International Perspectives on Preventing an Arms Race in Space
10-12 May 2002
Statement from Edward Appiah-Brafoh of the Green Earth Organization, Ghana at the GN Conference, Berkeley, Ca.
The International Coordinator, Board members of the Global Network, invited guests ladies and gentlemen, I extend to you greetings from Africa. So soon another year has come after our mammoth and successful meeting in Leeds, England in May 2001. We have met again this day in Berkeley, California for the same business, which is to brainstorm, strategize and come up with ideas, plans and actions to truncate the decision taken by some people to dominate, militarize, weaponize and nuclearize space.
Ladies and Gentlemen, outer space is the common heritage of all human beings. It should therefore be used entirely for peaceful purposes and for economic, scientific, and cultural development of all countries as well as the well being of humankind. The importance of outer space countries is so enormous that countries should all stand for a complete prohibition and radical destruction of outer space weapons. The use of the space by all countries under the heavens makes it wholly unacceptable for one person or group of persons to dominate it. There are a lot of environmental problems that go with space weaponization and nuclearization. There are a lot of social problems that go with space dominance. There are a lot of political problems that go with space militarization. Apart from the negative and enormous amount of effects space militarization and nuclearization have on humankind and the environment in general, it is politically dangerous since this will lead to emergence of power, hatred and greed amongst so many nations, which will lead to an arms race in outer space.
In 1972, the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty was signed which prohibits the testing and deployment of strategic missile defense systems in outer space by state parties and also prohibits the development and deployment of national missile defense systems. This treaty has played an indispensable role in maintaining global stability, preventing an arms race in outer space and ensuring gradual nuclear disarmament progress. This ABM treaty has been the cornerstone of precluding a global nuclear arms race for 30 years now. This reflects the good and purposeful foundation of the treaty regarding world peace.
In the past few years, the United States of America, a signatory to the ABM treaty unilaterally decided to embark upon a new journey. A journey that contravenes a global decision of preserving space for peaceful, and common use of all countries. America’s new journey is an act contrary and a betrayal to the ABM treaty signed in 1972. This new development on the part of the United States has raised the risk of turning outer space into a battlefield. It also undermines the global peace, security and strategic stability and will trigger off a new round of arms race which is not only an act that promotes insecurity, but also is detrimental to the international disarmament process.
The September 11 attacks on America have indeed given a new dimension to the United States’ decision to deploy a ballistic missile defense, and this time a stricter measure is being taken. On December 13, 2001, President Bush announced U.S withdrawal from the ABM treaty in 6 months. This decision weakens the power and control of the ABM treaty in ensuring world peace. On December 14, 2001, the China Daily, the communist party’s premier English-language newspaper published in Beijing said that, “The U.S withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty is a threat to world peace that could spark a new arms race.” The paper said in an editorial “ experts have warned of a turbulent world after the U.S pullout. It could unravel more than 30 other crises preventing accords and undermine international security.” The paper continued the critics and some analysts of the U.S pullout fear that it could encourage China to build more missiles that could reach U.S soils and spark a new arms race between Asian nuclear players. The paper continued that China’s rival, India could acquire more warheads which might in turn encourage Pakistan, an ally of Beijing to boost it’s nuclear arsenal. This reveals the fact that, if the U.S goes ahead to deploy missile defense, it is going to provoke many nations who will in turn decide to embark upon missile programs and then, an unimaginable, catastrophic and inhuman arms race in outer space will begin. One basic fact is that, if outer space becomes militarized and nuclearized, it will affect every part of the globe. There is therefore an urgent task for international community to prevent an arms race in outer space.
America is a nation I have always respected and will forever respect. America was founded on Christianity and is endowed with a humongous amount of resources and wealth. Anytime I go on my knees to pray for peace in Israel, I pray for America also to continue to prosper and help other countries. The part of the world where I come from, America is on the lips of everyone. People in other countries where I have traveled to, also share the same view that America is a good and great country and it’s their vision to at least visit America once in their lifetime. Thus the U.S. has the ability and indeed the responsibility to work toward a safer world. It would therefore be a very good decision for the U.S to lead the nations to fight the good fight against terrorism; her unilateral decision to withdraw from a major and global wide treaty sends a terrible message to the rest of the world. It is therefore very paramount now on the part of the United States to rather work with the international community to arrest global insecurity and threats than to be denouncing her treaty obligations.
The people of Africa also make this humble appeal to President George W. Bush:
Now some specifics;
a). Povery has thrown children of school going age into the streets to sell wares and other things in order to get some money for their daily sustenance. Child labor is hence on the increase.
b). Poverty has rendered so many sick people unable to get medical attention and hence die prematurely.
c). Environmental degradation is on the ascendancy since poverty has eaten very much into the fabric of the society and that unfriendly environmental practices and being employed as avenues for daily sustenance.
d). Social vices emanating from the presence of poverty abound in Africa.
We come before you with all respect and humility Mr. President, to discard the idea of missile defense which will undoubtedly propel a new arms in outer space, discard research and development into nuclear and space programs which consumes a humongous amount of tax payers money and we sincerely ask you to help Africa come out of its numerous problems. This act of kindness will indeed bring more blessing upon America and God’s mighty and righteous hand shall always be upon you. It will also bring about peace, which indeed is priceless. Rescue the perishing and care for the dying.
Ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely make this declaration this day that, posterity will never forgive us if we allow outer space to be weaponized, militarized and nuclearized. The whole world will be in state of chaos, rancor and acrimony if there is arms race in outer space. Nations are crying for peace, the people are yelling, “peace now, and peace now, let there be peace.”
Let us all strive hard to make sure that peace prevails on earth for “war is costly but peace is priceless.”