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In recent months, the President of Iran visited the UN to repeat his claim that Iran wants nuclear power plants more than it wants nuclear weapons. Dependable nuclear power could greatly improve the standard of living for Iranians. But due to its status in the “Axis of Evil”, Iran is denied both. Bush, of course, didn’t attend the UN meeting, but said that Iran can’t be trusted with nuclear technology.
Ostensibly, the US fears that nuclear technology will spread to other countries, a fear that is well founded. As technology advances, it becomes easier for many nations to experiment with or purchase nuclear technologies. It is assumed that not every country will exercise the nuclear self-control that has thusfar prevented WWIII. Eventually, the technology will fall into the “wrong hands”.
This leads me to the natural question, what if the US tried to prevent the proliferation of other technologies? Well, right on cue, Bush attempted to do just that. Various news sources have given their partisan take on this recent memo from the Bush administration regarding the US policy toward space. The important point is the aggressive stance towards other nations.
“United States will … take those actions necessary to protect its space
capabilities; respond to interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests”
So, what if North Korea or Iran started to develop a space program? Would the Bush administration assume that it was intended for hostile use? Would he threaten them with sanctions? And if so, what message does this send to the rest of the world? That nations are no longer allowed to independently develop nuclear power or space travel without the express written consent of the Bush government? What other technologies does the US claim a monopoly on? Does he really have the authority to oppress technological advancement? And how can Bush claim the US is leading the pack while cutting NASA funding to all but missile defense initiatives?
Is it just election year fear-mongering? Or the tip of a policy iceberg that attempts to maintain US dominance by suppressing the advancement of technology across the globe? I’m afraid the answer to both is yes.