The End gets a little nearer

January 19, 2007

Time

It’s springtime for anti-satellite missiles — again — now that China has fired a missile into space and destroyed an aging weather satellite orbiting 500 miles above the earth. The James Bond-style exercise left a several-hundred- meter-wide cloud of scrap metal floating around in space. Some of the debris could pose a threat to spacecraft passing through the region, scientists say, and will remain a problem for hundreds of years to come. And there will be repercussions on Earth, too.

Protests and expressions of concern were lodged over the test by the U.S., Japan, Canada, South Korea and Australia, but Beijing has so far refused to comment on the issue or even confirm the test took place. “The brazenness of this is a bit frightening,” says Mike Green, former senior Bush Administration Asia adviser. “It shows that the Peoples Liberation Army has considerable leeway — a great deal of influence if not autonomy — to increase their capacity even at considerable diplomatic cost.”

The obvious irony of anyone from the US criticizing the Chinese military for not playing nice aside, what really freaks out the US government is:

The Dr. Strangelovian angle on what the Pentagon calls ASAT — anti-satellite — weapons is that a foe could use them to blind key U.S. spy satellites as the first punch in a massive war. While such a notion carried some weight during the Cold War, such a war seems markedly less likely in today’s world, some U.S. officials believe. Still, developing its anti-satellite capability is only one of a series of steps China is taking aimed at leveling out the playing field in case of a clash with the U.S. Other examples include the training of units designed to hack into military computers, and the development of massive shore-to-ship missile batteries that would make it very difficult for U.S. carrier groups to approach China’s coast. The U.S. dependence on its technological edge is considerable: Green explains that in recent joint exercises held with the Indian Air Force, less technologically advanced Russian Sukhoi jets defeated American F-15s when the latter were deprived of support from satellite and AWACs systems.

And the escalation continues. The fear of war drives the creation of bigger, better weapons. Mutual destruction is not a policy, it is insanity.

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2 Responses to “The End gets a little nearer”


  1. This is off the “mainstream” AP: not only is China cracking down on old high altitude satalites, the rascals are cracking down on WEB content, check this out:

    China Shuts Down Web Sites in Crackdown

    Associated Press | October 4 2005

    BEIJING Oct 4, 2005 — Chinese authorities have shut down an online discussion forum that reported on anti-corruption protests in a village in the country’s south as well as a Web site serving ethnic Mongolians, overseas monitors said Tuesday.

    China routinely shuts down or blocks Web sites that operate outside of government control, but the issue has received heightened international attention in recent weeks with the publication of new rules aimed at stifling online dissent.

    Radio Free Asia, a U.S.-based broadcaster, said an online forum that covered protests in the village of Taishi has been closed. It said the site had been popular among academics, journalists and rights activists.

    Residents of Taishi, which is near the manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, had demanded that their village chief be removed from office and investigated for allegations of embezzlement and fraud.

    Several villagers were reportedly injured in a clash with police last month when they tried to prevent police from seizing accounting ledgers that they said contained evidence of corruption.

    Police and local authorities have refused to comment.

    The Taishi protest came amid a series of increasingly bold actions by villagers around China to bring attention to grievances ranging from pollution to corruption and illegal land seizures.

    Meanwhile, the Paris-based group Reporters Without Borders said China had shut down an online forum for ethnic Mongolian students, called http://www.ehoron.com, for allegedly hosting separatist content. Attempts Tuesday to view the page called up a message that said: “You are not authorized to view this page.”

    The press group said Beijing’s controls on ethnic minorities were more restrictive than for the rest of China’s population.

    It said the government also temporarily closed the Web site of a law firm in China’s Inner Mongolia region, called http://www.monhgal.com. That site could be accessed Tuesday.

    China last month issued new rules banning Internet news services from inciting illegal assemblies, marches and demonstrations as well as prohibiting activities on behalf of unauthorized civil groups


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