Posted by: bklunk | February 25, 2007

Breaking Out

When two countries have massively destructive weapons that can survive an attack, they should be mutually deterred.  But the ability to destroy targets in space may radically disrupt that formula.

China. « Justin Goes “International”

Chinas military force has been growing recently. it has grown great deals in terms of the military body and the arms that is possesses. Although China has been a large player in the recent negotiations with North Korea, we are still weary of the fact that their weapons stockpiles are growing. We are still praising the idea that North Korea is abandonig its nuclear, as Vice President Cheney said in one of his multiple speeches.

Also, there was a recent scientific test conducted by China, its quite easy to see why there is a cause for worry. China now has the power and the means to launch long distance missiles, and they also have the power to destroy the targets that they hit. While these new missiles are designed to destroy stuff thats in orbit, its easy for these missles to also destroy targets that are on land. However this mutual agreement between China, North Korea, Japan, and the United States is also in place to help prevent China from using their weapons in a non peaceful manner. But we will only time will be able to tell us what China decides to do with its increasing stockpile of weapons.


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  1. Eric Jorgensen
    Blog Response #4

    The recent anti-satellite missile launch from China is, without a doubt, worrisome from the U.S. perspective, but by no means does it mark a large increase in tension
    in the Sino-American relationship.

    There is no doubt that the Chinese want to take their place at the table of world powers. For years, strict adherence to Maoist economic policy prevented real growth, but now, economic liberalization (apart from political liberalization) has re-connected China to the world economy. Chinese influence in certain parts of the world has increased accordingly.

    But, although Chinese influence has grown, respect for them amongst the other world powers — especially from the United States — has not. Particularly, China’s support for Kim Jong Il’s regime in North Korea has annoyed U.S. leadership. Further, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has continued to restrict the civil and political freedoms of its citizens, another no-no to U.S. foreign policymakers.

    I see China’s latest showing of technological and military might as one way for the Chinese to tell the United States and the rest of the world that they have achieved the status of world power and that they deserve to be treated like one. Whether or not the gambit works remains to be seen.

    Despite the seriousness of the recent missile test, I think that the realities of the Venezuela-U.S. relationship also hold true for that of the Chinese-American relationship: our countries are far too dependent on one another right now to do anything too rash. As long as that status quo remains, diplomacy should prevail.

  2. China’s “peaceful rise” is worrying Mr. Cheney perhaps because he feels that it may be reaching US military power enough to surpass it. While it may be obvious that China is building up its military output, it is quite less obvious what the rest of the world is doing to try to stop China. China itself has promised to commit itself to stop use of weapons in space. Why are others just worrying and not pushing to control China’s actions?

    I guess the issue of concern is if China’s “peaceful rise” is worrying the rest of the world then what is being done to curb China’s dramatic military build up? Better yet, should anything be done to curb the rise or should China be left alone to venture for power?

    Power is something that every country will always seek to enhance itself with. The US has enjoyed the greatest era of hegemonic power over the rest of the war in recent decades. With China gaining rapid global influence, may US hegemonic power at last be highly challenged by another rising soon-to-be superpower?

  3. China is indeed a growing world power and unless something unforseenable happens they will eventually become solidified as a major power in the world whose wishes and concerns must be more or less adhered. However, the military might shouldn’t be that great of a concern. Of course, it is always in the national interest to be prepared for a military conflict with any nation especially one who has quite a different ideology and great power resources, but we must not have the same misperceptions and misconceptions that pitted the US against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. I don’t see China militarily hostile.

    I have much more concern how the rising Chinese economy is affecting the US. The importing of cheap Chinese goods because they keep the yuan artificially low has me nervous. The economy of the US has slowed in the 21st Century and although there are numerous reasons that can be attributed, I fear that the great trading account deficit is the main culprit. One must not forget who are the most eager to buy American debt. China is increasing its relative power towards the United States.

    No, China has found a better way to increase power capabilities by increasing their economic might and their influence in areas in the world like Africa , Central Asia and Latin America countries that are rich in resources.

    I feel that Fukiyama’s End of History is not because of the creation of democracies but instead weapons technology. There can’t be a World War III or there won’t be a world. Major world powers are quite deterred by the threat of nuclear weapons. There will still be wars in the future but they will be internal conflicts and assymetrical ones like Iraq.

  4. When China launched its missle at an orbiting satellite, the world, especially the U.S., took notice. While China’s power was not, necessarily, in question, that single action forced the rest of the world to recognize China’s slowly growing weaponry power. As Justin pointed out in his original blog post, the U.S. is in a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with North Korea, China, and Japan.

    In 2005, China stated that they would never be the first to use a nuclear weapon, and that their program is merely defensive. Also, they stated that they will never use nuclear weapons on a non-nuclear country. I think that China coming out and saying this is a good sign. Was it a reality check about just how powerful China is? Yes. But I think that at some point, we have to be able to take a country’s word at face value.

    Yes, we should continue to keep up on intelligence regarding China’s nuclear program. However, when we always question a country’s motives, it seems to undermine the entire process of world political relations. To constantly assume that a country has ulterior motives is to say that they are not trustworthy. Good political and economic relationships must be based first, and foremost, on mutual trust and respect.

  5. Looking at Chinas recent military developments and their new “space capable” missiles seem far more threatening for just that reason, being space capable, rather than being able to hit US soil. Honestly if China decided to use their new missiles for an assault on our land, even if they hit important positions and manage to take out some powerful leaders the ability of the US as a whole to fight back and respond in kind not impaired in the slightest. However, if China should decided to use their missiles for what looks like their designed purpose of shooting down satellites this is much more disconcerting for the US as a whole. Satellite technology is the basis for much of our modern weapons and warfare. Remove the satellites; remove our military superiority in many aspects. After that is done the US vulnerability both at home and abroad has increased exponentially. All of this so far has not even looked at what the loss of satellites can do outside of the military realm; what about the economy, communication, transportation? Currently in the US there is a dependency on satellites fore darn near everything, calling grandma from your cell? Satellite. Buying or selling your stocks either in the US or abroad? Satellite. Planning to fly somewhere and need to know the weather; or directing a flight to avoid a potential storm? Satellite. American dependency on technology is at an all time high, many Americans seem lost as it is if they can not have their internet or cell phones with them at all times; what would the country look like as a whole without these conveniences that have become a proverbial crutch on our existence? A planned attack on US soil would hurt for a while but a planned attack on our satellites would destroy the current existence of the US and possibly cripple its recovery.

  6. China has obtained a significant portion of economic leverage in the past number of years, which in large part afforded them the opportunity to gain more leverage by stockpiling weapons. Their recent military development, like weapon stockpiling, has an effect on their agreements with Japan, USA, and Russia. Even if the objective; convincing China not to use their newly developed weapon for destruction, was achieved it still came at a cost to Russia, Japan, and USA. China’s new weapon’s technology is just another leg up on the competition that can be used to manipulate situations to their advantage. It would be very difficult to neutralize this advantage without participating in stockpiling yourself.

  7. The first concern that comes to my mind with China’s military improvement is the militarization of space. It is considered a norm of the international system that space be left unmilitarized. At this point, states do have long range weapons, but the arms race here has happened to a large degree during the cold war. No one is disarming (in nuclear terms) at this point, but very few are proliferating, especially to the degree that the U.S. and the Soviet Union. States together have the capability to destroy entire populations, possibly to destroy the surface and atmosphere of the planet, but they can currently only do it from the surface of that planet. Further, there is some degree of balance that enforces mutually assured degree. While it might be argued that space was militarized when the first intelligence satellite was launched (if espionage can be considered military), there hasn’t really been any weaponry deployed to space. The area surrounding our planet could be ripe for a sort of arms race, and when China does a ‘scientific test’ the international system might take note that China might like to be the trigger.

  8. According to a recent New York Time’s article, 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. Therefore, Cheney is justified to be critical during time when China is modernizing its nuclear weapons, expanding the reach of its navy and sending astronauts into orbit for the first time, and demonstrating a new area of technical and military competition.
    The U.S. is dependent on satellites, and should be cautious of China’s usage of space weapons to potentially aim to destroy our satellites. However, we should be more concerned of their geographic position near Central Asia, and its membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Landlocked to Kazakhstan, China has the opportunity to influence President Nazarbayez in specific areas such as trade, human rights, and more. Nazarbayez has already expressed fear in China’s growing population. With their development of space weapons, China has an even greater advantage in the region to obtain oil and other natural resources. Furthermore, China is a member of the SCO, whose objective is to exclude the U.S. from Central Asia. As a result, the U.S. may not be as determined to develop relationships with countries such as Kazakhstan for fear of China’s capabilities to destroy the satellites in the U.S. becomes too assertive in the region.
    With its growing influence both in Central Asia and its antisatellite capabilities, the U.S. should be prepared to negotiate with China and recognize that they are a growing military power. However, we should not necessarily focus on their potential to harm us, but their aptitude to impact countries that have developing democracies and economic resources.

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