Might a new U.S. Approach to China’s Human Rights Problems Affect Space?

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
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As the U.S. and China ready themselves for the annual Dialogue on Human Rights, Joshua Kurlantzick writing at The Daily Beast offers this as background:

Upon coming into office, the Obama administration launched what it called a policy of "strategic reassurance" with China. The hope was that if America assured China that the U.S. wouldn’t impede its global rise, Beijing would reciprocate by agreeing to work with the international community on the most important global issues.

He goes on to offer an assessment: the U.S. approach isn’t working.

…strategic reassurance hasn’t work out as planned. Backing off on human rights has only emboldened China.

While the article is written from a human rights point of view, is it possible the administration will take a less accommodating position on some of China’s other “areas of concern” like currency manipulation, their military buildup, a lack of transparency, or Chinese held  positions on arms control like their endorsement of the PPWT?  Kurlantzick suggests ‘no,’ assuming the expected Chinese human rights response is indicative of how things will work for space:

…the damage has been done. Beijing has learned that if it tries to bully the U.S., Washington is likely to give in. Getting the Chinese government to unlearn that lesson won’t be easy.

Often space is waived-off as a fringe topic related to national security or commerce.  It’s possible it’s just part of a larger Chinese theme.


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