NASA Mission to Muslim Nations: What’s Right and Wrong About it.

Posted on July 6, 2010


The remarks of NASA Administrator and former astronaut, Charles  Bolden, when the charge Obama had given to him first was announced back in February is worth revisiting:

Specifically, he talked about connecting with countries that do not have an established space program and helping them conduct science missions. He mentioned new opportunities with Indonesia, including an educational program that examines global climate change.

“We really like Indonesia because the State Department, the Department of Education [and] other agencies in the U.S. are reaching out to Indonesia as the largest Muslim nation in the world. We would love to establish partners there,” Bolden said. [On My Watch…SamHenry}

And in another part of the forest Bolden exclaimed:

[Obama] wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering. [Pajamas Media]

Now wait, those are Arab achievements as far as I am aware.  Other Muslim nations have made other contributions.

So here we have two branches of the same river: to engage Muslim nations.  One to train and inspire new science; the other to honor their historic contributions.  May we be in the right country at the right time when we speak to their noble history in specifics!

It is not too awfully transparent that the US wants to get to the largest Muslim nation, Indonesia, ahead of al Qaeda. That’s not a bad thing. But let’s not make  this the Marshall Plan to help rebuild Europe recast from World War II that saw us left with old equipment and factories and Europe rising as an industrial giant.  Further, this kind of policy may not work this time around.

We need jobs here.  We need education and training here. We need to go into places like Appalachia, the Bronx, to Dearborn Michigan (a Muslim community right here) and to other areas that have become like foreign countries within our own  borders and take these same programs.  They are ready to implement.

We need to reduce the amount we think we need to spend overseas and put some of that money right back here.

The way Borden describes it, the US is currently the leader in moving into Indonesia with various education and development programs, yet Obama says we should work collectively.  Here is his chance – in Indonesia.  Let other governments help pay for this initiative by joining in.  Where is the UN in all of this?  Our foreign policies are muddy.  We want to work cooperatively yet we are going forth as the savior of Indonesia.  Before we have to call upon our allies to fight there with us against insurgents, we need to have their backing and support for peace  time programs.

The bottom line is this:  If Obama has a big, expensive program going in Indonesia, guess who will follow us there?  If we are not at the forefront of this program, it will be less likely to happen – especially if some of the Arab states come along and teach their heritage in math and science themselves.

Further, why do we have to have two foreign policies – one we use for most nations, the other specifically targeted at Muslim nations?  This is the big Obama misstep.  He did not have to announce to the world that he wanted to engage more with Muslim nations.  He just had to slowly do it.  All he did in making our relations with Muslim nations seem somehow special was throw fear and anger into the US body politic.  But he knew that.  He is out to divide and not to bring together.

This brings me to the essence of the Obama style.  It is a good thing to engage our scientists with those in the Muslim world.  I rather think the scientists themselves have already done that.  That is how science has moved forward over the centuries before Obama ( B.O.).  He gets away with a lot of what he does because he takes a good idea and fashions it in such a way that it makes sense but at the same time it is implemented in such a way as to be divisive.

It’s a good idea to engage the Muslim world in matters other than oil and war.  But to go to Egypt and to preach, yes preach to the world that a new day has dawned and that America will be taking a new direction was grandstanding and did not win him any friends on either side.

And that brings me to the bottom line with Obama: He projects not only divisive elements but his own persona into everything.  A wise leader doesn’t own everything.  He’s asking to be hated.  President Obama I think does not want to be Jesus Christ so much as he seems to want to be St. Sebastian:

Pietro Perugini - St. Sebastian - courtesy lib-art.com

©On My Watch…the writings of SamHenry