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Gravity tractor illustration
If the US said that an asteroid was threatening the Earth and that action was required to change its course, would the rest of the world believe the US? (credit: B612 Foundation)

International community skeptical of US claims of asteroid “threat”

The well-known American astronaut Rusty Schweickart and his Texas based partner Ed Lu say that Apophis, an asteroid some 460 meters across, may hit Earth in 2036. They propose a mission that will use gravitational effects to deflect the asteroid. Their claim to the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) meeting in Vienna Austria, that this asteroid may possibly have a chance of hitting the Earth is reminiscent of the previous US statements about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the unproven accusations Washington is making about Iranian terrorism and the North Korean nuclear “threat”.

Diplomats and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Vienna are skeptical of the Bush regime’s effort to involve the United Nations and to win a patina of international legitimacy for their plan to weaponize space by invoking a “threat” to the Earth. Mohammed Al Shukri, head of the UN’s Office for Palestinian Satellite Affairs Directorate of Applications and Integration Space Executive (OPSADAISE), said, “This is an obvious ploy to distract the world from America’s failures in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, East Timor, Cuba, South Ingushetia, West Pakistan, and Switzerland. In any case it well known that since the symbol of Islam is the Crescent Moon, all celestial bodies are part of the Islamic Wafq and cannot be surrendered to infidels under any circumstances. This is yet another American insult to Islam.”

Famous French Astrophysicist Clovis Boufrican explained, “The Americans claim that there is a small chance of danger. This is nonsense. The logic of the situation is that the Americans are doing nothing but seeking to develop ‘Star Wars’ anti-asteroid weaponry under a mask of Christian fundamentalist benevolence. This is typical of the cowboy Hollywood mentality that seeks to ‘save’ the Earth, which certainly does not want to be ‘saved’ by the Americans.”

Writing in Le Monde, the leading European environmental expert Alphonse Oeilverte explained that “Just as the White House is trying to geo-engineer the Earth as a solution to global warming, in order to avoid cutting back on America’s incredibly wasteful habits, they are now trying to geo-engineer the solar system to avoid having to conserve gravity. The United Statesians use twice as much gravity per person as the rest of the world put together, as long as this situation lasts it will be impossible to take their hypocritical claims of an asteroid ‘threat’ seriously.”

In Washington, meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Tony Snow stated, “The President strongly supports Rusty Schweikart’s right to exist and is consulting the allies and Congress about the best way to proceed towards a goal of a viable two asteroid solution.” He added that this would actually be more of “a problem for who ever Karl Rove gets elected in 2032, so we’ll leave it for him or her.”

Speaking from her campaign bus outside Des Moines, Iowa, Democratic front-runner presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced that “Any threats to the Earth will be dealt with by the same unequivocal and decisive methods we used in our previous administration. We will fire cruise missiles at the ‘threat’ until the news cycle is over or until an A-list celebrity dies or gets arrested, whichever comes first.”

When asked about the asteroid “threat”, Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani said that he would have to consult his chief science advisor, Arnold Scharwzenegger. Another GOP candidate, Senator John McCain, blamed it on Donald Rumsfeld, and pointed out that while the former Secretary of Defense had warned of a “Pearl Harbor in Space”, he had failed to warn the Senate Armed Services Committee of a “giant space rock crushing the Earth.”

There is a little international support for the American position. Dudley Doright, the Canadian space law enforcement expert, said that he was sure that Canada would supply a remote manipulator arm for the mission, as long as it did not cost too much and is made with at least 70% Quebecois labor. Israeli space food developer Ma Pitom shrugged her shoulders and said “Sure. Whatever they want, try the eggplant salad.”

In Moscow, a Russian government spokesman threatened to pull out of the Outer Space Treaty. “This is an unprovoked and illegal US attack on Apophis (formerly known as the People’s Soviet Socialist Airless Oblast of Apophistan).” Sources at the Russian Foreign Ministry explained that since the asteroid was part of what Russia considered the “near abroad”, “If the US recognizes our de facto sovereignty over the asteroid belt, we’ll take care of it the same way we took care of Grozny.”

Speaking on deep background from Zhongnanhai, a senior Chinese defense official threatened to blow any American anti-asteroid weapon out of the sky with China’s new celestial object protection space weapon. “Washington must take our interests into account, we cannot allow them to establish their unilateral hegemony in the solar system.”

The European Space Agency has announce that it will establish an independent, civilian, and exclusively peaceful planetary protection program named for Europe’s most prominent 20th century space scientist, Eric Von Daniken. “Von Daniken will take violence and physical force off the table. This project will use dialogue, diplomacy, and soft power to persuade our partner, Apophis, to accept the Earth’s need for security while ensuring that the asteroid has a viable and contiguous orbital path through the Solar System.”