May 14, 2012

From Global Crisis — A Planetary Defense?

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, defense, economics, ethics, events, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, lifeboat, military, nuclear weapons, policy, rants, space, treaties

Russia’s hastily convened international conference in St. Petersburg next month is being billed as a last-ditch effort at superpower cooperation in defense of Earth against dangers from space.

But it cannot be overlooked that this conference comes in response to the highly controversial NATO anti-ballistic missile deployments in Eastern Europe. These seriously destabilizing, nuclear defenses are pretexted as a defense against a non-nuclear Iran. In reality, the western moves of anti-missile systems into Poland and Romania create a de facto nuclear first-strike capability for NATO, and they vacate a series of Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaties with the Russians that go back forty years.

Deeply distrustful of these new US and NATO nuclear first-strike capabilities, the Russians announced they will not attend NATO’s planned deterrence summit in Chicago this month. Instead, they are testing Western intentions with a proposal for cooperative project for near-space mapping, surveillance, and defense against Earth-crossing asteroids and other dangerous space objects.

The Russians have invited NATO members as well as forward-thinking space powers to a conference in June in Petrograd. The agenda: Planetary defense against incursions by objects from space. It would be a way of making cooperative plowshares from the space technologies of hair-trigger nuclear terror (2 minutes warning, or less, in the case of the Eastern European ABMs).

It’s an offer the US and other space powers should accept.


Comments — comments are now closed.

  1. It is reassuring that reason still exists in some quarters of the planet.

  2. henri bartos says:


  3. roger richardson says:

    You both miss the boat here. The ability to stop 10 — 15 missiles does not effect anything when you can launch 100 or more. It only effects the small players on the field.

  4. Ben says:

    This is a very serious situation, and a very serious offer by the Russians. I completely agree that our USA would be incredibly foolish to reject such an offer, and instead pursue its present military policy.

    I recently completed an article on this subject, presenting a bit more background a details. It can be found here:

  5. Thanks to one and all for the comments and feedback.

    I wasn’t planning for this to be my debut post here on It was a draft in advance of the NATO Chicago meeting. But Lifeboat’s administrator thought enough of it to post it somewhat in advance of my intention, unfortunately without supporting detail. Ample links can be found in the article authored by Ben and sourced in his comment, however. Other supporting information will come in my subsequent posts on this subject.

    Also, Roger’s observation about the capabilities and capacity of NATO’s ballistic-missile defense (BMD) systems is cold comfort – in fact, that’s why these systems are so destabilizing. They appear to be designed and situated to intercept the disorganized, ragged retaliatory response resulting from A NUCLEAR FIRST STRIKE. As such, they are gravely destabilizing, particularly because they effectively vacate US-Russian ABM treaties going back to the 1970s.

    I agree with Ben that the Russians have taken a constructive line in their proposal for planetary defense, and that they are serious about it. To that, I would add that Lifeboat can and should gain traction from this. It’s not unlike the re-framing of the Cold War into a Peace Race by the Kennedy administration, which led to a useful spurt of socio-economic development in the spaces where resources and arms sales weren’t up for grabs.

    So, I’m happy to have something on the boards here at last, and glad for the opportunity. It’s a refreshing change from my experience at another futurist outlet, where my work (copywrited and registered prior to submission for “development assistance”) appeared with nice four-color artwork, in a luxury of detail – and with somebody else’s name on it.