Space Elevators Affirmative



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Ruston Debate 11

Novice Space Elevator


Space Elevators Affirmative





Case Answers 17

2AC Politics 30

2AC Consult 33

2AC Cap 36

2AC Privatization (Generic) 42

2AC Security Kritik 45

2AC ESA 49

A2 Topicality 51



Space exploration is the expansion of human influence in space. 51


Leadership

Contention one is leadership -

U.S. Dominance in space is quickly dissipating


Valerie Neal 7-6-11, writer for the Economic Times, “End of space shuttle, end to US dominanceofspace?

WASHINGTON: The flight into space by NASA's space shuttle Atlantis on this Friday will mark end of the shuttle era, but many believe it may also mean the end of US hegemony in the space. Although NASA has led numbers of manned flights into space for three decades, no additional such flights are planned for the moment. Top officials at the space agency, however, maintain this isn't the end of this country's manned effort in space, rather just the beginning of a new chapter. "I don't think this means the end of US crewed flights, but we're in a period of uncertainty and we don't know for how long," Valerie Neal, the official in charge of the shuttle area at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, said. "I think that what's a little disappointing is that we really don't have a clear vision of what it is that's going to come after," Neal said. "There's uncertainty in NASA and among the general public." After this NASA shuttle flight, private companies will be in charge of developing the technology for future space vehicles. This will enable the US space agency to focus on other projects, like working out the logistics of a manned Mars mission or travelling to an asteroid, two of the goals President Barack Obama set out in his new space strategy, says NASA director Charles Bolden. Although, the companies with which NASA has signed agreements to develop new spacecraft "are making some optimistic predictions" about when the new space vehicles will be ready, Neal said, "the truth is that they have still not been prepared". As a nation, we are in "the final part of the second great era of space exploration," similar to what we went through in the 1970s after the last Apollo mission, the programme that succeeded in putting men on the moon, he added. NASA took almost a decade to develop and launch the shuttle programme, and it was not until April 12, 1981 - 20 years after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space - that Columbia was sent into orbit, followed by Challenger (1983), Discovery (1984), Atlantis (1985) and Endeavour (1992). Neal, whose museum will receive the Discovery to exhibit to the public in April 2012, said that the shuttles had been great spacecraft.

This makes challengers inevitable and threatens critical space assets. That risks war


A. THOMAS YOUNG ET. AL 2008, DIRECTOR OF THE GOODRICH CORPORATION AND SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, “LEADERSHIP, MANAGEMENT, AND ORGANIZATION FOR NATIONAL SECURITY SPACE: REPORT TO CONGRESS OF THE INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT PANEL ON THE ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT OF NATIONAL SECURITY SPACE”

Potential adversaries inevitably will employ available advanced capabilities to challenge current U.S. preeminence in space operations. The Russians are still the most capable space-faring people aside from us. They are not our enemy, and indeed we are working together with the Russians on the International Space Station. Still, available Russian technologies pose the most important potential threat to American space operations. Over the years, they have developed an extensive stable of capable launch 6 LTC John L. Thurman, “National Security Space Industrial Base Study,” OSD Cost Analysis Improvement Group, September 19, 2006. See also Final Report of Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry (Walker Report, 2002) on aerospace industry consolidation. vehicles, and in 1977 they demonstrated their capability to shoot down Earth orbiting satellites. China is clearly on the path to developing the capability to conduct sophisticated space operations. In 1964, they detonated their first nuclear weapon. This was followed by the “Long March” series of missiles, built first to carry nuclear weapons and then to achieve the capability to reach Earth orbit. Since 1999, China has initiated a national navigation system, launched a 3-meter-resolution imagery satellite, conducted its first manned space flight, exported a satellite to Nigeria, and launched its first lunar probe.7 China also demonstrated the capability of an anti-satellite weapon when it destroyed one of its aging weather (Fengyun 1-C) satellites on January 11, 2007. In assessing the potential vulnerability of U.S. space systems, it is also essential to factor in potential adversaries’ growing cyber-attack capabilities, as well as the potential employment of land-based directed energy weapons that could attack satellites in lowearth- orbit. At this time, we do not believe either Russia or China poses a major threat, but the United States must be prepared to face adversaries who have obtained the available advanced capabilities. Both the Chinese and the Russians have an interest in common— to eventually remove the United States from its current dominant military and economic position in the world. They will continue to develop capabilities to deter or deny the employment of U.S. space assets, and they may also use surrogates to accomplish this objective. Continued investments in technical capabilities to attack space systems, and the proliferation of associated technologies, signal the capability and intent to intimidate, deter, and perhaps attack space-based systems. Ultimately, the United States must be prepared to face challenges to our freedom of action in space, and perhaps actual conflict in space.

Scenario A—Power Projection

Securing and developing space capabilities is key to every facet of military activity and locks in hegemony-


A. Thomas Young et. al 2008, Director of the Goodrich Corporation and Science Applications International Corporation, “Leadership, Management, and Organization for National Security Space: Report to Congress of the Independent Assessment Panel on the Organization and Management of National Security Space”

The IAP’s assessment, our findings, and our recommendations for aggressive action are based on the understanding that space-based capabilities are essential elements of the nation’s economic infrastructure and provide critical underpinnings for national security. Space-based capabilities should not be managed as derivative to other missions, or as a diffuse set of loosely related capabilities. Rather, they must be viewed as essential for restoring and preserving the health of our NSS enterprise. NSS requires top leadership focus and sustained attention. The U.S. space sector, in supporting commercial, scientific, and military applications of space, is embedded in our nation’s economy, providing technological leadership and sustainment of the industrial base. To cite one leading example, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is the world standard for precision navigation and timing, directly and indirectly affecting numerous aspects of everyday life. But other capabilities such as weather services; space-based data, telephone and video communications; and television broadcasts have also become common, routine services. The Space Foundation’s 2008 Space Report indicates that the U.S. commercial satellite services and space infrastructure sector is today approximately a $170 billion annual business. Manned space flight and the unmanned exploration of space continue to represent both symbolic and substantive scientific “high ground” for the nation. The nation’s investments in the International Space Station, the Hubble Telescope, and scientific probes such as Pioneer, Voyager, and Spirit maintain and demonstrate our determination and competence to operate in space. They also spark the interest of the technical, engineering, and scientific communities and capture the imaginations of our youth. The national security contributions of space-based capabilities have become increasingly pervasive, sophisticated, and important. Global awareness provided from space—including intelligence on the military capabilities of potential adversaries, intelligence on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and missile warning and defense—enables effective planning for and response to critical national security requirements. The communications bandwidth employed for Operation Iraqi Freedom today is over 100 times the bandwidth employed at the peak of the first Gulf war. Approximately 80 percent of this bandwidth is being provided by commercial satellite capacity. Military capabilities at all levels—strategic, operational, and tactical— increasingly rely upon the availability of space-based capabilities. Over the recent decades, navigation and precision munitions were being developed and refined based on space-based technologies. Space systems, including precision navigation, satellite communications, weather data, signals intelligence, and imagery, have increasingly provided essential support for military operations, including most recently from the very first days of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Similarly, the operational dominance of coalition forces in the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom provided a textbook application of the power of enhancing situational awareness through the use of space-based services such as precision navigation, weather data management, and communications on the battlefield. These capabilities are continuing to provide major force-multipliers for the soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines performing stabilization, counter-improvised explosive device (IED), counterterrorism, and other irregular warfare missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. As the role and importance of space-based capabilities for military operations grows, the users are demanding that they be more highly integrated with land-, sea-, and air-based capabilities. During the first decades of the Cold War, the premier applications of space could be exemplified by the highly specialized systems that enabled exposed photographic film to be parachuted from space, developed and analyzed by intelligence experts, and rushed to the situation room in the White House for strategic purposes. Space-based capabilities were uniquely capable of providing visibility into areas of denied access. Today and in the future, the employment of space-based capabilities will increasingly support military operations. And for all users, the employment of spacebased capabilities will be more accurately exemplified by sophisticated database searches of a range of relevant commercially available and specialized national security digital information, using tools that integrate such information across all sources. For all the reasons cited here—military, intelligence, commercial, scientific— there can be no doubt that continued leadership in space is a vital national interest that merits strong national leadership and careful stewardship.

And, credible power projection stops all wars from going nuclear


Kagan ‘11. Jan 24, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 18. Robert Kagan. Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace “The Price of Power: The benefits of U.S. defense spending far outweigh the costs.”

Today the international situation is also one of high risk. • The terrorists who would like to kill Americans on U.S. soil constantly search for safe havens from which to plan and carry out their attacks. American military actions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere make it harder for them to strike and are a large part of the reason why for almost a decade there has been no repetition of September 11. To the degree that we limit our ability to deny them safe haven, we increase the chances they will succeed. • American forces deployed in East Asia and the Western Pacific have for decades prevented the outbreak of major war, provided stability, and kept open international trading routes, making possible an unprecedented era of growth and prosperity for Asians and Americans alike. Now the United States faces a new challenge and potential threat from a rising China which seeks eventually to push the U.S. military’s area of operations back to Hawaii and exercise hegemony over the world’s most rapidly growing economies. Meanwhile, a nuclear-armed North Korea threatens war with South Korea and fires ballistic missiles over Japan that will someday be capable of reaching the west coast of the United States. Democratic nations in the region, worried that the United States may be losing influence, turn to Washington for reassurance that the U.S. security guarantee remains firm. If the United States cannot provide that assurance because it is cutting back its military capabilities, they will have to choose between accepting Chinese dominance and striking out on their own, possibly by building nuclear weapons. • In the Middle East, Iran seeks to build its own nuclear arsenal, supports armed radical Islamic groups in Lebanon and Palestine, and has linked up with anti-American dictatorships in the Western Hemisphere. The prospects of new instability in the region grow every day as a decrepit regime in Egypt clings to power, crushes all moderate opposition, and drives the Muslim Brotherhood into the streets. A nuclear-armed Pakistan seems to be ever on the brink of collapse into anarchy and radicalism. Turkey, once an ally, now seems bent on an increasingly anti-American Islamist course. The prospect of war between Hezbollah and Israel grows, and with it the possibility of war between Israel and Syria and possibly Iran. There, too, nations in the region increasingly look to Washington for reassurance, and if they decide the United States cannot be relied upon they will have to decide whether to succumb to Iranian influence or build their own nuclear weapons to resist it. In the 1990s, after the Soviet Union had collapsed and the biggest problem in the world seemed to be ethnic conflict in the Balkans, it was at least plausible to talk about cutting back on American military capabilities. In the present, increasingly dangerous international environment, in which terrorism and great power rivalry vie as the greatest threat to American security and interests, cutting military capacities is simply reckless. Would we increase the risk of strategic failure in an already risky world, despite the near irrelevance of the defense budget to American fiscal health, just so we could tell American voters that their military had suffered its “fair share” of the pain? The nature of the risk becomes plain when one considers the nature of the cuts that would have to be made to have even a marginal effect on the U.S. fiscal crisis. Many are under the illusion, for instance, that if the United States simply withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan and didn’t intervene anywhere else for a while, this would have a significant impact on future deficits. But, in fact, projections of future massive deficits already assume the winding down of these interventions.Withdrawal from the two wars would scarcely make a dent in the fiscal crisis. Nor can meaningful reductions be achieved by cutting back on waste at the Pentagon—which Secretary of Defense Gates has already begun to do and which has also been factored into deficit projections. If the United States withdrew from Iran and Afghanistan tomorrow, cut all the waste Gates can find, and even eliminated a few weapons programs—all this together would still not produce a 10 percent decrease in overall defense spending. In fact, the only way to get significant savings from the defense budget—and by “significant,” we are still talking about a tiny fraction of the cuts needed to bring down future deficits—is to cut force structure: fewer troops on the ground; fewer airplanes in the skies; fewer ships in the water; fewer soldiers, pilots, and sailors to feed and clothe and provide benefits for. To cut the size of the force, however, requires reducing or eliminating the missions those forces have been performing. Of course, there are any number of think tank experts who insist U.S. forces can be cut by a quarter or third or even by half and still perform those missions. But this is snake oil. Over the past two decades, the force has already been cut by a third. Yet no administration has reduced the missions that the larger force structures of the past were designed to meet. To fulfill existing security commitments, to remain the “world’s power balancer of choice,” as Leslie Gelb puts it, to act as “the only regional balancer against China in Asia, Russia in eastern Europe, and Iran in the Middle East” requires at least the current force structure, and almost certainly more than current force levels. Those who recommend doing the same with less are only proposing a policy of insufficiency, where the United States makes commitments it cannot meet except at high risk of failure. The only way to find substantial savings in the defense budget, therefore, is to change American strategy fundamentally. The Simpson-Bowles commission suggests as much, by calling for a reexamination of America’s “21st century role,” although it doesn’t begin to define what that new role might be. Others have. For decades “realist” analysts have called for a strategy of “offshore balancing.” Instead of the United States providing security in East Asia and the Persian Gulf, it would withdraw its forces from Japan, South Korea, and the Middle East and let the nations in those regions balance one another. If the balance broke down and war erupted, the United States would then intervene militarily until balance was restored. In the Middle East and Persian Gulf, for instance, Christopher Layne has long proposed “passing the mantle of regional stabilizer” to a consortium of “Russia, China, Iran, and India.” In East Asia offshore balancing would mean letting China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and others manage their own problems, without U.S. involvement—again, until the balance broke down and war erupted, at which point the United States would provide assistance to restore the balance and then, if necessary, intervene with its own forces to restore peace and stability. Before examining whether this would be a wise strategy, it is important to understand that this really is the only genuine alternative to the one the United States has pursued for the past 65 years. To their credit, Layne and others who support the concept of offshore balancing have eschewed halfway measures and airy assurances that we can do more with less, which are likely recipes for disaster. They recognize that either the United States is actively involved in providing security and stability in regions beyond the Western Hemisphere, which means maintaining a robust presence in those regions, or it is not. Layne and others are frank in calling for an end to the global security strategy developed in the aftermath of World War II, perpetuated through the Cold War, and continued by four successive post-Cold War administrations. At the same time, it is not surprising that none of those administrations embraced offshore balancing as a strategy. The idea of relying on Russia, China, and Iran to jointly “stabilize” the Middle East and Persian Gulf will not strike many as an attractive proposition. Nor is U.S. withdrawal from East Asia and the Pacific likely to have a stabilizing effect on that region. The prospects of a war on the Korean Peninsula would increase. Japan and other nations in the region would face the choice of succumbing to Chinese hegemony or taking unilateral steps for self-defense, which in Japan’s case would mean the rapid creation of a formidable nuclear arsenal. Layne and other offshore balancing enthusiasts, like John Mearsheimer, point to two notable occasions when the United States allegedly practiced this strategy. One was the Iran-Iraq war, where the United States supported Iraq for years against Iran in the hope that the two would balance and weaken each other. The other was American policy in the 1920s and 1930s, when the United States allowed the great European powers to balance one another, occasionally providing economic aid, or military aid, as in the Lend-Lease program of assistance to Great Britain once war broke out. Whether this was really American strategy in that era is open for debate—most would argue the United States in this era was trying to stay out of war not as part of a considered strategic judgment but as an end in itself. Even if the United States had been pursuing offshore balancing in the first decades of the 20th century, however, would we really call that strategy a success? The United States wound up intervening with millions of troops, first in Europe, and then in Asia and Europe simultaneously, in the two most dreadful wars in human history. It was with the memory of those two wars in mind, and in the belief that American strategy in those interwar years had been mistaken, that American statesmen during and after World War II determined on the new global strategy that the United States has pursued ever since. Under Franklin Roosevelt, and then under the leadership of Harry Truman and Dean Acheson, American leaders determined that the safest course was to build “situations of strength” (Acheson’s phrase) in strategic locations around the world, to build a “preponderance of power,” and to create an international system with American power at its center. They left substantial numbers of troops in East Asia and in Europe and built a globe-girdling system of naval and air bases to enable the rapid projection of force to strategically important parts of the world. They did not do this on a lark or out of a yearning for global dominion. They simply rejected the offshore balancing strategy, and they did so because they believed it had led to great, destructive wars in the past and would likely do so again. They believed their new global strategy was more likely to deter major war and therefore be less destructive and less expensive in the long run. Subsequent administrations, from both parties and with often differing perspectives on the proper course in many areas of foreign policy, have all agreed on this core strategic approach. From the beginning this strategy was assailed as too ambitious and too expensive. At the dawn of the Cold War, Walter Lippmann railed against Truman’s containment strategy as suffering from an unsustainable gap between ends and means that would bankrupt the United States and exhaust its power. Decades later, in the waning years of the Cold War, Paul Kennedy warned of “imperial overstretch,” arguing that American decline was inevitable “if the trends in national indebtedness, low productivity increases, [etc.]” were allowed to continue at the same time as “massive American commitments of men, money and materials are made in different parts of the globe.” Today, we are once again being told that this global strategy needs to give way to a more restrained and modest approach, even though the indebtedness crisis that we face in coming years is not caused by the present, largely successful global strategy. Of course it is precisely the success of that strategy that is taken for granted. The enormous benefits that this strategy has provided, including the financial benefits, somehow never appear on the ledger. They should. We might begin by asking about the global security order that the United States has sustained since Word War II—the prevention of major war, the support of an open trading system, and promotion of the liberal principles of free markets and free government. How much is that order worth? What would be the cost of its collapse or transformation into another type of order? Whatever the nature of the current economic difficulties, the past six decades have seen a greater increase in global prosperity than any time in human history. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty. Once-backward nations have become economic dynamos. And the American economy, though suffering ups and downs throughout this period, has on the whole benefited immensely from this international order. One price of this success has been maintaining a sufficient military capacity to provide the essential security underpinnings of this order. But has the price not been worth it? In the first half of the 20th century, the United States found itself engaged in two world wars. In the second half, this global American strategy helped produce a peaceful end to the great-power struggle of the Cold War and then 20 more years of great-power peace. Looked at coldly, simply in terms of dollars and cents, the benefits of that strategy far outweigh the costs. The danger, as always, is that we don’t even realize the benefits our strategic choices have provided. Many assume that the world has simply become more peaceful, that great-power conflict has become impossible, that nations have learned that military force has little utility, that economic power is what counts. This belief in progress and the perfectibility of humankind and the institutions of international order is always alluring to Americans and Europeans and other children of the Enlightenment. It was the prevalent belief in the decade before World War I, in the first years after World War II, and in those heady days after the Cold War when people spoke of the “end of history.” It is always tempting to believe that the international order the United States built and sustained with its power can exist in the absence of that power, or at least with much less of it. This is the hidden assumption of those who call for a change in American strategy: that the United States can stop playing its role and yet all the benefits that came from that role will keep pouring in. This is a great if recurring illusion, the idea that you can pull a leg out from under a table and the table will not fall over. Much of the present debate, it should be acknowledged, is not about the defense budget or the fiscal crisis at all. It is only the latest round in a long-running debate over the nature and purposes of American foreign policy. At the tactical level, some use the fiscal crisis as a justification for a different approach to, say, Afghanistan. Richard Haass, for instance, who has long favored a change of strategy from “counterinsurgency” to “counterterrorism,” now uses the budget crisis to bolster his case—although he leaves unclear how much money would be saved by such a shift in strategy. At the broader level of grand strategy, the current debate, though revived by the budget crisis, can be traced back a century or more, but its most recent expression came with the end of the Cold War. In the early 1990s, some critics, often calling themselves “realists,” expressed their unhappiness with a foreign policy—first under George H.W. Bush and then under Bill Clinton—that cast the United States as leader of a “new world order,” the “indispensable nation.” As early as 1992, Robert W. Tucker and David C. Hendrickson assailed President Bush for launching the first Persian Gulf war in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait. They charged him with pursuing “a new world role .  .  . required neither by security need nor by traditional conceptions of the nation’s purpose,” a role that gave “military force” an “excessive and disproportionate .  .  . position in our statecraft.” Tucker and Hendrickson were frank enough to acknowledge that, pace Paul Kennedy, the “peril” was not actually “to the nation’s purse” or even to “our interests” but to the nation’s “soul.” This has always been the core critique of expansive American foreign policy doctrines, from the time of the Founders to the present—not that a policy of extensive global involvement is necessarily impractical but that it is immoral and contrary to the nation’s true ideals. Today this alleged profligacy in the use of force is variously attributed to the influence of “neoconservatives” or to those Mearsheimer calls the “liberal imperialists” of the Clinton administration, who have presumably now taken hold of the Obama administration as well. But the critics share a common premise: that if only the United States would return to a more “normal” approach to the world, intervening abroad far less frequently and eschewing efforts at “nation-building,” then this would allow the United States to cut back on the resources it expends on foreign policy. Thanks to Haass’s clever formulation, there has been a great deal of talk lately about “wars of choice” as opposed to “wars of necessity.” Haass labels both the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan “wars of choice.” Today, many ask whether the United States can simply avoid such allegedly optional interventions in the future, as well as the occupations and exercises in “nation-building” that often seem to follow. Although the idea of eliminating “wars of choice” appears sensible, the historical record suggests it will not be as simple as many think. The problem is, almost every war or intervention the United States has engaged in throughout its history has been optional—and not just the Bosnias, Haitis, Somalias, or Vietnams, but the Korean War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and even World War II (at least the war in Europe), not to mention the many armed interventions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean over the course of the past century, from Cuba in 1898 to Panama in 1989. A case can be made, and has been made by serious historians, that every one of these wars and interventions was avoidable and unnecessary. To note that our most recent wars have also been wars of choice, therefore, is not as useful as it seems. In theory, the United States could refrain from intervening abroad. But, in practice, will it? Many assume today that the American public has had it with interventions, and Alice Rivlin certainly reflects a strong current of opinion when she says that “much of the public does not believe that we need to go in and take over other people’s countries.” That sentiment has often been heard after interventions, especially those with mixed or dubious results. It was heard after the four-year-long war in the Philippines, which cost 4,000 American lives and untold Filipino casualties. It was heard after Korea and after Vietnam. It was heard after Somalia. Yet the reality has been that after each intervention, the sentiment against foreign involvement has faded, and the United States has intervened again. Depending on how one chooses to count, the United States has undertaken roughly 25 overseas interventions since 1898: Cuba, 1898 The Philippines, 1898-1902 China, 1900 Cuba, 1906 Nicaragua, 1910 & 1912 Mexico, 1914 Haiti, 1915 Dominican Republic, 1916 Mexico, 1917 World War I, 1917-1918 Nicaragua, 1927 World War II, 1941-1945 Korea, 1950-1953 Lebanon, 1958 Vietnam, 1963-1973 Dominican Republic, 1965 Grenada, 1983 Panama, 1989 First Persian Gulf war, 1991 Somalia, 1992 Haiti, 1994 Bosnia, 1995 Kosovo, 1999 Afghanistan, 2001-present Iraq, 2003-present That is one intervention every 4.5 years on average. Overall, the United States has intervened or been engaged in combat somewhere in 52 out of the last 112 years, or roughly 47 percent of the time. Since the end of the Cold War, it is true, the rate of U.S. interventions has increased, with an intervention roughly once every 2.5 years and American troops intervening or engaged in combat in 16 out of 22 years, or over 70 percent of the time, since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The argument for returning to “normal” begs the question: What is normal for the United States? The historical record of the last century suggests that it is not a policy of nonintervention. This record ought to raise doubts about the theory that American behavior these past two decades is the product of certain unique ideological or doctrinal movements, whether “liberal imperialism” or “neoconservatism.” Allegedly “realist” presidents in this era have been just as likely to order interventions as their more idealistic colleagues. George H.W. Bush was as profligate an intervener as Bill Clinton. He invaded Panama in 1989, intervened in Somalia in 1992—both on primarily idealistic and humanitarian grounds—which along with the first Persian Gulf war in 1991 made for three interventions in a single four-year term. Since 1898 the list of presidents who ordered armed interventions abroad has included William McKinley, Theodore Roose-velt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. One would be hard-pressed to find a common ideological or doctrinal thread among them—unless it is the doctrine and ideology of a mainstream American foreign policy that leans more toward intervention than many imagine or would care to admit. Many don’t want to admit it, and the only thing as consistent as this pattern of American behavior has been the claim by contemporary critics that it is abnormal and a departure from American traditions. The anti-imperialists of the late 1890s, the isolationists of the 1920s and 1930s, the critics of Korea and Vietnam, and the critics of the first Persian Gulf war, the interventions in the Balkans, and the more recent wars of the Bush years have all insisted that the nation had in those instances behaved unusually or irrationally. And yet the behavior has continued. To note this consistency is not the same as justifying it. The United States may have been wrong for much of the past 112 years. Some critics would endorse the sentiment expressed by the historian Howard K. Beale in the 1950s, that “the men of 1900” had steered the United States onto a disastrous course of world power which for the subsequent half-century had done the United States and the world no end of harm. But whether one lauds or condemns this past century of American foreign policy—and one can find reasons to do both—the fact of this consistency remains. It would require not just a modest reshaping of American foreign policy priorities but a sharp departure from this tradition to bring about the kinds of changes that would allow the United States to make do with a substantially smaller force structure. Is such a sharp departure in the offing? It is no doubt true that many Americans are unhappy with the on-going warfare in Afghanistan and to a lesser extent in Iraq, and that, if asked, a majority would say the United States should intervene less frequently in foreign nations, or perhaps not at all. It may also be true that the effect of long military involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan may cause Americans and their leaders to shun further interventions at least for a few years—as they did for nine years after World War I, five years after World War II, and a decade after Vietnam. This may be further reinforced by the difficult economic times in which Americans are currently suffering. The longest period of nonintervention in the past century was during the 1930s, when unhappy memories of World War I combined with the economic catastrophe of the Great Depression to constrain American interventionism to an unusual degree and produce the first and perhaps only genuinely isolationist period in American history. So are we back to the mentality of the 1930s? It wouldn’t appear so. There is no great wave of isolationism sweeping the country. There is not even the equivalent of a Patrick Buchanan, who received 3 million votes in the 1992 Republican primaries. Any isolationist tendencies that might exist are severely tempered by continuing fears of terrorist attacks that might be launched from overseas. Nor are the vast majority of Americans suffering from economic calamity to nearly the degree that they did in the Great Depression. Even if we were to repeat the policies of the 1930s, however, it is worth recalling that the unusual restraint of those years was not sufficient to keep the United States out of war. On the contrary, the United States took actions which ultimately led to the greatest and most costly foreign intervention in its history. Even the most determined and in those years powerful isolationists could not prevent it. Today there are a number of obvious possible contingencies that might lead the United States to substantial interventions overseas, notwithstanding the preference of the public and its political leaders to avoid them. Few Americans want a war with Iran, for instance. But it is not implausible that a president—indeed, this president—might find himself in a situation where military conflict at some level is hard to avoid. The continued success of the international sanctions regime that the Obama administration has so skillfully put into place, for instance, might eventually cause the Iranian government to lash out in some way—perhaps by attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz. Recall that Japan launched its attack on Pearl Harbor in no small part as a response to oil sanctions imposed by a Roosevelt administration that had not the slightest interest or intention of fighting a war against Japan but was merely expressing moral outrage at Japanese behavior on the Chinese mainland. Perhaps in an Iranian contingency, the military actions would stay limited. But perhaps, too, they would escalate. One could well imagine an American public, now so eager to avoid intervention, suddenly demanding that their president retaliate. Then there is the possibility that a military exchange between Israel and Iran, initiated by Israel, could drag the United States into conflict with Iran. Are such scenarios so farfetched that they can be ruled out by Pentagon planners? Other possible contingencies include a war on the Korean Peninsula, where the United States is bound by treaty to come to the aid of its South Korean ally; and possible interventions in Yemen or Somalia, should those states fail even more than they already have and become even more fertile ground for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. And what about those “humanitarian” interventions that are first on everyone’s list to be avoided? Should another earthquake or some other natural or man-made catastrophe strike, say, Haiti and present the looming prospect of mass starvation and disease and political anarchy just a few hundred miles off U.S. shores, with the possibility of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of refugees, can anyone be confident that an American president will not feel compelled to send an intervention force to help? Some may hope that a smaller U.S. military, compelled by the necessity of budget constraints, would prevent a president from intervening. More likely, however, it would simply prevent a president from intervening effectively. This, after all, was the experience of the Bush administration in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both because of constraints and as a conscious strategic choice, the Bush administration sent too few troops to both countries. The results were lengthy, unsuccessful conflicts, burgeoning counterinsurgencies, and loss of confidence in American will and capacity, as well as large annual expenditures. Would it not have been better, and also cheaper, to have sent larger numbers of forces initially to both places and brought about a more rapid conclusion to the fighting? The point is, it may prove cheaper in the long run to have larger forces that can fight wars quickly and conclusively, as Colin Powell long ago suggested, than to have smaller forces that can’t. Would a defense planner trying to anticipate future American actions be wise to base planned force structure on the assumption that the United States is out of the intervention business? Or would that be the kind of penny-wise, pound-foolish calculation that, in matters of national security, can prove so unfortunate? The debates over whether and how the United States should respond to the world’s strategic challenges will and should continue. Armed interventions overseas should be weighed carefully, as always, with an eye to whether the risk of inaction is greater than the risks of action. And as always, these judgments will be merely that: judgments, made with inadequate information and intelligence and no certainty about the outcomes. No foreign policy doctrine can avoid errors of omission and commission. But history has provided some lessons, and for the United States the lesson has been fairly clear: The world is better off, and the United States is better off, in the kind of international system that American power has built and defended. As Haass and Roger C. Altman have correctly noted, “it is not reckless American activity in the world that jeopardizes American solvency but American profligacy at home.” The United States may be in peril because of its spiraling deficits and mounting debt, but it will be in even greater peril if, out of some misguided sense that our national security budgets must “share the pain,” we weaken ourselves even further.


Unfortunately, decline in leadership causes lash out—The U.S. will go down fighting.


Goldstein, 2007 Avery, Professor of Global Politics and International Relations @ University of Pennsylvania, “Power transitions, institutions, and China's rise in East Asia: Theoretical expectations and evidence,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Volume 30, Issue 4 & 5 August

Two closely related, though distinct, theoretical arguments focus explicitly on the consequences for international politics of a shift in power between a dominant state and a rising power. In War and Change in World Politics, Robert Gilpin suggested that peace prevails when a dominant state’s capabilities enable it to ‘govern’ an international order that it has shaped. Over time, however, as economic and technological diffusion proceeds during eras of peace and development, other states are empowered. Moreover, the burdens of international governance drain and distract the reigning hegemon, and challengers eventually emerge who seek to rewrite the rules of governance. As the power advantage of the erstwhile hegemon ebbs, it may become desperate enough to resort to the ultima ratio of international politics, force, to forestall the increasingly urgent demands of a rising challenger. Or as the power of the challenger rises, it may be tempted to press its case with threats to use force. It is the rise and fall of the great powers that creates the circumstances under which major wars, what Gilpin labels ‘hegemonic wars’, break out.13 Gilpin’s argument logically encourages pessimism about the implications of a rising China. It leads to the expectation that international trade, investment, and technology transfer will result in a steady diffusion of American economic power, benefiting the rapidly developing states of the world, including China. As the US simultaneously scurries to put out the many brushfires that threaten its far-flung global interests (i.e., the classic problem of overextension), it will be unable to devote sufficient resources to maintain or restore its former advantage over emerging competitors like China. While the erosion of the once clear American advantage plays itself out, the US will find it ever more difficult to preserve the order in Asia that it created during its era of preponderance. The expectation is an increase in the likelihood for the use of force – either by a Chinese challenger able to field a stronger military in support of its demands for greater influence over international arrangements in Asia, or by a besieged American hegemon desperate to head off further decline. Among the trends that alarm those who would look at Asia through the lens of Gilpin’s theory are China’s expanding share of world trade and wealth (much of it resulting from the gains made possible by the international economic order a dominant US established); its acquisition of technology in key sectors that have both civilian and military applications (e.g., information, communications, and electronics linked with the ‘revolution in military affairs’); and an expanding military burden for the US (as it copes with the challenges of its global war on terrorism and especially its struggle in Iraq) that limits the resources it can devote to preserving its interests in East Asia.14 Although similar to Gilpin’s work insofar as it emphasizes the importance of shifts in the capabilities of a dominant state and a rising challenger, the power-transition theory A. F. K. Organski and Jacek Kugler present in The War Ledger focuses more closely on the allegedly dangerous phenomenon of ‘crossover’– the point at which a dissatisfied challenger is about to overtake the established leading state.15 In such cases, when the power gap narrows, the dominant state becomes increasingly desperate to forestall, and the challenger becomes increasingly determined to realize the transition to a new international order whose contours it will define. Though suggesting why a rising China may ultimately present grave dangers for international peace when its capabilities make it a peer competitor of America, Organski and Kugler’s power-transition theory is less clear about the dangers while a potential challenger still lags far behind and faces a difficult struggle to catch up. This clarification is important in thinking about the theory’s relevance to interpreting China’s rise because a broad consensus prevails among analysts that Chinese military capabilities are at a minimum two decades from putting it in a league with the US in Asia.16 Their theory, then, points with alarm to trends in China’s growing wealth and power relative to the United States, but especially looks ahead to what it sees as the period of maximum danger – that time when a dissatisfied China could be in a position to overtake the US on dimensions believed crucial for assessing power. Reports beginning in the mid-1990s that offered extrapolations suggesting China’s growth would give it the world’s largest gross domestic product (GDP aggregate, not per capita) sometime in the first few decades of the twentieth century fed these sorts of concerns about a potentially dangerous challenge to American leadership in Asia.17 The huge gap between Chinese and American military capabilities (especially in terms of technological sophistication) has so far discouraged prediction of comparably disquieting trends on this dimension, but inklings of similar concerns may be reflected in occasionally alarmist reports about purchases of advanced Russian air and naval equipment, as well as concern that Chinese espionage may have undermined the American advantage in nuclear and missile technology, and speculation about the potential military purposes of China’s manned space program.18 Moreover, because a dominant state may react to the prospect of a crossover and believe that it is wiser to embrace the logic of preventive war and act early to delay a transition while the task is more manageable, Organski and Kugler’s powertransition theory also provides grounds for concern about the period prior to the possible crossover.19









Scenario B—China

Locking in airpower and Upgrading conventional capabilities is key to strategic stability to combat China-


Grant ‘9 Rebecca. Ph.D. Senior fellow of the Lexington Institute, a non-profit public-policy research organization based in Arlington, VA. “U.S. needs to deter China's mobile missile launchers.” UPI

China is a world power, a major trading partner and, without question, a potential military competitor for the United States. With China, the United States may face a decades-long balance between confrontation and cooperation. Conventional deterrence will be a big part of calibrating the balance. For the United States, relying on airpower's conventional deterrent will be a prime tool. China has already demarcated the realms of air, space and cyberspace as arenas for competition and de-emphasized its land forces. In 2004, China's defense white paper stated bluntly: "The army is streamlined by reducing the ordinary troops that are technologically backward while the navy, air force and Second Artillery Force (China's nuclear-weapons unit) are strengthened." Instead, current Chinese military doctrine focuses on local, or regional, war under high-technology conditions, which they define as "a limited war, fought in a restricted geographic area for limited objectives with limited means and a conscious effort to curtail destruction." Rapid defeat of the enemy is the main objective, and the preferred tool is to inflict strategic and operational paralysis or even defeat the enemy with one strike. The Chinese do not much worry about global power projection, stability operations or major land campaigns. Deterring China will be all about providing persistence to make clear that the armed forces of the United States and its allies will not back off until goals are met. Credible deterrence will include the ability to target mobile launches like the one China used to shoot a missile into orbit to destroy its defunct weather satellite. That launch brought home how difficult it could be to track, target and kill mobile launchers.



Otherwise unchecked Chinese expansionism collapses hegemony and risks war


Fisher ‘8. Richard Fisher, Senior Fellow on Asian Military Affairs at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, 2008. “China’s Military Modernization,” p. 250-251

In a brief but provocative book, journalist James Mann identifies and takes down one of the commanding myths in the American debate over policy toward China: “if we treat the like an enemy they become one.” It is a fear that has been oft repeated and one that Mann regards as part of a “Lexicon of Dismissal” in which China and its supporters conspire to deflect criticism and isolate critics. It is a fear that has riven U.S. policy debates on China, from economic policy, to strategic military engagement, to the more recent Bush administration policies to limit its support for Taiwan’s potential desire for “independence,” even though it may emerge from a legitimately democratic process. But by giving in to this fear in the mistaken “hope” that China would behave responsibly or even as a “friend,” the United States has consistently lost leverage over China and has helped facilitate outcomes that may in the future threaten Americans, Chinese, Taiwanese, and many others. After debates over “Most Favored Nation” status of the early 1990’s that led to American approval for China’s membership in the World Trade Organization on very favorable terms, Beijing shows little inclination to reverse highly protectionist trade and financial policies which produce massive trade surpluses. After nearly two decades of U.S. “engagement” witch China regarding nuclear and missile weapon proliferation, Beijing shows little inclination to halt this traffic to rogue states such as Iran. It also shows no willingness to reverse its previous enabling of secondary nuclear proliferation from Pakistan and North Korea, which could lead to nuclear-armed terrorists. And after nearly three decades of U.S. “military engagement,” the PLA shows little inclination to become as “transparent” militarily as its democratic neighbors and shows the potential of becoming more hostile to the United States as its military power increases. It is hard for this analyst to conclude that, since the opening to China in the early 1970s, the United States has even approached treating China “like an enemy.” To the contrary, America’s welcome has facilitated China’s post-Mao integration into the world economy and has thus enabled China to gather the integration into the world economy and has thus enabled China to gather the indicators of power that may soon math or exceed those of the United States. This volume has sought to document how China has used this period, especially since the early 1990s, to gather a level of military power that may soon place it in the predominant position among Asian powers and then, within the next two decades, give China a greater ability to exercise military power on a global scale. This transformation has occurred along with consistent criticisms from American as well as many others about the CCP’s opposition to democratic reform, its suppression of most dissent, and its support for dictatorial regimes around the world. China is not likely to change these attributes as long as the Communist Party remains in power. There is thus a clear danger that China’s gathering of a globally capable military will be wedded to an anti-democratic and even anti-American foreign policy agenda. In 2008 the United States may have a clear superiority in most measures of military power, but American power is also stretched dangerously thin. U.S. policy makers have little choice but to sustain a large investment in ever more modern military capabilities lest the United States lose even more potential to deter China, first on the Taiwan Strait, and then perhaps well beyond.

War with China would go nuclear and culminate in extinction


The Strait Times, 2000 (“No one gains in war over Taiwan”, June 25, Lexis)

The high-intensity scenario postulates a cross-strait war escalating into a full-scale war between the US and China. If Washington were to conclude that splitting China would better serve its national interests, then a full-scale war becomes unavoidable. Conflict on such a scale would embroil other countries far and near and -horror of horrors -raise the possibility of a nuclear war. Beijing has already told the US and Japan privately that it considers any country providing bases and logistics support to any US forces attacking China as belligerent parties open to its retaliation. In the region, this means South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and, to a lesser extent, Singapore. If China were to retaliate, east Asia will be set on fire. And the conflagration may not end there as opportunistic powers elsewhere may try to overturn the existing world order. With the US distracted, Russia may seek to redefine Europe's political landscape. The balance of power in the Middle East may be similarly upset by the likes of Iraq. In south Asia, hostilities between India and Pakistan, each armed with its own nuclear arsenal, could enter a new and dangerous phase. Will a full-scale Sino-US war lead to a nuclear war? According to General Matthew Ridgeway, commander of the US Eighth Army which fought against the Chinese in the Korean War, the US had at the time thought of using nuclear weapons against China to save the US from military defeat. In his book The Korean War, a personal account of the military and political aspects of the conflict and its implications on future US foreign policy, Gen Ridgeway said that US was confronted with two choices in Korea -truce or a broadened war, which could have led to the use of nuclear weapons. If the US had to resort to nuclear weaponry to defeat China long before the latter acquired a similar capability, there is little hope of winning a war against China 50 years later, short of using nuclear weapons. The US estimates that China possesses about 20 nuclear warheads that can destroy major American cities. Beijing also seems prepared to go for the nuclear option. A Chinese military officer disclosed recently that Beijing was considering a review of its "non first use" principle regarding nuclear weapons. Major-General Pan Zhangqiang, president of the military-funded Institute for Strategic Studies, told a gathering at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington that although the government still abided by that principle, there were strong pressures from the military to drop it. He said military leaders considered the use of nuclear weapons mandatory if the country risked dismemberment as a result of foreign intervention. Gen Ridgeway said that should that come to pass, we would see the destruction of civilization. There would be no victors in such a war. While the prospect of a nuclear Armageddon over Taiwan might seem inconceivable, it cannot be ruled out entirely, for China puts sovereignty above everything else.


And, The plan will revolutionize the Armed Forces—Space elevators improve military readiness and provide unsurpassable battlefield advantages locking in airpower.


Jason R. Kent, Major, USAF, PE, 2007, Getting to Space on a Thread …Space Elevator as Alternative Access to Space April 2007 Blue Horizons Paper Center for Strategy and Technology Air War College.

Why the USAF should be interested in a space elevator The USAF will be able to use a space elevator to accomplish and enable current space missions and leverage this new capability for move into new mission areas. Eric Westling, a space elevator consultant says, “It [space elevator] will change the world economy. It’s worth what ever it costs to put it up.”37 The space elevator changes everything in space. For the Air Force, space elevators are all about the mission, and it will indeed be worth whatever the cost. Why should the USAF take the lead in developing a space elevator? Air Force Doctrine Document 1 provides an answer to this question quite well as it sums up the directives from DODD 5100.1. The USAF has the key organizational function to “organize, train, equip, and provide forces for…air and space support…”38 Furthermore, the USAF is “to provide launch and space support for the Department of Defense.”39 While AFDD 1 lays out the responsibilities of the USAF, the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) tasks the DoD to: “Improve responsive space access, satellite operations, and other space enabling capabilities such as the space industrial base, space science and technology efforts and the space professional cadre.”40 But why the need for the actions mentioned above? The QDR explains: 11 “Experience from recent operations, supported by the findings and recommendations in the 2001 QDR and a number of studies and commissions chartered by the Congress and the President – including those on national security, space management, remote sensing, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism – have underscored the increasingly critical role that intelligence capabilities, including those in space, play in supporting military operations, policy and planning and acquisition in the Department [DoD].”41 The QDR goes on to say: “The Department [DoD] will continue to develop responsive space capabilities in order to keep access to space unfettered, reliable and secure. Survivability of space capabilities will be assured by improving space situational awareness and protection, and through other space control measures.”42 The tasks laid before the USAF are daunting: responsive, unfettered, reliable access to space while supporting the wide range of satellite missions the DoD relies upon for its operations and in support of decision making. The writers of the QDR are asking for a space elevator and didn’t even know it! Just how would a space elevator answer all these tasks? Of the nine principles of war laid out in AFDD 1, three apply directly to the space elevator: mass, maneuver, and security. Mass means to “concentrate the effects of combat power at the most advantageous place and time to achieve decisive results.”43 This means all the tools at the commanders fingertips are applied effectively not simply in overwhelming numbers. A space elevator would enable a commander to easily build up communications, surveillance, and other space assets over his theater for use when and where he deems necessary. Current methods of redistributing space assets are time consuming and drain away the life of those assets as precious fuel is expended to change orbits. Adding to existing capabilities today is also challenging as surplus communications links or additional assets are simply in short supply or not available at all.Maneuver is simply the “flexible application” of air and space power.44 Again, with the ability to quickly place satellites into orbit or to have the logistics support in orbit (enabled by an elevator) to move assets around as needed, the space elevator satisfies this basic principle of war. The space elevator provides the flexibility to use space in the precise manner a commander wishes to configure his battlespace. Along with mass and maneuver, one can not forget the principle of security. Security means “never permit the enemy to acquire unexpected advantage” and “embraces physical and information medium”45 With a space elevator and the sheer access to space it would provide, no enemy would be able to acquire an unexpected advantage either on the ground, in the air, or especially in orbit. Physical patrol and protection of space-borne assets would be possible while a massive increase in information transfer capabilities could be constructed cheaply meaning he could have all the bandwidth and information he could desire. Assets placed in orbit by the elevator would help a commander no matter where he was located on the globe through increased communications, reconnaissance, surveillance capabilities. “While the principles of war provide general guidance on the application of military forces, the tenets [of air and space power] provide more specific considerations for air and space forces.”46 A space elevator supports many of these tenets, especially persistence and balance. Persistence as used here can be summed by saying, as “space systems advance and proliferate; they offer the potential for permanent presence over any part of the globe”47. The persistence provided by today’s systems should be considered at risk, as mentioned earlier. The space elevator would provide greater numbers of more capable, more robust systems and a means to augment and easily replace systems lost to enemy actions. The tenet of balance is to “bring air and space power together to produce a synergistic effect”48 In other words, finite assets must be used to the best effect. The space elevator allows the placement and servicing of satellites allowing full battlespace awareness and support capabilities which serve as force multipliers.49

Every other method will be vulnerable to attacks—The plan avoids them


Jason R. Kent, Major, USAF, PE, 2007, Getting to Space on a Thread …Space Elevator as Alternative Access to Space April 2007 Blue Horizons Paper Center for Strategy and Technology Air War College.

Should the U.S. Air Force pursue construction of a space elevator as an alternate means for accessing space? This question is critical considering the importance of space assets to the U.S. military and the nation. Today, the military relies on satellite communications, reconnaissance, surveillance, weather, and global positioning systems in orbit to perform even the most basic of missions.2 The systems U.S. forces uses are not limited to government assets. Commercial and allied communications and imaging systems are routinely used to bolster bandwidth and coverage areas.3 Unfortunately, these crown jewels of the military and commercial world are becoming increasingly vulnerable to enemy actions. Jamming4, direct attack using high powered lasers5 or kinetic kill weapons6, as well as attacks on ground sites7 are but a few of the dangers faced by space assets used by the U.S. military. What happens when an adversary is able to deny U.S. forces of its eyes, ears, timing, and maps (no e-mail!?) provided by satellites? The current method of replacing an orbital asset requires months if not years of lead time and is extremely costly. In the mean-time, the loss of even a single satellite in orbit can greatly impact U.S. air, land, and sea operations. There are neither rockets standing on call to launch nor many replacement satellites in the barn ready for a ride to orbit. It is imperative that the U.S. be prepared to maintain the readiness of its space forces. Launch on demand merely provides a stop-gap means to maintain those capabilities already in place should they fail or be attacked. In order to maintain its superior position in space and to ensure the orbital assets it requires are available at all times, the U.S. must look 2 beyond conventional capabilities to provide cheap, easy, quick, and assured access to space. This method is the space elevator. ____________ Slamming the last crate into the cargo pod of the lifter, the loadmaster stepped back to admire his work. Ten dull gray packing crates crowded the pod. Each one bore the emblem of the United States Air Force. 8 - Thread to the Stars





And, first one up wins—they can build multiple elevators before anyone else


Brad Lemley, July 2004, “Going up,” Discover Magazine, Vol. 25, Issue 7, ebscohost.

IN EDWARDS'S VISION, THE FIRST PROJECT UNDERTAKEN BY A COMPLETED space elevator should be building more elevators. While he estimates that constructing the first one would be a six-year $6 billion task, the second could cost as little as $2 billion and take just seven months because it could employ the first to boost construction materials into space. The requisite time and money would shrink for each subsequent elevator, and payload size could increase dramatically. Edwards's long-term plan calls for climbers on the third and fourth elevators, each hoisting 140 tons. He says that's why NASA needs to get serious now: "The guy who builds the first one can have several built before anybody else can build a second one. Now the first guy has so much capacity, his payload price is down to zero. He can run the other guy out of business. Talk about grabbing the brass ring." And Edwards emphasizes that the United States is by no means fated to win this race. The first builder might not even be a government. "We have actually been told by private investors, 'If you can reduce the risk and prove it can be done, getting $10 billion is nothing.'" Having an international consortium of public and private entities pitch in may be the best scenario for ensuring the common good. A world blessed with a half-dozen space elevators constructed cooperatively, radiating from the equator like lotus petals, could provide near-universal access to space at a payload cost of as little as $10 a pound. In the long run, "you wouldn't want the elevator only on Earth. A similar system would work on Mars or some other planetary body," says NASA's David Smitherman. Indeed, says Edwards, any large object in the solar system that spins could become a candidate for a space elevator. But for now, Edwards remains focused on getting the first one built. Along with all the other boons it would deliver to humankind, the elevator also has the potential to realize Edwards's personal dream of voyaging into space. "In 20 years, I'll be 60. I should still be plenty healthy enough to go on the space elevator. Maybe it will turn out that the only way I can get into space is to build the way to get there myself."





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