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US vs Russia: are entangling alliances bad for science?

We’ve had quite a bit of conflict in regards to the Ukraine. Sanctions from the U.S. have resulted in Russia banning the country from using its rockets to travel to the International Space Station after 2020. To add gasoline to the fire so to speak, it turns out that current Vice President Joe Biden’s son is on the board of directors for energy firm Burisma, which is based in the Ukraine.

This is turning into a giant mess to say the least.

So why is foreign policy so important in terms of impact on science? The unfortunate reality is that having entangling alliances can harm progress in science and technology. For years, American and Russian astronauts have cooperated with each other, and they may very well not care one way or another what political direction that the bureaucrats in suits and ties in their respective countries are heading.

I’m not saying these things as an individual writer, but as a former U.S. Congressional candidate. I ran in 2012 on the platform of a humble foreign policy, in which we didn’t place sanctions on other countries. Doing so is an act of war, and it can have unintended consequences.

Such things can also harm development of free and open source software as well. Such things are precisely why the likes of Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, and others have spoken out against the chest beating style of foreign policy. The United States should not be acting like the world’s police, let alone the Roman Empire.

While the likes of SpaceX exists, it still is cost prohibitive to build rockets and other space-based technology, let alone launch. Cost aside, they still have to contend with monopolistic behavior from other corporate interests. Oh, and those corporate interests?

It turns out they’re defense contractors. Go figure.

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Having the mindset of being at war and having to be in entangling alliances with other countries while placing sanctions on those taking unfavorable actions is what’s holding science and technology back, and that’s why we need to pay attention to what’s going on in terms of geopolitics.

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Thomas Holbrook II

Thomas first encountered FOSS while visiting the University of Central Missouri (then known as Central Missouri State University) during high school. Mandrake was the first distribution he ever attempted to run. He has had experience with SuSE, Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu, and other distros. He currently does a podcast each week and publishes a monthly digital magazine covering Unix and Overlooked Pop Culture at www.thenixedreport.com.

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