"The Shenzhou flight, while good for Chinese morale, does not mean that China will overtake the United States in space, Johnson-Freese said.
She cites a Council on Foreign Relations report from March that said China is at least two decades behind the United States in related technologies.
"The only race that is occurring is for second place in space -- we are so far ahead."
Hubris, thy name is America.
We may have at least two decades more experience than China at space travel, but where exactly is this vaunted two decades head start in technology? Last i checked, our primary space vehicle was designed and built more than two decades ago. If the space shuttle is 20 years ahead of the technology the Chinese have right now, i don't know if that says more about China or us.
A 20 year head start doesn't last so long if the people with the head start are standing still. It's also a lot quicker to play catch-up than it is to innovate new technology. We don't even have concrete plans for a Space Shuttle replacement. They've had meetings and made plans and proposed ideas, but they've done that all many times before in the past 20 years. If the US doesn't get it's act together, we could see the Chinese shoot past us ten years or so down the road, while we still have no workable plans and have to try to figure out how to get back into the race from a standing start.
Maybe the Chinese will get bogged down in the same beurocratic crap that has slowed our space program to a crawl, but i don't really think that depending on that contingency is a good idea as a strategy.