Archive for July, 2009


July 28, 2009

At the end of his recent (July 2009) visit to Ukraine and Georgia U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview that “Russia has to make some very dificult, calculated decisions. They have a shrinking population base, they have a withering economy, they have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years, they’re in a situation where the world is changing before them and they’re clinging to something in the past that is not sustainable”.

Vice President Biden presented a correct assessment in the interview on some of the problems of Russia. Not taken into consideration was, however, the risk that Russia and China may in the future cooperate to create a challenge in Eurasia to the United States.

Since October, 2007, the SCO and CSTO, cooperative Eurasian organizations, could be the start of Russia-China working together. There is, which was in 2007 claimed by CSTO Secretary General Nikolay Bordyazha, no intention of integration, like the EU. The plan seems to be to counteract so called “modern challenges” (meaning, one can presume, growing influence of the United States in Eurasia). Officially the line is to interact with NATO (and perhaps the EU). NATO is not, so Russia, regarded as a threat. Two of the main problems, according to Mr. Bordyazha, in 2007 was narco trafficking and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Russia and the other members of CSTO would even be willing to help Kabul. At present an important point is that the non-Russian members of CSTO would be allowed to purchase Russian weapons at “internal prices”. Military staff training was intended as well as sale of police equipment. Also peace keeping was considered with participation not only of Russian troops. The role of China was two years ago unclear.

On the other hand, also not mentioned by Vice President Biden, there is reason to observe possible border problems between Russia and China in the future. China is claiming 1,5 million square kilometres of Russian territory in Asia. Peking already in 1963 raised the question of the “nine unequal treaties” with Russia from 1689 to 1881. Along the Sinkiang border only there are 20 areas from 1,000 to 30,000 square kilometres in dispute according to PRC.

Some of the so called “unequal treaties” are:

Treaty of Nerchinsk, 1689, Treaty of Aigun, 1858, Treaty of Tientsin, 1858, Treaty of Peking, 1860, Treaty of Chugusak, 1864, Treaty of Tacheng, 1864, Treaty of St. Petersburg, 1881.

Around twenty areas near Sinkiang are in dispute. Also should be noted the Wakhan panhandle in Aghanistan. Recently, however, final river protocols between Russia and China have been signed regarding islands in the Amur and Ussuri rivers,
which were hotly disputed at the end of the 1960s.


July 26, 2009


The important recommendations of Professor Dolman deserve special mention here:

The United States should declare that it is withdrawing from the current space regime and announce that it is establishing a principle of free market sovereignty in space.

Information efforts touting the prospects of a new golden age of space exploration should be crafted and released to build popular support.

Using current and near-term capacities the United States should endeavor to seize military control of low-Earth orbit. This would guarantee a safe operating environment for others such us Japan, the European Union, and Russia.

The United States should establish a national space coordination agency to define, separate, and coordinate the efforts of commercial, civilian, and military space projects.

A complementary commercial space technology agency could be created to assist in the development of space exploitation programs at national universities and colleges, fund and guide commercial technology research, and generate wealth maximization and other strategies for space resources and manufacturing.

With the new millenium follows that there are increasing responsibilities for the world’s only superpower. Now is the time to start considering the proposals put forward by Professor Dolman. The front against international terrorism (War on Terror) has needed considerable attention after September 11, 2001. The War on Terror has been successful in deterring terrorist attacks on the American homeland it still seems prudent to be thinking not only about a new space regime in a wider perspective but of course also abort the National Missile Defense proposed by the Bush administration.

This writer believes it is important that the preparations for the future are undertaken and that the project to remake the present space regime goes on.

End Reflections

One of the central legal terms in space law is RES COMMUNIS OMNIUM. In space law it has been interpreted as something for the communal use of all and therefore cannot be owned by any state. This interpretation may be incorrect. Instead it can be interpreted as something for mutual use. The first term was during the Cold War used by the Soviet tyranny and less developed nations. It seems this interpretation cannot hold. A more correct usage would be ”RES NULLIUS”, something that lacks ownership. Compare with ”TERRA NULLIUS”, a land area that has no owner and is outside the sovereignty of any state.

It can also be claimed that none of the above terms are relevant. The leading space nation, the United States, can possibly in the future question the present space regime and demand some sort of ”IUS INTERVENTIONIS” based on space exploration undertaken by America. Thus, for example, the United States is the only nation which have had discoverers on a space body. It is therefore possible to create a regime in which the United States is responsible for the development of settlements and land on space bodies and the distribution of assets to friendly, democratic nations that are capable of space flight.

The discovery in space will therefore not have similar consquences as the discoveries after sea voyages in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In connection with those travels a symbolic act of possession taking of land for the discovering state was undertaken. Concerning spatial bodies it is stricty not a matter of discovery. A great number of space bodies were known to 16th and 17th century astronomers like Tycho Brahe of Denmark, Nicolaus Copernicus of Poland and Johannes Kepler of Germany, astrologers who made revolutionary discoveries in space.


July 22, 2009

The Leading Role of the United States – An Explanation

In May, 1999, International Space Policy Forum, Space Policy Institute and others published an important collection of essays (Merchants and Guardians – Balancing U.S. Interests in Global Space Commerce (eds. John M. Logsdon and Russell J. Acker, Washington DC).

There are several questions discussed in this excellent overview but most important is that of U.S. National Strategy for Space and if United States space hegemony came by accident or design. My view is that it came by design and that hegemoni should in the future be sought by design. One of the reasons for the American lead is of course the space race during the Cold War and the will of earlier American administrations to pursue space projects aimed at national prestige.

The view of some American experts that human expansion into space is both desirable and inevitable is to be supported. It fits well with the “manifest destiny” component of American history in which a frontier is seen as a utopian wilderness that meets several philosophical and emotional needs. To open this new frontier both government and private enterprise spending to open the frontier are needed.

Already in the 1950s Werner von Braun had sketched his vision for space development:

First orbiting satellites.

Then manned reusable vehicles.

After that a space station.

And then bases on the Moon and a manned expedition to Mars

Some have called this the “Von Braun Paradigm”. These basic elements were for decades part of the research and funding program in the United States.

Space Strategy

The administration of President George W. Bush no doubt was aware of the immense importance of space strategy. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld at a press conference in May, 2001, outlined the broad view of the administration’s initiatives. He also reminded the listeners of the existing U.S. National Space Policy of September 19, 1996. “Department of Defense shall maintain the capability to execute the mission, areas of space support, force enhancement, space control and force application. Consistent with treaty obligations, the United States will develop, operate and maintain space control capabilities to ensure freedom of action in space, and if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries. These capabilities may also be enhanced by diplomatic, legal and military measures to preclude an adversary’s hostile use of space systems and services”.

There might be a reason to review these policies later as a need for change may arise (see below).

The document quoted by Secretary Rumsfeld is not a Space Strategy document. One of the few publications so far dealing with such matters is Jim Oberg’s publikation Space Power Treaty

as per July 22, 2009).

Oberg has underlined that control of space is the linchpin upon which a nation’s space power depends. The United States is in need of an underlying theory from which to develop policy and strategy. The three works mentioned here all contribute to this. Both Dolman and Oberg recommend that the United States lead and protect in the move into space.


July 21, 2009

This year The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a non-profit educational organization in the United States will open the Captive Nations Week at The Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial commemorates the more than 100 million victims of communism. It was dedicated by President George W. Bush in June 2007.

The mission of The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is to educate this generation and future generations about the history, philosophy, and legacy of communism. It recently launched The Global Museum on Communism on Internet

The imperial communist holocaust was carried out through conquests, revolutions, civil wars, purges, wars by proxy, and other violent means. Communism set out the “big lie” that a classless utopian society with human dignity for all was its goal, then cynically produced exactly the opposite in nation after nation which succumbed to its armed might, shameless intrigues, and hypocrisy.

The memorial assures that that those who died under Communism are remembered forever and that the history of communist tyranny will be taught to future generations.

The Captive Nations Week is the third week in July and has been proclaimed by United States Presidents since 1959, starting fifty years ago this year. One can only hope that the European Union in the future establishes a similar foundation in Brussels to remember the victims of communism with a memorial.

For the text of this years proclamation by President Obama see below.

– – – – – – –
Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower issued a call of solidarity to peoples across the world living under communist rule. This first Captive Nations Week Proclamation expressed concern that too many people lacked fundamental freedoms, and it affirmed that the people of the United States stood alongside those who yearned to be free. Since this declaration, more nations have chosen the path of self-determination and respect for basic human rights. Brave American men and women have contributed to this story, making great sacrifices while serving in our Armed Forces or working in Government, private industry, and other organizations.
The Cold War is now consigned to the history books, but the ideals that President Eisenhower proclaimed remain vibrant and inspiring today. Just as in years past, people still hope to have the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams. People, young and old, still yearn to speak their minds. Citizens still believe governments have an obligation to be honest and transparent, uphold the rule of law, and allow civic participation.

We regard these universal principles as guiding values, and we stand in solidarity with those who aspire to live by them — not only because it is right, but also because our Nation’s fate is connected to that of other nations. In an interdependent world, instability, disease, and hardship abroad affect us here at home. Governments that are responsive to the concerns of their citizens can better tackle these challenges and contribute to a more secure, healthy, and prosperous world.

Nations must advance these values through example. At home and abroad, the United States strives to honor the principles enshrined in our Nation’s founding documents.

The challenges of a new century require us to summon the full range of human talents to move all nations forward. The United States stands with all governments and peoples committed to unlocking the potential of their people, and to peace, the rule of law, and respect for all citizens.

The Congress, by Joint Resolution, approved July 17, 1959 (73 Stat. 212), has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the third week of July of each year as “Captive Nations Week.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 19 through July 25, 2009, as Captive Nations Week. I call upon the people of the United States to reaffirm our commitment to all those seeking dignity, freedom, and justice.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


July 19, 2009

”Raumrevolution”, Spatial Revolution

In the 1990s there has been a development toward ”globalization” but the economic differences are great between the developed world and the developing world making a unitary world state a distant possibility. But there is an ongoing ”Raumrevolution” or spatial revolution.

The modern term of political space includes the air and inner/outer space (the universe). To the old partition into land, sea and air space there is now a fourth dimension, which requires a new occupation of space following the acquiring of land and sea of the discoveries of the sixteenth century, the development of flight in the beginning of the twentieth century. For humanity the unlimited, borderless and boundless outer space is opening up. A new spatial order is emerging and there is only one leading nation in this spatial revolution, the United States. The others are far behind.

The post-Cold War era is not only a development away from two Greater Spaces, West and East. Today we have a system of spaces not founded on national territories but in an alliance system of which NATO is the most prominent example. The tendency of greater spaces is an expression of growing and expanding powers to create greater political and economical units. This is taking place in the system of three dimensions but the adding of the fourth dimension, space, in the meaning inner and outer space, has to be added if one wants to understand international development. The struggle to control inner and outer space has replaced the struggle of the seapowers to dominate the oceans (Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the United States). But in this new dimension there is actually only one power, the United States, that has the resources for controlling outer/inner space, which is becoming increasingly important. It is not only defense in space that matters but the whole sector of communications based on satellites.

One of the leading experts in space strategy or astropolitics, Professor Everett C. Dolman, in his book Astropolitik – Classical Geopolitics in the Space Age (London: Frank Cass, 2001) presented one of the most important contributions, also one of the first, in the field. Dolman defines astropolitik/astropolitics as the study of the relationship between outer space terrain and technology with the development of political/military policy and strategy.

It is only natural that Professor Dolman is pointing to the model in The Influence of Seapower in History, Alfred T. Mahan’s important and pathbreaking history of the importance of maritime power as a key to great power status. There are, as Dolman wrote, important similarities between ’coasts’ in space and on the seas. Instead of harbors, a spacefaring nation must have access to effective land-based launch, monitoring, and control sites.


July 18, 2009

Greater political spaces

Greater political spaces have been brought up by various authors and theorists. Conservative American political scientist and author, professor James Burnham (1905-1987) hinted at a tripartite world:

If we look at an economic map showing the occupations of mankind, a decisive fact is at once apparent. Advanced industry is concentrated in three, and only three, comparatively small areas: United States…Europe… and the Japanese islands with parts of eastern China…The economic map suggests dramatically what is probable on many other grounds: that the world political system will coalesce into three primary super-states, each based upon one of three areas of advanced industry. This does not necessarily mean that these three super-states will be the United States, Germany, and Japan as we know them today. This may well be the case, but it need not be so.

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950) during World War II also developed a theory of the greater spaces. According to Schumpeter the world would divide into four blocs, an Anglo-Saxon, a European, a Russian, and a Japanese, with a relatively strong independence.

The American geographer Saul B. Cohen wrote about the strategic value of an area, divided into three dimensions: space, time and national vantage points. For him the term space included natural resources and location with respect to the lines of movement that carry these resources. Two or more areas would be power cores. Cohen also believed in a geopolitical balance as a practical goal for politicians.

Today’s realities, so Cohen, rule out the domination of one global strategic concept based on either dominant land armies, dominant sea- or airpower. During the Cold War there were in principle only two geostrategic regions: The Trade Dependent Maritime World and The Eurasian Continental World. That has of course changed after 1991, which makes the concept of greater space of increased interest. In turn Cohen divided the geostrategic regions into six geopolitical regions: Anglo-America and the Caribbean, Maritime Europe and the Maghreb, Offshore Asia and Oceania and South America, theRussian Heartland and Eastern Europé and finally the East Asian Mainland while between the regions lay Shatterbelts- the Middle East and South East Asia.

The connection between greater spaces, space strategy and policy is important. Space exploration can only be undertaken by ”greater spaces”. The cost involved is to great for most nation states (except, of course, for the United States).


July 17, 2009

Political space

The word space (German ”Raum”, Swedish and Old Norse ”rum”) originates in Indo-European, in the English language ”room” of the same root has a much more limited meaning. Latin ”spatium” is the basic word, which spread to the Roman languages in the form ”espace” in French, ”spazio” in Italian and ”espacio” in Spanish but also in English, space. In English space also equals the German word (”Weltraum”=global space or inner/outer space with the meaning universe).

In geopolitics space is political space (French ”espace politique”, German ”politischer Raum”). But there is of course also a philosophical term, concept of space. The old Greeks (Pythagoras) seem sometimes to have equalled empty space with air. Aristotle, for instance, tried to dodge the problem of the concept of space by treating it in terms of place, which he defined as the adjacent boundary of the containing body.

The German geographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904) was the first to mention political space in 1897 in his book Politische Geographie. But until today there is no clear definition of the term. Other terms are used: empire (German ”Reich”) or territory within the geographic context. Ratzel was also the creator of the term ’Grossraum’ (greater space).

Space is linked to modern cartography and it was not until the sixteenth century that it was possible to describe more in detail the territory or space of lands. In the Middle Ages world maps were a circle showing the three oldest continents.

The importance of space was however recognized by both Aristotle and Herodotus, which led to the creation of the term political geography in the eighteenth century by A.R.J. Turgot, which meant the positive and theoretical connection between geographic data and political processes. The Swedish professor of geography and political science, Rudolf Kjellén, was the first to use the term geopolitics in 1899 being according to him the science of the state as geographical organism or concept of space.


July 16, 2009


Space is attracting new interest in the twentyfirst century. Already in 1991 the U.S. National Space Council requested a report on American space policy (America on the Threshold, Arlington, VA: Synthesis Group; Lieutenant General Thomas P. Stafford). General Stafford concluded that the Moon is a rich source of materials and energy. Abundant metals, ceramics and recoverable amounts of for instance hydrogen exist. A utilization of space resources can provide earth with Helium-3 to fuel Earth-based fusion reactors and beaming solarproduced electrcity to Earth.

In 2004 president George W. Bush announced a New Vision for Space Exploration Program. The United States was to develop a new spacecraft for manned exploration beyond the Earth’s orbit, the Crew Exploration Vehicle. The first manned mission of this vision is to be conducted no later than 2014 and human return to the Moon is planned by 2015 (at the latest 2020). The knowledge gained on the Moon is to prepare for human missions beyond the Moon, beginning with Mars.

In 2005 the Hubble Space Telescope was used to scout out sites for potential human bases on the Moon. Hubble is looking at three sites, one of them the 42 kilometer wide crater Aristachus, near the Moon’s equator.

In 2006 President George W. Bush authorized a new national space policy. The U.S. space programs and activities shall be a top priority.

A possible complement alternative to the new crew vehicle mentioned above is the Space Elevator, simply a tall tower into space in the equator area on Earth. Such an elevator does not have to be anchored. In a 1976 Declaration of Bogota at a meeting of equatorial countries an attempt was made to get a part of the pie. It is questionable if the declaration can be taken seriously. The elevator does not have to be anchored to Earth. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the Registration and Liability Conventions speak of “launches” and “launching states”. A space elevator is however simply an extension of the Earth’s surface. It is not covered by existing treaties, agreements or conventions. The Outer Space Treaty’s prohibition against placing nuclear weapons and similar weapons of mass destruction in orbit might not apply. The price tag of a space elevator? Probably not more than 6 billion U.S. dollars. Here is certainly room for private initiative and private companies.

There is a need to take a look at the whole complex of space law. The present one seems outdated.


July 13, 2009


A book from the Cato Institute (Space: The Free-Market Frontier. Edited by Ed Hudgins. Washington DC: The Cato Institute, 2003) was a very important contribution to the growing number of books on American space policy when it was published.

New books are added continously. An important new addition os Jeff Krukin’s NewSpace Nation: America’s Emerging Entrepreneural Space Industry (2009). It is a much needed and practical introduction to the new private enterprise space industry in the United States.

This reviewer took early interest in 1964 of the legal questions of space conquest (see my Master of Law graduate paper, University of Lund, Sweden, “Juridiska problem i samband med rymdens eroevring” (Legal Problems in Connection With the Conquest of Space). In Chapter 2 the question of sovereignty in outer space was dealt with in depth.

In Space: The Free Market Frontier is explored various ways in which United States space policy can promote private space transportation, exploration, modules for broadcast and Internet services, tourism etc.

Already private launch services and satellites are provided. Planned innovations include collecting and beaming energy to Earth from orbit, a lunar rover sponsored by Radio Schack, and even tourism for private citizens. These profitable plans require a new space regime. The old is outdated.

What is wrong?

The present problem is partly, not only, the Moon Treaty (1979) and the Outer Space Treaty (1967). These UN treaties are in practice hindering development although the Moon Treaty has failed to be ratified by spacefaring nations. The treaties are only a rudimentary framework for commercial activities and settlement in outer space and on celestial bodies.

New legislation is needed. One author, Professor Wayne White, presents a draft of new legislation”Treaty on Jurisdiction and Real Property Rights in Outer Space”(pp. 113 – 124).

As mining in the future might become part of the conquest of space, the United States law governing terrestrial mining activity, the General Mining Law of 1872 is important. This seems a good model for future operations on celestial bodies. No federal license is needed for mining.

Miners are protected in their occupation of the land by the doctrine pedis possessio. The prospector occypying an area and diligently searching for minerals is treated as a licensee or a tenant at will. No one else can acquire rights in the area through a forcible, fraudulent or clandestine intrusion.

The International Space Station (ISS)

Lawyer James E. Dunstan of Carvey, Shubert & Barer, an expert in Space Law, who drafted and helped negotiate the first real estate lease in outer space on behalf or MirCorp.

In “Toward a Unified Theory of Space Property Rights: Sometimes the
Best way to Predict the Weather Is to Look Outside” Dunstan reviews the existing legal framework and attempts to establish a system for private claims of property on celestial bodies.

In 1980 Dennis Hope walked into the San Francisco claims registry office and filed a claim for the ownership of the Moon. This may seem futile, because it is only possible to claim ownership of terrestrial land in a claims registry office on Earth. As things turned out Hope has probably made a fortune by “selling” parcels of land on the Moon.

Another initiative is the Archimedes Institute. It has established a “Claims Office” where individuals or legal entities can register claims of ownership of real property in outer space. Almost all known planets and moons have been claimed this way.

The Outer Space Treaty prohibits sovereignty over celestial bodoes but does it apply only to states and not to individuals? That it is possible to own pieces of celestial bodies has been proven, though. The United States owns 842 pounds of Lunar material brought back by the Apollo expeditions. NASA claims these samples are “a limited national resource” controlled by the state. This example is good news for those companies who want to exploit the resources of outer space. If the state can use material from the moon, so can most likely private investors too.

Property rights on the International Space Station (ISS) are also an important legal precedent. Intellectual property rights in space are protected. The first human-based property rights transfer in space has also taken place by a lease agreement between “landlord” and “tenant”.


The Outer Space Treaty (1967) was the high water mark of international socialist legislation concerning space. With the Soviet Union gone and Communist China the only remaining Marxist-Leninist superpower things are changing. The concept that outer space is the province of all humankind and that profits from commercial activities should be distributed among needy nations cannot be upheld any longer.

The United States should, as the leading space power, encourage commercial activities on the moon starting with exploring the Moon for mining. Launch costs must be reduced. Taxes on profits in space should be abolished and private companies ought to have the possibility of grants and loans.

The book of the Cato Institute is important for creating new thinking about space.


July 11, 2009

Motsvarigheten till våra dagars internationella terrorister härjade Medelhavets kuster i början av 1800-talet. ”Terroristerna”/piraterna var baserade i Alger, Tunis och Tripoli. De plundrade utan motstånd västliga fartyg och tog gisslan. Den tidens stormakter, Frankrike och England, föredrog att betala lösen för gisslan och avstod från militära aktioner för att sätta stopp för härjningarna.

Det var de nygrundade Förenta Staterna, som resolut ingrep med militär och hejdade piraterna. Amerikanska marinsoldater marscherade genom öknen 1805 och tvingade härskaren i Libyen att överlämna amerikanska fångar. Sedan inledde amerikanska flottan operationer mot piratbaserna. Engelsmännen kunde nu för skams skull inte stå utanför. Den engelska flottan utsatte Alger för ett omfattande bombardemang. Men så fort amerikanska och engelska krigsfartyg försvann från horisonten fortsatte piratdåden. Det var aldrig tal då från piraternas sida att hålla de avtal, som de militära operationerna hade framtvingat.

Först 1830 löste Frankrike slutgiltigt problemet och Alger stormades. Tunisien gjordes till protektorat. Italienarna störtade Tripolis härskare och bildade Libyen. I Tanger på den nordafrikanska kusten etablerades en styrande europeisk kommission. Men det var USA som då tog initiativ för att sätta stopp för piraterna i Medelhavsområdet.

Sedan några år härjar pirater längs Somalias kust i Östafrika. Liksom förr bekämpas de av marinstyrkor från främst USA men också Europa (inklusive Sverige). Men den verkliga motsvarigheten till 1800-talets pirater i dag är de internationella terroristerna.

Det tjugoförsta århundradets pirater bekämpas nu av en internationell koalition under amerikansk ledning. Den nya ”piraterna” opererar emellertid över hela världen med hög teknisk utrustning troligen med tillgång till biologiska och kemiska stridsmedel.

Skillnaden är nu att det amerikanska hemlandet angripits år 2001 och terroristerna begått massmord på amerikanska medborgare. Den amerikanske presidenten Dwight D. Eisenhower, amerikansk militärledare under andra världskriget, sade att han inte trodde på ”stegvisa” krig. Man skulle sätta in den militära makt som behövdes för att segra, och få det avklarat så snabbt som möjligt. Även om kriget mot den internationella terrorismen skiljer sig från ett konventionellt krig och kan vara i årtionden, måste hans ord gälla också för pågående operationer mot Bin Ladins terrornätverk och talibanerna i Afghanistan.