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  • Lost in Space: The Administration’s Rush for Sino–U.S. Space Cooperation

    The Obama Administration appears absolutely intent on engaging the PRC in space cooperation. How else to explain the claim by White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren that the congressional restriction banning U.S.–Chinese space cooperation under just about any circumstances was not, in fact, a ban?

    According to Holdren, the White House has concluded that the provision doesn’t extend to “prohibiting interactions that are part of the president’s constitutional authority to conduct negotiations.” That includes, he said, a bilateral agreement on scientific cooperation between the two countries that dates back to 1979. One doesn’t need a presidential signing statement to see that the White House is near-desperate to engage the PRC in space cooperation.

    The problem is that, if the answer is “cooperation,” what is the question? Moreover, the Administration has never satisfactorily answered just what it is that it seeks to cooperate with the Chinese on. Is it still intent on negotiating a space arms control treaty? Is it hankering for a joint manned mission to the moon, Mars, or Pluto?

    At this time, it’s useful to note that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had proposed a Strategic Security Dialogue with the Chinese to cover space issues (along with nuclear, cyber, and missile defense), yet the Chinese politely refused during his visit. Maybe that will change by the Strategic and Economic Dialogue talks later this month—but don’t bet on it.

    Meanwhile, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has yet to give a public accounting of what happened during his October visit to China.

    Perhaps this is the reason for the unseemly slipperiness of the Administration on cooperation? Just what was promised? Just what have we committed ourselves to?

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Lost in Space: The Administration’s Rush for Sino–U.S. Space Cooperation

    1. JW - Florida says:

      Thought you'd like to <a>read this at the NASA blog….. from Adminstrator Charles Bolden:

      "President Barack Obama not only honors the Kennedy space legacy, but advances it for this new century with his vision for the next era of exploration and discovery. We stand at a moon shot moment once again, where we have a chance to make great leaps forward to new destinations, develop new vehicles and technologies, and new ways of exploring."

    2. allan james says:

      you know outer space isn't only place we could explore,how about the oceans and big rivers,that could put a lot of people to work for america and who know's what's down there,medical,technology,if we put as much money down there as we put in the space race,i agree we a need a space program, but we could
      have both,not letting other countries get ahead of us,we could learn a lot down there,for security reasons
      too

    3. Master Debater says:

      You know, its' kind of sad when there's a tag for protect america under an article about cooperation with another country

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