Oct 082003
 
Authors: Joe Marshall

Next week the People’s Republic of China is scheduled to become

the third nation in history to launch a human into outer space. A

critical step in China’s path to becoming the next world

superpower, the P.R.C’s entrance into the space race should be

considered the most important technological development of the 21st

century so far.

In typical Chinese fashion the event has been hyped to huge

heights, but the exact launch time is secret and will probably not

be televised live in case of failure. According to CNN.com, the

launch vehicle is a Chinese-built variant of the Russian Soyuz

space capsule, and the launch platform is a Chinese-designed Long

March missile. Russian space suits were also purchased by the

Chinese, however the government insists they were only used for

research purposes.

A full 40 years behind the two superpowers, a Chinese

accomplishment of manned space flight has little literal bearing on

world affairs, but the various applications of the technology

required to achieve such a feat are enormous. From an economic

standpoint, the feat serves to solidify China’s position in the

world economy as one of, if not the, premier platforms for

launching private satellites into orbit. From a military

standpoint, China is re-enforcing its position as a first-class

producer and purveyor of missile technology.

The military implications of this technology are what should be

given attention and respect. China’s long term military goals were

outlined and explained in a 1999 report for the U.S. military by

Mark Stokes of the Strategic Studies Institute entitled “China’s

Strategic Modernization: Implications for the United States.” This

report concedes that while China’s conventional army is second rate

at best, “the PLA (People’s Liberation Army), as part of its

long-range regional security strategy, is attempting to develop an

ability to target an enemy’s forward-based command, control,

communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) nodes, airbases,

aircraft carriers and sea-based C2 platforms, as well as critical

nodes in space.” In layman’s terms, China is developing advanced

missile technologies to target satellites, warships and support

aircraft. Furthermore, these missiles will not be used just to

deliver traditional weapons, but also as a vehicle for an

electromagnetic pulse weapon. What is an electromagnetic pulse

weapon? Remember “Goldeneye,” the James Bond movie? Yeah, that’s

what I’m talking about.

With no satellites, no aircraft carriers and no computers, the

mighty U.S. military wouldn’t be able to invade Guam, much less

defend Taiwan against a second-tier conventional army. An invasion

of Taiwan has long been a cornerstone of Chinese military policy.

Being the last bastion of Chinese Nationalism, mainland China not

only refuses to recognize the independence of Taiwan but also

regards the island as a rogue province that must eventually be

reunited with mainland China. Conversely, U.S. military policy in

the Pacific since the before the end of the Cold War has been

largely centered around the defense of Taiwan from mainland

China.

As stated in Sun Tzu’s “Art of War,” chapter 3, verse 1,

“preserving the enemy’s army is best, destroying the enemy’s army

is second best…subjugating the enemy’s army is the true pinnacle

of excellence.” If China succeeds in launching a man into space

next week, the nation will establish itself as a military

superpower not because of its power, but because of its prowess.

China is on the verge of developing technologies that will enable

it to circumvent decades of conventional military development and

become the world leader in a new type of arms race. This new race

will be gauged not just in terms of sheer might or destructive

capabilities, but also in terms of maneuverability and timing.

Perhaps this new arms race will not be considered a race at all,

but rather an elaborate dance; as master Sun explains in chapter 5,

verse 7, “Intermixed and turbulent, the fighting appears chaotic,

but cannot be made disordered. In turmoil and confusion, their

deployment is circular, and they cannot be defeated.”

 

Hero of the Week: My friend Rob Lane died two years ago this

Sunday. He was a great person with heart and ambition even larger

than his 6-foot 5-inch frame. Even larger still was the impression

and legacy he left with those of us that knew him; Big Rob always

stood up for what he believed in, always met adversity head on and

never backed down. His sudden and unavoidable passing should serve

as reminder of how all of us should live every day to its full

potential not because it might be our last, but because there is so

much in life to live for.

 

Zero of the Week: The Rev. Fred Phelps for wanting to erect an

anti-gay monument in Casper, Wyo., for the fifth anniversary of

Matthew Shepard’s death. Reverend, what century are you living in?

I have an idea: let’s pretend the year is 85 A.D, and I’ll get

together a band of pagans to beat and crucify you for believing in

He who is all! It is ignorant and narrow-minded people like you,

Rev. Phelps, who are responsible for every ill deed in history,

including the demise of your savior.

 

 

 

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