When on October 4, 1957, an R-7 Semiorka rocket launched from the Baikonur site in Kazakstan put the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 into orbit, the confidence of the United States in its technological superiority, considered until then unquestionable, was greatly shaken. This episode was, along with the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Euromissile Crisis, one of the climaxes of the Cold War, and generated a strong American reaction. And for General Mark Milley, the Chief of Staff of the American Armies, testing of a hypersonic fractional orbital bombardment system carried out by Beijing a few days ago, could well constitute an event of similar significance to Sputnik 1 in the competition between Communist China and the United States.
Despite the denials from China concerning this test, presented by Beijing as that of a reusable space launcher system, the Pentagon now seems convinced that it was indeed a hypersonic fractional orbital bombardment system, c 'is to say capable of putting into orbit a vehicle capable of releasing a hypersonic bombardment glider from this position. This technology, a time experimented by the Soviet Union in the 80s to face the alleged American Strategic Defense Initiative announced by Ronald Reagan, allows among other things to reduce the detection and interception capabilities of warning systems and anti-ballistic missile defense implemented in particular on the entire northern coast of the United States and Canada to intercept any missiles and bombers from Russia. With such a device, Beijing could very well decide to strike the United States from the south, where no anti-missile defense is deployed, in what every day looks more like a strategic surprise for the benefit of Beijing.
"What we observed," General Milley said in an interview with Bloomberg, "was without a doubt the test of a hypersonic system, and it is very worrying." “I don't know if it is, as I read in the press, a Sputnik event, but it is very close. It is therefore a technological demonstration of great importance for China, and it requires our full attention, ”he added. Obviously, the Pentagon did not anticipate that Beijing could have developed such technology, and its appearance is likely to significantly reshuffle the strategic cards on the planet. We also note that since then, Washington has greatly increased the tempo of its actions in favor of Taiwan, by formalizing the presence of American military instructors on the island, as well as by initiating a large-scale diplomatic action aimed at federating a large number of countries around the reintegration of Taiwan into the United Nations bodies, without going so far as to promote a new seat for Taipei in the United Nations Assembly, which would constitute a probable casus belli for Beijing.
Obviously, Washington wants to quickly create an irremovable status quo on the independent island since 1947, before Beijing can implement new capabilities that could deter the United States from coming to the aid of its ally in the event of aggression, in a scenario comparable to that applied by Russia during the annexation of Crimea, since the Russian nuclear forces were placed on pre-alert during this operation. In addition, the support of a strong international community and the presence of American troops there could dissuade Beijing from implementing hybrid actions to seize the island, as feared by Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono.
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