Totem and Taboo

Depolarizing the Space Weaponization Debate

by Karl P. Mueller


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The debate over space weaponization is typically cast in simplistic, unidimensional terms, while many participants caricature their opponents as naive pacifists or rabid warmongers. This article redraws the subject more realistically. First, it surveys the question of what systems are truly space weapons and what developments would constitute weaponization. Second, it describes six distinct schools of thought regarding weaponization: idealist, internationalist and nationalist sanctuary theories, and preemptive, utilitarian and hegemonist pro-weaponization perspectives. Third, it analyzes and largely debunks the leading arguments which hold that space weaponization is inevitable. Finally, it suggests reforms to make the debate more sensible and productive.

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Originally published in: Astropolitics, v. 1, no. 1, Summer 2003, pp. 4-28.

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