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The Judgment of PAROS: How Best to Prevent an Arms Race in Outer Space (SWP 19)

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Author: Meyer, Paul
The international community will soon need to judge as to what measures should be agreed to prevent an arms race in outer space. The world depends increasingly on services provided by space-based assets and recent anti-satellite weapon tests have raised the prospect of space becoming a weaponized conflict zone. Several diplomatic proposals have been made by Russia, China, Canada and the EU aimed at reinforcing the present regime for outer space security. The leading space power, the United States, has for several years remained on the sidelines, neither endorsing any of the existing proposals nor advancing ideas of its own. Domestic political considerations appear to be hampering the Obama Administration’s capacity to engage actively in the current outer space diplomacy. Early in 2012 however, it declared support for an International Code of Conduct on Outer Space Activities based on an earlier EU draft. Such a draft, despite its modest security content, offers a promising array of mechanisms for international cooperation on outer space security at a time when the world depends increasingly on the unimpeded operation of some one thousand satellites.
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Meyer, Paul, The Judgment of PAROS: How Best to Prevent an Arms Race in Outer Space, Simons Papers in Security and Development, No. 19/2012, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, March 2012.
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