Soft Power in the Realm of Outer Space
By Alexandra Dolce • October 30, 2020•Writers in Residence
In my opinion a space arms race is inevitable. It is inevitable because it is tied to economic and national security. The goal at this point is not to avoid what has been developing rapidly for the last 30 years or so, but to contain and manage it. The strategic placement of space weapons will not deter war but will increase fear.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, space is now an integral part of our lives, and many countries are aiming to become space faring countries. As such a methodology must be in place to manage threats and especially threats of war on space satellites and other space equipment and activities.
First, I believe that there must be clear protocols and treaties that delineate the rights and obligations of all interested parties. If a party chooses not to become part of treaty or protocol, dialogue is essential and they should be encouraged to follow certain norms allocated in these space protocol and treaties.
Second, I believe that the concept of soft power should be used to keep everyone to their promise. Unlike hard power, which encourages force by threats and attacks, soft power encourages change and compromise through the exchange of culture, dialogue and education. Soft power unlike hard power yields much slower results, but the effects are usually lasting. For example, before most countries conclude major agreements there is a period where they meet, discuss and negotiate various terms in order to ascertain transparency and build trust. In the realm of space, information concerning the location of objects in space, transparency concerning economic and social agendas and environmental concerns and human space exploration should be discussed and negotiated formally and informally in order to form the same transparency and trust as did before.
Soft power leads to familiarity and cooperation. Familiarity and cooperation can ultimately lead to additional confidence and safety measures to protect outer space and ultimately our lives on earth. Soft power can also open an avenue to protect freedom of access to space for all nations.
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