During the last presidential campaign George W. Bush called for the creation of a “21st century” military capability.

He was speaking about the development of new weapons systems like the space-based laser. He asked Congress for, and got, $8.3 billion in 2002 for research and development to bring these systems into reality.

The Space Command’s planning document, “Vision for 2020,” and the year-old Rumsfeld Commission report call for U.S. “control and domination” of space. These controversial reports call on the United States to develop the weapons capability to “deny” other countries access to space.

The Bush administration, and its aerospace corporation allies, understand that they cannot say publicly that the United States will “control and dominate” space.

By selling the new Star Wars program as “missile defense,” Bush hopes to disguise U.S. intentions to move the arms race into the heavens.

It is clear that the aerospace industry stands to make historic profits if Americans can be convinced to spend their hard-earned tax dollars on Star Wars.

It is possible to conclude that before it is finished, the new Star Wars program will cost many hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Washington Post, in a May 26, 2000, article, stated that the United States will now begin to “manage China.”

Today the United States is widening and lengthening the runways on Guam and Wake Island in the Pacific to handle the B-1 and B-2 bombers.

Cruise missiles are being pre-positioned on Guam and a new program, Theatre Missile Defense (TMD), is being planned for deployment surrounding China.

China has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the continental United States, while we have 7,500 that could hit China back. Unlike Russia, which is now fully under the control of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and is virtually surrounded by an expanding NATO, China remains the one major independent actor in the world today not fully under U.S. corporate control.

TMD systems would be forward deployed in the air, on land, and sea and would allow the U.S. to virtually surround the coastal regions of China. TMD systems are designed to immediately hit missiles that are launched in what is called their “boost phase.”

Deploying TMD systems around China will force it to decide if it should respond by increasing its own military capability, thus giving the U.S. weapons industry the gift it is after – a new enemy and the justification for a new arms race.

Last January, the U.S. Space Command held a simulated computer warfare “game” set in the year 2017. The “Blues” (United States) went to war against the “Reds” (China).

The Blue team launched a preemptive first-strike attack on China using the military space plane, the planned successor to NASA’s space shuttle. The space-based laser (SBL) was used as the second military tool to destroy the Reds.

With the Bush administration’s long-term war of reprisals against terrorism, it is possible to speculate even further on this new strategy of the Pentagon.

Afghanistan (which has large deposits of natural gas and coal) is bordered on the north by Turkmenistan (natural gas), Uzbekistan (world’s largest single gold mine, plus oil, natural gas, coal and uranium) and Tajikistan (uranium).

It is not hard to imagine the United States and NATO setting up “permanent bases” in the region to wipe out “terrorism” that would in the end give the United States control of these resources.

Looking at a map of the region, it is easy to see the proximity of this region to the borders of China and Russia. The SBL would be an orbiting battle station whose laser would knock out other countries’ satellites in space and hit targets on the earth below.

Last December the Pentagon announced the start of the SBL testing program at NASA’s Stennis Missile Center in southwest Mississippi. By the year 2012, it hopes to deploy the first operational SBL to be eventually followed by a constellation of 18 to 48 of the weapons orbiting the planet.

Power for the SBL would be provided by on-board nuclear reactors. The Pentagon estimates the SBL testing program will cost over $30 billion.

Lockheed Martin, TRW, Boeing and Raytheon are the top four Star Wars contractors. Their campaign contributions to Republicans and Democrats alike have paved the road for nearly unchallenged appropriations of research and development funding for the many different space technologies now under way.

The underlying issue at hand is U.S. corporate global control and domination. The Space Command is viewed as the new military arm of the corporate globalization effort.

The “Vision for 2020” document states that due to current economic realities, the gap between “haves and have-nots” will be widening in coming years.

As a result, the Space Command suggests that there will be more regional instability as workers organize to oppose slave labor working conditions and a loss of democratic rights.

By developing the new 21st century program of “control and domination” from space, the Pentagon intends to suppress any regional hot spots without having to commit major troop deployments.

Bruce K. Gagnon is the international coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. He can be reached at globalnet@mindspring.com.