2:38 PM, Jan 19, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Reaction to the Chinese ASAT test has been pretty wide ranging over the past couple of days. At the one end, a bunch of folks blame Bush for failing to propose a new international treaty on space weapons. According to Theresa Hitchens, that, and the president's new national space policy, have prompted the Chinese to stage this test as a means of forcing negotiations in "a classic cold war technique." Other comments have been rather dismissive of either the level of expertise this test represents or the impact it will have on bilateral relations.
Arms Control Wonk has been all over this story and brings word of the reaction from Russia, which, unsurprisingly, fits nicely with the take of the blame Bush crowd. From an interview with General Leonid Ivashov, vice-preseident of the Russian Academy of Geopolitcal Affairs:
Space.com spoke with Joan Johnson-Freese, chair of the Naval War College's department of national security decision making and an expert on Chinese space policy, who doubted that there would be any serious fallout from the test:
Maybe, but John Pike tells Defense Tech that we should "expect one or two more tests like this every year, for a long time." If Pike is right, it's unlikely that the relationship between China and the United States will be unaffected.
Finally, John, blogging at OpFor, thinks the Chinese test isn't nearly so impressive as reports would have it.
True enough, the Chinese haven't exactly pushed the limits of modern technology. Still, our ability to strike Chinese satellites is largely irrelevant. The Chinese don't rely on satellite technology to fight, but we do. Again, John Pike:
The Chinese, he said, simply "don't have satellites worth attacking."