China successfully carried out its first test of an antisatellite weapon last week, signaling its resolve to play a major role in military space activities and bringing expressions of concern from Washington and other capitals, the Bush administration said yesterday.It was only recently that the US conducted a successful test, tracking and hitting a missile that was fired from a distance, and it's been some twenty years since we've tried hitting a satellite in orbit (admittedly, a much easier operation).
Only two nations — the Soviet Union and the United States — have previously destroyed spacecraft in antisatellite tests, most recently the United States in the mid-1980s.
Arms control experts called the test, in which the weapon destroyed an aging Chinese weather satellite, a troubling development that could foreshadow an antisatellite arms race. Alternatively, however, some experts speculated that it could precede a diplomatic effort by China to prod the Bush administration into negotiations on a weapons ban.
What makes China's program so troubling, as the article goes on to point out, is that it has recently undertaken a thorough modernization program of its ballistic missile and nuclear weapon development program, in large part after the US repudiated the SALT and START agreements. Meaning China will shortly be an offensive threat to the United States, and by extension, anywhere in the world.
For them to have this capacity, to knock out our surveillance so easily, is a bit shaking. Worse, there was no advance notice (or for that matter, de facto notice). You know how paranoid this administration can be. Rightly so in this instance, I think, but pile real cause for paranoia onto an administration that is already highly suspect of any dissent from its own citizens, and you have a situation rife for misunderstanding and exaggeration.
Something Bush is known for. Which makes the world just that much more dangerous now.
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky