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Space Race Bad – China

Orion will start a space race with China
Reynolds 2 (Glenn Harlan, Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, Sep 18, [] AD: 7-9-11, jam)

Last week, I wrote about Orion, the nuclear-pulse-powered spacecraft (well, really, a nuclear-explosion-powered spacecraft) and suggested that it might be the favored tool of junior powers looking to leapfrog the United States' position in outer space. This week I'm going to outline just how that might happen. Imagine that you're, say, China. Used to thinking of your nation as the center of the world for thousands of years, and still, at some level, regarding China's relative impotence and backwardness over the past two or three centuries as a mere interlude in history, you'd like to restore things to what you consider normal. You could, of course, become a liberal capitalist democracy, free up your citizens' talents and energy, and let the resulting wealth turn you into a superpower over a few decades. And there's always the hope that China will follow this very path, as India (most of the time, at least) appears to be doing. But the problem with the liberal-democracy route is that it may make the nation as a whole richer and more powerful, but it will endanger the positions and power of a lot of people along the way. That sort of thing makes the command-economy, big-project, military-industrial approach an appealing alternative. At any rate, a China (or, for that matter, perhaps even an India) looking to make a splash and anxious to get around the United States' supremacy in military (and civilian) space activity might well consider Orion to be appealing. China is not a signatory to the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which bars nuclear explosions in the atmosphere and outer space, so that legal barrier would be out of the way. China has acceded to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, but that treaty bans only the stationing of nuclear "weapons" in outer space, and there is a plausible argument that nuclear explosives designed to propel a spacecraft are not "weapons" for the purposes of the Treaty. With international law thus neutralized, the only remedy would be for people to either (1) start a war; or, short of that, (2) to threaten to shoot down the spacecraft, which probably would amount to starting a war anyway. (Jimmy Carter, the least bellicose of American presidents, said that an attack on a U.S. satellite or spacecraft would be treated as an act of war, and it seems unlikely that the Chinese would take a more pacific approach than Carter.) And even if shooting down the spacecraft were thought unlikely to lead to war, it would be unlikely to succeed - the Orion spacecraft would be huge, fast, and designed to survive in the neighborhood of a nuclear explosion: a very difficult target indeed. The chief restraint on China would thus be world opinion, something to which the Chinese have not shown themselves particularly susceptible. This would be especially true if the Chinese sprung it as a surprise, which they very well might. Much of the physics and engineering behind Orion is already well-known, and - given that American designers working with puny 1960-vintage computer technology saw the problems as tractable - it's very likely that the Chinese could manage to design and build an Orion craft within a few years of deciding to. Hiding Orion-related work probably wouldn't be very hard, either. China already has extensive space and nuclear-weapons programs, which would tend to conceal the existence of Orion-type research. And much of the necessary research and design work on Orion - involving, as it does, things like the resonance of huge steel plates and massive hydraulic shock absorbers - wouldn't look like space-related research even to an American intelligence agency that discovered it. At least, not unless the intelligence analysts were familiar with Orion, and had the possibility in mind. And how likely is that? Will we wake up one day to find that a 4,000-ton Chinese spacecraft has climbed to orbit from Inner Mongolia on a pillar of nuclear fireballs and is now heading to establish a base on the Moon? It wouldn't be the first time America has had such a surprise, now would it?

Space Race Bad – Link Magnifier – China

The threshold is low – China perceive the plan aggressively
Yoshihara 3 (Toshi, the John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies @ U.S Naval War College, Oct 16, [] AD: 7-9-11, jam)

But, for once, its self-promotion is well deserved. Indeed, this first step into space promises more economic and technological advances for China while burnishing the prestige of a ruling regime still in search of an alternative to its ailing communist ideology. However, amid the fanfare, a more important implication of this technological feat is being drowned out -- the military dimension of China`s space program and its potential challenges to US national security interests. Indeed, China`s rise as a major space power is already being perceived in Washington as a looming challenge to US space supremacy. It is no secret that the Chinese military controls the resources and the direction of China`s space program. From the program`s inception, China`s space ambitions have been couched in strategic terms. And the dual-use nature of space technologies means that most advances in the civilian space sector -- about 95 percent -- can be converted for military purposes. How then, do the military aspects of China`s space program intersect with US national security interests? First, China views US intentions in space with great suspicion. Washington`s declaration that it intends to maintain overwhelming space superiority above all other nations (and perhaps militarize space in the process) does not sit well with the Chinese.

Space wars escalate quickly and spread to earth

Clary and Krepon 3 (Christopher Clary – south asian defense specialist @ Council on Foreign Relations, and Michael Krepon – Politics prof @ Virginia U, 4/2/3, JPG

The inherent escalatory potential of satellite warfare between the United States and a major power such as China is exposed by such anodyne calculations. Any analysis of this scenario for preemptive attacks on space assets—whether initiated by the United States or by China—cannot assume that strikes would be confined to satellites. Moreover, escalation control in this scenario must be considered a highly dubious proposition. After all, the purpose of attacking objects in space, or attacking terrestrial targets from space, is to affect the conduct of military operations on Earth. It is therefore exceedingly hard to envision warfare in space that does not spread elsewhere, whether by asymmetric, conventional, or unconventional means. The resulting combat is likely to be less discriminating and proportional, and far more lethal, either because the stronger party has lost satellites used for targeting and precision guidance, or because the weaker party is unlikely to be concerned about collateral damage. Concepts of limited warfare and escalation control that were intimately associated with nuclear deterrence during the Cold War have not been propounded by U.S. advocates of space warfare. To engage in tit-for-tat, controlled warfare against satellites would suggest that the first kill of a satellite in the history of armed conflict would reflect a mere quest for balance or a novel form of message sending. The rationales provided by proponents of space control are notably different. The object of acquiring space warfare capabilities is to win, not to tie. In other words, U.S. advocates of space warfare capabilities are less interested in deterrence than in dominance and compellance.

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