Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Letter to The Next President concerning the Promise and Challenge of New Worlds

I Wrote this back on July 4th, 2008. I believe it is still relevant today. 

This is an election year for the people of the United States of America and I thought it only fitting that today, the 232nd anniversary of our independence, to write a letter to the future occupant of the oval office, whomever it may be. We the people of the United States of America are not just choosing our own president come this November but, the de facto leader of the free world. The eyes of the world look to us for leadership. The choice we make on Election Day will determine how the rest of the world perceives us for many years to come. Our choice will also determine our long term relationship with the rest of humanity. What follows is just a personal wish list of the many challenges and goals I hope the new administration will address. I also tacitly state in this letter what I hope it will accomplish over the next four years here on Earth and out in the New Frontier of Space. The views stated here are mainly my own. If you share or do not share them you are quite welcome one and all to comment as well.

July 4th, 2008

Dear Mr. President,
Two hundred and thirty-two years ago, fifty-six men changed the course of world history and signed the Declaration of Independence. They mutually pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honour, and in so doing, created a nation whose very name is synonymous with the ideas of freedom, liberty and justice. With the strength and resolve with which the Declaration was written these men forged a new nation and a new people noted for its rugged individualism and inventive spirit when confronted with the challenges of a new frontier.
We are a nation whose structure of governance, stands as the very hallmark of innovation in the very way a free people, by their own consent, choose to govern themselves. Our nation is the cauldron from which a new, independent and inventive spirit emerged.We are a people who never shied away from a challenge or turned our backs on new frontiers. And, in this first decade of the new millennium and as we approach America’s third century of existence we must not shy from the challenges that lie before us now.New challenging frontiers beckon us still. As a nation we must heed this call. We the children of those who left the Old World and sort to create new lives for themselves in the New, seek to follow in their footsteps and continue that legacy. It is our hope that this nation will commit itself to the exploration and eventual settlement of the New Worlds of solar system, out amongst the stars and also in the last great frontier left on our own world – Aquatica, the vast planetary ocean which girdles our planet.

A little over forty-five years ago, your predecessor President John Fitzgerald Kennedy affirmed our nation’s commitment to putting a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s in the most stirring and inspiring speech ever given by any American president, concerning our national space goals. In his “We Choose to go to the Moon” speech he asserted the need for the United States to lay claim to a firm leadership position in the new frontier of space and that the U.S. should "do it right and do it first before this decade is out.” The young American president linked our nation’s commitment to the exploration of space to our long term national political and strategic goals during our Cold War battle against the forces of international communism.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too”.

"Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory,
who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there".

“Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked”.

- President John F. Kennedy at Rice University, September 12th, 1962Four and a half decades later we must reassess and reaffirm this nation’s commitment to the high frontier of space and link that commitment to the present political realities we face as a nation in the post 9/11 world. Our present national space objectives must reflect and address our current short and long range national security concerns. And, in order to do this we must choose to return to the Moon and do the other things, and state precisely and clearly what those other things are.Yes space is there, the Moon and the planets are still there but, we as a nation are not quite out there yet. Our national space goals should be directed towards forging a spacefaring nation clearly committed to not just getting there but, maintaining a permanent human presence there, and stating concretely why we must be out there first.

The Cold War is not quite over yet. As a nation we face new adversaries. And, amongst some of our former adversaries old habits die hard. Communism and tyranny have not gone away and we face many new dangers in this new millennium. Our national space program must address these dangers and help us attain our long term national and economic security objectives.

We can no longer remain a nation held captive by our political and ideological foes by relying solely on the strategic mineral and energy resources controlled by other nations and despotic regimes that neither share our democratic values nor our love for individual human liberty. We can no longer allow ourselves to remain bound by this status quo and must seek to change it.

Nor should we relinquish nor endanger our leadership as defenders of the free world by making political and diplomatic compromises with these same nations. And, neither should we allow ourselves to be forced to engage in reckless military actions that would compel other nations to question our real commitment to democratic values throughout the rest of the world in order to secure our hold on these resources.

Our nation must commit itself to a long term program of energy independence and give up its debilitating addiction to Mid-eastern oil and its dependency on strategic minerals located in the most politically unstable and volatile regions of the World.

A crucial first step in meeting these objectives is to embark and commit our nation to a long term space program with the clear objective of developing the mineral and energy resources of outer space. And, by choosing to return to the Moon we will have taken the first step in attaining these goals. We must focus our efforts towards utilising the mineral wealth of the moon, the near earth asteroids; exploiting space based solar power and commit our nation to the settlement of space. Only such a long term roadmap can ensure the security of our nation and its allies. In the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy:

“The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space”.

"Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation”.

Other nations of the Old Worlds of Europe and Asia see this vast new opportunity and are willing to commit themselves to this challenge.

Your predecessor had the foresight and vision to understand this challenge.

Kennedy saw, as few political leaders have before or since, that our leadership in the high frontier of space is very much linked to our leadership as defenders of the free world. We as a nation and a people must not allow our nation to flounder in the backwash of history. Neither should our ideas of individual freedom and free enterprise be left behind on Earth to decay and wither in the face of global tyranny by allowing other nations to go in our stead. It is up to our generation to ensure that our most cherished values be taken to the stars where they can continue to flourish. This can be made so, only by avowing ourselves to the goal, “before this decade is out”, that the United States remains first and foremost amongst spacefaring nations.

Our nation must also meet the social, political and environmental challenges that face us on Earth. We must seek to feed the hungry multitude, shelter the homeless, cure the sick and pledge ourselves to ending global poverty. At the end of the of the Second World War our nation met that challenge by helping friend and foe alike in rebuilding their nations in the wake of the most devastating global conflict ever witnessed in human history. Our nation can only commit itself to a twenty-first century Marshall Plan and continue to avow ourselves to the Four Freedoms exposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, if it is in possession of great wealth, youthful vigour and a zest to face new adversities. And, as never before in our history, we find ourselves in need of all three.

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want -- which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear -- which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor-- anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception -- the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change -- in a perpetual peaceful
revolution -- a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to
changing conditions -- without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.

This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of

To that high concept there can be no end save victory”.

— President Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the Annual Message to the Congress, January 6th , 1941

We are a nation who came into being after a great democratic revolution. And, as heirs of that revolution we must channel our youth, vitality and energy towards a new democratic revolution that will sweep the globe. The untapped wealth of the heavens will help us meet that democratic challenge.

America must also commit itself to reversing the tide of global environmental and climatic degradation and a long term program of planetary defence from the possibility of cometary and asteroidal impact.

We must also commit this nation to the long term goal of maintaining the health and vitality of this planet in all its realms – land, air and sea. All of which are integral to the long term habitability of our world. Vital in meeting that end is our commitment to the continual monitoring of the health of our planetary ocean - Aquatica.

Aquatica is a world integral yet, separate from our own. We must seek to utilise and not exploit the wealth of the sea without despoiling it. The very term utilise implies responsible, sustainable and intelligent use of the vast untapped renewable energy, biological and mineral wealth that Aquatica has to offer humanity. As a nation we must actively engage the international community in developing a set of binding principles and international treaties that will ensure this goal is accomplished.

We must also seek to ensure that the wealth of the ocean and the vast new ocean of space is directed to alleviating and eventually eliminating global poverty.

We the American people are the decedents of the many peoples from many lands who came to the New World to forge a new society and indeed a new national and racial identity. We are a nation forged from the best and brightest of other nations. They came to the New World with the intention of using their skills and talents to create a new world order.

The time has come to return these gifts to the rest of humanity by pledging our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour to creating a global society committed to the principles of freedom, liberty and justice.

Let us go forth as a nation and seek, to paraphrase John F. Kennedy, to ensure that the New Worlds that lay before us will never be:

“governed by a hostile flag of conquest but, by a banner of freedom and peace” and that we “shall not see these New Worlds filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.”

In this new millennium we seek to follow in the footsteps of our founding fathers and light the spark of a new global revolution that will unleash upon the world a wave of democratic change. And like them, we will not retreat from the challenges of these new frontiers.

We the undersigned ask that you as the leader of the free world not to shy away from these challenges, because these goals will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because these challenges are the ones that we are willing to accept and ones we are unwilling to postpone, and ones which we intend to face and win.

Alex Michael Bonnici

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