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The Sino-American Arms Race Begins

category international | imperialism / war | news report author Friday January 19, 2007 02:41author by Jeff McMahan - TheAnarchist.orgauthor email editor at theanarchist dot org Report this post to the editors

Chinese Stance in Opposition to US Expansion in Space Will Set Off New Arms Race

The Chinese gov't just tested a ASAT (anti-satellite attack) system successfully. The US is bound to respond by ratcheting up its warmarking capabilities in space.

I have written in past weeks about the position of the Bush Administration with regard to arms in space (it is aggressive, confrontational, and it flouts international law and public consensus). The fear has been that US may mean to begin an arms race in space, and thus put the Cold War Pentagon system back into full operation to give the executive more economic leverage by further enriching the high technology sector of the US economy (by way of an enormous public subsidy on the order of hundreds of billions a year).

Some time ago, the Chinese military is believed to have tested a high-powered laser beam for use in blinding US satellites, and the test was successful (or so said a Pentagon spokesmen). This happened just prior to the administration’s release of a revised policy directive on US military presence in space. Things have just gotten much worse.

US intelligence agencies are now reporting that USAF radar detected a ballistic missile launch from a Chinese Space Center; the missile was being tested for its ability to destroy an old, orbiting weather satellite, some 530 miles above the Earth. The test is said to have been successful, and it is suspected that the missile was “hit-to-kill,” meaning that the weapons system is advanced, well-designed and able to destroy targets without resorting to huge explosions, covering wide areas. USAF radar is thought to be tracking the plummeting debris at present, according to DefenseTech, a news and information website. [Visit:]

This is all pretty suspicious given the tactical and geopolitical stupidity of the Chinese decision to go forward with this test; could it possibly be that Beijing wants an arms race? One would think that with the Chinese command economy, an arms race is not needed – the executive is not looking for an economic lever because it is the only such lever. But the fact remains that the obvious and predictable outcome of this action is an arms race, and the Chinese see this and must have contemplated it long before taking such a rash action. This leads one to wonder whether the Chinese are seeking to recreate a new US-Russian-style arms race to allow both the US and China to take advantage of the economic and technological advances that these “highly functional” standoff arrangements create. To illustrate, Noam Chomsky quotes the Vice CFO of LTV Aerospace Corporation in his 1970 book, At War With Asia:
It’s basic. Its selling appeal is defense of the home. This is one of the greatest appeals the politicians have to adjusting the system. If you’re the President and you need a control factor in the economy, and you need to sell this factor, you …can sell self-preservation, a new environment. We’re going to increase defense budgets as long as those bastards in Russia are ahead of us. The American people understand this.

The same motivations apply in the present period, but with the Russian villain vanquished (not by our military prowess, but by the hideous inefficiency of totalitarian government) it is necessary to pick out a new mortal enemy and to reconstitute the lost beneficial arrangements. This nuclear standoff keeps domestic criticism silenced, while allowing politicians to subsidize the elites that own stock in and control the massive defense industry (which is interpenetrative with every other major branch of US industry). In what now seems a very insightful bit of prophecy, Chomsky remarks that if the Russians are for some reason no longer sufficient to sway the citizens to fear for their lives, “it is always possible to call upon …luminaries to warn of the billion Chinese, armed to the teeth and setting out on world conquest.” And here we are, 37 years later, about to watch our elites and “luminaries” make exactly this apology for aggressively pursuing policy goals that will further endanger the survival of mankind, and fill our last frontier with frighteningly effective killing machines.

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