Seriously... Things are beginning to look kinda pathetic for the Kerry/ Obama foreign policy doctrine. Just last week Russia violated an arms treaty by testing a new type of cruise missile; and Obama’s response was to send a letter to Vladimir Putin (not joking) explaining his disapproval. Future ramifications might include a new hashtag campaign, unfriending Putin on Facebook, or sending angry text messages late at night. And, really, given the West’s reaction to Putin’s acts of aggression in Ukraine, it only makes sense that the former KGB agent would feel emboldened to disrespect an obscure Reagan era treaty.
Vladimir wants to get the Soviet band back together. The West’s reaction, thus far, to a reunification of the Soviet Empire, has been largely lackadaisical. Oh, sure: We’ve issued some sanctions (limited) on high-profile Putin cronies, and apparently dispatched some nasty-grams; but we’ve largely feigned outrage to Russia’s armament of commercial-airline-targeting Ukrainian rebels. (Yeah, the downing of the commercial airliner was an accident… And the Russian-supplied rebels were so mournful over their mistake, they decided to soothe their grief by using the victim’s credit cards.)
The truth is that Europe, and Team Obama, are not interested in really applying pressure to Vlad and Company. And, why would they be interested? After all, the former Soviet Union is Europe’s primary supplier of fossil fuel; and even the good old US of A is pretty reluctant to tell the former KGB agent what we think of him. After all, we kinda depend on him to shoot our spy satellites into space.
Yeah, you read that right. While Putin is busy arming terrorist separatists in Ukraine, we’re busy paying him hundreds of millions of dollars a year to provide us with the technology required to remain relevant in the ‘great beyond.’
Not only are our astronauts hitching rides to the International Space Station from the new-and-improved Sputnik, but we now depend on the Russian Military Industrial Complex for basic espionage. I can’t be sure, but I think Ian Fleming just rolled over in his grave.
At issue is the engine for the Atlas V rocket that places our satellites into orbit. The RD-180 (the Russian engine that propels our satellites into space) is sold to the United Launch Alliance (a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin) by the Russian military… Neat, huh? No wonder Obama only wants to send a nasty postcard to the Russian
Dictator President when things go sour.
While the ULA claims to have enough engines in stock to last the agency roughly 2 – 3 years, they may soon be buying up more engines from Vladimir before more sanctions are put in place, according to Capitol Hill insiders. The Pentagon, ULA, and all those crony-capitalists who are at risk of seeing their paychecks get lighter, say that the USA is roughly 5-7 years away from developing a dependable alternative.
Wow… I guess we didn’t win the space race after all. Sure: We landed on the moon, and (figuratively) left the keys in the lunar rover, but we apparently can’t handle the task of launching basic satellite components into orbit. Obama’s America: Yes, we can (lease our basic functions of government out to a bunch of quasi-soviet entities in Russia)!
Of course, this begs the question, “are we really that far behind” in space age technology? Well… No. In fact, there are alternative options (read: domestic alternatives) for sending sensitive NSA equipment into orbit. In addition to a giant slingshot in Magical Midway Park (this might not be a real alternative), Elon Musk has proposed taking over for the ex-Soviet engines upon which we currently depend.
But, of course, the powers-that-be wouldn’t want that to happen. However, a rare alliance of Ted Cruz conservatives, along with John McCain RINOs, have formed in the House and Senate to see that the Air Force begin considering domestic alternatives to the Russian dependent technology currently used in America’s space program. Heck, McCain even managed to squeeze out a fairly coherent (and appropriate) letter condemning the practice of paying millions of dollars to let a geopolitical foe provide us with space-age technology.
While Vladimir Putin is letting loose on Eastern Ukraine, Obama is busy golfing, writing letters, and paying hundreds millions of dollars to Russia’s military for American security satellite capabilities. C’mon, America: We started shooting people over a tax on our breakfast beverage… Can we at least consider declaring national-security-independence from the new (and improved?) Soviets in Russia?