Opinion

How Your Enemy Will Help You

Adam Brandenburger

By Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff

By Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff

The moon landing over 50 years ago went down in history as the climax of a bitter competition between the USA and what was then the USSR. What is less well known is that space exploration almost began with a cooperation. At a meeting with the head of government of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, US President John F. Kennedy proposed a joint lunar mission in 1961.

Two years later, speaking at the United Nations, Kennedy brought up the idea again. His proposal fell on deaf ears, but in 1975 the two rivals from the Cold War started working together with the Apollo Soyuz Test Project . The International Space Station ISS then ushered in an era of cooperation between the two nations in 1998.

Today a number of countries are interested in building a base on the moon. Various actors are exploring options for cooperation. Even hypercompetitive rivals Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have sat down at a table to talk about a merger of their companies Blue Origin and SpaceX.

Read the full Havard Business Manager article.

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Adam Brandenburger is J.P. Valles Professor