Just for reference, here is the Bob Zubrin comment in question:
it has typically been the case that such nations have felt the need to compete with each other to establish prominence, a tendency that has often had very negative consequences. However the emerging US-Chinese race for space offers a different prospect, that of a competition more in the spirit of the Olympics, where nations compete for honors, not empires; where the goal is not to take anything from anyone, but to see who can do the most to advance the frontiers of human achievement and human possibilitiesAfter my resent rant on Robert Zubrin's trip to China, Mark Whittington replied that:
Dan, I think Bob might be thinking of wars as a negative consequence of competition. They did occur from time to time, during the last Age of Exploration. Alsom[sic] if the Chinese win, that would be a real negative consequence.I am not sure in the grand scheme of things wars are a negative consequence. They are, sometimes, the act of nations competing. War is a form of competition (albeit a deadly one). I agree it would be a negative outcome if China won the next stage of our expansion. But that is not a product of competition, but in having the evil side win. If we chose not to compete, that doesn't take about the possibility for China to spread their values to the solar system, rather than us.
My point was, Zubrin is (IMHO) saying competition between nations as something to be avoided. I believe, on the other hand, it is a fact of existence. If you choose not to compete, you may (and likely will) still find yourself on the loosing side. As Rush said in "Free Will"
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choiceI say we embrace real competition. Not this honor/Olympic nonsense Zubrin is pushing. Real contests have rewards at the end. If China and the US (whether public or private) go into space, one of our value systems will influence the future more than the other. The prize is furthering freedom or inhumanities. No agreements or treaties will change that.