Chinese Militarization of Space

Monday, January 29, 2007

On the heels of last week's news reports (HT: Resident Egoist) that China successfully attacked and destroyed a satellite in outer space comes a warning of a possible "Space Pearl Harbor" in FrontPage Magazine. China hopes to achieve the capability of attacking American interests in space by the same means the Moslems are waging war against the United States now: By acting in a threatening manner and then telling our weak-willed leaders what they want to hear, namely that it's time to hold "talks".

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is right on the money in his detailed discussion of this topic.

Breaking nearly two weeks of silence, Communist China has now confirmed that it did indeed successfully attack and destroy an aging weather satellite more than 500 miles above the earth. As U.S. intelligence revealed last week, the destructive intercept was performed by a kinetic-kill vehicle (KKV) launched onboard a medium-range ballistic missile.

In making this acknowledgement, however, the Foreign Minister preposterously declared that "the test was not targeted against any country and does not pose a threat to any country." [Such a capability in the hands of a dictatorship is, by its nature, a threat to any civilized nation. --ed] The mendacity of this statement is as transparent as Beijing's military activities in the area of space control and power projection, which are cloaked in secrecy: Communist China intends to be able to deny the United States the ability to utilize outer space for vital national security, and perhaps even economic purposes.

The sudden, indisputable nature of this insight has precipitated confusion bordering on panic in Washington and other allied capitals. One predictable reaction has been to encourage a renewed push by so-called "arms-control" advocates to prohibit the "militarization of space." According to the New York Times, such an outcome was intended by Beijing. It cites Xu Guangyu, a former Chinese Army officer and an official at the government-run China Arms Control and Disarmament Association: "What China is saying is, 'Let's sit down and talk.' There is a trend toward weaponization of space that no one, especially China, wants to see."

Were the United States to fall for this gambit, it would face the worst of both worlds -- at least two adversaries (Russia and China) known to have demonstrated ASAT capabilities and a wholly unverifiable prohibition on such weapons, one whose practical effect would be only to foreclose to this country (and others who adhere to their treaty obligations) capabilities essential to space control. [some bold added]
Read it all and remember this: If our leaders fail to act, as they almost certainly will, and China makes good on this threat, it will not be new-fangled technology that "left us open to attack", but old-fashioned cowardice.

The only valid premise of negotiations between governments is that both are civilized (i.e., respect individual rights). To engage in talks with an armed adversary so blatantly interested in being able to make credible threats is to engage in wishful thinking and to open oneself up to an all but inevitable betrayal.

-- CAV


madmax said...


You provide a hat-tip link to Resident egoist. But when I check the site it brings up an apparently abandoned Objectivist site I Egoist. Is there another site?

Gus Van Horn said...

This is his site. The Resident Egoist has been too busy to post for quite awhile, but I hear from him from time to time. I am sure he'll eventually return to blogging and I will mention his return in a post when he does.

The tip was through email and was about something he did not actually blog, hence the "thank you" link (customary among bloggers) that went only to his main page. Had he actually blogged this, I would have linked to the page of the post.

I am not sure whether I have run afoul of some unwritten blogging convention here, but this is how I handle email tips. With any "hat tip" on this blog, just look at the URL that shows up with your cursor hovering over the link to see whether there is an actual post to read.

Hmmm. This isn't the first time I have linked to a dormant blog, but it is the first time this has come up....