International cooperation in space
From M. Gruntman, Blazing the Trail, AIAA, 2004,
Chapter 18, The First Thousand Years, pp.462.
... Tremendous energy and emotions going into lengthy discussions of international cooperation in exploration of space obscures one critically important fact: most of the nations are not committed to exploration of space and avoid investing resources in space technology. In 2002, civilian government space expenditures were about $20B worldwide (Hertzfeld and Ojalehto 2003). NASA accounted for 63%, whereas industrially developed Europe spent 17 and 6% through ESA and additional national space programs, respectively. Japan's share was 12%. In addition, American programs in military space dwarf those of all other nations. Only France (and the old Soviet Union in the past) approaches the U.S. space expenditures in terms of the fraction of the gross domestic product (GDP). Most other industrialized countries spend in space, as fraction of GDP, four to six times less than the United States.
This inequality in commitment to exploration of and expansion in space should point to many space enthusiasts, particularly in Europe, that their frustration with slow pace of space programs and limited opportunities result not from often invoked lack of or unwillingness in international cooperation, but are rather caused by disinterest of their own nations and governments. No help can be expected in the foreseeable future from the United Nations either. The United Nations was and is a forum of all nations — not a forum of free nations adhering to the same basic values of liberty, human dignity, and human rights — an organization with an abysmal record of waste, incompetence, and inefficiency and politicizing each and every issue. Nevertheless, educating the public and working with governments is absolutely essential for bringing support for our expansion in space.