"What's Our Sputnik" Asks New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman

"What's Our Sputnik" Asks New York Times Columnist Thomas Friedman

It is not about the space program per se, but Thomas Friedman had an interesting op-ed in the New York Times yesterday with some great quotes about the impact of Sputnik on the United States — like this one:

“‘Our response to Sputnik made us better educated, more productive, more technologically advanced and more ingenious,’ said the Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum. ‘Our investments in science and education spread throughout American society, producing the Internet, more students studying math and people genuinely wanting to build the nation.'”

Friedman’s theme is that the United States should really think about what its long term plan is, that it can’t just be about racing China, fighting terrorists, or political infighting.

“And what does the war on terror give us? Better drones, body scanners and a lot of desultory T.S.A. security jobs at airports. ‘Sputnik spurred us to build a highway to the future,’ added Mandelbaum. ‘The war on terror is prompting us to build bridges to nowhere.’

We just keep thinking we can do it all – be focused, frightened and frivolous. We can’t. We don’t have the money. We don’t have the time.”

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