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The Soft and Hard Power Dimensions of the Politics of Space

Roberta Gregori - University of Westminster - [2008]
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  • Tesi completa: 32 pagine
  • Abstract
    The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the political dimension of contemporary space activities by analysing the strategic objectives and motivations of the governments that undertake these programmes.
    Today’s world politics is increasingly multipolar and heterogeneous, and characterised by competition among nations. As Robert Kagan notes, the grand expectation that after the Cold War the world would enter an era of a peaceful and homogeneous international system has proven wrong. Competition for status and global influence has once again become the key feature of the international scene.
    As a reflection of the international system, the contemporary space environment is characterised by a multiplicity of space faring nations competing for honour and influence. Where the traditional space pattern was limited to the political-military confrontation of the United States and the former Soviet Union, recent decades have seen the rapid proliferation of new nations active in space, including developing and smaller countries.
    China, India, Japan and the European Union all now have independent capabilities to send satellites and spacecraft into orbit, including the indigenous production of launch vehicles. Several other countries, such as Israel, South Korea, Brazil, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey and Taiwan, are at various stages of development of their own satellite and launching capabilities.
    The objective of this research consists in providing a better understanding of the contemporary politics of space. The present acceleration and expansion of international space capabilities and activities will be therefore described in terms of “soft” power, that is the quest for international prestige and national pride, and of “hard power”, that is tangible military and economic benefits.

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