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Punish Russia for the rape of the Ukraine by booting it from the space station

International Space Station
International Space Station

Josh Gelemter has a modest proposal in a March 21, 2014 article in the National Review that would punish the Russians for the Rape of the Ukraine and reestablish American space faring capabilities over a year early. It involves taking $424 million that NASA intends to pay the Russians for rides to the International Space Station for 18 months starting in 2016 and instead adding that amount to the commercial crew program to get American spacecraft flying. The trick is that they would have to start flying by the beginning of 2016 instead of the end of 2017.

The idea is not only a sound one but is easily achievable. In fact the argument could be made that the United States should spend what it takes to get American spacecraft flying as soon as possible. While NASA claims that the current misbehavior of Vladimir Putin is not hurting relations between Americans and Russians on the ISS, it is only a matter of time.

In fact one could go further than Gelemter’s proposal and decide, once spacecraft like the SpaceX Dragon are flying astronauts to and from the ISS, to serve Russia with divorce papers and give them the boot from the space station. Then the United States can give the former Russian portion of the ISS to the Ukraine, provided that it is still an independent country by this time.

If the Russians complain, they can be reminded that they established the precedence of grabbing another country’s territory. Swapping the Crimea for a share in the ISS would only seem fair in this case.

Mark R. Whittington is the author of Children of Apollo, The Last Moonwalker and Other Stories, Dreams of Barry's Stepfather, and The Man from Mars: The Asteroid Mining Caper