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See Inside March 2008

Space Wars - Coming to the Sky Near You?

A recent shift in U.S. military strategy and provocative actions by china threaten to ignite a new arms race in space. But would placing weapons in space be in anyone's national interest?

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“Take the high ground and hold it!” has been standard combat doctrine for armies since ancient times. Now that people and their machines have entered outer space, it is no surprise that generals the world over regard Earth orbit as the key to modern warfare. But until recently, a norm had developed against the weaponization of space—even though there are no international treaties or laws explicitly prohibiting nonnuclear anti­satellite systems or weapons placed in orbit. Nations mostly shunned such weapons, fearing the possibility of destabilizing the global balance of power with a costly arms race in space.

In war, do not launch an ascending attack head-on against the enemy who holds the high ground. Do not engage the enemy when he makes a descending attack from high ground. Lure him to level ground to do battle.

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