ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing on Townhall.com on July 11, 2010.
Maybe it’s the Dog Days of Summer. Perhaps it’s the heat—102 degrees in Washington—that’s getting to peoples’ heads. But President Obama’s latest policy—announced by his NASA administrator, astronaut Charles Bolden, is about to melt down.
Speaking on the Arabic language network al-Jazeera, Bolden said Mr. Obama had given him his marching orders for NASA: Get American kids re-inspired to do better in math and science. Work on international cooperation. And, perhaps most important: find ways to “reach out” to the Muslim world to affirm their strong contributions to science and engineering.
First, we have to consider that President Obama is gutting NASA’s budget. He has scrapped the Constellation Program that would take Americans back to the Moon. There are possible resources there that could help all of us on earth with our energy needs. Former Sen. Harrison Schmitt, who walked on the Moon, says we could mine the Helium-3 that is abundant beneath the lunar surface and use it for nuclear fusion. Perhaps, perhaps not, but we are unlikely to know if we’re not going back there.
Second, why should American kids be excited about math and science when Administrator Bolden confesses that the U.S. can no longer even put astronauts in low earth orbit without help from other nations? President Kennedy led this nation to the Moon, but President Obama is teaching us to look inward. Under this administration, NASA has been grounded.
Third, this “outreach” to Muslims by NASA is, well, lunacy. Telling Muslims that they once led the world in science and technology is wonderful. They did. But that was before murderous mullahs took over control of Muslim societies and threatened with death anyone who didn’t toe the line of theocratic control.
I have a simple way for Muslim-majority nations to excel in science and technology: Have everyone read a list of Jewish scientists who have won the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, or Medicine in the past century. Then, perhaps, their leaders could stop their Israel-bashing and Jew-baiting.
They might also read George Gilder’s latest book The Israel Test. Gilder, who is not Jewish, says Israel is a wonderful test for everyone. Do we envy and resent this people?
Do we covet what they have produced? Do we want to emulate their productivity and creative genius, or do we darkly ascribe their feats to a “Zionist” protocol? Gilder holds up a mirror to anti-Semites everywhere. What do you see?
The UN is filled with anti-Israel, anti-Semitic delegates who cheer Ahmadinejad from Iran and Khaddafi from Libya. These murderous despots have stayed in power by fanning the flames of resentment against the Jews. Khaddafi says he has given up his nuclear ambitions. I’d prefer Ronald Reagan’s words: Trust, but verify. Ahmadinejad is racing to complete Iran’s first nuclear weapon. He is thought to have enough fissile material for two nuclear bombs.
The UN has dragged its feet, resisted imposing sanctions on Iran. It succeeded only belatedly in approving very lax sanctions. These are far from the “sanctions that bite” and “crippling sanctions” the Obama administration have been promising for the year and a half they squandered in meaningless “outreach” to Tehran.
Charles Krauthammer, the distinguished columnist, has denounced the new NASA mission as “adolescent diplomacy.” It’s certainly that. But NASA Administrator Charles Bolden can hardly be blamed for loyally carrying out the policies put into effect by President Obama.
We can find something else interesting in this looney story: Where are the atheizers and arch-separationists on this one? Do they support “separation of church-and-state,” but go suddenly silent when the issue is “separation of mosque-and-state?”
What would they say if President Obama had appointed a religious freedom roving ambassador whose duty it would be to travel the world taking up the cause of Christians who are being persecuted in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, and, yes, Iraq and Afghanistan? We’d have heard them scream like stuck pigs. Why are they so silent now?
This latest furor should not cover up the fact that President Obama’s policy for NASA is to go nowhere and do nothing. No wonder young kids in the U.S.—and throughout the world—are not interested. It was no small part of President Kennedy’s appeal that he pledged “to get America moving again.” And he did.