Friday, May 9, 2008

The Race for the Moon: Asia’s Space Race

Adam C. Castillo, Asia Contributor
The Diplomatic Courier
For the better part of the last half-century Japan has reigned supreme as the preeminent regional power in Asia. Its world-class economy—the world’s second largest in terms of GDP—sustained miraculous growth with little interruption from the 1960’s to the present day, resulting in a trajectory of development unequaled during that period. Japan has thus managed to achieve a unique level of global power based solely on its economic prowess, technological innovation, and ability to adapt to changing markets. With no usable military to speak of, Japan’s influence is effectively demonstrated in terms yen, which to this point has been significant enough to cement them firmly as a top tier international actor. Yet, Japan’s influence has been challenged as of late. With the emergence of other Asian economies, most notably those of China and India, many have suggested Japan to be losing a grip on its stronghold of regional power.

In the midst of this power jockeying a new challenge seems to arise. The past has shown us that space exploration provides a measurable indicator of earthly influence. The United States outpacing the Soviet Union in the Cold War’s space race left a vacuum, so to speak, in man’s celestial ambition. As the sole world power and with no competitive motivation NASA’s programs seemed to lose global validity.

The vacuum is now quickly being filled by nations that are coming of age developmentally and recognize this void as an opportunity to demonstrate their maturation. Russia, India, China, and South Korea, all burgeoning economic forces, have thrown their proverbial hats into this generation’s race for space.
Read more HERE.

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