Not since the sixties has space exploration been as exciting as it is now. Just last month, SpaceX, the space exploration company, completed the first successful landing of the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket. Earlier, Jeff Bezos’ outfit Blue Origin accomplished a landing of their smaller vehicle.

Private companies are talking about mining asteroids and setting up bases on Mars. Buck Rogers, here we come. For the first time, the world is weening itself off centrally-run space programs and developing the capabilities to make outer space profitable. That is, unless crony socialism continues to waste taxpayer dollars on funding neo imperialist American enemies.

Some Senators in Congress, among them Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Shelby (R-Al.) are asking Congress to lift a ban on the purchase of a certain rocket engine called the RD-180 which is manufactured by a Russian company called Energomash. This is a company so deeply rooted in the Russian crony-military industrial complex that Reuters ran an investigative piece about them titled Comrade Capitalism.

The main argument for the resumption of the RD-180 purchases is that they are needed for reasons of national defense. Besides the fact that America has launch systems more than capable of delivering our hardware into space well into the next decade, lifting the ban is a terrible mistake in terms of boosting one of our main international rivals and undermining the billions that we spend defending against Russia.

America has spent over $6 billion in aid for Ukraine according to the New York Times. This is all in order to support a nation choking under the boot of Russian-backed aggression and is clamoring for democracy.

This is in addition to the $1 billion that is lost from the Russian sanctions, and the billions that American allies in Europe are being drained from.

ATR has done its part by training Ukrainian activists to develop their own civil society in support of democracy and free markets.

It is also important to remember the $11.5 million per day that is spent trying to stabilize Syria while the Russians do all they can to kill American allies on the ground and prop up the blood-soaked regime of Bashar Assad. This is why ATR recently sent a letter to Congress opposing efforts to lift the ban.

Simply put, meeting Russia in the world stage has cost the American taxpayers a considerable amount. One has to wonder, then, why American Senators would go out of their way to prove Vladimir Lenin correct when he said that “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them,” except in this case, the U.S. is giving Russia $1 billion over several years for an over-priced engine. Make no mistake, this money is going directly into the hands of Putin’s cronies and his own ambitions to reconstruct the near-abroad of the defunct Soviet Union.

If you think President Putin is above such corruption, please google the Panama Papers.

If the U.S. is serious about countering Russian aggression, it should not work at cross purposes and commit to sanctioning the illiberal regime, as some political giants have in the past.

SpaceX, Blue Origin, the pioneers at the Mojave Air and Space Port, and countless other new private American companies are on the bleeding edge of space exploration. We should be finding ways of making the tax and regulatory system work for these entrepreneurs to ensure that the space age is an American age. America should not be propping up illiberal rival regimes and it should not lift the ban on the RD-180.