Space Force. The whole thing bothers me for a number of reasons, but there was one specific one that I though of the other day which is a real problem.
First of all, it strikes me as very strange that a bunch of people, and a whole political party, who have never been enthusiastic about funding NASA and proper space research – honestly, we could have had a colony on Mars now for a decade already if we hadn’t been so focused on wars over every patch of land with oil under it – are suddenly rabid space enthusiasts. I’ll bet half of them never even watched Star Trek. Battlestar Galactica, or Star Gate maybe, but Trek is way too fancy pants intellectual.
Then, it’s the whole idea of bringing the whole idea of violence and nationalism and war into an arena where it never was before and never should be. Up till now, space has been more nationally neutral and sportsmanlike than the Olympic Games. Astronauts from many nations share the space station and the scientists all share their data. The idea of national competition in space is not only a step in the wrong direction, it’s downright dangerous.
But, after Mike Pence’s speech, and realizing that they are absolutely serious, I realized, with a bit of a start, what the big problem is: just like with the Wall, these people can’t tell the difference between a metaphor, a nice slogan, and reality. I mean, they could just re-name NASA ‘Space Force’ and it wouldn’t cost a damn thing, except for replacing a few signs. They could add a few more National Guardsmen at the border, say “These brave men are our wall” and be done with it, but they want a real concrete and barbed wire wall, across mountains and canyons and running right down the middle of rivers. This would inconvenience Mexico a bit, but it would be seriously damaging to the U.S. (I’m only partly talking about trade and labor. Mostly about image, long term historical image.)
Space Force, though, could piss off every other nation that’s currently in space or intends to be. And that is far more than the U.S. is prepared to deal with.