Next weekend I will be speaking at the InScience Conference, in Kyiv on June 17-18. InScience is the largest annual Ukrainian science gathering. The theme of this year’s conference is, perhaps unsurprisingly, “Science for Victory, Science to Rebuild Ukraine.” The title of my talk will be “Victory from Space.”

As an aerospace engineer with 35 years’ experience, I have some useful suggestions to make on that subject, but I am most widely known as the president of the international non-profit Mars Society, an organization dedicated to furthering the exploration and settlement of the Red Planet.  So, some people have asked me why I should go so far off my beat to come to Ukraine to lend my support.

Here is my answer.

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in which he said ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand. I do not believe our union can long endure half slave and half free. It must become all one thing or all the other.’

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The forces of freedom won that war. But the world today also remains a house divided; half slave and half free. It will become all one or all the other. And the outcome of this war in Ukraine may well determine which direction the world will choose to take.

If Ukraine should fall, then an army of one million men aligned with the free world will be lost from the West’s order of battle, the power of fascist Russian will be augmented, the strategic weakness along its southwest border that impairs its ability to invade the Baltic states will be fixed and its forces will advance to the borders of Poland and Romania. Moreover, the policy of deterrence which has prevented general war for the past seven decades will be discredited, after which many governments, both in Europe and Asia, will cut their submissive deals accepting domination by the aggressor, leaving the brave few that choose to resist having to militarize, thereby losing half their freedom as well.

Serbia and Ukraine are Closer than it Seems
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Serbia and Ukraine are Closer than it Seems

Serbia is much closer to Ukraine than some other countries who think that by imposing sanctions on Russia, they have done enough for Ukraine and its people

But if Ukraine prevails, then deterrence will be restored, and with that the fence that kept war in check for the past 7 decades will be safely back up, then those nations dedicated to the arts of peace will have a chance to show their mettle, and by their example lead the peoples of the unfree world to choose a better path.

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Putin invaded Ukraine because he knows he has to keep Ukraine down to keep Russia down. If Ukraine wins, the Putin gang are done, and the shadow of Kremlin tyranny that has darkened Eurasia for more than half a millennium will be lifted.

To those who say there is no difference between what the two sides in this struggle offer to the future of humanity, I say look at Ukraine. Look at the horrors that the monstrous Putin regime has wreaked there; the devastation of entire regions, the massacre of civilians, the mass graves, the mass kidnapping of children.

And look at the regime itself. Russia is not a country with an organized crime network. It is an organized crime network with a country. Its putrid, pornographically evil rulers became fabulously rich by stealing all the wealth created at enormous sacrifice by the people of the Soviet Union. A gang of poisoners and pimps, who, while posing as defenders of traditional values, profit from human trafficking on a massive scale, who wage war by creating mercenary armies of the most brutal thugs collected from their prisons, and whose entire regime is based not merely on lies, but on the conceit that there is no such thing as truth.

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Science is the search for truth. The idea of truth is central to a scientist’s faith, just as it is to Science’s sister, Conscience. Tyrants would gladly steal some of the works of Science, but they hate and mock her faith. Moreover Science, like Conscience, is both the child and parent of Freedom, who they hate most of all.

If Ukraine wins, the free world wins, and humanity today stands on the verge of the most brilliant chapter in its history, the opening on an unlimited spacefaring future. But if the other side prevails, we face the prospect of a new dark age, made darker, deeper, and more eternal than any before it by the abuse of the stolen fruits of Science by its worst enemies.

Freedom gives us Science. Science gives us freedom.

That is why as a partisan of freedom and a man of science and conscience, it is the greatest honor and privilege of my life to stand with Ukraine.

The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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