Yes, I?m in semi-retirement I know, but some things are too egregious to ignore ? I give you the following from the New York Times last Saturday (don't count on this happening too often, me posting like this I mean)?
OUTER space has become the next frontier for American national security and business. From space, we follow terrorists and intercept their communications, detect foreign military deployments, and monitor a proliferation of unconventional weapons. Our Global Positioning System gives us targeting and tactical advantages, spacecraft create image-rich maps, and satellites beam data around the world.It?s funny to hear John Yoo and John Bolton coming to the defense of the U.S. Senate over the whole ?advise and consent? thing particularly over making treaties, when, as Slate?s Fred Kaplan tells us here, Yoo and Bolton did their best to keep the STSART Treaty from being ratified, saying the U.S. Senate "should heed the will of the voters" and reject or drastically amend the treaty (which is humorous in a particularly dark way when, as noted here, three-quarters of those polled said that the treaty should be ratified, which the Senate eventually did, as noted here).
But instead of advancing American primacy in this realm, the Obama administration has wrongly decided not only to follow a European Union draft ?code of conduct? regulating outer space, but also to circumvent the Senate?s central constitutional role in making treaties.
Europe aspires to prevent an ?arms race? in the heavens, but in reality, its code would substantially impede advances in space technology because such innovations could also be labeled as military. While security activities receive an exception, it appears confined to self-defense, a term often defined narrowly to include only cross-border attacks. We should not take the unnecessary risk that our rivals will exploit such ambiguity to prevent legitimate American actions.I wonder if B-Y know that China and Russia are pursuing their own separate space deals also, making it necessary for us to do the same thing? And even if they did, I wonder if they would care?
Since there is little our friends across the pond don?t want to regulate, it is no surprise that they are now reaching for space. Taken literally, the European Union code would interfere with our ability to develop antiballistic missile systems in space, test antisatellite weapons and gather intelligence.
Bolton and Yoo see two main security threats in the new Obama initiative: the possibility that the U.S. will lose its edge in antimissile space technology and the risk that we?ll cede our lead in antisatellite warfare to, yes, China. So let?s take antimissile technology first.Also, I simply had to address the following from Bolton and Yoo?
Americans can be almost completely certain that we will never fall behind in this area because we?re not meaningfully ahead to begin with ? and neither is anyone else. To the extent that such a technological advantage does exist, it?s roughly akin to being the global leader in practical nuclear-fusion technology ? which basically means that your entirely unworkable fusion reactors are bigger and more expensive than everyone else?s. That?s not exactly the Lombardi trophy.
It was in March 1983 that President Reagan first announced the antimissile Strategic Defense Initiative ? quickly dubbed Star Wars by anyone who wasn?t actually part of the Reagan Administration ? and since then, the U.S. has spent a minimum of $120 billion on the project, according to a 2009 report by the Council on Foreign Relations, without ever showing that it could actually block a hostile missile. The most successful tests of the impractical system have involved firing our own defensive missile at one of our own incoming missiles, carefully calibrating them so they arrive at the same point in the sky at the same moment ? and helping things along by equipping the target vehicle with a sort of homing beacon. This is not, you won?t be surprised to learn, the way an actual nuclear exchange would play out.
The danger of the Chinese skeet-shooting American satellites out of the sky is similarly overstated. It?s true that in 2007 China destroyed one of its own, defunct weather satellites with a kinetic kill vehicle. That landmark achievement, however, took place a cool 22 years after the U.S. first demonstrated the same ability. And just to show the world we still have our chops, we destroyed one of our own satellites much the same way just a year after China?s achievement. The difference between this kind of planned hunt and a hostile attack on America?s satellite fleet is a considerable one ? but not to Yoo and Bolton.
But the more far-reaching danger is that Mr. Obama is eroding American sovereignty on the sly. He knows that an arms-control treaty for space is unlikely. He barely managed to push the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia ? a bad deal ? through the Senate. In addition, he is trying to enter the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea through the back door, by committing our Navy to follow its terms even though the Senate refuses to consider it.Boy, did B-Y push one of my proverbial buttons on this one ? as noted here?
The Law of the Sea has set international standards for fishing, deep sea mining, and navigation since the majority of the world's countries signed it in 1982. It provides coastal nations with exclusive rights to ocean resources within 200 nautical miles of their borders - areas known as "exclusive economic zones," or EEZs.But wait, there?s more (from B-Y)?
The agreement also oversees an international tribunal to settle fishing, pollution, and property rights disputes, as well as the International Seabed Authority, a body formed to assign mining rights beyond the EEZs.
If the United States approves the treaty, the agreement would include the country with the largest EEZ in the world, while also potentially clearing the way for U.S. oil companies to mine the Arctic Ocean.
U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush supported the treaty during their tenures, but conservative members of Congress repeatedly blocked its ratification due to concerns that it would limit commerce and allow international bodies to wield greater control over U.S. interests.
Other presidents have tried to comply with international agreements without Senate approval. Bill Clinton bypassed the Senate when he signed the International Criminal Court Treaty and regarded the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as binding even after Senate rejection. Even Ronald Reagan adhered to the 1979 strategic arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union, but not under the delusion that international law required it. And after seeing evidence of Soviet cheating, Reagan ceased American compliance in 1986.More hagiography on The Sainted Ronnie R, I realize, but as noted here?
In 1986, both (Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev) pushed their recalcitrant colleagues toward a nuclear disarmament agreement. That January, Gorbachev proposed a program to eliminate all nuclear weapons around the world. To the dismay of US national security officials, Reagan welcomed Gorbachev?s proposal. On January 17, Shultz told the state department?s arms control group to get working "on what a world without nuclear weapons would mean to us" and how to obtain it. "I know that many of you and others around here oppose the objective of eliminating nuclear weapons," he said, "but the president of the United States doesn?t agree with you, and he has said so on several very public occasions." Furthermore, "it?s a political hot button."16And finally?
During the balance of the year, Gorbachev and Reagan swapped disarmament ideas and made plans for another United States-Soviet summit, at Reykjavik. Donald Reagan, the White House Chief of Staff, recalled that some of the President?s advisors were opposed to the meeting. But "the President had been speaking out vigorously on disarmament," he noted, "and to temporize ... could have incalculable consequences in terms of world opinion."17 Although the Reykjavik summit failed to produce a disarmament agreement, each side recognized its appeal. Encouraging Gorbachev, the President told him: "Our people would cheer if we got rid of the missiles." Gorbachev, in turn, dangled before Reagan the prospect that, with some compromises on his beloved Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), he might become "the peacemaker President."18
The break in the disarmament impasse occurred in late February 1987, when Gorbachev--in response to the advice of antinuclear activists--offered to separate negotiations on an INF treaty from the highly contentious issue of SDI. Notes taken at a Politburo meeting of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party in late February 1987 reveal that Gorbachev told his colleagues that "we should make a statement about untying the package on the medium-range missiles. This will be our response to the state of public opinion around the world."19 Gorbachev?s action ended any possibility that the Reagan administration could retreat from its disarmament commitments. As Shultz recalled: "If the United States reversed its stand now on our willingness to eliminate INF missiles, after maintaining this position throughout the volatile predeployment period, such a reversal would be political dynamite!"20 Conversely, the Reagan administration realized that a nuclear disarmament agreement would give it a substantial political boost. So Gorbachev?s offer could not be refused, and the INF treaty was signed, with great fanfare, in December 1987.
Constitutional principles seem to be mere inconveniences to Mr. Obama, however. In pursuing his long-term goal of blunting American power so it meets with approval in international organizations and foreign capitals, the Senate?s role is a nuisance at best. Instead, his administration is ordering our military and intelligence agencies to comply with international agreements without the ?technicality? of Senate approval.It's really funny to hear Bushies B-Y criticizing Obama for supposedly not honoring the Constitution when their former boss called it ?just a goddamned piece of paper? here.