By Bruce K. Gagnon

As criticisms of U.S. “missile defense” (MD) technology increase around the world, it is interesting that the reaction of the Bush administration is to accelerate efforts to deploy the system in as many countries as possible.

At the present time the Bush administration is attempting to convince the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic to allow the Pentagon to establish new MD bases in their countries despite strong opposition from the people of both nations to the plan. Poland would host missile defense interceptors while the Czech Republic would have a Star Wars radar facility placed near Prague.

Missile defense has never been about protecting the public from attack by the “rogue” nations. As it turned out Iraq had no WMD. Iran has none today. North Korea has no WMD capable of hitting the continental U.S. Even China has only 20 WMD’s capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S. The U.S. now has over 7,000 WMD’s in our own “arsenal of hypocrisy.”

Star Wars has always been about offensive warfare in space. The Pentagon has long talked about developing space technologies in order to give the U.S. “control and domination” of space and the ability to “deny” other countries access to space. It is important to remember that when the U.S. and the UK launched the 2003 shock and awe invasion of Iraq, 70% of the weapons used in the initial attack were directed to their targets by space technology. So whoever controls space militarily also controls the Earth.

The Pentagon has also long maintained that Star Wars will be “the largest industrial project” in history. Therefore huge infusions of tax dollars must be moved into military budgets in order for the aerospace industry to make the kinds of profits they expect from a new arms race. (In 2008 the Pentagon budget is well over $650 billion.) Star Wars will be so expensive that the U.S. can’t afford to pay for it on its own – even after they move funds from our few remaining social programs into the Pentagon budget. Thus it becomes crucial to get allies like the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Italy to help pay for it.

But how can you convince people around the world to help pay for MD unless you continually develop new enemies? Why would the U.S. want new Star Wars radar facilities in the Czech Republic and MD bases in Poland unless the intent was to surround and provoke a new arms race with Russia and China? Is it a coincidence that Russia has the world’s largest supply of natural gas?

The Pentagon has been saying that under corporate globalization every country is going to have a different role. They say that in the U.S. we won’t make cars, clothes, or other consumer goods anymore. It’s cheaper to do that in China. The Pentagon says that America’s role will be “security export.” Today the number one industrial export product of the U.S. is weapons. And when weapons production is a nation’s #1 export, what is your global marketing strategy for that product line? Endless war!

The Pentagon also says that parts of the world are not now properly submitting to corporate globalization. They call it the “non-integrating gap”. They identify this gap as the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and parts of Latin America like Venezuela. (Note these also are places with huge deposits of oil and natural gas.) The military says that our role will be to go into this “gap” and get them to submit to corporate domination.

So Star Wars becomes the eyes, ears, and target direction mechanism of this new high-tech military that will fight endless war. The allies, like the UK, will be asked to help fund the program and to give it political cover. National health care in the UK, Canada, and other allied nations will have to be cut back in order to provide funds so that the aerospace industry in those countries can get a piece of the Star Wars action too.

The peace movement must begin to connect all the dots. The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is about oil. The Republicans and Democrats alike believe in the U.S. Empire to benefit the corporate elite. Space technology will be used to tie this program of endless war together. We must call for an end to the militarization of American culture and instead work hard to keep social progress from being defunded as our human and physical infrastructure in the country decline.

– Bruce K. Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He lives in Bath, Maine.