Is Obama trying to 'decolonize' space?
Observers were puzzled when President Obama apparently gave the space agency NASA a new mission to reach out to the world’s Muslims. But his action makes sense when you consider the influence of anticolonial ideology.
Soon after becoming president, Barack Obama evidently gave the space agency NASA a new mission of reaching out to the world’s Muslims. Observers were puzzled. Why should rocket scientists focused on outer space now worry about hearts and minds on Earth?Skip to next paragraph
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I believe I have solved the mystery. The reason is that President Obama has adopted his father’s ideology; the son is, as his father was, an anticolonialist. And according to this worldview, NASA is a symbol of America’s effort to colonize outer space. It follows that Obama wants to “decolonize” NASA, and that means converting it from its traditional mission of American exploration into a kind of international project to recognize what Muslims and others have contributed to the development of science.
A strange new mission
Several months ago, NASA chief Charles Bolden announced that Mr. Obama had given him three priorities: “He wanted me to help reinspire children to want to get into science and math. He wanted me to expand our international relationships. And third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contributions to science and math and engineering.”
For former astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, Bolden’s remarks – which the White House later tried to correct – surely added insult to the injury they felt Obama has caused with his new budget and vision for NASA, which includes shelving the ambitious Constellation program and relying on foreign and commercial spacecraft.
Even some Obama supporters expressed puzzlement. Sure, we are all for Islamic self-esteem, and 800 years ago the Muslims did make some important discoveries, but what on earth was Obama up to here?
What motivates Obama?
To answer this question, we must figure out what motivates Obama; we must know what is Obama’s dream. Fortunately we don’t have to speculate, because Obama tells us in his autobiography, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.”
The title alone is telling, but as Obama writes in the book: “It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.”
Though Obama also candidly admits to feeling mugged by reality when he learned more about his father, several figures who know him well say the ideological fire of the father still burns within the son. As his grandmother Sarah Obama told Newsweek, “I look at him and I see all the same things, he has taken everything from his father. The family is still intact, this son is realizing everything the father wanted – fighting for people, the dreams of the father are still alive in the son.”
So there it is: Obama’s dream is his father’s dream.