, fulfillment of national space priorities, and strengthening the position of
the space sector in the global market (Peter & Stoffl, 2009, p. 32). What is all the
more important is that future long term manned missions will require international
multilateralism due to the prices and technological problems associated with such
missions (Peter & Stoffl, 2009).12
The issue of the need for harmonization of space relations is also heightened
by the growing privatization of space, especially in the light that a nation-state will
be responsible to the world if one of the private industries under its aegis does
damage in any form while engaging in space activities (Hobe & Neumann, 2005).
Space legislation can serve the interests of state actors in that by supervising space
activities, the financial onus caused by private space industries is placed upon those
industries themselves; to ensure the widest application and usefulness, space
legislation should be internationally harmonized "to the greatest extent possible"

(Hobe & Neumann, 2005, p. 313). International cooperation, to Hobe and Neumann
(2005), is the key to resolving such issues, especially in the form of inter-launch
capable countries. Thus, international space policy agreements precede
international space legislation (Hobe & Neumann, 2005). European policy makers
are taking considerable interest in harmonizing space policy; however, the growth of
commercialization and privatization in space policy is obliging the EU to take greater
oversight measures. This includes regulating private space industries, establishing
jurisdiction on and of space flights, registering space objects, establishing a method
for space object reporting, and regulating high altitude platforms and unmanned
aeronautical vehicles (Hobe & Neumann, 2005, p. 315). The growing use of space
requires immediate action to establish harmonization for space laws to ensure the
safety and benefits for all parties.
Ten general steps for achieving the fair and responsible use of space were
outlined at the "The Fair and Responsible Use of Space: An International
Perspective" conference held by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA),
the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI), and the Secure World Foundation(SWF)
at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) in Vienna on the 20th and 21st of
November 2008:1) a holistic approach to space with respect to sustainable
development is needed; 2) The UN should lead space policy; 3) the UN-led effort can
strengthen current legal frameworks; 4) consultations between public and private
sectors and among space powers and non-space powers should be established; 5) a

forum between civilian and military actors to establish common goals and space
traffic management is advisable; 6) dialogue is important regarding the
environment; 7) fair and equitable use should be guaranteed; 8) weaponization of
space cannot occur; 9) all countries should benefit from space endeavors; and 10)
space should be viewed in a long-term perspective and should involve younger
generations (Remuss, 2009, p. 64).
If cooperation does not occur, a disaster in space seems likely, if unavoidable.
The U.S. has historically refused to discuss matters of space security, and this has led
to the growing problems of weaponization in space, space debris, and military
competition in space: the lack of norms for international behavior in space have its
parent in U.S. policiesthe U.S. has set the precedent to ensure its own security
while ironically creating an environment that is will in the future be detrimental to
its security, and to the planet in general. The 2006 National Space Policy sought to
privatize the gains of space while collectivizing the risk: the U.S. would retain
primary space power, yet the world as a whole would be responsible for the
problems of space debris. While the Clinton-era space policy was not entirely
different from the Bush era's space policy, Bush with help from the astrorealists in
the Department of Defense (see Rumsfeld, 2001) as well as a Republican congress
was able to radicalize space policy, to set space's highest priority as defense
(Kaufman, 2006, October 18). Such radicalization of the pursuit of astrorealist
unipolarity creates a dangerous space environment, a space consciousness that

cheapens and near-denigrates the multilateral and peaceful uses of space, despite
claims to the contrary. Such unipolarist assertions select the benefits of space
technology for the few, not the many, and ultimately hurt future U.S. security.
While earlier I indicated that a change in space consciousness would be the best
way of ensuring the benefits of multipolarity in space relations, ultimately the U.S.
will probably enter into such multipolarity willingly through a recognition that
multipolarity serves U.S. defensive interests better than does unipolaritychanges
in consciousness can come later, if ever, like they did in the EU and ESA. With
current U.S. policy, the recognition of growing threats in space and from space (e.g.,
space debris, both natural and human made) necessitates international action.13
U.S. security is not served by doing nothing on the growing weaponization of space.
An astrorealist would advocate pushing the envelope to ensure complete U.S.
hegemony in space. With the rise in the number of space powers and the lack of
comprehensive regimes governing such behavior, conflict seems more likely.
There are other benefits to cooperation, not just in military exercises. While it is
hopefully obvious now that multipolarity could ensure greater U.S. security and is a
requirement for such security, it could also ensure greater cooperation for manned
missions. While manned missions are highly contentious, they do act as symbols for
international cooperation (Sadeh, 2004; Sagan, 1991).14 Bush's 2004 Vision for
Space Exploration is not quite enough: it is a unipolar effort, excludes China,
abandons the International Space Station, and is in direct competition to the Chinese

manned flights (David, 2002; Moorman, 2007; Riess, 2005).15 Also, manned
missions are symbols of cooperation, versus military programs which are symbols of
competition; this is interestingly expressed in that the 1958 U.S. Space Act separated
civilian and military uses of space (Matson, 2009). The present age gives the best
opportunities to foster cooperation in manned missions and establish closer links to
other countries (Crawford & Cockell, 2005; Philips 2009, October 14), establish U.S.
friendliness to other countries (Frelk, Hawkins, Jastrow, Nierenberg, & Seitz,
1990/1991), establish greater awareness of the moon and celestial bodies as
available for resource mining (Barry, 2007; Guinnessy, 2005; Johnson, 2009, October
17), promote the idea of a united humanity exploring the universe (Jablonski &
Ogden, 2008; Logsdon, 2008; Rogers, 2004), foster a recognition of the dangers of
weaponizing space versus cooperation (Reynolds, 2008), and allow for a larger and
more integrated scientific community to address technological requirements for
outer space (Benton, 2006; Lukaszczyk, 2008; Pass 2007;2008; Rahaim & Czysz,
Based upon the above, the U.S. would be wise to embrace multipolarity because
the unipolar world it created is quickly coming to an end. The global nature of
problems in space necessitates a global solution, not a unipolar one. This is
especially important for U.S.-Sino relations as the U.S. and China have the greatest
potential of engaging in space conflict. This is discussed in the next chapter.

In the first space age, only two primary powers existed: the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.
Numerous smaller space agencies existed, but they mostly existed under the
auspices of the larger powers (Walsh, 2000). Now, as of 2009, there are dozens of
space agencies, mostly small, national-level ones, spread throughout the world.
These space agencies can range from small research oriented or buy-in programs
(e.g., Mexico, or most of those in the Third World), mid-range space programs that
can explore numerous avenues of research, both military and civilian but one with
ties still to a larger space power (e.g., Israel, South Korea), growing national-level
space powers who technological expertise is marking them as a future space
superpower (e.g., India), and, last, the superpower space agencies that have the
greatest amount of technological expertise in numerous fields of endeavor and are
the leaders of the space community. It should come as no surprise that only four
space agencies exist in the last category, those in the U.S., the EU (ESA), Russia, and
China. The U.S. space program is the unipolar space power; the ESA is the space
superpower that most advocates cooperation; the Russian space program partners
with numerous space agencies, but it is largely strapped for cash16;the Chinese
space agency, on the other hand, is a flourishing part of a larger national industry

that brings pride in Chinese technological achievements to its citizens, advances its
way of life, and, of course, allows it to promote modern defense. China's
multimodal use of space makes its space program one to admire, yet for many U.S.
defense analysts, also fear. This is not altogether surprising that since the end of the
Cold War, China's space program has been targeted by the astrorealists as the next
great threat to U.S. security (Baum, 1994).
As demonstrated earlier in this thesis, both China and the U.S. pursue
astrorealist policies, albeit with the U.S. in the dominant position and China in the
non-dominant position. According to numerous authors (e.g., Gilks, 1997; Murray,
2003; Solomone, 2005; 2006), China aims to use space for the same astrorealist
defensive purposes as the U.S. The difference, according to those authors, is that
the U.S.'s historical antagonism to the current government, support for Taiwan, and
the U.S.'s monopolization of space assets make China nervous about protecting the
sovereignty of its borders, an understandable reservation given decades and
decades (and if one goes back far enough, centuries) of foreign incursions (Fairbanks
& Goldman, 1992/2006; Meisner, 1977/1999). What is all the more conflicting is the
U.S.'s support for the Taiwanese, a difficult-to-chart policy course in which the
seeming normalization of relations with China is countered with the U.S. support of
Taiwan, which has included space asset support; moreover, "according to Kissinger's
staff, if Beijing was openly committed to finding a way of achieving peaceful
reunification with the island, Washington would be able to gradually reduce the sale

of arms to Taipei and, eventually, stop them altogether" (Fardella, 2009, p. 548; see
also Walker, 2009). More recently, former President George W. Bush refused to sell
Taiwan Aegis-class but did agree to sell them the less potent Kidd-class destroyers;
Beijing announced that such a sale would worsen relations between the two
countries, which it did ("U.S. refuses," 2001, April 24).
However, relations between the U.S. and China have the greatest potential
for a future space conflict (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003), and China's position in terms
of space seems to be largely an orientation toward addressing U.S. unipolar power in
space (Gilks, 1997). Due to the historical relations between China and the U.S., this
chapter presents the last argument in my thesis: that due to astrorealism's creation
of conflict, that it is unsustainable, and that multipolarity in space is a more stable
form of power relations because it allows for the normalization of space relations,
which is very important in the growing dimension of space, it is important for the
U.S. to foster greater multipolarity in space so as to ease China's fears over invasion,
to allow China to enter more into a globalized space regime, and for the U.S. and
China to engage in a larger grand bargain and possibly even become space partners
and allies.
The Role of Space in China Today
Since the reader at this point is (hopefully more) familiar with the historical
basis of the U.S. space program, it is logical to present a brief historical basis of
China's space program so as the argument can be put into a greater context.

According to Fairbanks and Goldman (1992/2006) as well as Meisner (1977/1999),
China since even before the collapse of the Qing Dynasty took modernization very
seriously. For the period from 1911 until the 1950s, this primarily took the form of
heavy and light industrial development paired with agricultural modernization
(Meisner, 1977/1999). It was not until the 1950s that the Chinese, under the
encouragement of Mao Zedong, began to take outer space's prospects for
development seriously. In this first era, space was seen as primarily serving two
interests: defensive and nationalist. The defensive interests are obvious: to protect
China from foreign threats, advanced missile and nuclear technology was needed.
China, long concerned with the sovereignty of its borders, knew that advanced
military technology was the best way of avoiding invasive influences and humiliating
defeats that seemed to define the late Qing dynasty until the rise of the
Communists. The nationalist aims are also somewhat obvious: China, according to
Mao, needed to have the best technology available, and achievements in advanced
space technologies was a symbol of China's power, prestige, and genius. Over time,
however, China began to see the benefits of broader definitions of space-based
development, mostly in advanced communications and resource management. In
fact, according to Solomone (2005), China's 10th and 11th Five Year Plans distinctly
mentioned space as a perfect venue to foster development: for instance, Gilks
(1997) notes that China now considers the space program as the highest priority
technological enterprise currently being undertaken. Martel and Yoshihara (2003)

note that China's obsession with national prestige is a factor that cannot be
overlooked: the status of being one of the world's only space powers is a source of
pride. Due also to the fact that it is a relative late comer to space, China can skip
generations of technology and use space-based technologies and cooperation to
augment development.
China views the space program as a way of fostering Chinese independence
from foreign technological development, to "pin its future on home-grown
innovation" (Wolff, 2007, p. 54). As noted by Wolff (2007), "China's leadership sees
innovation as essential for the country to continue its economic growth, maintain
political stability, support advanced military capabilities, and retain its global trade
and geopolitical power" (p. 55). The central document outlining China's advanced
innovation developments is the State Council's Medium-and Long-term program on
Science and Technology, issued January 2006, and covering the years 2006-2020
the plan has the goals of increasing R&D spending up to 2.5% of the gross domestic
product by 2010 (double as of 2006) and encourage development in 16 key projects,
the major ones of which are intimately tied to space-based technologies: 1)
electronics; 2) microchips; 3) software; 4) integrated circuits; 5) new
telecommunications systems; 6) genetically modified biological species and new
drugs; 7) Earth-observation [EO] systems; and 8) new space flights and lunar
exploration (Wolff, 2007, p. 55). Wolff (2007) notes that the policy implementations
of such procedures will likely be far more interventionist than other countries, such

as tax incentives and even encouraging education in science and engineering
(600,000 science and engineering graduates in 2004, compared to 70,000 for the
United States in the same year) (p. 56).
In summary, China takes space development very seriously, both for civilian
uses of technology as well as military uses. Since Mao, space has been intrinsically
seen as a way to ensure economic development and to ensure national security; on
the whole, it has fostered intense development and technological sophistication
(Gilks, 1997).17 The overall Chinese plan is to advance its hardware by skipping over
generations of technology to bring about a quicker foray into space; for example,
rather than continuing to develop ground-based telecommunication systems,
Chinese engineers are developing satellite communications and through the
assimilation of foreign technologies through either bi/multi-lateral agreements or
espionage (Solomone, 2006). From an astrorealist perspective, it would illogical and
unwise for China not to develop its space capacity, and a country that historically
has had been invaded and carved up by foreign powers would understandably be
skittish about its defense. The question remains as to whether China's space
program will one day be in conflict with the U.S. or not. This is discussed in the next
The Eagle and the Dragon Face Off
After China's first successful manned launch, many American politicians and
military personnel worry about the possible military applications or whether China

will use its space program for peaceful purposes (Solomone, 2006). Discussing the
weaponization of space, especially with regards to China, is fraught with numerous
consequences. The key question here is howto separate civilian space programs
from military programs. For example, as of 1997, China spent $800 million out of a
total $1.3 billion space budget on military space programs (Gilks, 1997, p. 216).
However, the question of what this precisely means is a far more complicated
matter. China's space program is intimately connected with nuclear deterrence and
domestic economics. Apparently, the intense nationalism of the Maoist era
influenced the development of the space program: it allowed not only for the
acquisition of nuclear missiles but also prestige (Gilks, 1997). China has pursued a
space program in large part for two reasons: 1) the relationship between defense
and space; and 2) as a means to enhance development.
For China, its space program is a balance of national pride and security
concerns (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003). In 2002, when China launched its fourth
unmanned test flight, numerous critics (mostly in the international media) began to
question if the entire project merely wasted resources (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003).
However, attitudes of indifference toward the Chinese space program could cause
long term problems, especially considering China's growing space power and the
possibility of competing U.S. and Chinese space ambitions (Martel & Yoshihara,
2003). Chinese political elites resent America's posturing as the protector of space
interests, whereas the United States' political elites are fearful of challenges to its

national securitythus, "deeply seated, mutual suspicions are evident in both
countries' strategic assessments" (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003, p. 19).
Weaponization Concerns
Martel and Yoshihara (2003), Murray (2003), and Solomone (2006) note that
the United States, especially from 2001 onwards, has become increasingly
concerned about the growing number of space powers, and a January 2001 blue-
ribbon commission headed by Donald Rumsfeld advocated that the U.S. take greater
measures to ensure its space security and protect its space assets (Martel &
Yoshihara, 2003). The report concluded that space should "be recognized as a top
national security priority" (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003, p. 20). The United States
military is intimately connected to and invested in space technology, from GPS
systems (which provides necessary technology for global communications and, thus,
global financial markets), and electro-optical, hyperspectral, infrared, and radar
satellite technologies (for use in military operations, most notably in the 1991
Persian Gulf War, the first space war), and connections with air power for bombing
missions (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003, p. 20). Defense planners, in particular the
Rumsfeld Commission, are increasingly associating space with the averting of
another Pearl Harbor: the United States must protect its space assets and use them
to avert possible attacks on the United Statesif the United States' satellite abilities
were to be attacked (e.g., by China), America's defense capabilities would be
crippled (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003; Solomone, 2006; see also Baum, 1994).

It was the 1991 Persian Gulf war that truly worried China's defense planners:
with incredible speed, agility, and skill, the United States was able to achieve a
profound victory over Iraq, a victory based in large part "on superior command and
control, intelligence, and communications systems," all of which were based or
heavily based on satellite technology (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003). Space-based anti-
ballistic missile systems are seen by Chinese military planners as a threat to its small
nuclear arsenal and that larger U.S. space-based missile defense arrangements with
other Asian countries (e.g., Japan) are really attempts to contain China. Also, space
technology and its applications can affect the situation in the Taiwan Straits, the
most likely flashpoint for a U.S.-Sino conflict: the sharing of U.S. space technology
for defensive purposes makes it less likely that China can coerce Taiwan should a
conflict arise (Hughes, 2002; see also Hilton, 2009). In response, China has
responded with increasingly complex networks involved in the trade and
development of nuclear and ballistic missile technologies (Zaborsky, 2003). Thus,
the domination of space is increasingly becoming a large part of Chinese military
planning. The U.S., for instance, is fearful of anti-satellite laser technologies,
technologies that could be directed at satellites, destroy or disorient them, and
cause a significant shortfall in defensive and offensive capabilities.
One possible scenario discussed in Congressional commissions in addition to
the Rumsfeld Commission has been that China could preemptively attack U.S. space
assets to forestall effective U.S. military countermeasures in the case of a conflict in

the Taiwan Straits: the equation thus goes that space power is now the determining
factor in a nation's security, so military space technologies must be pursued
rigorously (Martel & Yoshihara, 2003; see also Baum, 1994). Zhuang Fengan, the
director of the China Aerospace Corporation's Science and Technology Committee,
noted that the ultimate aim of China's space program, despite protestations to the
contrary, is the development of space weapons (pp. 24-25). While it is unlikely that
China will ever be able to become a superpower space rival at the same
technological capacity as that of the U.S., it can develop technologies to forestall
U.S. hegemony. The key here is the development of technologies to counter or
cause disruption in U.S. military plans, not completely surpass them. Martel and
Yoshihara (2003) note that it is unlikely that bilateral space talks between China and
the United States would occur, mostly because the benefits for the U.S. of
maintaining its technologically-superior edge outweigh the benefits of negotiation
and cooperation.
More to this point, former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance once remarked that
China's ambitions and the U.S.'s policy will likely always remain in conflict with one
another; specifically, "As Vance suggested before and after he left office, Chinese
foreign policy under its post-Mao leadership, beginning with the Chinese response
to the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, has been and
will continue to be focused on their own shifting national interests that will often be
in conflict with those of the United States" (Walker, 2009, p. 594).18

Anti-Satellite Systems
Hughes (2002) notes that space can be used equally for economic
development and for military developing, especially since the two are related.
China's interest in space weapons is primarily revolving around anti-satellite
systems. This weapon is apparently a ground-based laser that can damage sensors
operating on low-earth orbit satellites (Hughes, 2002). Additionally, micro-satellites
are another avenue of research; these satellites are smaller ones that can attach
themselves to other satellites and can either jam or destroy its target (Hughes,
2002). These satellites are so small so as to remain undetected and are about one-
hundredth or one-thousandth the cost of an ordinary satellite. The military aspects
of China's space programs include information support and battlefield combating:
the former is essentially information gathering, intelligence, navigation, positions,
and communication, and the latter involves offensive and defensive capabilities. It is
in international cooperation that China has leapfrogged and enhanced its space
abilities, so much so that "this cooperation has allowed China to develop its military
space capabilities considerably quicker than it would otherwise [be] able to do" (p.
The understanding of China's space program is clouded by a lack of
transparency (Solomone, 2006). The space program is funded from four primary
sources: the annual civilian space program budget, money from launches of foreign
satellites, spin-off technologies, and the unpublished budget from the PLA

(Solomone, 2006, p. 315). Thus, until greater transparency occurs, it is near
impossible to determine if China's future goals in space (e.g., establishing a moon
base) will be unilateral or multilateral or whether such ventures will be for
exploratory or military purposes (Solomone, 2006).
Solomone (2006) believes that if the PLA continues to control the space
program, the mutually-emboldened paranoia between China and the U.S. could
create a space race between these two countries. Additionally, the possibility of a
space war, exportation of advanced weaponry abroad, decreased Asian stability, and
economic crises from military overfunding are other possibilities (Solomone, 2006).
President Obama in his short time in office has already addressed these concerns
with a spirit of new cooperation, once distinctly different than the tone of the
George W. Bush era (Loven, 2009, November 13). This new spirit of cooperation
directly addresses acknowledging the growing Chinese military capabilities.
Solomone (2006) believes that the PLA will continue to maintain control over
the space program, while possibly manipulating civilian control from behind the
scenes. As noted by Solomone (2006), "The civilian space program provides a great
source of national pride, foreign technology acquisition, improved international
relations through space cooperation, and some limited economic benefits. However,
the military space program is tightly controlled by the PLA, is deeply involved in
civil-military integration and dual-use benefits, and is a significant component of
defense against perceived threats to China's national security" (p. 321). There are

three reasons why the PLA is likely to remain in control: 1) it has had enormous
success in making counterspace weapons systems; 2) the decision makers and their
policies are unlikely to change in the near future; 3) the PLA has shown interest in
exploring space technologies for dual purposes: in space and on earth (pp. 321-322).
Additionally, it would be an unwise political move to back off from space programs:
the CCP and the PLA could be perceived as conceding technological superiority (and
thus space superiority) to the United States if the program were stopped.
It is mistake to assert that China is a casual aggressor; rather, its foreign
policy since the Cold War has largely been reactive (Sutter, 2008). Moreover,
complicating the relationship between China and the U.S. is that neither side trusts
the longterm intentions of the other (Lieberthal, 2009). On the Chinese side, this
means that "In Beijing, many believe that the United States is simply too zero-sum in
its thinking and too wedded to maintaining its position of global hegemony ever to
allow China to realize its aspirations of being wealthy and strong. This belief causes
many Chinese rather readily to believe that various American actions conceal a
nefarious plot to limit and complicate China's rise" (Lieberthal, 2009, p. 244). Of a
key concern is that the major flash points in Sino-U.S. relations occur when one side
tries to saber rattle, yet this has historically most often occurred when the U.S.
would take steps to ensure its military supremacy in the region, such as weapons
sales to Taiwan (Lieberthal, 2009). Both sides seemingly want a cooperative
relationship, yet decades of mistrust lie between the two powers. However, with