Can China enter the international space family?


It has often been called a ‘100 billion boondoggle’ – yet it is also unquestionably one of the most successful international programs in human history. The International Space Station (ISS) is just now starting to produce some of the valuable science that was the station’s selling point from the beginning. However, this delay can be attributed to the numerous tragedies, economic woes and other issues that have arisen on a global scale through the course of the station’s construction.

The one thing that the world learned early on from the ISS experience is that space is a great forum for diplomacy. One time arch-rivals now work side by side on a daily basis.

With much of the nations of the world talking about stepped-up manned exploration efforts it would seem only natural that the successful model used on the space station be incorporated into the highly-expensive business of manned space exploration. If so, then one crucial player is being given a hard look to see if they should be included – China.

Will we one day see Chinese taikonauts working alongside U.S. astronauts and Russian cosmonauts? Only time will tell. Photo Credit: NASA

“International partnership in space exploration has proven its worth over the last decade. It would be a positive step if the other space-faring nation of the world, China, were to join the assembled space explorers of humankind as we march outward into the solar system,” said former NASA Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale who writes a popular blog about space matters.

China is only the third nation (behind Russia and the United States) to have a successful manned space program, having launched its first successful manned space flight in 2003. This first mission only had a single person onboard, and gave the world a new word – ‘taikonaut’ (taikong is the Chinese word for space). The country’s next mission contained two of these taikonauts and took place in 2005. The third and most current manned mission that China has launched was launched in 2008 and held a crew of three.

Yang Liwei became the first of China's Taikonaut when he rocketed into orbit in 2003. Photo Credit: Xinhua

China has steadily, but surely, built and tested capabilities essential for a robust manned space program. Considering that China very ambitious goals for space this would seem a prudent course of action. China has stated publically that they want to launch a space station and send their taikonauts to the moon – neither of which are small feats.

China currently utilizes its Shenzhou spacecraft atop the Long March 2F booster from their Jiuquan facility. However, if China wants to accomplish these goals, they will need a more powerful booster. This has been part of the reason that the U.S. has been hesitant to include China due to concerns about the use of what are known as dual-use technologies (rockets that can launch astronauts can also launch nuclear weapons).

Both China's rocket and spacecraft are derived from Soviet Soyuz designs. Photo Credit: Xinhua/Wang Jianmin

Some have raised concerns about the nation’s human rights track record. It should be noted however that Russia had similar issues before being included in the International Space Station program.

“In the early 1990’s, some at NASA thought having Russian cosmonauts on the Space Shuttle would mean giving away trade secrets to the competition,” said Pat Duggins, author of the book Trailblazing Mars. “It turned out Russian crew capsules saved the International Space Station when the Shuttles were grounded after the Columbia accident in 2003. So, never say never on China, I guess.”

Duggins is not the only space expert who feels that China would make a good companion when mankind once again ventures out past low-Earth-orbit.

“One of the findings of the Augustine Commission was that the international framework that came out of the ISS program is one of the most important. It should be used and expanded upon for use in international beyond-LEO human space exploration,” said Dr. Leroy Chiao a veteran of four launches and a member of the second Augustine Commission. “My personal belief is that countries like China, which is only the third nation able to launch astronauts, should be included. My hope is that the politics will align soon, to allow such collaboration, using the experience that the US has gained in working with Russia to bring it about.”

Not everyone is completely convinced that China will be as valuable an asset as the Russians have proven themselves to be however.

“It is an interesting scenario with respect to the Chinese participation in an international effort in space. The U.S. has made some tremendous strides in terms of historical efforts to bridge the gap with the Russians and the results have been superb,” said Robert Springer a two-time space shuttle veteran. “The work that has resulted in the successful completion of the International Space Station is an outstanding testimony to what can be done when political differences are set aside in the interest of International cooperation. So, there is a good model of how to proceed, driven somewhat by economic realities as well as politics. I am not convinced that the economic and political scenario bodes well for similar results with the Chinese. It is a worthwhile goal to pursue, but I am personally not convinced that a similar outcome will be the result, at least not in the current environment.”

China's journey into space has just begun, but it remains to be seen if they will be going it alone or as part of a partnership. Photo Credit: Xinhua

48 Replies to “Can China enter the international space family?”

  1. Nope, sorry can’t enter the space family.Instead try ordering special #12 Happy Family.

  2. They’re joining the family with or without our blessing. My Hope is that they’ll inspire some degree of interest in furthering interest in our local program here in the States, either way I would whole heartedly encourage the Chinese to pursue a future in space faring if for no other reason than to see some member of my species pick up the gauntlet and meet the challenge of manned space exploration.

    1. The headline is in reference to them potentially joining into a coalition like what we see on ISS now – not them becoming a spacefaring nation.

  3. Funny, I already thought that they had.

    Also, Robert Springer words here are a little skewed China is not suffering in the economic downturn occurring in the US. In fact, it is booming and growing in leaps and bounds. I’d be assuming he is softening the blow of the arrival of another space-fairing superpower.

    As for saying “China due to concerns about the use of what are known as dual-use technologies (rockets that can launch astronauts can also launch nuclear weapons)“, is frankly unnecessarily alarmist.
    Surely rockets design for human flight carry more weight and technology than one or a few nuclear weapons in some ICBM.

    The last question is why is China increasing its presence in apace. Could it be like the American program just a source of national pride, too? It is not just exclusive to the United States, you know.

  4. Surely the original space race was founded on ‘dual use’ technology so let’s not get into the whole Red Menace garbage again. The East-West superpower struggle has moved on, slightly, from the naked idealogical dogma which characterised the late 1950’s onwards. The fact that there is cooperation between the U.S., Russia and China means there is less chance of lobbing ICBMs at each other. And HSBC says, they’re already here.

  5. I completely agree with Paul Eaton-Jones. The costs and resources are so vast and the intentions so ambitious it seems insane not to set up some kind of world space programme to which those with the resources may contrubute. Surely the worst mistake would be the duplication of the necessary work due to the intransigence of the self-interested?

  6. China is one of the leading nations when it comes to engineering and technology. I think that if they were to join the US and Russia it would make space exploration that more faster and efficient.

    Of course theres the risk about the nuclear weapons but come on if they wanted nuclear weapons they can do it on there own.


    1. China is a nuclear armed nation already. In fact they have fairly advanced delivery systems as well.


  7. I agree with HSBC et al on China/Russia.

    The International Space Station (ISS) is just now starting to produce some of the valuable science that was the station’s selling point from the beginning.

    I’ve said it before and I am no doubt having to say it many times in the future: ISS has delivered massive amounts of research even before being fully manned of late. IIRC some 200 papers in the first 5 years of operation, which considering the staff (and it having practically no time for research) would make any lab proud. (One can ask if it was a good output on money invested; but after all ISS is more than a research outpost.)

    You can find the records on the NASA site.

  8. After some serious thought, I am disturbed by the article’s author using the word “boondoggle” — a term used for a scheme that wastes time and money — for the ISS.

    Could not such a word also be applied to the whole US space program as well? I mean, your country faces its worse economic crises for ages, the local unemployed has gone through the roof, and you have one of the worst records in regards poverty of any current Western nation.

    I fail to honestly see what has this to do with China’s space program?

    Are you expecting China here to take up the shortfall of manned exploration while the NASA and the commercial enterprises are creating their next phase of launch vehicles?

    As for; “Not everyone is completely convinced that China will be as valuable an asset..”

    A valuable asset to whom? I.e. American or Russian interests getting to the space station?

    1. I’m not the one who used the word boondoggle – I used that terminology because that’s what the ISS has been called by journalists at the Orlando Sentinel and other media outlets. I used that term specifically BECAUSE it has cropped up repeatedly.

      I don’t write in a vacuum. Your comments highlight an issue many internet-users suffer from, they hear a single comment or catchphrase and then create their opinion on that. This article was written after conducting SEVERAL interviews from a broad range of experts in the field. It was also written after hours and hours of research.

    2. After a review of your comments I’m confused – you skip the THREE quotes that are positive to including China into the international space family (Wayne Hale, Pat Duggins, Leroy Chaio) and focus on a single quote, the concerns that have been expressed by the U.S. government and others concerned with their human rights issues and other issues. Also, as stated, in my previous response – this article isn’t based on opinions – excluding the comments from the experts who graciously provided their time to be interviewed – the facts are the facts.

      After I read your comments I did a brief review of issues with China and their inclusion in space – ANYONE that takes a milisecond to do so – will see most of the statements in this article are not only nothing new – and are easily accessible to those that bother.

      Alarmist? Sorry – these issues were express by the U.S. government – give them a call – don’t shoot the messenger.

      Lastly, journalism is supposed to be unbiased and includes ALL view points – not just yours. Personally? I support including China into any efforts beyond LEO, I think it would dramatically reduce cost. This isn’t a blog post, it’s an article, there’s a difference between the two – you should look into it.

  9. I think I’ll take a ‘wait and see’ approach on this one and hope in the mean time that the Chinese are using only the very best materials and tools because every other Chinese tool I’ve ever owned either broke or otherwise wore out or failed shortly after being put into service…. batteries, duct tape, plastic housings for tools, tools, baby formula(!), etc, etc… Om… cheesey construction and bad designs? in space? Good luck on that!

  10. Thanks William928, however when people get obnoxious – I tend not to pull punches.

    Robert Springer’s comments were taken out of context, people seem to have picked up the nasty habit of ‘selective reading.’ He, however, is more gracious than I, here is what he said when I talked to him today:

    “I just wish people would read the whole thing in context–eg, i think I stated clearly that I would like to work with the Chinese–just don’t think the political, economic, social, military scenario will support it . Interesting thing I learned in working with NATO–something the Europeans generally understand, but not many Americans–it is not just the scientific, or the economic or the political or…it is a combination of all of the factors that eventually lead to a conclusion and decision. Just my thoughts, no way do I take offense, everyone is entitled to their own position.”

    1. Sorry, I disagree with you on the “selective reading”, here.

      I made a mistake saying “by the article’s author”, which was wrong, but I honestly didn’t know who quoted the ISS as being “‘100 billion boondoggle.'” (I assumed it was you, as the words are not attributed to anyone.)

      I only made my comment after thinking about the rather unfamiliar word “boondoggle”, and after reading the article several times, I read this as implying the Chinese space program was also “a scheme that wastes time and money.” This context meaning the prime motive to join in cooperative ventures.

      I would also point out that your writing structure is fairly unusual. The article starts on a negative by talking about the cost of the ISS surrounded by images of the Chinese rocket, and ends on a negative by basically saying it is unlikely to happen. In the middle you talk of China’s accomplishments so far, then follows by negatives on the possibility of using the technology for nuclear weaponry and their human rights track record.

      Pat Duggins, comments are thenpositive, though even then, he quote end, stitting on the fence; “…I guess.” Only Dr. Leroy Chiao comment seems to have the only true support of the concept.

      In the end, the reader answering the question posed; “Can China enter the international space family?”, is mostly “No” from the evidence presented in the article. Even your own comment says; “The headline is in reference to them potentially joining into a coalition like what we see on ISS now – not them becoming a spacefaring nation.” From this whole article, we can only conclude either 1) You don’t think it is possible, or 2) There are too many negatives for such a venture to occur.

      (This is not a criticism, it is the facts as I read it.)

      As for Robert Springer, his response is appreciated. His point about “…political, economic, social, military scenario” is important.

      Frankly, I can see China’s point of view too, and I understand, other than scientific co-operation of space exploration, why they might want to go it alone.

      I.e. They see space as an opportunity, as the American in the 1960s, to improve the technological capabilities. They also see the Moon as an opportunity in the long term goal of using its minerals as an economic and practical resource, etc. Clearly this is for their own country’s benefit, and it would be against cooperation.

      As for being “obnoxious” is fairly subjective. Can a point of view on a blog really be obnoxious if one honestly believes what they are saying is realistic even though others may disagree? As the French say; Ce sont choses bien différentes. — They are quite different things.
      As Robert says; Like me and you, William928 is entitled to his opinion. Just my thoughts.

  11. Honestly I am skeptical about China’s capacity to contribute as well. Given their history of catastrophic system failure (1995 and 1996 accidents involving Long March rockets) one instance of which claimed more lives than any other space related accident in history (I realize no space program is without its risks or accidents, but seriously? 80 houses? Maybe that wasn’t a great place to launch from…) and the fact that they are playing catch-up and generally aren’t too open to negotiation with the West on things like military and energy issues (two very important fields or orbital exploitation), it seems unlikely that collaboration is either probable or desirable. India on the other hand has been very good at attaching themselves to RU projects in order to gain experience while developing technology that compliments and competes with US and RU technologies (i.e. AVATAR) as opposed to tackling the benchmarks the previously stated two space-faring nations set years ago.

    1. And like the others you missed the point. The headline is to infer whether or not they should be included into partnerships such as the ISS project.

  12. Loved this: “space is a great forum for diplomacy.”

    We should therefore launch the UN into space.

  13. @AQUA: I concur completely. Jason, don’t take too much heed in HSBC’s comments, he’s practicing his anti-U.S. rhetoric again. Really Crumb, why don’t you stick to comments that demonstrate your obvious expertise in many areas of Astronomy and Cosmology, and back off on the repeated attacks on the United States. As I’ve said before, it’s growing tiresome.

    1. I disagree. I have said nothing anti-US here.
      All I was doing is pointing out that some of the perspectives presented by the US space commentators assumes an awful lot. I.e. That China’s space goals are the same as the Russia and American. (They are not obligated to do space exploration on an international basis, BTW.)
      Worrying, for example, that China wants to use their space technology to develop some ICBM program to launch nuclear weapons, is far fetched at best. Did America development in its space program to go to the Moon in the 1960’s also to develop ICBM’s? Of course not.
      I am personally a strong proponent of the concept of international partnership in space exploration — but it has to be fair and honest. (Some of my previous comments on other UT stories in suggesting international co-operation with US space program have also meet with harsh criticism too — mostly because they think Americans would have to contribute the most.)
      In the end, I think China is doing it for national pride, just as Russia did when they launched the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, on the 12 April 1961.

      Why should China get involved with others, when America and Russia human space programs already have serious problems due to US debt, funding restraints and the severe impact of the current economic crisis. (Saying that isn’t anti-US, it is the truth!)

      Furthermore, what I think you are really saying here if the story is pro-US I am welcome to comment, if it is anti-US then you don’t want to here about it. It does seems that freedom of speech seems only to apply among Americans but not to anyone else.

      1. HSBC, this is the problem I have noticed in the US general discourse as of late. Anytime anyone mentions domestic problems, they are labeled anti-US, or somehow unpatriotic Americans.

        I believe, this is an unfortunate result of right-wing elements within the country. These ideologues offer no solutions in their policy platforms. Thus these forces tend to try to “pretend these problems don’t exist” by decoupling their followers from reality.

        All great ideas for political victories – bad ideas for the USA as a whole.


    2. My lady love and I are both American’s, but lately have both been practicing a little anti-U.S. rhetoric here at home, especially after watching any evening’s news. SHE thinks that its WAY too late for the redemption of this country and that we should get the hell out! While I have faith that there are more good Americans than bad and that the ‘Old Gal’ will pull through with colors flying! As for someone reminding us of our folly’s, thanks for your concern…. we’re working on it!

  14. @Crumb “Could not such a word also be applied to the whole US space program as well? I mean, your country faces its worse economic crises for ages, the local unemployed has gone through the roof, and you have one of the worst records in regards poverty of any current Western nation.”

    If we could call in every marker from around the globe and had any hope to collect, we would be able to continue the race and have a huge surplus to pay back our debts to boot! I won’t post any links but, the numbers are out there if you take the time to search and it is “astounding”!
    While I’m at it, I’d also pose that China’s “overnight” technological rise (both commercially and militarily) was the result of either espionage, for profit technology transfer or just plain freeworld generosity or should I say stupidity. Tell me, what “unique” product has come from China since it’s dive into capitalism? They are smart though; it’s a lot more economical if you skip that mundane r&d stuff and go right into manufacturing knock offs of others intellectual property and that includes computers, planes, boats, and rocketry.
    Sorry Fraser, I’ve broken the rules but everybody, including our so called friends, seems to want to knock us off the top of the mountain and I’m frankly sick of it. Answer this, where would you be if we weren’t here?

    1. Bit out of context; I referred to the word. “boondoggle” — a term used for a scheme that wastes time and money.
      All I said was if you claim that the IIS is “a scheme that wastes time and money.”, then the same could be implied for the “whole US space program.”

      Didn’t Representative Gabrielle Giffords* say on the 9th January on the passed Bill cancelling Constellation and signed off by President Obama,; “…forces NASA to build a rocket that doesn’t meet its needs, with a budget that’s not adequate to do the job and on a schedule that NASA’s own analysis says is unrealistic.” Is that not a boondoggle, too?

      As for my quote here, I suggest you read this news story of 3rd Jan 2011 US Republicans arm for Congress battles”, especially;

      The Republican bid to rein in spending appears focused in part on the nation’s debt ceiling.
      The United States is about 400 billion dollars away from hitting the current debt ceiling of 14.3 trillion dollars. But fiscal conservatives in Congress are opposed to raising the limit, believing it is already high enough.

      So, please, where is this statement false?

      As for the rest of your over-the-top patriotic vitriol, oh dear oh dear.

      Yes. America has done a lot of good in the world, and it also has done a lot of wrong things too. Same idea applies to many other countries. Let’s see. So what do you want to supplant your gratitude, you know, being mere vassals to humbly serve you and bow down to you? Who knew that the hand of friendship might cost (literally) so much?

      As I said to William928; “It does seems that freedom of speech seems only to apply among Americans but not to anyone else.” Thanks for confirming this.

      * All hope and pray for her making a good recovery.

  15. The Chinese always look far down the road, it is their culture. Their goal is always to benefit the Chinese first, all else is secondary. I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, it is just the way it is. They are working at gaining full control of all production of rare earth minerals, as that is where the future wealth of the world will come from. They know that the moon is the next big source for the minerals and will be worth trillions, so they have to be certain that they are the ones to lay claim. I doubt seriously that they will truly be interested in any partnership if it means they may have to share that wealth. They could play along for short term gains, but in the long run, they will take control of the moon if no one else is there first. I imagine they were inscrutable, but quite pleased when the US said we would bypass the moon for an asteroid. The abacuses were likely clicking for days. I think they will talk a good lot, but shoot for the moon.

    1. True. As is saying;
      “The Americans* always look far down the road, it is their culture. Their goal is always to benefit the Americans* first, all else is secondary. I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, it is just the way it is.”

      * Or substitute people of choice.

  16. Oh, I forgot poverty;

    Business Insider : 15 Shocking Facts About Poverty In America by Michael Snyder.

    He says; “Already, millions upon millions of Americans are slipping out of the middle class and into the devastating grip of poverty. Statistic after statistic proves that the middle class in the United States is shrinking month after month after month.’

    Do a Google search “poverty in america”, you’ll get 3.2 million hits!

    * Note : Many other countries also are having similar problems with the poor and homeless, too. I have no intent of berating the US for this happening, and only wrote this to support my statements made here. If they are false, I’m quite happy to retract them.

  17. It has just dawned on me what this article is about.

    It is like someone wanting to join a exclusive social club, who had the Committee of the organisation assessing its application for membership. However, in this case, the applicant hasn’t asked to be a member as yet, and hasn’t even written out the application form!
    Still the Committee wants to know if they are suitable for improving or advancing their said Club.

    The Chairman could be Congressman Frank Wolf, who once wrote;

    “It should go without saying that NASA has no business cooperating with the Chinese regime of human spaceflight. China is taking an increasingly aggressive posture globally, and their interests rarely intersect with ours.”

    I also found this little tidbit, that is highly relevant to this debate on US moved towards China on space cooperation, which partially responded to the quote above;

    Letter From NASA Administrator Bolden to Rep. Wolf Regarding China

    In this it says;

    Let me stress again that NASA’s interactions with Chinese organizations will continue to be based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity, and mutual benefit and conducted with appropriate interagency coordination. NASA’s interaction with Chinese entities will be in accordance with existing law and policy, and any specific future opportunities for potential cooperation will be coordinated through interagency review prior to formalization with Chinese partners.

    Interesting indeed!!

    1. The Congressman’s letter that were sent to President Obama, with some other useful info, appears in the link in the following article at; NASA Administrator’s China visit draws congressional ire – October 13, 2010.

      Wolf makes perfectly clear of his objections. I.e.

      I have just been made aware that NASA Administrator Bolden will be traveling to Beijing, China, this week to begin a dialogue on human space flight cooperation between NASA and the China National Space Administration (CNSA). I have grave concerns about the nature and goals of China’s space program and strongly oppose any cooperation between NASA and CNSA’s human space flight programs without Congressional authorization.

  18. Sorry, I didn’t respond sooner but, some of us have a life outside this forum.

    “Bit out of context; I referred to the word. “boondoggle” — a term used for a scheme that wastes time and money.
    All I said was if you claim that the IIS is “a scheme that wastes time and money.”, then the same could be implied for the “whole US space program.”
    “As for the rest of your over-the-top patriotic vitriol, oh dear oh dear.
    Yes. America has done a lot of good in the world, and it also has done a lot of wrong things too. Same idea applies to many other countries. Let’s see. So what do you want to supplant your gratitude, you know, being mere vassals to humbly serve you and bow down to you? Who knew that the hand of friendship might cost (literally) so much?

    Whoa mate, friends like you we could do without. Are you and the rest of the world upset that our piggy bank is running on empty? No more freebies? Go outside and look up. How many U.S. spacecraft are up there gathering science for “all” the world to freely access. If we could put a kitty in all the labs around the world and have those scientists drop a nickle every time they access this data….Phffft, I do believe I’m wasting time here.
    Btw, I do recognize the contributions of others, in the free world.

    1. As they say in World of Warcraft…
      “Your arrogance will be your undoing.”

      Give you evidence to back up my claims, and all you can do is pretend it is all an illusion. You poor sap!

  19. Arguing proper etiquette for the use of Chopsticks in space seems kind of frivolous, now doesn’t it? Actually, with a couple little ribbons and some velcro patches on the sleeves… you could keep track of them! HO!

  20. My arrogance? Now that’s funny. I am not oblivious to the quagmire that we have allowed ourselves to fall into. I don’t need pages of rhetoric and links to editorial from you to remind me; I do keep up with current events as time permits. The sole intent of my response to you was to simply say I and others here, could do without the anti-American undertones that you so subtlety slip into your responses. Yes, I am old and have fond memories of an America where pride, and the sense of values that founded this nation meant something. Maybe it has just faded a bit and will rise again but, I fear I won’t be around to see

    1. I clearly stated my comments were not anti-American, but a realistic appraisal of the position of the US space program and of China. Saying America fears China’s rising economic power is not an understatement; and from the recent statements from your commentators and your elected representatives. America sees it with suspicion and future conflict, China sees it as continued modernisation.
      As an non-American observer I do see both points of view, but if I express contrary to the American position that does not necessarily make me anti-American. In my opinion, this story is particularly skewed, and makes incorrect assumptions of China’s position.
      Holding America with pride is commendable, and that I cannot berate you for having those feelings, but also so does China and other places they feel the same too about their countries. In a forum (and even on a diplomatic level) with so of many different cultures and countries, general clashes are bound to happen.
      In future, will take your concerns expressed here into consideration.

      1. One aspect of Americdan foreign policy that used to worry me a few years ago was the Bush Doctrine one part of which, if I remember, broadly stated that the U.S. reserved the right to intervene in any country that sought to outstrip America militarily whether that country was an ally or ‘enemy’. Now that was scary. However, that aside I DO think America has earned the right to the gratitude of nations for bank-rolling the recovery of the world following WW2, leading innovations in the ‘space race’ and other things too many to mention. Unfortunately every nation/empire has its dark, bulling and plain nasy side and we often tend to pick on that rather than be even-handed.

      2. I have this recurring dream where I am in control,
        It’s a no win situation tearing at my soul

        …about sums it up!

        As for; “I DO think America has earned the right to the gratitude of nations for bank-rolling the recovery of the world following WW2…”
        Well most of them did pay the money back and with interest, you know. I.e. Britain from the end of WWII finishing in 1996 ($4.4bn lent, $7.5bn paid back). (The even aid back those for WWI.) Even Russia did so on 27th March, 2009.
        The truth is America (and a matter of fact that applies to nearly all other countries) might have contributed, but the dark side is they’ve always expected something in return and written into the contract.

      3. I agree. In fact we in Britain only finally paid back our loan 4 four years ago. But had America not stepped in everything would have taken far longer to get back to ‘normality’. Btw, I’m not an apologist for U.S. policy, domestic or foreign. You’re bang on with the comment about something being written into the contract – Japan giving up belief in the divinity of the emperor and adopting western-style democracy; Germany running their reconstruction in line with U.S. say so [a bit of a sweeping generalisation] etc etc.

      4. The Bush Doctrine was great let us sleep well at night after eight years of Bill Clinton’s mistakes. We don’t usally don’t elect our presidents because the rest of the world feels safe with them in our office, I rather like it the other way. The Chicoms abused us during Clinton.

  21. I have no idea why my previous post was sent before I finished it but I think you get the message. I’ll just add that the other reason for the anti-Chinese sentiment that I included was that this “white devil” as they refer to us, was a victim of their two faced business dealings back in the early era following the “most favored nation” status we bestowed upon them. They do not honor patent protection or intellectual property rights. They are ruthless and cunning without any sense of business ethics whatsoever.

    1. I do not have such dramatic fears — especially with their current developments in their space program. That is my point of view.

      1. “I do not have such dramatic fears —….”
        Rio Tinto et al is just the tip of the iceberg for Australia and any one else that expects to do business with China.
        Again, they have clearly demonstrated that they will crush anyone that gets in their path to world domination.
        Keep the faith mate.

      2. Good point, which I cannot disagree with.
        Made me mad as hell, too.
        My biggest fear is the influence of the PLA (People’s Liberation army) and especially their General Political Department. (These conscripted folk are in most western countries, and worst, you wouldn’t know about them even if they were sitting next to you. Worst, the PLA is responsible for the Chinese space program. The western collaboration of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) , though China asked to join this group, but was declined membership in 2004 on trust regarding exports of technology. Since then the west has continued to try and associate the connection with the PLA and ICBM missile platforms. In this instance, the distrust goes both ways — something U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates was trying to smooth over a day or two ago at Qinqhe near Beijing. merde alors!

  22. As an aside, the only debt that Britain paid back was a loan made in 1945 for payment on shipments of goods that were already in transit. All other grants made to Britain during WWII were made under the lend-lease act, and was never paid back.

    A total of $50.1 billion (equivalent to $759 billion at 2008 prices) worth of supplies were shipped under lend-lease: $31.4 billion to Britain, $11.3 billion to the Soviet Union, $3.2 billion to France and $1.6 billion to China.

    One quote from the article is particularly agravating to me:

    “The one thing that the world learned early on from the ISS experience is that space is a great forum for diplomacy. One time arch-rivals now work side by side on a daily basis.”

    The people working side-by-side have likely never been rivals. Their governments are rivals, and likely continue to be. It reminds me of Phil Donahue’s telecast to the Soviet Union during the 80’s with the intent to reduce tensions between the US and USSR by showing how alike we are. Quite naive.

  23. For me, comparing the practicality and wisdom of including the PRC in the 1st World space-faring collective with the former initiative of including the Russians leaves the case for including the PRC a tad short in two all important scores. It is also much like the comparing of apples to oranges.

    Though they lost the race to the Moon, the USSR/Russian Federation was/is still the founding member of the 1st world space-faring collective. The Russians did win the first two important races–first launch of a satellite into orbit and first orbit and successful return to Earth of a human cosmonaut/astronaut. Had their N-1 heavy lifter not failed due to plumbing problems they couldn’t solve, possibly the USSR might have won the race to the Moon, also.

    Other notable firsts were: the first intercontinental ballistic missile (1957), first animal in space (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first Moon impact (1959) and unmanned landing, first space rover, first space station, and first interplanetary probe. It’s also worth noting that at the time the USA began partnering seriously with the USSR, the Russians were hands down the preeminent authorities on long duration manned space missions and space station technology.

    On the political scene, there was glasnost and perestroika, followed by divestiture of the Soviet Empire client states, collapse of the USSR and what in Russia passes for democracy ascendent with the rise of the Russian Federation. START I of 31Jul1991 reduced ICBM and thermonuke counts. More substantive treaties and agreements followed. The Soviet navy went to pot, much of the aggressive military presence was disbanded. Many missiles were re-targeted. Cuba was cut loose to go it alone.

    The PRC, while making great strides, isn’t presently in the same league as the US and the Russian Federation. Viewed across the board, the PRC space program isn’t clearly superior to that of the ESA, or JAXA, either. They have yet to develop a reliable heavy lifter launch vehicle on their own.

    Politically, the PRC is most definitely a totalitarian regime, more ultra-socialistic than communistic, ruled by a small oligarchy. Militarily, China has never ceased to maintain a threatening stature despite massive world trade involvement. The Chinese Central Bank wields the yuan in support of predatory trade practices. Patents and copyrights mean little to nothing, as piracy and violations abound. Repetitive Internet cyber-attacks have been traced back to the Chinese. The oligarchy will do nothing to restrain and/or muzzle the deranged North Korean dictatorship next door. Chinese policies are often discordant or obstreperous in the UN. Premeditated blowing up of its own satellite in orbit to prove a militaristic point created international consternation and space logistics problems…the list goes on with all the items militating against prospects for including China as a reliable space-faring ally. On balance, it is very doubtful of the prevailing space-faring collective will ever include the PRC into the club. Dealing closely with the PRC in space appears to be all downside, and no to low upside.

  24. Sorry mate but the world did not sleep well after Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld decided that it would neat to take down [their words if I remember it] any country that sought to outstrip America in military terms. As a citizen of the UK, allegedly the biggest supporter of the U.S., it was a shock to learn that we were in the same target sights as North Korea et al. [And there are areas where countries are ahead of America in certain aspects.] But that’s what happens when a population elects a dullard as its leader. You get what you deserve. Pity really as it impacts on the rest of the disinterested world.

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