Email of the day on the space race
Comment of the Day

December 03 2020

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on the space race

This is an interesting if alarming piece about China and adds weight to your observations about war.

Eoin Treacy's view

Thank you for this interest article which may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

In the meantime, though, the distinction between Earth and space has been blurred. Geopolitics used to be Earth-bound, world war was war between continents. Now it isn’t. China is ahead on this. Clausewitz is taught in its military academies and so too is the Prussian argument for a Feldherrenhügel, the mound from which commanders can direct battles. Space is the ultimate “higher ground” from which all strands of a battle can be monitored and directed. That is why the moon is more than a sentimental prize.

A senior Chinese general was quoted in 2016 as saying “the space between the Earth and the moon will be strategically important for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. The head of the Chinese lunar mission says “if we don’t go there now, even though we are capable of it, then we will be blamed by our descendants. If others go, then they will take over.”

There was a photo circulating on Chinese blogs about two years ago which showed Hu Jintao surrounded by his top generals. Most had served during the Korean war and all have now been deposed or are under house arrest. The only remaining people from the photo are Xi Jinping and Wang Qishan. None of the new top-ranking generals have seen active combat.  

Sending men to their deaths and making decisions in the heat of battle, that could affect the long-term sustainability of your country, is a visceral experience. Men that come through it have no illusions about the sacrifices necessary to win wars. Those who have never experienced it tend to have an idealised perspective. That is doubly so for politicians who have never been in the military.

The USA is war weary after almost twenty years in Afghanistan. China has not had an active military campaign beyond its borders in decades. That’s not a great recipe for long-term peace. Given the pace of technological innovation it is only a matter of time before someone decides to test their new toys with the aim of achieving global hegemony.

Developing space into a theatre for conflict is inevitable. It has been underway for decades and the invention of reusable rocket and nano satellites has greatly accelerated the trend.   

The Procure Space ETF (UFO) remains on a recovery trajectory and has almost completely unwound its pandemic-induced decline.

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