Donald Trump on Monday made quite possibly the most agreeable announcement of his entire administration. Okay, sure, by this point, every time the president speaks in public without inciting a foreign power or insulting a minority group it qualifies as an “agreeable announcement,” but on Monday number 45 really outdid himself. In the midst of signing his third Space Policy Directive, the President also recommitted the nation to conquering space and crushing alien skulls under the boot heel of sweet, American freedom.
“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest space-faring nation,” explained Buzz Trumpyear, adding, “[It] is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.”
Introducing Space Force, a scientific and military project that is in no way a ploy to draw attention away from Trump’s other brewing scandals. Forget all that immigrant kid stuff, everybody, it’s time to take on m-effin space!
That Time Ronald Reagan Totally Won Space
If the idea of planting an American flag in the stars strikes you as familiar, you’re not wrong. Let’s roll things back a nice round 35 years, to a time when Michael Jackson was bemoaning the price of fame in “Billie Jean,” and Dustin Hoffman was dressing in drag for Tootsie. The year 1983 was also overshadowed by the ongoing nuclear conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union.
For most of the Cold War, the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction — or MAD — was all that kept the Ruskies and the US from launching nukes at one another. Essentially, the guiding philosophy of MAD held that if one country fired their nukes, the other country would follow suit, and then the only thing we’d have to dispute would be which corner of the charred ball we wanted to die on.
Then, on Wednesday, March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan went on television and announced the commencement of the Strategic Defense Initiative, a network of sweet ass space lasers designed to shoot down an incoming Russian missile attack.
Opponents of the SDI — or “Star Wars” as it came to be known — argued that the program fell under some highly technical designations called “ridiculous” and “impossible.” Others claimed that it would spike tensions between the US and Russia as Star Wars could be interpreted as a means for America to launch a safe first nuclear strike.
Republicans at the time responded to these critiques by doing a quick bump of capitalism and accusing Dems of a severe shortage of awesome (and an over-abundance of lame). As a result, the program was funded with an influx of tax dollars. Though the SDI was never implemented as Reagan foresaw it, Star Wars was popular enough that every single American President to come, Democrats and Republicans alike, announced some variation on the missile defense system.
The real lesson here is that lasers are indisputably awesome.
And on that note, we pivot to Donny T, the world’s first reality TV president. T-rump wasn’t content to stop at remote-controlled missile guidance systems; he wants an entire army patrolling the final frontier. And not some pansy Federation like in Star Trek. Trump wants “American dominance in space.”
When Jean Luc Picard met an alien, he was all, “Let’s talk it out like wusses.” When Space Force meets an alien, the result is going to be way more kick ass.
The ‘Separate, But Equal’ Military Branch
Okay, before we move on, ethics compels me to say … ugh … it bears mentioning that … God, this feels awful … the Trump administration hasn’t been the worst thing that’s happened to space exploration. They channeled some funds back into NASA, and he did so (oddly enough) without gobbling up a bunch of credit for it. The media would probably have paid more attention to the president’s accomplishments if they weren’t busy with something about a stolen election. I can’t remember what it’s about, because Space Force is just too blindingly awesome to focus on anything else.
Anyway, in addition to the NASA stuff, Trump’s guys streamlined the privatized space race, and they listened when the National Space Council recommended some return trips to the moon. Monday’s third directive helps regulate the monitoring and disposal of space debris.
See, even though we haven’t gotten off the planet in any real, permanent way, humanity has already managed to rocket a whole bunch of crap into space that serves no other purpose than to collide with our satellites and slam into our space stations. Remember the opening scene in Gravity? That could happen.
I mean, except for the part about George Clooney not being a smug butthole.
In the midst of announcing this pretty helpful thing he did — oooh, gut pain — the President also decided to kick things up a notch, saying “Very importantly, I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. … We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”
Trump reportedly could not remember where he’d heard the term “separate but equal” but vaguely recalled identifying with the people who said it.
The president “provided no details and no timetable” for the implementation of his Space Force, but it’s definitely going to happen, because this is, again, absolutely not a distraction from Russia stuff, Puerto Rico stuff, tax stuff, porn star stuff, Flint things, or anything having to do with unfortunate immigrant children.
Besides, that last one is probably Obama’s fault, anyway. Just don’t ask Politifact.