Sabre-rattling for space war

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EdgePenguin
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Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgePenguin » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:25 pm UTC

I've been disheartened to read hawkish talk about China's space program recently, and having done a bit of research this seems to have been going on a while. Here are just some examples of what I'm talking about:

http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon/2012/ ... -the-moon/
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badas ... ace-effort
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peter ... dominance/
http://www.space.com/11646-china-space- ... tates.html

I expect this sort of crap from the US military, who has the stated aim of the conquest of the entire Universe and mind control of all its inhabitants - but I'm hearing this from normal people, many who really should know better come out with comparable statements.

The desire of China to be able to operate independently in space can only be viewed as a threat to the US or anybody else if you start with the assumption that the US should control space, as per full spectrum dominance. This is clearly not in the interests of the 95% of the human race who are not Americans.

There is one thing that makes me think that such control may be actually attempted, rather just being some poorly-worded unrealistic fantasy of generals. Planetary Resources are going to try and commercially exploit asteroids. To do this, those asteroids need to be secured as property - and if any other power has comparable capability to Planetary Resources (likely by the time this is happening) that means the capability to defend that property with force. I've been surprised at how little consideration there has been given to the legal status of asteroids, or anything else in the solar system.

Would I be right in suspecting that many Americans feel that the US has some kind of 'manifest destiny' in space and can simply take what it wants? If Planetary Resources pay for any exploitation rights at all, it will be the the US government. The solar system is clearly the common heritage of all mankind, and this is recognised in the Outer Space Treaty, but I cannot imagine profit-making corporations or expansionist governments acknowledging that unless they are forced to.

So my question is, how do we all get along nicely in space?

NB I've previously blogged about the issues Planetary Resources may face, before I noticed the level of handwringing and alarming jingoism regarding China's space program: http://edgepenguin.com/content/asteroid.html - not strictly necessary for this discussion at hand, but tangentially related.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Griffin » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:32 pm UTC

Sabre-rattling for space war leads to more space stuff. I support this. It's the only reason we ever got to another planetary body, after all.
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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgePenguin » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:Sabre-rattling for space war leads to more space stuff. I support this. It's the only reason we ever got to another planetary body, after all.


That is an attitude (that Phil Plait seems to share) that really scares me. People put their morals, their sensibility aside because they want to see some progress in space, and think that this can only come via a Faustian pact with the military.

The sabre rattling itself might be good for space budgets - but if an actual conflict in space arises, the most likely outcome is everything in LEO being blasted into debris, and there won't be any more space stuff at all after that for quite a long time.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Griffin » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:42 pm UTC

I have serious doubts that any sabre rattling with china would reasonable lead to an actual space war, though.
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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgePenguin » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:47 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:I have serious doubts that any sabre rattling with china would reasonable lead to an actual space war, though.


If the stated aim of the US is to have total control of space, and the apparent aim of China is to have freedom of action in space, these two goals are mutually exclusive. It isn't going to come to a head soon, but without a change of policy it can only really end one way, sooner or later.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby sam_i_am » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:57 pm UTC

the US got to space first therefore we own it

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby morriswalters » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:48 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:
Griffin wrote:I have serious doubts that any sabre rattling with china would reasonable lead to an actual space war, though.


If the stated aim of the US is to have total control of space, and the apparent aim of China is to have freedom of action in space, these two goals are mutually exclusive. It isn't going to come to a head soon, but without a change of policy it can only really end one way, sooner or later.

You might want to worry about things closer to home. The US can't control space and neither can China. I suppose that it would too obvious to point out that most of space is empty volume. We could certainly deny each other certain orbital positions, but too much debris in critical elevations could deny everyone those orbits. Certainly we could each try to control certain assets such as lunar ice, but in any practical sense either side knows that if you can't control you can always deny. And if it gets ugly a war would be fought here, not out there.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby aoeu » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:51 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:
Griffin wrote:Sabre-rattling for space war leads to more space stuff. I support this. It's the only reason we ever got to another planetary body, after all.


That is an attitude (that Phil Plait seems to share) that really scares me. People put their morals, their sensibility aside because they want to see some progress in space, and think that this can only come via a Faustian pact with the military.

The sabre rattling itself might be good for space budgets - but if an actual conflict in space arises, the most likely outcome is everything in LEO being blasted into debris, and there won't be any more space stuff at all after that for quite a long time.

I don't see anything scary or amoral in the US not just sitting still waiting for others to catch up. You have to make a distinction between deserved dominance and undeserved dominance.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Derek » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:53 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:I expect this sort of crap from the US military, who has the stated aim of the conquest of the entire Universe and mind control of all its inhabitants - but I'm hearing this from normal people, many who really should know better come out with comparable statements.

I don't think you understand what "full spectrum dominance" means. It does not mean that the US claims exclusive ownership of space. It means that in the case of a war, the US should have the military capability to dominate space (and all other theaters of combat). This is the same status that the US (and before that, the UK) currently holds over the world's oceans, and probably much of the world's airspace. But you don't see the US claiming exclusive ownership of the oceans or sky.

For the world largest military power, with a desire to remain in that position, this is an entirely reasonable (if not practically or affordably attainable) goal.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgePenguin » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:04 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:You might want to worry about things closer to home. The US can't control space and neither can China. I suppose that it would too obvious to point out that most of space is empty volume. We could certainly deny each other certain orbital positions, but too much debris in critical elevations could deny everyone those orbits. Certainly we could each try to control certain assets such as lunar ice, but in any practical sense either side knows that if you can't control you can always deny. And if it gets ugly a war would be fought here, not out there.


They can control space in the sense that they have a far superior capacity to shoot down satellites, including military ones. But I agree that any battle in space is likely to end up with a Kessler syndrome, and facepalming all round.

aoue wrote:I don't see anything scary or amoral in the US not just sitting still waiting for others to catch up. You have to make a distinction between deserved dominance and undeserved dominance.


Deserved dominance? US dominance after WWII was largely a result of geography. The US is not inherently better than other nations, and in the modern era behaves a lot worse than many other nations. If you can't see that, I don't see much point continuing with you because you're blinded by nationalism.

Derek wrote:I don't think you understand what "full spectrum dominance" means. It does not mean that the US claims exclusive ownership of space. It means that in the case of a war, the US should have the military capability to dominate space (and all other theaters of combat). This is the same status that the US (and before that, the UK) currently holds over the world's oceans, and probably much of the world's airspace. But you don't see the US claiming exclusive ownership of the oceans or sky.


Your description of full spectrum dominance is essentially equivalent to "The US will only physically dominate space if things don't go its way" which is equivalent to owning it.

No, the US doesn't own the seas; but its plans for space seem more aggressive.

For the world largest military power, with a desire to remain in that position, this is an entirely reasonable (if not practically or affordably attainable) goal.


This isn't retaining the position of the US in the world, this is a potential threat to attempt to annex the solar system.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Ghostbear » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:45 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:Your description of full spectrum dominance is essentially equivalent to "The US will only physically dominate space if things don't go its way" which is equivalent to owning it.

No, the US doesn't own the seas; but its plans for space seem more aggressive.

You might want to read the definition of full spectrum dominance in the link you gave:
The cumulative effect of dominance in the air, land, maritime, and space domains and information environment that permits the conduct of joint operations without effective opposition or prohibitive interference

It's not just Derek's definition of full spectrum dominance: it's the actual definition of full spectrum dominance! The problem with straight up space dominance is that while I'm not sure the technology is 100% there yet, since the principal technology for anti-satellite weaponry is a missile and a method to launch it, it would be difficult to annihilate another nation's ability to counter-attack. It's essential another MAD doctrine, except it'd be of satellites instead of people. I have always read the space dominance in this sense as meaning essentially two things: (1) never allowing another nation to develop a space weapon that you do not have -- no kinetic bombardment or anti-ICBM tech unless you're the first one to have it, and (2) have complete superiority in satellite based information -- satellite communications, GPS, satellite imagery, and so on.

EdgePenguin wrote:This isn't retaining the position of the US in the world, this is a potential threat to attempt to annex the solar system.

Hyperbole much? The greatest extent I've seen of a jingoistic "this is ours and we're not sharing" of non-terrestrial solar entities from the US is with Luna, and even that I've only seen in the sense of "We don't want someone else to annex the whole thing before us!" and less "It's ours! Hands off!".

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Derek » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:47 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:Your description of full spectrum dominance is essentially equivalent to "The US will only physically dominate space if things don't go its way" which is equivalent to owning it.

No, the US doesn't own the seas; but its plans for space seem more aggressive.

If "The US will physically dominate space if things don't go our way" is equivalent to owning space, then how is "The US will physically dominate the oceans if things don't go our way" not equivalent to owning the oceans? The US already has this dominance of the seas, in a purely naval war it could take on almost any combination of other nations and win. So by your definition, how does the US not own the seas?

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby curtis95112 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:40 pm UTC

That's far too broad a definition of ownership.
You might as well say the US owns Iran since the US could (in theory) take over Iran if things don't go their way.
I don't know what the best definition of ownership would be, but if you have to start a war to make things go your way, you probably don't own it.
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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Soralin » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:50 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:To do this, those asteroids need to be secured as property

This statement is false. I am fairly certain that mining robots will work just as effectively regardless of whether the object they reside on is property or not.

On the legal side, there's the Outer Space Treaty(wiki, full text ) that both US and China (and 98 other countries) have signed, agreements that essentially say objects in space will not be claimed, will not be made property. As a consequence of that, anyone who is capable of doing so can mine them or explore them, or build stuff there, or such (As long as it's not military bases or nukes).

Property isn't needed to allow you to do something, you can do that without property, property just allows you to restrict someone else from doing something with that object. And there's already a treaty to govern interactions and behaviors, instead of property law. (As far as that holds)

(hmm, I just now notice that you actually did mention the treaty :) Oh well, still useful information)

Some relevant sections:
Article I

The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.

Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.

There shall be freedom of scientific investigation in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, and States shall facilitate and encourage international co-operation in such investigation.
Article II

Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.
Article VI

States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty. When activities are carried on in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, by an international organization, responsibility for compliance with this Treaty shall be borne both by the international organization and by the States Parties to the Treaty participating in such organization.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby SpiritOfRock » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:45 pm UTC

Soralin wrote:On the legal side, there's the Outer Space Treaty(wiki, full text ) that both US and China (and 98 other countries) have signed, agreements that essentially say objects in space will not be claimed, will not be made property. As a consequence of that, anyone who is capable of doing so can mine them or explore them, or build stuff there, or such (As long as it's not military bases or nukes).


While I don't doubt that that agreement has been made, when leaving the Earth's gravitational pull becomes less of an inconvenience, the idea of all of outer space belonging equally to everybody sounds about as appealing and pragmatic as the idea of all of the land belonging equally to everybody. What happens if two companies want to mine the same asteroid? Rock, Paper, Scissors? Or are celestial bodies simply neutral between countries but still capable of being property of an individual or conglomerate?

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby morriswalters » Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:05 pm UTC

We'll do what we always do, worry about it when the problem arises. I believe the treaties are an attempt to prevent the kind of thing that went on in the colonial period. However for the foreseeable future the possibility of having a gold rush scenario is probably moot. There is to much work involved just to get there.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgePenguin » Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:16 pm UTC

Soralin wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:To do this, those asteroids need to be secured as property

This statement is false. I am fairly certain that mining robots will work just as effectively regardless of whether the object they reside on is property or not.


It is not false. They don't work as well if someone else is trying to mine the same asteroid at the same time. Or if someone destroys them so they can get at said asteroid.

Ultimately, the Outer Space Treaty is not enforceable on the US (or China). It only still exists because its provisions aren't worth breaking, yet.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby morriswalters » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:24 pm UTC

Nobody said you couldn't mine the moon or the asteroids, what they said was that you couldn't call them national territory. We already have treaties like this today. Antarctica for example, is governed this way. This is an attempt to head off squabbles of the type that are taking place in the South China Seas over resources that exist on the seabed. And, hopefully, nobody is going to take the kind of action that could send an asteroid careening into the earth. The most practical part of the treaty, when it was written, was the part where we didn't put nukes in orbit.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Soralin » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:49 pm UTC

SpiritOfRock wrote:While I don't doubt that that agreement has been made, when leaving the Earth's gravitational pull becomes less of an inconvenience, the idea of all of outer space belonging equally to everybody sounds about as appealing and pragmatic as the idea of all of the land belonging equally to everybody. What happens if two companies want to mine the same asteroid? Rock, Paper, Scissors? Or are celestial bodies simply neutral between countries but still capable of being property of an individual or conglomerate?

EdgePenguin wrote:It is not false. They don't work as well if someone else is trying to mine the same asteroid at the same time. Or if someone destroys them so they can get at said asteroid.

Ultimately, the Outer Space Treaty is not enforceable on the US (or China). It only still exists because its provisions aren't worth breaking, yet.

Well if it's a decently sized asteroid, they might not have much trouble both mining it, depending on the methods used. And by the treaty, probably either just whoever is mining it is mining it, or cooperation on the matter, to the extent that it applies.

And yeah, it may just exist while it's not worth breaking it, but that will likely take a long time to happen. I mean, it's much easier and cheaper to just mine a different asteroid than to fight over it, there's quite an abundance of them around. There are around 9000 known near-earth asteroids, about 1000 of which are >1 km or so in size, and I've seen estimates of half a million or so >50 m in size. If that's not enough, the Asteroid belt has 1-2 million that are >1 km in size, and many millions more of smaller ones.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Byrel » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:11 pm UTC

I'm not all that concerned about such sabre-rattling. It's the natural (and probably proper) desire of any military to have the capacity to dominate all theaters. But in most countries (and all countries with space flight) decisions about colonization, property rights and warfare are the responsibility of civilian government. The critical issue is the prevailing attitudes and predilections of the governing 'class' of a given country. And those are probably best judged by looking at recent history.

So, considering countries with significant space flight capability (as determined by author fiat):

Soviet Union/Russia

The Soviet Union doesn't exist any more. It probably would have been a serious threat to peace in space, as it had a long history of indirect expansion. Any such warfare would probably not have been directly opposing another space power, but working through some proxy. Which would hopefully have averted completely isolating ourselves with debris. Russia has been somewhat militarily aggressive in the last few years (see Georgia) and is probably the country most likely to start a space war today. However, even that conflict was more to make an economic point than for territorial expansion. I doubt they would engage in full-scale warfare with any other space power.

United States

For the last half a century or so, its probably been the least expansionist superpower the world has known. It is rather actively interventionist, and so would likely end up involved in any conflict in some measure or another. (Seriously, can you imagine any president who could resist trying to 'fix' the problem?) The US might get involved militarily (like Kosovo or Korea) or might simply fund one (or both!) sides like the Israeli-Palestinian fufura. However, it is unlikely to initiate any such war to gain territory or position and will inevitably view its role as either peacekeeping or policing space. I think the US was last involved in an expansionist war in 1848. Future conflict probably won't come from traditional sabre-rattling tendencies.

France, the UK, and the ESA

I lumped these together because they have fairly similar national attitudes. Both France and the UK have occasionally fought over pre-existing territory in the last few decades (Falklands, Tunisia, etc.) but neither has entered any expansionist wars in better than half a century. And the ESA is even less of a threat, as the central political entity behind it is weaker, and rife with divisions. If the ESA got involved in space conflict, it would almost certainly be to 'police' the expansion of others.

Japan

Japan has been extremely peaceful since WWII. I'm not even concerned about well-intentioned meddling in space war. Not till the Japanese change.

China

China has been fairly peaceful and focused on internal affairs since the People's Republic came to power. (It isn't easy to be a large, ideologically oppressive country.) Basically all combat and military threats have been around essentially internal matters like Tibet and Taiwan. (I'm aware that Tibetans, and quite a few Chinese would disagree that those are internal to the People's Republic. Both cases are territorial disputes that date back to the formation of the People's Republic. Which makes them essentially internal from the perspective of the governing class, which is what matters.) Again, very little international aggression.



So basically we have Russia, which might aggressively defend its economic privileges and a bunch of other people fairly disinterested in conflict. Will there be spats in space? Sure. But I really doubt that the sort of governments currently in charge of most space power will put us through any sort of a replay of the Colonization period. There simply is little support for strongly expansionist philosophies like "Manifest Destiny".

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Derek » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:54 pm UTC

Byrel wrote:I think the US was last involved in an expansionist war in 1848.

The Spanish-American War was pretty expansionist.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Byrel » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:26 pm UTC

Derek wrote:
Byrel wrote:I think the US was last involved in an expansionist war in 1848.

The Spanish-American War was pretty expansionist.


Sure, I suppose it was. It started as a largely policing action against Spanish concentration camps in Cuba, and response to a suspicious destruction of the Maine. But the US did end up capturing quite a few colonies (the Phillipines, Guam and Puerto Rico.) And it held onto them for a while (some to the present day).

Still, that's 1897. It's been quite a while since there has been a lot of expansionist sentiment in the US.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgePenguin » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:34 pm UTC

The US is clearly expanionist. Ask the Iraqis.

As for China, since the founding of the PRC they have attacked both India and Vietnam, as well as helping North Korea try to annex South Korea, and having various border skirmishes with the USSR.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:11 am UTC

China is primarily interested in its immediate neighborhood. Outside of a few territories they consider as having historical claims over, they aren't really interested in expansion or global imperialism the way the U.S. is (not that they have much choice anyway, being neatly framed by India, Russia and Japan, each a world power in their own right). They're global activity is geared towards securing regional political and economic dominance and defending against threats from the U.S.

Really, they've been pretty restrained considering the fear-mongering in U.S. politics over the 'Chinese threat' and that the U.S. keeps putting pressure (and y'know, the occasional invasion/bombing campaign/drone war) on Chinese economic partners and client states.
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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Byrel » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:36 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:The US is clearly expanionist. Ask the Iraqis.


I'm not sure if "ask the Iraqis" is intended literally nor not. If you literally mean that polling the Iraqis would illustrate US expansionism, I would disagree. The local impression of the motives behind a military action is not necessarily correct. Indeed, I would say that an occupied party is least able to clearly judge the intentions and motives of an occupier.

So how should we judge whether the US invaded Iraq out of a desire for expansion, or because it views itself as essentially 'The Policeman of the World,' and hence obligated to intervene in foreign affairs? How do we judge anyone's motives? By combining their stated motives with the motives their actions imply.

Stated Motives
--------------
Eliminate WMD threat, especially chemical weapons. The proximate motive.
Eliminate support of Al Qaeda
Eliminate support for Palestinian suicide bombers
Eliminate local human rights abuses
Replace dictatorship with democracy

Two notes: First, these are claimed motives. I'm completely aware that a couple of them are known to have been in error. The trouble is, we're trying to determine why the US (and UK, and some others) invaded Iraq. Facts are irrelevant; what is important is what people believed. I'm also fully aware that people are sometimes disingenuous about their motives. That's why I'll move on to compare them with their actions. Second, the last of those motives is almost incompatible with expansionism. It expressly states the US's intent to free Iraq. Not a probable, public rational if you plan to hold on to Iraq.

Actions
-------
The US invaded Iraq.
The US eliminated the government of Iraq.
The US then used troops in an essentially policing role, with generally decreasing casualties for six years.
US troops were then gradually withdrawn over the next three years, with all US troops off Iraqi soil within nine years of the invasion.

Those actions are completely consistent with a policing intervention operation. Indeed, it is probably one of the smoothest, most effective coups ever pulled off by a foreign power. The goal was to eliminate the former Iraqi government; it succeeded, with a remarkably smooth transition to a radically freer government. I don't see how this is at all compatible with expansionism. It is, however, completely compatible with a police action, which is exactly the sort of operation the US claimed it was aiming for.

As for China, since the founding of the PRC they have attacked both India and Vietnam, as well as helping North Korea try to annex South Korea, and having various border skirmishes with the USSR.


I'll freely admit to being less familiar with Chinese (and East Asian in general) history than with US and European. One of the nice things about arguing with someone who know more than you is you learn a lot. I hadn't known about either the Sino-Indian war or their squabbles with the USSR. Thanks!

However, I don't think these actually change my analysis any. Korea and Vietnam were not fought by China; China supported their allies logistically. This is fairly normal when your allies go to war, and doesn't imply you would have gone to war. Korean and Vietnamese governing classes made the decisions to go to war, not China. So far as the Sino-Indian and Sino-Soviet conflicts go, those were both skirmishes trying to settle disputed border regions. The PRC inherited a fairly difficult border situation from its predecessor, with much disputed territory. Twice they've resorted to military action: once they unilaterally declared a ceasefire and retreated, and once they then negotiated a favorable position. However, according to wikipedia,
Wikipedia wrote: Since the 1990s, China has been entering negotiations to resolve its disputed land borders, usually by offering concessions and accepting less than half of the disputed territory with each party.

It really doesn't sound particularly expansionist. Much as I dislike defending the PRC, I don't think they're particularly inclined to colonial warmongering.

Edit: Also, to be clear, I don't support the invasion of Iraq. I just don't think it is particularly aggressive or expansionist.
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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Derek » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:24 am UTC

Byrel wrote:Korea and Vietnam were not fought by China;

China sent over a million troops into Korea to support North Korea, that counts as fighting.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:33 am UTC

Byrel wrote:However, I don't think these actually change my analysis any. Korea and Vietnam were not fought by China; China supported their allies logistically.

I believe the reference to Vietnam was the Sino-Vietnamese War, wherein China invaded Vietnam. I also would not consider the involvement of over 1,000,000 Chinese soldiers in Korea a "logistical" action -- by my understanding, China's involvement in the Korean War is the main reason it ended in a stalemate, instead of with the US-backed side being victorious. The Chinese troops saw rather heavy involvement in Korea.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:11 am UTC

Remember, the Sino-Vietnamese war was at least partially fought due to the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, a Chinese ally at the time.

Similarly, North Korea was (and is, to an extent still) a valuable buffer-territory for China againt Japan and the Allied forces. MacArthur wanted to march UN forces all the way to Beijing, and nuke it if necessary and if Truman would have allowed it. Little wonder they put so much effort into maintaining that buffer.
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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby pyronius » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:34 am UTC

lets see. how do i put this?

I don't like china. not a bit. their people are absolutely fine or at least just as good a people as you'll find anywhere else, but their government is simply awful and oppressive. the problem is that the people on the whole have absolutely no control over the government and have in essence become addicted to the growth the communist party provides (which i firmly believe will slow and crash within a couple decades as you can only build so many unused cities before it stops working).

I also have major issues with the U.S. government, but the difference is that in the U.S. the people are the government and on the whole they tend to fix problems naturally once they become too large the same way an ecosystem with too many predators eventually runs out of prey and balances out. its a system that allows issues but only for so long whereas the Chinese system seems to set an idealistic goal and ignore any wobbles that occur in the effort to meet it.

If it came down to it i would really love to see U.S. dominance of space rather than some mishmash of various nations because the general ideology of the U.S. as a whole is a lot close to my own than any other nation with the possibility of achieving such a thing. I don't however believe "dominance" will happen. what i do think will happen and believe is probably the best outcome (if it's the U.S. doing it) is that once interplanetary travel and colonization becomes feasible the most advanced nation, who will likely also be the first, will spread fast enough to begin to edge out the others unless the cooperate on some level. it'll basically be "ok, you can have that spot, but you better behave yourself".

Of course, by the time such things are possible i doubt we'll recognize the U.S. or China as the same countries we see today. You'll have some sort of futuristic underground electrical china (anyone?) and cyberpunk america.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby PeterCai » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:46 am UTC

pyronius wrote:the problem is that the people on the whole have absolutely no control over the government and have in essence become addicted to the growth the communist party provides

The government didn't create growth, the Chinese people did. The party just allowed for the growth to happen.
(which i firmly believe will slow and crash within a couple decades as you can only build so many unused cities before it stops working).

The ghost cities are highly exaggerated by the western media. Most of the examples you know are due to bad investment decisions made by the real estate developers.
they tend to fix problems naturally once they become too large the same way an ecosystem with too many predators eventually runs out of prey and balances out.

right, nice health care system you have, and your education system is splendid.
its a system that allows issues but only for so long whereas the Chinese system seems to set an idealistic goal and ignore any wobbles that occur in the effort to meet it.

The U.S is far more idealistic.
If it came down to it i would really love to see U.S. dominance of space rather than some mishmash of various nations because the general ideology of the U.S. as a whole is a lot close to my own than any other nation with the possibility of achieving such a thing. I don't however believe "dominance" will happen. what i do think will happen and believe is probably the best outcome (if it's the U.S. doing it) is that once interplanetary travel and colonization becomes feasible the most advanced nation, who will likely also be the first, will spread fast enough to begin to edge out the others unless the cooperate on some level. it'll basically be "ok, you can have that spot, but you better behave yourself".

Besides nationalism, do you have any reason for wanting U.S dominance rather than, say, Sweden?

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:02 pm UTC

This isn't very useful. Nobody can dominate space, or should. The thread title refers to an event which would be difficult to impossible to achieve with any reasonable technology. The only way to deny space to anyone is by denying them the ability to launch. That means war here. The limits to American policy are represented by North Korea. The only way to stop their launch was to destroy their launch facility, which we chose not to do since we didn't want another war in the Korean Peninsula, jingoistic Politicians aside. Conventional wisdom is that the Nuclear Deterrent showed the limits to power. You can have it but you can't afford to use it. Stalemate.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby curtis95112 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

Also, soon it's going to be well nigh impossible to stop people launching. Things get smaller every day. When putting something in orbit becomes as easy as launching a scud missile (is it already? I don't know), nothing will be able to stop them.
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Tyndmyr wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sure, but at least they hit the intended target that time.

Well, if you shoot enough people, you're bound to get the right one eventually.

Thats the best description of the USA ever.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:26 pm UTC

@Curtis, the issue isn't so much launching, it's keeping things up.its really hard to hide things in space, and shooting down a satellite appears feasible, presumably at lower cost than the original satellite. A space war might come down to shooting down the militarily useful satellites of the opponent. Reconnaissance, navigation, early warning, communication.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:05 pm UTC

Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

-still unaware of the origin and meaning of his own user-title

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:56 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Kessler Syndrome


I find myself almost hoping this will come to pass so we can have this...
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

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Re: Sabre-rattling for space war

Postby Nem » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:38 pm UTC

If ABM systems become really effective, there'll be more motive to expand into space. Lots harder to stop someone nudging an asteroid in towards you than it is to stop a nuke. Whoever gets there first has the potential to blow the crap out of their opponents. It may even be easier to do that than to create a nuke in the first place.


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