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Kamala Harris Can’t Keep America Safe

Recently, Kamala Harris found herself hosting leaders from Mongolia—a nation wedged between America’s top two geostrategic rivals, Russia and China.

Kamala Harris. Image by Gage Skidmore.
Kamala Harris. Image by Gage Skidmore.

The United States is at risk of a “Space Pearl Harbor.” America’s military and its wider civilian economy depend upon satellites to operate effectively. The enemies of the United States understand that a relatively cheap and effective way of rendering America completely inert militarily and economically is to disable those satellites in Earth orbit. 

Since 2010, both China and Russia have reorganized their militaries to fight—and win—a space war with the United States.

By preemptively attacking those systems, these powers can stunt whatever threat that the United States poses to them in a war. Policymakers from both political parties in Washington, D.C. have known about these developments for years. 

Yet, little was done to address the threat to America’s vital-yet-vulnerable satellites until former President Donald J. Trump came along and created the United States Space Force as an independent branch of the US Armed Services. 

Charging this new branch of the military with the mission of “space dominance,” Trump believed that the Space Force would be instrumental in preventing the kind of “Space Pearl Harbor” that so many analysts—myself included—have long feared was coming. 

Sadly, since Trump left office under a cloud of controversy in January 2021, the new Biden Administration did not prioritize Space Force the way that its much-maligned predecessor had. 

Space Force as the New Air Force One?

In the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency, his White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, had gotten herself (and the forty-sixth president) into hot water when she mocked Space Force as a vanity project of the forty-fifth president’s; a boondoggle that added nothing of real strategic value to the US military. 

While she was forced to walk those comments back, the fact remained that the Space Force under President Biden’s guidance has developed far slower than what its creator, former President Trump, had wanted for the organization. 

Traditionally, the vice-president presides over day-to-day space policy issues for the White House. This was the case, for example, during the Trump Administration, when then-Vice-President Mike Pence regularly convened the White House Space Council

This was a group of government and private sector space experts who gathered to manage and discuss where U.S. space policy—both on the civilian and military sides—was headed.

Similarly, Biden’s number two, Vice-President Kamala Harris has presided over space issues for the forty-sixth president since assuming office in January 2021. Just as with former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, though, Vice-President Harris’ vision for U.S. space policy is muddled. 

More concerning is the fact that Harris has become a symbol for failed governance in today’s Washington. Given how important U.S. space policy is today (much more important than most even realized), the idea that it has been left in the hands of an individual who apparently cannot even string together a sensible sentence should worry all Americans. 

After initially downplaying the importance of Space Force as little more than a Trump boondoggle, Biden has left this extremely important branch—with its vital mission set—in the hands of an individual who is both incomprehensible in public as well as incompetent at the policy level.

Set aside Harris’ awful speaking style which makes her sound like a blithering idiot. 

Kamala Harris’ Atrocious Record on Space Warfare

Just look at what she has done as it directly relates to space. 

At a time when America’s foes are rapidly increasing their military capabilities in space, specifically their counterspace capabilities—the ability for a nation to deny another nation access to the strategic high ground of space during a time of geopolitical crisis—Harris unilaterally disarmed the United States when she declared that America would no longer engage in the testing of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons in orbit. 

Harris’ defenders say she is worried about unwanted escalation in space that could lead to highly dangerous debris fields being created that would inevitably threaten all of humanity’s capacity to enter space and operate safely there. 

This is the so-called “Kessler Syndrome.” 

Basically, since space is a giant vacuum, once objects are in motion, they do not stop moving until they hit another object. Should a satellite war between the great powers on Earth erupt in space, everyone’s satellites may be turned into high-velocity, uncontrolled debris fields encircling the Earth that would damage or destroy any spacecraft or satellite attempted to travel through those debris fields. 

This is a legitimate concern. 

Yet, such worries are neither stopping America’s foes from building a vast arsenal of variegated ASAT weapons nor preventing those enemies from dangerously testing them in orbit. 

In fact, an argument should be made that nations like China and Russia are induced into behaving so dangerously because that unpredictable, dangerous behavior in itself prevents the United States from acting in defense of its national interests in space (in this case, thoroughly protecting its vulnerable satellite constellations from ASAT attacks).

If China and/or Russia are so careless when simply engaged in ASAT weapons testing; if they are unconcerned about the deleterious effects that the Kessler Syndrome could have for all of humanity, imagine how crazy they’d behave in a war against the United States. 

Washington has stayed its hand at precisely the moment that its enemies are going postal with aggression in orbit. The reason nations test weapon systems in the real world is not just to psyche out their rivals. It’s to work out any flaws these systems may have in peacetime, so that they operate effectively in wartime. 

By unilaterally disbanding American ASAT tests in orbit, Vice-President Harris is helping to create a severe strategic gap for the Americans at a crucial time. Meanwhile, Harris has been gallivanting around the world, trying to show her foreign policy bona fides by meeting with various world leaders about “space cooperation”. 

Kamala Harris Keeps Making Mistakes

Recently, Kamala Harris found herself hosting leaders from Mongolia—a nation wedged between America’s top two geostrategic rivals, Russia and China. Mongolia became a democracy in the 1990s. 

It has striven to balance its proximity to China and Russia with its desire to become more democratic and, therefore, closer to the United States. One of the areas that Mongolia wants to enhance its cooperation with the United States is in the strategic domain of space. 

In fact, the Mongolian government has expressed interest in opening up the Gobi Desert (part of which is in Mongolia) to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, since the Gobi Desert has a somewhat similar environment to that of Mars, a planet that Musk wants to colonize before anyone else does. Musk is a key defense contractor for the United States in space. 

What’s more, Mongolia sits atop many important mines charged with harvesting rare earth minerals that make the creation of modern technology possible. 

China currently controls most of the world’s rare earth minerals. Rare earth minerals are key for most endeavors in space as well. So, Mongolia would serve as an important component in America’s push to maintain its access and dominance in the strategic high ground of space.

But sending Kamala Harris to take charges of this is strange. She delivered her typical uneasy, word salad-y speech in which she likened space cooperation to…space cooperation. It was all very bad looking. Whatever the intentions of the Biden Administration in space truly are, they do not seem serious. 

What with the Biden Administration taking office and initially denigrating the Space Force’s mission, or Vice-President Harris unilaterally disarming ourselves in space by refusing to allow for the testing of ASAT weapons, to now deploying Harris to ring in a new possible alliance with critical Mongolia—but Harris’ speech extolling this event being completely embarrassing, both for the United States and Mongolia.

Now is not the time for America to be deploying its B-and-C teams to enhance American interests—especially in the vital arena of space. We need our best-and-brightest. 

We need American leaders with true understanding and, therefore, a complete vision for ensuring America’s security in the strategic high ground of space. 

Sadly, with the Biden-Harris Administration, all we get is bumbling, blathering, and fumbling. At some point, it’s going to cost the United States and help our enemies. 

A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

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Written By

Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.