President Trump's order for the Pentagon to create a "Space Force" as a separate branch of the armed services has already elicited sharp criticism, but one Russian senator went as far as to warn that "the militarization of space is a way to disaster."
They also warned that Washington could risk violating key international agreements regulating the demilitarization of space, potentially destabilizing the international order.
"There's a major risk that the Americans would commit grave violations in this field...if one takes into account what they do in other spheres," said Viktor Bondarev, the head of the Russian Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee.
While Trump wasn't exactly clear about what he meant, he said he hoped to achieve "dominance" in space, ignoring the fact that the US is a signatory of the 1967 "Outer Space agreement," which bans the deployment of nuclear weapons in space. However, the US has seemingly made a habit of withdrawing from major international agreements. For example, George W Bush backed out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and Russia has threatened to "strongly retaliate" if the US violates the outer space agreement by sending weapons of mass destruction into orbit. The treaty also prohibits states from building military bases on the moon, according to RT.
Still, violating the "Outer Space agreement" could potentially create problems because, during his speech, Trump mentioned something about establishing a "permanent presence" on the moon - though he didn't explicitly say that it would be a "military" presence. Trump said during his speech that a "separate but equal" (from the other branches of the military) Space Force would be needed for America to maintain a tactical advantage over its geopolitical adversaries (adversaries like China and Russia).
Speaking with CNN after Trump's speech, an analyst pointed out exactly why "dominance" of space will be so important for national defense in the future: "I hate the term 'the final frontier' but (space) is the ultimate high ground. Space doesn't dominate one small geographic area - it dominates continents, oceans," said US Lt. Col. Rick Francona
"Most military thinkers know this is the battle space of the future."
One US Congressman warned that the US is already behind, and that "Russia and China" are dominating the space race.
"Russia and China are surpassing us in space capabilities and we need to dedicate a separate force solely with a space mission," Mike Rogers said.
The Chinese have also spoken out against the US's planned "dominance" of space.
Responding to a question from CNN regarding Trump's announcement Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said that "Outer space is an asset shared by all mankind. China always advocates the peaceful use of outer space, and opposes the weaponization of outer space and space arms races."
But of course, more than anything, Trump's declaration reminds us all of that famous "Chapelle Show" sketch.