Saturday, January 20, 2007

Just in Time—a Carry-Out Arms Race

Rallying to the cry that you can’t keep a good man (or industry) down, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Rockwell pulled the expected rabbit out of the hat. Just when the Iraq war was winding down or heating up, depending upon your Washington allegiance, those armaments guys played the China card.


Lockheedpatch Rallying to the cry that you can’t keep a good man (or industry) down, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Rockwell pulled the expected rabbit out of the hat. Just when the Iraq war was winding down or heating up, depending upon your Washington allegiance, those armaments guys played the China card.

And you thought China wasn’t a friend. You thought they wanted all that Barbie-Doll production to themselves, ignored our needs and were content with churning out millions of pirated CDs. Well, when the chips are down, business truly is global and, as long as the flat-panel TV orders are holding up, why not throw your biggest customer a bone. Yeah, keep that American economy going and consumer buying.

China Tests Anti-Satellite Weapon, Unnerving U.S.

Rumsfeldspace That’s the headline. As for anyone actually being unnerved, the news brought the first smile that’s come to Donald Rumsfeld’s lips since his president pulled the rug out from under him. Now, we can get on with the serious business of dominating space. It looked dicey after the mid-terms, but now those newly Democratic purse-strings will be loosened in a New York minute.

Rumsfeld has long touted American supremacy in space, an advocate of allowing no one but us up there, unless of course by our permission. It was a hard slog, what with all those unrelenting costs of what was supposed to be a cakewalk war in Iraq. That little fiasco no only cost The Donald his job, it absolutely wore out all the service branches but the Navy. We’re out of tanks, personnel carriers, helicopters, humvees, armored vests and whatever else. The bombs are gone, all but those nuclear jobs. We can’t even feed our own troops anymore, Halliburton does it for us.

Patriotmissile That, along with the embarrassment of not being able to hit those pre-selected incoming missiles with a hundred billion dollars worth of useless tracking devices, had Rummy nearly down for the count. Yeah, those pesky Democrats would rebuild our military equipment, but it would be a slow walk in a cold rain and they’d grudge every penny until they got themselves those lost seats on the K-Street bus.

Just in the nick of time, those Chinese. Oh, and as a side-note, the Chinese anti-satellite weapon scored a bulls-eye on its first trial. A stick-in-the-eye for Rumsfeld, but a huge vindication for his Only-Us strategy (capitalize the second letter in Us if you care to) in space.

Prior to this, no one but America and the Russians had destroyed a satellite in space. We can hit the stationary objects in orbit just fine—it’s those bothersome in-comers we have trouble with.

According to the Bill Broad-David Sanger article in the New York Times;

White House officials said the United States and other nations, which they did not name, had “expressed our concern regarding this action to the Chinese.” Despite its protest, the Bush administration has long resisted a global treaty banning such tests because it says it needs freedom of action in space.

A wake-up call. The unheralded fact is that there are a bunch of countries, some of them our allies, who are more than a little alarmed at our determined ‘freedom of action’ in the space above the world’s nations. That alarm has not been smoothed over by our stomping around in the Middle East with our combat boots on.

The NYT piece goes on to say;

American officials complained today that China made no public or private announcements about its test, despite repeated requests by American officials for more openness about their actions.

American officials complaining about openness concerning their actions. Hell, the United States Congress has made the same complaint about this country for six years now and where did it get them?

Chinasatellite China knocked one of their own aging satellites out of the sky, some 500 miles above earth. Experts (however the administration may define them) complained that the space debris from that incident might threaten other orbiting satellites for years ‘or even decades’ to come. The experts were silent on debris from all those explosive misses Rummy's been supervising in an attempt to vindicate our Star Wars ballistic missile shield over the Pacific.

Ah, the hundreds of billions gone. The Chinese no doubt did it at Wal-Mart prices and got change back. Certainly they expect to get something back; perhaps a more realistic hearing from us about the place in space for their commercial-military interests.

“It could be a shot across the bow,” said Theresa Hitchens, director of the Center for Defense Information, a private group in Washington that tracks military programs. “For several years, the Russians and Chinese have been trying to push a treaty to ban space weapons. The concept of exhibiting a hard-power capability to bring somebody to the negotiating table is a classic cold war technique.”

No. Really? And we haven't been interested?

(NYT) The White House statement, issued by the National Security Council, said China’s “development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area.”

You have to hand it to the NSC, they never lose their sense of humor. This wasn’t about civil space. Donald Rumsfeld single-handedly closed that argument some years ago and that particular chicken has come home to roost.
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