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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

What About Space Station Access?

U.S., Politics, People Making A Difference

The newly named G-7 (formerly the G-8 but apparently now doesn’t include Russia) is meeting.  President Obama is no doubt going to advise these leaders as to just what they need to do so far as the Ukraine-Russian situation.  In the meantime, Vladimir Putin is doing exactly as he feels he wants to do in spite of warnings and protestations from his lead adversary, President Obama.

Our country’s bluff and bluster continues to amount to very little in terms of forcing Putin’s hand and calming the international waters.

I awoke with a thought this morning (which is probably difficult for some of you readers to believe) about a subject that is involved in this whole dust-up, and that thought is about our astronauts who sit in orbit above the earth.

We, and those astronauts, are at the complete mercy of Vladimir Putin whose country now controls part of the delivery of supplies, and controls all of the replacements for the astronauts whose tours are to end.

Would it surprise any of us to see Putin use that big club somewhere along the line in this whole affair?  Would it surprise us if he simply decided those astronauts should all die to support his mission?  Would we be surprised if the already huge charge per mission were to be increased substantially?

How long would it take us to develop an alternative?  We have two private companies that are flying supplies to the space station.  I suppose one or both could re-format the vehicles to accommodate people but how long would that take?  If that process is already underway, where is it in the trip from design to testing to reality?

Vladimir Putin probably thought about all this before he took the steps he has taken.  Did President Obama include this potentiality in his thinking about response and follow-on actions?  I would certainly hope he did some deep thinking about that side issue.

I understand that our shuttle fleet was very aged and I understand that some other form of transport needed to be developed.  I was fearful when that decision was taken leaving us at the mercy of a potential adversary.  I am much more fearful of this entire situation than I was before our President decided it was up to him to teach Vladimir Putin a lesson.  It was not, apparently, something that he thought ought to originate from within the United Nations and obviously the Russians have veto power in that body, so that might have simply delayed a response.

Putin holds the hand that President Obama could only have hoped to have held.  The KGB background of this man ought to be sufficient to tell us what it is we are up against, but we seem to have trouble thinking that ‘once KGB always KGB’ is a real problem.

The old adage about taking of a knife to a gun fight continues to roll through my mind.

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