Imperialism’s Next Frontier

Designing like Kruger. This image actually does not follow the color scheme that’s given in the Kruger guidelines, so the color is created by using the eyedropper function in Photoshop.

During the Florida primaries this year (2012), Republican candidate Newt Gingrich mentioned that, if elected president, he will have established a base on the moon by the year 2020. He was clearly pandering to Florida’s populace for whom a robust space program would open up job opportunities. More than that, though, a base on the moon seems to imply some sort of Manifest Destiny mentality to colonize not other countries on Earth (since that’s not kosher to do anymore post-WW2), but other planets.

I use the term “Imperialism” because imperialism implies “soft power”, and that a permanent presence on the moon would somehow convey that the US is still at the top of the world powers, using technology and science to beat out other nations. When the US put men on the moon in 1969, the narrative of the moon landing was told as the US “beating” the Russians to the moon. This ideology still exists today, with Newt still pitting the US against the likes of Russia and China, further reinforcing, rather than a global collaborative effort for space exploration, some sort of misplaced patriotism that fuels American (read in this case as White) superiority and arrogance.

Moreover, with the tug of war in the debate to make NASA public or private (and I realize this might be a stretch), I’m wondering if keeping NASA publicly funded reinforces a form of exclusionary nationalism that may not allow for as much collaboration between nations as a privately funded effort would. Then again, privately funded projects also have their problems


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