The Navy has been ordered to shoot down a spy satellite hurtling toward Earth with a 1,000 pounds of deadly hydrazine onboard. The satellite spun out of control after being launched in December 2006. The exercise gives the Pentagon a chance to show off decades of controversial research into space weapons – and raises new concerns that it could cause an escalation of military competition in outer space.
But shooting down the satellite is particularly sensitive now because of the controversy surrounding China’s anti-satellite test last year, when Beijing shot down one of its defunct weather satellites. The action drew immediate criticism from the U.S. and other countries.
A key concern at that time was the debris created by Chinese satellite’s destruction—and that will also be a focus now, as the U.S. determines exactly when and under what circumstances to shoot down its errant satellite. So we protest China’s actions and then turn around and prepare to do the same thing – now that is hypocrisy. It also sounds like the old familiar “one-upsmanship” that permeated so much of the Cold War era.
However, the action not only raises the specter of increasing “spy-in-the-sky” games but also raises the issue of environmental damage that may be done to the area of the Pacific Ocean where the satellite will splash down, spewing out its toxic content. But Bush has never had much concern for the environment – why start now?
After all what’s a little environmental damage and a little “step over this line” diplomacy when Bush decides to put on his cowboy persona and once again flex his “my guns are bigger than yours” attitude.