China invites to space – Vedomosti

In late April, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin unveiled two provisions in the national space strategy. First, China invites astronauts from all countries to join projects at the Chinese Tiangong Orbital Station, which will start operating normally by the end of 2022. And second, space exploration should be carried out jointly, by combining efforts from around the world community. Knowing the Chinese peculiarity of filigree to accurately choose official formulations, one should pay attention to the words “of all countries” and “of the whole world community”.

This policy statement put many Russian experts and space officials in an awkward position, claiming that China would never cooperate with anyone in space exploration, that it made its orbital station exclusively for itself. Therefore, they say, Russia (Roscosmos) should neither offer China, nor even plan with China, major space programs: neither on space Internet systems, nor on Earth observation systems, or on manned space. Infinite memorandum (about the moon, for example) as much as you want, then – no, no. And now there was such a statement from China that does not fit into these templates.

Exploring human space is not an economic, technical or political issue. On the contrary, for humanity, it is a way of solving the problems of the development of civilization. In addition, the path is the “best” possible, because only in this way does our species homo sapiens sapiens minimize or eliminate all the risks of civilization known today. Both natural and artificial. From the depletion of natural resources (“limits to growth”) and the deterioration of the ecology of the native planet to the risks of destruction as a result of a military, human or space disaster. And even such a risk as the “victory of artificial intelligence over biological”, known from the movies “Terminator” and others. By comparison, it is easy to see that it has sometimes been suggested as an alternative to “human exploration” – “study of the space of robots”, on the contrary, does not eliminate any of these risks, even if it satisfies scientific curiosity at a significant budgetary cost. .

But if space exploration is a path for humanity, common to all countries and peoples, then all projects for the exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond should and can only be “universal”. The new is a higher quality compared to the “international”, the same international space station, in which four countries and the EU participate.

What is behind the term “universal”? This means that the project is open to all countries and peoples. At the heart of it are not national goals and objectives, but civilizational ones that are important to all and aim to solve problems that are common to all. And that in such a project there is not and can not be a “hegemon” who decides everything for everyone, but only a “leader” (or leader) is necessary and can be – the one who leads and leads the rest.

During 30 years of hegemony, the United States missed its historic chance to become the “leader of humanity” on its space path (and not just in space) because of the concentration inherent in liberalism, not on common interests, but on the interests of individuals. In 30 years, the United States has not formulated a universal human space project. And within the framework of the Artemis project (its goal is the astronauts’ flight to the moon), they did everything just the opposite. After formally opening the project to everyone, they could not resist and just like on earth, they defined themselves as “exceptional” in the project, and the goals were not universal, but the most national: “Make America great again” and “Return” the American and the American to the moon. “Which of the countries with self-respect will go into such a space project?

In a situation where the place of humanity’s leader in space exploration is vacant, the words of the official representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, can and should be interpreted in such a way that China, which urges everyone to its orbital station and invites all countries to merge into space, take the first step towards this role.the leader, trying on her.

But why does China need this role? Is there not an exaggeration on a cosmic scale when what is desired is presented as reality? There seems to be no exaggeration, and here’s why. To claim the role of world leader, a large economy is not enough, advanced technology is not enough. It is also necessary to offer other countries the idea of ​​development, comprehensible to all and acceptable to all. But also one that is not only offered to others, but also an example that you yourself are – every day and in all areas. And there are examples of such ideas for the world. The United States has – “Development through freedom (individual, business)”. And this means, among other things, that the United States can be a world leader. The Soviet Union had an idea of ​​this level – “Development through (social) justice.” This helped the Soviet Union become the leader of much of the world for decades.

From these positions, the biggest weakness of today’s China as a potential world leader and the world’s pole is not the economy (China is already the world’s foremost economy), not technology (China is close to leadership across the entire technical spectrum and will soon achieve this), not military or complex power, without the absence of the idea of ​​development that he proposes for the world.

Ten years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the concept of a “community with a common destiny for humanity.” Since then, hundreds of books and thousands of articles have been written on this subject, but has this idea of ​​development become clearer to other countries, does China itself follow it? For example, in a period of global challenge due to the covid-19 pandemic, the United States (and the Western world as a whole) behaved as expected within the framework of liberalism – selfishly. But did China act within the framework of the “common destiny” proclaimed in 2012? Apparently not.

Xi’s idea of ​​a “community with a common destiny for humanity” is now being revived by the current proposal to share the orbit station and merge in space exploration. This is more than a bid for leadership in space. This is an extension of the Chinese leader’s original concept from earth to all of outer space. And also a demonstration of the fact that, in the understanding of China, “the common destiny of mankind.”

This is a very important aspect of China’s self-positioning in the 21st century. Position not as the next hegemon for the whole earth, but as the leader of mankind on earth and in space.

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