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“TRAJECTORIES AND ORBITS.” NASA, NASA, 22 Oct.
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Lockie, Alex. “The Missile Defense Agency Wants a
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            ICBM’s
are cheaper and easier to obtain.  They
can and will eventually be used as leverage over us when given to proxies
acting as pawns.  A grid of laser-capable
satellites will prevent all unwanted ICBM’s from being capable of striking the
United States.  We cannot predict the
moves of foreign leaders enough to be 100% sure they will not act irrationally
or have a change of interest.  This
proposal will allow the United States to be free from all ICBM threats and
ultimately gives us the highest leverage over others who seek to harm us, as
this plan makes their threats null.

            The
opposition towards an outer space laser defense system holds that the Outer
Space Treaty agrees that nations will not weaponize space (Outer Space Treaty,
U.S. Department of State).  It is true
that we agree not to weaponize space, however this treaty does not have our
best interests in mind.  It is preventing
us from fully defending ourselves from the ICBM threat.  If we drop out of the treaty, it will not be
an issue, however, there is a loophole that allows us to stay in it.  Laser defense systems are not weapons, they
are defense pieces.  We are not arming space in any way, we are
simply using it for defense purposes as laser defense only destroys weapons, it
does not act as one.

            While
it is true that it may not be in the best interest to launch an ICBM invasion
on the United States due to our inevitable retaliation, interests change.  This argument holds no power when it becomes
the interest of a leader to launch an ICBM. 
If countries such as Russia and China are pushed enough—such as a World
War III scenario—their interests would shift to total war, and an unleashing of
ICBM’s against us would be included.  If
terrorist groups hold ICBM capabilities, their interest is to cause terror, and
they know that our retaliation will not stop their ideology, so they would
naturally proceed to cause terror via ICBM’s because us launching a counterattack
will not stop their ideological power. 
This was the case with Al Qaeda’s choice with 9/11.  While our Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were
massively destructive, Islamic extremism lived on, and mass terror was caused.

            What
the opposition forgets is that it is humans who hold power, and humans act
irrationally.  To say that since a leader
of a threatening nation is rational and thus will not act irrationally, is the
same as saying a loaded gun will not fire if the safety is on.  Safeties fail.  Humans act with emotion and humans act
irrationally without thought in unpredictable manners.  An example of this irrational behavior was
when Nazi Germany invaded Russia in World War II after witnessing themselves
fail at it in World War I and witnessing Napoleon fail in 1812, yet they
continued anyways. 

            However,
others will disagree that ICBM’s are not a threat to the United States at
all.  Those who take this side cite the
fact that anyone who holds power effectively is a ‘rational actor.’  This means that they will act only to keep
their power.  By this path, it would not
make sense to launch an ICBM attack on the United States because it would bring
the immediate destruction to whoever does. 
Even the most extreme nation, North Korea, would only threat the United
States, but never attack as they know if they do, we will destroy them ten
times over.  The summary of the ‘rational
actor’ argument is that rational actors will not launch an ICBM attack as it is
not in their best interest of power, and that the ICBM threat is one only
derived from the empty threats made by such actors.  However, the counter argument is two-fold:
humans act irrationally, and power
interests change.     

            The
way to destroy a satellite midflight is to strike it with a laser.  These lasers use light energy to
incinerate/decapacitate an ICBM.  The way
this works is if an ICBM is launched, our sensors and radar will report it to
the laser satellites in outer space. 
Then, a laser will be shot at said ICBM while it is in its sub-orbital trajectory—and
orbit that reaches out of earth’s atmosphere, but reenters it (NASA 2004)—thus
destroying it and eliminating the threat. 
For this to work, we would need enough laser-satellites to be able to
cover the horizon they cover while in orbit. 
This gives us the ability to strike down any ICBM at any time.  In order to decide what is to be shot down by
the satellites, a list of approved launches will remain updated.  This means that any group that wants to
launch anything into sub or full orbit must notify an international space
agency led by the United States.  We
would then investigate the contents of the launch and be first-hand witnesses
to the launch itself.  This guarantees
our ability to separate the threatening launches.  If our radar detects any launch that is not
approved, it will be targeted and struck down. 
In addition, if any launch we approve does not follow its flight plan,
it too will be struck down.  This expands
our control from the air, sea, and land to outer space.  With this control, we can stop all threats of
an ICBM attack on the United States and on our allies. 

            The
lower costs and ease of developing and obtaining ICBM’s (Intercontinental
Ballistic Missiles) are on the rise.  The
lower cost comes from advanced rocket/weapon technology that makes ICBM’s
simpler and easier to make.  This allows
for poorer countries to develop what used to be advanced and expensive technology.  The other issue is that China and Russia have
advanced ICBM technology—close to ours—and could potentially give their
technology over to nations who are threatening to us and/or our allies.  China and Russia could give ICBM technology
to proxies in order to use them as pawns to gain leverage over us.  Select nations and groups that are potential
proxies are Iran, North Korea, ISIS, Syria, Pakistan, and the State of
Palestine.  ICBM’s or advanced ICBM’s in
the hands of these listed groups threaten the safety of not just us, but our close
allies.  The spread of ICBM’s is
inevitable, but its defeat is simple: 
launch a satellite program designed to destroy ICBM’s in midflight.

Final Paper

13 December 2017     

International Studies 3700

Professor Omar Keshk

William Foster