Crap, where are the adults when you need them?
After a Chinese interceptor smashed into a target satellite in January, Bush administration officials criticized the test as a destabilizing development.
What administration officials did not say is that as the Chinese were preparing to launch their antisatellite weapon, American intelligence agencies had issued reports about the preparations being made at the Songlin test facility. In high-level discussions, senior Bush administration officials debated how to respond and even began to draft a protest, but ultimately decided to say nothing to Beijing until after the test.
Three months after the Chinese launching, a new debate has developed as to whether the administration properly handled the episode or missed an opportunity to discourage the Chinese from crossing a new military threshold.
[S]ome experts outside government say that American officials might have been able to discourage the Chinese from launching the missile, had the officials been willing to enter into a broader discussion of ways to regulate the military competition in space. China had long advocated an agreement to ban weapons in space, an approach the Bush administration has rejected in order to maintain maximum flexibility for developing antimissile defenses.
“Had the United States been willing to discuss the military use of space with the Chinese in Geneva, that might have been enough to dissuade them from going through with it,” said Jeffrey G. Lewis, an arms control expert at the New America Foundation.