China’s gifted strategist Sun Tze says in his writings “The Art of War”:
Knowing oneself and one’s enemy, one is never in peril in war. Knowing oneself but not one’s enemy, one has a half chance to win and a half chance to lose.
Reuters says in its report “U.S. must invest to keep ahead of China in space, hearing told,” that US experts want the US to make more investment in developing its space capabilities in order to maintain the US position as “the world’s dominant space power.”
US experts know the US quite well. They are aware that US space enthusiasm has faded since its success in landing Americans on the moon in 1969 so that its space program lacks funds now.
On the other hand, US expert Joan Johnson-Freese told Congress’s U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission in a hearing, “China right now is experiencing its Apollo years,” and “China gets the funding it needs.”
The US strategic goal is to remain number one in space, and the US seems to know itself well regarding to its status as number one now. It recognises its lack of efforts to maintain the status and prevent China from catching up with and surpassing it.
Knowing that, does greater investment in the US Mars Program enable the US to counterbalance China’s efforts? No.
That is a strategic issue. However, what the US is afraid that China will do is utterly not what China wants.
The US priority is to maintain its number one position. It believes that China is making efforts to grab that position.
For China, the number one position is utterly worthless. What China has already achieved is the space capability to wipe out the US navy if it comes near the Chinese coast to help its allies Japan or the Philippines to attack China, but it lacks the capabilities to prevent the US from cutting China’s trade lifelines.
Depriving the US of its dominance of the oceans is China’s priority. For that, China focuses on developing its integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defence. China spends its funds mainly for that purpose. The funds it spends in purely civil space programs are much less than its spending in acquiring the integrated space and air capabilities..
Moreover, China pays attention to bringing returns to its investment in its space program. It plans to set up a colony on the moon to take precious minerals back to the earth. It has a long-term plan for that.
The US, however, is entirely ignorant of the strategic goals of China’s space program. It makes efforts in its space program almost entirely for the maintenance of its number one position. It spends much less than China in developing integrated space and air capabilities for war.
The US knows only itself but not China; therefore, the US only has a half chance to win.
As long as China does not pursue the number one position in space, the US will be satisfied and will not keep up its efforts in space. That is why once the US obtained its number one position after it landed its astronauts on the moon and found that there was no competitor in space, it reduced the funding for its space program to the minimum. That is why the US has made no efforts to set up a colony on the moon since it landed its astronauts on the moon.
Now Europe and even India are making efforts to explore Mars and other remote planets. If the US allocates more funds for its space program now, it will mainly use the funds for its Mars program.
China refrains from competing with other countries’ space programs related to Mars and other planets as it knows well the US space strategy, and wants the US to know that it has no intention to replace the US as number one in space.
China’s space program focuses first of all on its national security to safeguard its trade lifelines. Secondly, its spending on its space program is an investment that may be very profitable when it is able to exploit the precious natural resources on the moon.
As a result, due to US ignorance of China’s strategic goals, even if the US increases its funding for its space programs, the US will not counterbalance the capabilities that China will achieve.
The following is the full text of Reuters report:
U.S. must invest to keep ahead of China in space, hearing told
China’s space program is catching up with that of the United States and Washington must invest in military and civilian programs if it is to remain the world’s dominant space power, a congressional hearing heard on Wednesday.
Experts speaking to Congress’s U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said China’s fast advances in military and civilian space technology were part of a long-term strategy to shape the international geopolitical system to its interests and achieve strategic dominance in the Asia-Pacific.
They also reflect an enthusiasm for space exploration which in the United States has faded since the Apollo Program which landed Americans on the moon in 1969, they said.
“China right now is experiencing its Apollo years,” Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, told the hearing. “China gets the funding its needs.”
While the budget of the U.S. space agency NASA has been cut substantially, China’s space program has benefited from its economic boom and political support from President Xi Jinping down, said Kevin Pollpeter, a China technology expert at the University of California-San Diego.
“They are also able to program out their activities into five-year plans and 15-year plans and this gives them a long-range goal to work with,” he told the hearing.
“If the United States is to remain the leading space power then it must continue to invest in both its civilian and military space programs.”
Dean Cheng, of the Heritage Foundation think tank, said the U.S. space industrial complex is failing in long-term planning and is aging compared to China’s. It is particularly lacking in Chinese speakers with the scientific skills needed.
“China’s space industrial workforce is perhaps the youngest of the space industrial powers,” Cheng added. “They will be working at this for a long time. Innovation at the end of the day does tend to come from young people.”
Xi has said he wants China to establish itself as a space superpower, but Beijing has insisted its program is for peaceful purposes.
Fears of a space arms race mounted in 2007 after China blew up one of its own weather satellites with a ground-based missile.
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Categories: Defence & Aerospace