The Tiangong (literally, the sky dwelling) and the Jiaolong (the mythical sea dragon) are just as powerful in rhyme as their English names.
We wrote earlier of Tiangong One (ST Oct. 3, 2011), the unmanned space lab that China launched last year to have a go on its own since she (China uses motherland as the country’s gender ID) was refused participation in the manned (sic) explorations of the International Space Station. China’s aeronautic program is sending its first manned space mission to conduct experiments in the Skylab shortly. One of the astronauts is female. She will be the first one in Zhongguo’s team of space explorers (and we shall thenceforth cease describing the staffing as being "manned").
The Jiaolong is grabbing front-page coverage as it prepares to plumb the depths of the Marianas Trench. We recall Titanic movie director James Cameron’s solo dive March this year on a single porthole sub when he explored the Challenger Deep off Guam for National Geographic.
We did not miss the drama, though we were a bit disappointed at the cinematographic result. But then, at that depth, the unknown remains unknown, and the shrimps are blind. The Jialong has been about the mundane mapping of 70 percent of the ocean floor since its construction, and its anticipated dive to the deepest trench in the ocean was merely a matter of time. It is getting ready to descend this month.
China’s submersible has three observation windows; three researchers will transmit gathered digitized live feed of data while the exploration is in progress.
These two high profile military-related achievements of the Chinese government, plus its visible naval presence in the Indian Ocean and Africa, and the display of military arsenal during national parades, are often used as the reason the United States is going to a "distrust and containment" policy toward the Han of the Asian continent.
We had been labeled anti-American due to some of our musings and told to return to the country where we came from. Of dual nationality, my Pinoy Presidente just recently hobnobbed with the State Department Secretary as she babbled the Foggy Bottom line fed by the Pentagon strategy of promoting a "vigilant" response to China’s growing military power.
“China's military is growing and modernizing. We must be vigilant. We must be strong. We must be prepared to confront any challenge,” was Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s address to graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis recently.
An SF colleague thought us rude to characterize my Roman Catholic mom and United Methodist dad as turning "whore and pimp" so I am not surprised to read that my musing on the American military is considered treasonous.
Pointing out that the Empire’s emperor wears no clothes is, of course, a revered tradition straight out of the American constitutional protection of the consent and dissent of the governed.
With the heightened hawkish sentiment evident among "DemoCrips and ReBloodlicans" (ex-Minnesota guv’s Jesse Ventura’s terms) emerging in the current presidential election regarding the threat posed by China, it is well to just present the objective facts shown on published military budgets.
Comparatively, China’s military budget is just above 10 percent of that of the U.S. The combined military expenditures of China, the UK, France, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia (tops all budgets in percentage of GDP), Germany, India and Brazil combined is but two-thirds of the U.S. total. Or, put another way, the U.S. spends $6 of every $10 spent by the world on defense.
The 2009 U.S. Air Sea Battle combat theory specifically targets China because "the Chinese military has become a serious challenge to U.S. forces." The western Pacific island chains extending from Alaska to Australia hold the deterrent line. U.S. military strategists fear that the U.S. is rapidly developing an inferior position in the region. Consequently, Japan’s claim of some Taiwan islands as part of Okinawa and the Philippines’ claim on South China Sea islands as within their claim by the '80s Law of the Sea has the Pentagon’s full backing. Grunts now sweat in Darwin.
We recall the U.S. objection to Palau’s nuclear-free zone. That U.S. nuclear warheads were present in the Philippine military bases prior to Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption is taken for granted; the current protest against U.S. militarism in the "land of the morning" stems from the realization that the nuclear warheads never left its waters or the land.
It really is not that the emperor wears no clothes. It is that the one it wears spells hypocrisy. We are the only nation that ever used atomic weapons, and we still hold a good 1,700 warheads in our ordnance! We may not have the imperial style of the Brits but we are imperialists nonetheless. Only, we wear neckties with uniformed storm trooper bodyguards kept at bay in carriers and outlying bases!
The exploration of outer and ocean space challenges Zhongguo’s government budget, and preoccupies its administration. Uncle Sam rues over losing primacy on the cutting edge.
We just deal with peoples’ inner space. Why else would we be teaching in China, silly!?!