U.S. Space Program in "Suppliant Posture" to China, Says Retired Foreign Service Officer

U.S. Space Program in "Suppliant Posture" to China, Says Retired Foreign Service Officer

In a stinging story in the Washington Times today, retired Foreign Service officer John Tkacik said that it is unlikely President Obama “can count on ‘cooperation’ with China in space — except on China’s terms.” Indeed, he concludes that “The atrophying U.S. space program suggests that America will be forced to cooperate with China in space, or else cede the high frontier of space to China altogether.”

Claiming that China’s space program has all the scientific and engineering talent and funding it needs, Tkacik praises China for its “imaginative and capable aerospace engineers” and its “combination of financial wealth, educational excellence, [and] advanced technology” while criticizing its “penchant for plundering intellectual property” and for proliferating missile technology. As for the U.S. space program he offers only withering complaint, saying that it is in a “suppliant posture” vis a vis China.

Mr. Tkacik was chief of China analysis in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research during the Clinton administration. Whether his goal is to kick the White House and Congress into strengthening NASA’s human space flight program, to derail White House attempts to open the doors of space cooperation to China, to add his voice to those who are attempting to instigate a U.S-China “space race,” or some combination of those, is unclear.

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