Geopolitics and the space race
Contributed by: IdahoEv
I was musing yesterday about the varying opinions of the space race: to some, it was a group of humankind's greatest achievements. To others, it was just a great big pissing contest between two superpowers; often people with that opinion speak about the space race in fairly disparaging tones.
My thought about that is this: pissing contests between nations and peoples are common, practically a force of nature. Most of the time, they result in wars: the death of millions and the impovershment of billions more. In that context, a space race is about the most benign outcome one can conceive of between two pendulophallic nations. Frankly, if more contests between nations resulted in a race to outdo each other in scientific and engineering achievement instead of a race to exterminate each other, we'd be a hell of a lot better off than we are.
People who know me know that I'm pretty convinced we're headed for a dick-swinging contest between China and the USA mid-century as china's economy combined with it's current dedication to education and science starts to pull ahead of America's century-long head start. I can only hope that the visions of China doing things like landing on the moon and developing new biomedical and nano technologies before us has the effect of galvanizing another space (or bio-) race rather than an arms race or cold war.