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Punching the U.S. Military's "Soft Ribs": China's Antisatellite Weapon Test in Strategic Perspective

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Abstract:

In a provocative new policy brief, Ashley Tellis challenges the conventional wisdom that China's antisatellite test (ASAT) was a protest against U.S. space policy, arguing instead that it was part of a loftier strategy to combat U.S. military superiority and one that China will not trade away in any arms-control regime.

Far from a response to assertive U.S. space policies, Tellis contends in Punching the U.S. Military's "Soft Ribs": China's Antisatellite Weapon Test in Strategic Perspective that the ASAT test was part of a more ambitious goal--namely defeating superior U.S. conventional forces, both in a potential war over Taiwan, as well as other long-term, geopolitical scenarios. The author states that Chinese analyses of U.S. military operations since Dessert Storm concluded that U.S. military might depends inordinately on space-based systems for its operational effectiveness and hence must be targeted if China is to be able to stand up to the enormity of U.S. conventional military power.