Retired Astronaut Ron Garan tells WUSF's Robin Sussingham in this interview, "we need to find the low-hanging fruit" of international cooperation. He is the author of the book The Orbital Perspective.
We find the low hanging fruit, find the things we agree on -- like space exploration -- and work on those things. What happened from that experience was that personal relations developed, trust developed, and we formed a fully integrated team -- not a Russian program and a U.S. program and a European program and Japanese program -- it's the International Space Station program, a fully integrated program. If we can build those type of platforms, we can jump off from there and address those things that we don't agree on. There was a lot of disagreement and discussion about bringing the Russians into the International Space Station program. Those same arguments are now being used about China. We have big disagreements with China, but again, if we could find the things we do agree on and embrace those things, and work on those things, then we could hopefully jump off and start to address the things we don't agree on. But we tend to do the exact opposite. We tend to use the things we agree on as a stick to force the things we don't agree on. Which just doesn't work.