Here is a book by a philosopher and neuroscientist about how to keep Outer Space safe for everyone. "Dr. Al-Rodham hopes his book will spark new conversations about ways to increase the benefits of space for all countries, while expanding the working definition of "sustainability." Sustainability is no longer just about using recycled paper products or eating local organic produce grown by eco-conscious micro-farmers. It's also about thinking far beyond the Earth. And, stresses Dr. Al-Rodhan, these are issues that affect each and every one of us. "Ultimately," says Dr. Al-Rodhan, "space will either be safe for everyone or for no one." (And we could use a little more common-good planning on earth as well (Ed. Candobetter.net).
Keeping outer space safe
Geneva, Switzerland (MMD Newswire) June 14, 2012 -- "Sustainability" and "geopolitics" have become powerful media buzzwords in recent years, but a new book by prizewinning scholar, philosopher, neuroscientist, and geostrategist Nayef Al-Rodhan, M.D., Ph.D., takes both sustainability and geopolitics to a whole new realm: outer space.
In practical terms, sustainability is really about the survival of the human race, and the same might be said of geopolitics, inasmuch as it is concerned, more often than not, with keeping disparate members of our species from blowing each other into oblivion. On both fronts, we can no longer afford to limit either our thinking or our policies to Earth. In "META-GEOPOLITICS OF OUTER SPACE: An Analysis of Space Power, Security and Governance," Dr. Al-Rodhan offers a new paradigm of outer space as a global commons, outlining the promise, and offering solutions to potential perils, of the vast area beyond the Earth's atmosphere.
We have long since passed the point where such considerations are mere fodder for sci-fi TV series or movies. Though some of NASA's programs are now on hold, there's a whole new space race involving wealthy entrepreneurs who are driving the trend towards privatization of space travel. And that is just one promising but potentially troubling aspect of the new space paradigm. The bottom line is that, given humanity's increasing dependence on outer space, we need to adopt a fresh perspective to make space more useful and safer for humanity, Dr. Al-Rodhan believes.
"Simply put, we need new ways of defining space power," he says. He proposes to define space power as the ability of a state to use space to sustain and enhance its seven state capacities as outlined in the Meta-geopolitics framework. In addition, the governance and sustainability of space power will need to employ a 'symbiotic realism' approach to global relations and a 'multi-sum security principle' approach to global security.
In essence, says Dr. Al-Rodhan, his new book is about developing comprehensive tools to insure space security and governance in a connected, interdependent yet competitive world. "We need an innovative and comprehensive political framework for outer space that traditional geopolitical approaches have not addressed," he explains.
Accordingly, his book provides an expanded framework of his previously published books on geopolitics (see list below), expanding it to outer space security. His approach is a comprehensive one that takes into account social and health issues, domestic politics, economics, environmental matters, science, human potential factors, military and security issues, and international diplomacy- in addition to traditional factors of geography, demography, and economics.
"What I have provided," says Dr. Al-Rodhan, "is a new proposal for reconciling competitive national interests of states in outer space with the need to secure space as a global commons that belongs to everyone."
He also strives to clarify the important relationship between security here on earth and security in outer space. "Numerous security threats exist in space," says Dr. Al-Rodhan. "They range from space debris, collision and frequency interference to weaponization of outer space and space weather events. In order to contain these, good governance at all five levels of global security - namely human, environmental, national, transnational, and transcultural - must be assured."
That's a pretty tall order, but Dr. Al-Rodhan, who has also earned renown as a philosopher, seems up to the challenge. To date he has published 19 books proposing many innovative concepts and theories in global politics, security, philosophy, and history. He isn't the only expert who believes that such a multi-disciplinary approach is the only way we can hope to solve the most pressing problems we're facing today.
For instance, Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Washington-D.C. based Stimson Center (a think tank for international security and peace issues), says of Dr. Al-Rodhan's new book, "Traditional works of geopolitics have stopped at the atmosphere's edge, grounded in geography, economics and demographics. Nayef Al-Rodhan has expanded classical geopolitical considerations to include societal, health and the environment. In this book, he elevates geopolitics into space. The result is an analysis that challenges our assumptions about power and space power."
Theresa Hitchens, Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), Geneva, Switzerland, says Dr. Al-Rodhan's newest book is "a welcome 'outside of the box' analysis of outer space, geopolitics and the foundations of space power."
And Laurence Nardon, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the United States Program and the Space Policy Program at the Institut francais des relations internationales (IFRI) in Paris, France, writes, "Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan's book provides a first rate summary of key aspects of current space policies. It also shows how space adds new and important elements to many policy areas on Earth, but also has a life of its own, as a new field of policy, strategy and geopolitics. Much of the difficulty in grasping space issues derives from this double status."
Says Dr. Al-Rodhan, "A new perspective on space politics is necessary to understand current dynamics and be able to promote peaceful cohabitation of the space powers. Traditional theories, such as realism, liberalism and critical geopolitics, are limited, as they apply earth-bound assumptions to space. Moreover, these theories do not include technical innovations - namely, communications and remote-sensing satellites, space launch rockets, global positioning and navigation systems, and other new technologies that have revolutionized space politics." All of these are discussed in the new book.
Through his new book and other current efforts, Dr. Al-Rodhan hopes to influence policy. "We want policy makers to recognize space as being important to future generations, namely by avoiding its misuse by states through its weaponization," he says. "We would like policy makers, academics, and concerned citizens globally to be aware of the need to keep space as a global commons by solving its debris problems and preventing weaponization. And we would like states to think in cooperative symbiotic terms of achieving their respective national interests in outer space while not harming space's global commons secure status."
Acknowledging the entrepreneurs' role in the space race, Dr. Al-Rodhan adds, "We want to encourage a more responsible view of space through global treaties and regulations. We must increase awareness that the private sector is becoming more involved in space activities, and while this should be encouraged, strict regulatory frameworks need to be put in space to insure transparency and accountability."
Most of all, Dr. Al-Rodham hopes his book will spark new conversations about ways to increase the benefits of space for all countries, while expanding the working definition of "sustainability." Sustainability is no longer just about using recycled paper products or eating local organic produce grown by eco-conscious micro-farmers. It's also about thinking far beyond the Earth. And, stresses Dr. Al-Rodhan, these are issues that affect each and every one of us. "Ultimately," says Dr. Al-Rodhan, "space will either be safe for everyone or for no one."
About the Author
Dr. Nayef R. F. Al-Rodhan is Senior Member of St Antony's College, University of Oxford, UK, and Senior Scholar in Geostrategy and Director of the Geopolitics of Globalisation and Transnational Security Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland. He is a philosopher, neuroscientist and geostrategist. A prize-winning scholar, he has published 19 books proposing many innovative concepts and theories in global politics, security, philosophy and history. Dr. Al-Rodhan was educated at Yale University, the Mayo Clinic and Harvard University. He is best known for several philosophical and analytical books on global politics, including "Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man," "Emotional Amoral Egoism," "Neo-Statecraft and Meta-Geopolitics," and "The Politics of Emerging Strategic Technologies and Symbiotic Realism."
For more information about the author, his works, and his concepts, visit www.Sustainable-History.com