Russia has complained about the US Navy’s dramatic shootdown of a satellite plummeting to earth. The New York Times reports that “Moscow suggest[ed] it could be used as cover to test a new space weapon.”
How lame is that? Um, if we were going to test a new supersecret space weapon, wouldn’t we, like, do it, you know, in secret? Why announce it to the world? Have news conferences about it? Tell the world what ship will launch the missile (so that every intel asset in the world capable of monitoring it will monitor it)? Disclose what type of weapon would be used (an SM-3 SA missile) so that it would be obvious if we actually did something different?
There are potentially genuine reasons for concern by Russia and China here, although (a) part of the reason for their concern is a reason for the US to be pleased with the outcome, and (b) there is also a strong case to be made that there was a legitimate rationale for the shootdown. Nonetheless, Russia does itself no favors by voicing such risible objections as the-launch-is-a-cover-for-a-new weapon.
When you always complain, and when many of your complaints are as dumb and self-serving as this one, people eventually tune you out; then even your legitimate complaints/criticisms fall on deaf ears. Funny that that’s another thing the Putiniki are always complaining about.
One final, and almost completely tangential point. This whole episode triggers flashbacks of Skylab’s descent to earth in July, 1979. I vividly remember the Chicago radio duo of Steve Dahl and Garry Meyer doing a running bit about a Skylab crash drill; they also wrote a parody song about it, which I think I saw Dahl’s band perform at the Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago while I was an undergrad there. Bet your life wasn’t complete until I told you that.