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Like the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Space Exploration Matters

By George LandrithNewsmax

Like the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Space Exploration Matters

The United States won the Cold War. The world was benefited by the fact that a pro-liberty, pro-human rights nation became the world’s sole superpower. Had that superpower been the former Soviet Union or current China, the world would be a much less free, happy and prosperous place.

Thanos, in the Marvel movies, was the ultimate supervillain. His goal was to kill half of all human life. Of course, Thanos is a make-believe villain. But there are real-life villains who have no problem brutally repressing and killing those they see as their subjects. When evil regimes have power, the people suffer — often horrifically. History proves that.

It is not inconsequential or coincidental that the U.S. also won the race to the moon. Being able to defend yourself from hostile powers has always been easier when you have the high ground and the superior technology. While no battles were fought on the surface of the moon, the technological advances that we obtained by making the trip helped our nation win the Cold War and benefited the entire free world.

This is one of the reasons that space exploration isn’t simply a fun hobby or a matter of national pride. Looking back at history, when Thomas Jefferson was president, it is clear that the Lewis and Clark exploration of America’s vast western frontier (1803-1806) was about a lot more than just mapping the frontier or learning about it. Part of the mission that Jefferson gave them was establishing our national presence in the west so that European powers didn’t claim it as their own and use it as a launch point to attack our young nation. Jefferson wasn’t imagining the risk. Only a few years later, the British did attack America — but not from the western frontier.

In today’s world, space exploration serves many vital national interests. China very much wants to overtake us in space exploration and its motives are not about advancing the cause of mankind. If you don’t believe me, ask one of the critics of China’s repressive and violent domination of Hong Kong.

The good news is that the United States is making important strides to reestablish its leadership role in space and space exploration. We just witnessed a very important test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). It was a successful test and shows that America is once again Earth’s most capable nation in space exploration. We cannot afford to lose the momentum. We need for national leaders to fully support our efforts in space.

One thing that most Americans don’t understand is that as interesting as it has been to watch the development of SpaceX’s Vulcan Heavy and Falcon Heavy, they are limited in their capabilities. In fact, using lift capability as the measure, SpaceX’s options are less than 1/2 as capable as the current SLS and they will be only about 1/3 as capable as the next generation SLS. While it is true that SpaceX has lowered the cost of a generic space launch, the truth is that SLS can get us to the moon and Mars and beyond. Neither the Vulcan nor Falcon have the lift capability to do that.

Moreover, if we were to build the International Space Station (ISS) now, using SLS to send the parts and equipment into space, we could do it with only three launches. Even though each individual launch would be more expensive, SLS’s vastly superior lift capability would make the entire mission far, far less expensive. It took more than 30 launches to build the ISS with less capable space vehicles.

To state that differently, if you were moving across the country, a single trip in a small commuter car would be the cheapest option to make the 2,500 mile drive. But if you were hoping to move more than a few people, you’d quickly find that a larger, more capable vehicle would actually be cheaper to accomplish the mission of getting your belongings and furniture across the country. We all understand this point and would never seriously consider moving a house full of furniture and household belongings across the country in a Honda Civic.

The bottom line is that America needs SLS if we hope to maintain our advantage in space and continue to be the world’s high technology leader. The new Biden Administration and Congress must continue to support America’s leadership in space. It isn’t merely a matter of national pride or a geeky hobby. We, of course, learn so much in science, health, medicine,and technology when we explore. And history has proven over and over that we must always lead in technology and have the high ground if we hope to keep the world’s despots and totalitarians at bay.


Do we look that dumb?

syria obamaThe president marred his chance to lay out a principled position to the American people with patronising dog-whistling

by Michael Cohen

Upholding and enforcing the longstanding global norm against chemical weapons – while deterring Bashar al-Assad from using them again against his own people – offers a compelling rationale for even a punitive use of force by the United States against Syria. Tuesday night, Barack Obama made a semblance of that argument; but he lathered it in so much threat-exaggeration and maudlin imagery that it was virtually impossible to take his case for war seriously.

If anything, the fact that Obama was forced to rely on contradictory and deceptive arguments to sell the American people on the idea of military intervention in Syria did more to undermine the case for intervention than reinforce it. Continue reading


A Laughing Stock

Obama Pompusby Glen Reynolds

Remember that dumb cowboy George W. Bush, who alienated all our allies and dragged us into wars of choice in the Mideast? And remember that goofball Mitt Romney, whom Joe Biden a year ago accused of wanting to go to war in Syria?

Both of them must be having a big laugh over the way things are going for Obama now. When I wrote last week on our bumbling Syria diplomacy, it seemed that things couldn’t possibly go further downhill. Boy, was I wrong.

Last week, it seemed our only ally was France. But now the French are having second thoughts. Obama’s efforts to get support at the G20 conference came to nothing. Even the pope is undercutting him. Continue reading


“Leading” From Behind … Russia

barack_obamaby Peter Roff

With grim resolve President Barack Obama spoke to the nation Tuesday night, making the case for a U.S. military strike against the Syrian government.

He was convincing. The idea that the failure of the world to act to as “a dictator brazenly violates international law” by using poison gas against his own people would only encourage the spread of weapons of mass destruction is not that far removed from the arguments made by George W. Bush for taking action against Iraq. America is, however, war weary after nearly a decade of military intervention.

“Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria – along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used,” the president said in a brief address from the East Room of the White House. Continue reading


The Unserious Commander-in-Chief

Syria Muslim Brotherhood Al-Qaeda

Senator Bob Corker:  “What is it you’re seeking?”

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:  “I can’t answer that, what we’re seeking.”

 — Senate hearing on the use of force in Syria, September 3 

by Charles Krauthammer

We have a problem. The president proposes attacking Syria, and his top military officer cannot tell you the objective. Does the commander-in-chief know his own objective? Why, yes. “A shot across the bow,” explained Barack Obama.

Now, a shot across the bow is a warning. Its purpose is to say: Cease and desist, or the next shot will sink you. But Obama has already told the world — and Bashar Assad in particular — that there will be no next shot. Continue reading


Bread and Circuses

Obama Smirkby Caroline Glick

Over the past week, President Barack Obama and his senior advisers have told us that the US is poised to go to war against Syria. In the next few days, the US intends to use its air power and guided missiles to attack Syria in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons in the outskirts of Damascus last week.

The questions that ought to have been answered before any statements were made by the likes of Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel have barely been raised in the public arena. The most important of those questions are: What US interests are at stake in Syria? How should the US go about advancing them? What does Syria’s use of chemical weapons means for the US’s position in the region? How would the planned US military action in Syria impact US deterrent strength, national interests and credibility regionally and worldwide? Syria is not an easy case. Thirty months into the war there, it is clear that the good guys, such as they are, are not in a position to win.

Continue reading


Red Lines: A Costly Blunder

Syria Red Line Obama“We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.” — Abraham Lincoln

Last August, President Obama drew his line in the Syrian sand. “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

A year later two things are clear:  1) There was no equation; it was just Obama talking nonsense.  2.) He bluffed without a plan.  Continue reading


Attack On Syria Is About Saving Face, Not U.S. Interests

Syria Al-Qaeda Muslim Brotherhood 1The president isn’t bothering to ask Congress for permission to attack the Assad regime. What was unconstitutional to candidate Obama is politically handy now, and that stinks.

In David Mamet’s 1997 black comedy “Wag the Dog,” the White House and Hollywood teamed up to fake a war and distract the public from a presidential sex scandal, assuring his re-election.

President Obama’s all-for-show impending attack on Syria, expected to last about 48 hours, is as cynical, if not as ambitious, as what Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman were up to in the movie.

The planned response to President Bashar Assad’s alleged mass slaughter with nerve gas won’t depose, neutralize or deter Syria’s terrorist regime. But it may stop Obama’s big talk two years ago about a “red line” on chemical weapons from being viewed — accurately — as an empty threat. Continue reading


Embracing the Imperial Presidency

Imperial Crownby John Fund

British prime minister David Cameron has recalled Parliament from summer vacation for a special session on Thursday, where there will be “a clear government motion and vote on the United Kingdom’s response to chemical weapons attacks,” Cameron promised on Twitter.

President Obama has a different view. The U.S. government’s Voice of America reports: “Pressed about calls for congressional authorization, White House spokesman Jay Carney Tuesday indicated the president believes consulting with congressional leaders is enough.”

Oh my, how liberals have learned to love the imperial presidency they used to so scorn when Richard Nixon or George W. Bush was in office. Continue reading


A War With Syria to Save Face

Syria Al-Qaeda Muslim Brotherhoodby Robert Robb

Apparently the United States is going to go to war, at least sort of, with Syria.

That’s not because Syria has attacked the United States, because it hasn’t.

It’s not because the United States believes that it has strategic interests at stake in Syria’s civil war that warrant military intervention. If that were the case, we would have already taken action. Continue reading


What will attack on Syria accomplish?

Syria Muslim Brotherhood Al-QaedaIt seems all but certain that the U.S. will launch cruise missiles into Syria as punishment for its use of chemical weapons against civilians.

But what is this really going to accomplish?

A White House spokesman made it clear Tuesday that a response was not intended to be about regime change, so Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has little to fear. He’s still going to call the shots after U.S. warships leave the region.

Not that we think it’s the business of the U.S. to become involved in Syria’s internal conflict. That could very easily lead to an unpopular, deeper engagement with an uncertain outcome. Continue reading


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