…that we can’t afford to lose, but this administration doesn’t even recognize that we’re in it.
The People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping is pushing his People’s Liberation Army (which he also runs, so his push has weight) to increase its ability to deny us access to our space-based assets in a crisis of the PRC’s definition.
Visiting air force headquarters in Beijing, Xi, who is also head of the military, told officers “to speed up air and space integration and sharpen their offensive and defensive capabilities[.]”
Notice that—offensive capability. The PRC has no intention merely of defending itself; it’s developing capabilities to engage in naked aggression, Russian-style. This is underscored with Xi’s openly stated goal of transforming the PRC into a “space superpower.”
In the other pan of this balance sits us. We have no space program worthy of the name; instead we must beg rides from Russia just to get as far as the ISS. We have no plans for returning to space, either—just grandiose chit-chat about going to the moon, to Mars, maybe to an asteroid. We don’t even have a serious space defense capability: we shut down our anti-satellite capability in the ’70s, and we closed off our missile defense capability at Russia’s demand.
We do have a developing private enterprise industry aimed at non-governmental access to earth orbit, and that’s to the good. These companies also are interested in going farther afield in the solar system, but that will take more time than the PRC is prepared to allow, and private enterprise hasn’t the necessary defensive capabilities in any event.