Space Technology ColonialismThe United States has been...


May 27, 1992

Space Technology Colonialism

The United States has been exerting pressure on the Russian and Indian governments trying to prevent transfer of Russian rocket booster technology to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

This pressure was stepped up by the May 11 State Department announcement of a two-year trade ban on the ISRO and on the Russian space agency, Glavkosmos.

Even more ominous is an amendment sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden pending before the Senate, which would cut off all humanitarian aid to Russia unless this technology transfer is canceled.

As the State Department itself admits, India needs a a rocket booster if it is to develop a civilian satellite launch capability, and both Russia and India have suggested that international observers verify that this technology is intended for peaceful purposes only.

Telecommunication and weather satellites have become an essential tool in the late 20th century, and they are especially indispensable in developing countries like India, which have enormous areas lacking other means of communication.

Thus, if news, education, weather forecasts and warnings of natural disasters are to be available in remote areas, inexpensive telecommunication satellites are essential.

At present, only a small cartel of nations has the ability to launch satellites. This near monopoly, which is maintained by agreements preventing transfer of space-related technology to other nations, has naturally resulted in extremely high launch costs. Such agreements would probably have been against anti-trust laws if entered into by private corporations.

This behavior is very similar to that seen during the colonial era. In the vast majority of instances, the colonial powers denied their African and Asian colonies access to the newly emerging technologies needed for industrialization.

Instead, the colonies were used as sources of raw materials and as captive markets, policies which caused the great disparities in wealth between the First World and the Third World, and, thereby, much of today's global instabilities. It is a pity that the West, including the United States, has not learned from these past mistakes.

Today, the United States distributes large amounts of foreign aid to poorer countries. But it simultaneously pursues technology and trade policies that perpetuate or increase the gap between the industrialized and under-developed nations.

Atul V. Aiyengar


'No Frills' Budget

I wish to commend The Sun on its May 1 editorial concerning Carroll County and the charter government debate.

I am personally puzzled by the desire for a charter government. As was pointed out in the editorial, Carroll has one of the lowest tax burdens in the entire state, not just the Baltimore metropolitan area. It is this low tax burden that has attracted many residents from the metro area.

The most important reason for low taxes in Carroll is the lack of pet projects of local politicians. Under the charter currently being proposed, Carroll would be divided into five districts, each being represented by one councilman. Under this system, it is inevitable that county spending will increase because each councilman will be proposing frivolous expenditures that are only to be used as a vehicle for the councilman's re-election.

Some of the proponents of the charter government claim that the commissioner system is too limited to address the new problems that are arising in Carroll today and that the charter system would be more efficient for the suburban county that Carroll has evolved into.

What the proponents of this idea ignore is that the current system was able to handle the huge growth experienced by the county in the 1970s and 1980s. Moreover the "efficient" governments, such as those in Howard, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, had a hard time figuring how to make up for the reduction in state assistance. However Carroll, with its "whip and buggy" government, was able to absorb the cuts with speed and elan.

Carroll has been trying to figure out a way to control the county's rapid growth. Establish a charter government and the ensuing chaos will go a long way to halting the growth, and Carroll will become just another suburban county.

Kevin Gaines


Guns Don't Riot

Matthew C. Fenton IV's letter ("Riot Deaths," May 11) is both naive and ill-informed.

Most of the riot injuries, including trucker Reginald Denny, were caused by beatings and stabbings. Few of the 58 deaths were caused by handguns.

David C. Toy, special agent in charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, recently stated that there is no such "proliferation of handguns" as Mr. Fenton claims. He said that there are no more handguns in the market today than 20 years ago.

Mr. Fenton conveniently overlooks the fact that Korean and other businessmen protected their property and lives with firearms, including the "dreaded" assault weapons.

These were the only businesses spared destruction.

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