China has announced that it plans a manned space launch this week, and it’s already revving up the propaganda machine to take advantage of the event. The theme – and particularly the subtext — is that China is now a superpower, too. Superpowers have manned space programs, and now China will have one, so. . . . I don’t mean to make fun of this, because it’s actually a good thing. American astronauts, Russian cosmonauts, and now Chinese “taikonauts,” all represent something better than run-of-the-mill superpower competition. If China thinks that putting a human being in orbit does more for its international prestige than, say, invading Taiwan and perhaps setting off another World War, that’s to everyone’s advantage.