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The U.S. satellite shootdown: An unnecessary action

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Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Online

February 29, 2008

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The intercept of the disabled USA-193 spy satellite the United States conducted on February 20 set a new benchmark for military exercises that have no benefits, but come at a tremendous political cost. The intercept topped even the U.S. decision to deploy missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic as an ill-advised maneuver that could only bring scores of suspicion and mistrust--exactly what the deployments inspired in Russia, where missile defense now poisons virtually every other issue in U.S.-Russian relations. In this vein, the intercept, or more aptly, a test of an antisatellite (ASAT) capability, merely fosters further international distrust of U.S. policies and intentions.

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