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February 06, 2007


There has been quite a bit of speculation in the press following the newly revealed anti-satellite capability of the PLA. Commentary that is not motivated by celebratory nihilism, self-loathing and will to decline tends to take the line the downing of a satellite is nothing to be alarmed about*; any hostile action at the onset of hostilities might take out one or two birds and all that would be left of the launch site would be a smoking crater.

This line of argument strikes me to be flawed for two important reasons. First, no American administration in recent memory has demonstrated a willingness to deal firmly with this sort of contingency. Second, and just as important, the ChiComs are not stupid. An alarming revelation in the Air Force Times appears to support the second of these contentions.

As worldwide attention focuses on China’s first successful anti-satellite missile test, U.S. officials are questioning why some Chinese spacecraft are in orbits that bring them close to key U.S. satellites, according to military sources. The big question is the scale and progress of the Chinese anti-satellite program, including whether the Chinese spacecraft are benign or time bombs that can someday be used to threaten the space assets on which the U.S. military and economy depend for everything from reconnaissance and dropping bombs to logistics, communications and navigation.

The Chinese spacecraft don’t appear to be conducting any particular mission. Rather, “there is a menu of missions that could be performed that we are not yet clear about,” said one source. “These things aren’t being sent up there to be space rocks.”

Mr. President: How many Pearl Harbor's is the West meant to endure this decade?

* Excepting the pesky resultant debris. The Canadian media seem to believe the Chinese have created a traffic hazard or, worse yet, littered in orbit. Both inconsiderate acts though it would be impolite to point this out too strenuously. Back to sleep, Canadia.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at February 6, 2007 07:17 AM


That big "oops" of the Belgrade embassy bombing is going to have a lot to answer for one day.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 6, 2007 02:27 PM

That was no "oops". And the government of China needs no pretext for its imperialism. Though tens of millions of free Chinese in Taiwan never much factor into policy for conservative interests out to make money or leftards eager to side with any enemy of democracy.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 6, 2007 09:59 PM

China has hardly been the imperial wizard that it could be so far. Mainly because most every stripe of party in every democratic nation ('tards of both left and right equally) has sought to embrace them and sell them their bonds. Funny that. Maybe they are coming to collect the debt.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 6, 2007 10:12 PM

The Chinese have discovered they like to make money too. It helps bring them closer to their goal of being supreme superpower. The danger isn't so much from the Chinese, as it is from the effect of the old Anglo-Saxon sense of fair play on the West: this ideal has often been misapplied and has led us into disaster before. We are quite capable of handing over the reigns of world power to the Chinese because "it's not fair that we should have all the fun."

Posted by: Andrea Harris [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2007 07:08 AM

Oh heck, I hit submit just as I noticed I did the link wrong -- it was supposed to go to the Battle of Maldon site.

Posted by: Andrea Harris [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2007 07:09 AM