Most reflections on 9/11 focus on one of two themes: the first is a sober reflection on the tragedy of the day, and honoring those that sacrificed their lives. The second reflection is on the war on terror, which can also encompass issues related to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Neither of these themes is incorrect or invaluable. Having spent two decades writing, speaking, lecturing, and analyzing counter-terrorism, Islamo-Bolshevism, and America’s strategy to counter this modern evil, I can attest to its importance and depth.
Equally, those that thought like me insisted that it was always the lesser threat. Even in the first few years when it was omnipresent, it was never going to equal the titanic struggle that existed between the USSR and the United States. In other words, it was never going to reach the great power struggles that have defined international affairs for over 5,000 years.
The question about the importance of 9/11 was, at its depth, never one about the sole issue of terrorism, or even more importantly, Islamo-Bolshevism (what some like to call Islamic extremism). The real issue was how to prevent another attempt to emasculate the United States from a strategic perspective. The somewhat fantastical attempt by Germany to goad Mexico into war in the early 20th century, the very surgical attempt by Japan at Pearl Harbor, and the chaotic yet quite effective attacks on 9/11 were all designed to place the United States into an inferior strategic position, in order to change the power dynamic in the world.
Thus, instead of looking backward at the specific cause of 9/11, a threat, I will note, that is still very real and very dangerous, we should look at the how to prevent the next strategic attack on U.S. primacy.
Such a potential threat, from henceforth, will emanate from space.
The strategic equation for the 21st century is already here, and it is simply which nation will determine the rules for space regarding all aspects of life, including military, scientific, economic, and political.
Both China and Russia are rushing headlong in an attempt to dominate strategic space while pursuing tools to blunt American advantages, exploiting a period in time where our space strategy is in flux, yet at a crossroads.
If the United States wishes to avoid a dark future where the atmosphere of 9/11 is commonplace, it must make clear decisions to avoid this.
The first is that it must integrate its entire national strategy with all issues related to space. This is grand strategy, the goal of using current strategic decisions to ensure American primacy into the next century and beyond. This will be accomplished by engaging in the following clear decisions.
The first is to understand that any positive earth future, what some like to call the “Star Trek” scenario is one where democratic political values serving under God’s natural law and natural rights is the only acceptable future. Thus, an American led alliance of western nations that adhere to these principles must lead humankind into space for the benefit of all.
Space cannot be left to chaos or the authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorships. Space must be a place where freedom, entrepreneurship, property rights, the rule of law, and security rule supreme. The beginnings of this will be America’s leadership in creating the tri-planetary economy: harnessing and lassoing the opportunities of Earth, Moon, and Mars for the next revolution in economics.
In order to achieve this, the very practical national security decision to create a Space Force whose purpose, mission, and power will ensure that space does not descend into chaos, war, terror, and criminality.
There are many mottos of a future Space Force being proposed, but “Protecting Freedom and Defending the Earth,” one of those floating around, may be a good place to start.
Space is not different than any other issue in international security. Freedom and peace require order and security. If the order and security come from a benevolent power, freedom and peace will follow.
All the dreams of colonization, asteroid mining, resource harvesting will come to naught if America allows the malevolent powers of the earth to dictate the strategic and economic future of mankind.
Thus, as we remember 9/11, we need to ensure that it never happens again. We face our Maginot Line moment — a time where we can either invest in old strategic thinking to ensure disaster or grip the future with both hands to propel mankind into a new age of enlightenment, morality, and prosperity.