Newt Gingrich's pledge to build a permanent U.S. base on the moon has come in for a lot of mockery and criticism, but most of it strikes me as extremely naive.
If the U.S. retreats from the moon, it will leave a dangerous vacuum that will inevitably be filled by powers that are indifferent, if not hostile to our interests and values. Without a stabilizing lunar presence, Iranian influence would no doubt expand (I needn't remind you of the dangers of Iran's lunar ambitions or the incipient celestial Shia cresecent). Our failure to stand by the moon would also send a damaging message to other planets that the U.S. is not willing to see through the commitments made by earlier administrations. Mars, Venus, Jupiter would all start hedging their bets.
It's possible that President Obama, mired in anti-lunar-colonial sentiment (who could forget how he apologized for the disrespect Alan Shepard showed toward the lunar surface), would reject an American presence, but a confident America must recognize that our hegemony has helped the moon at least as much as it has helped us.
The fact is, for our own security and prosperity, America must remain the indispensable planetary power, providing the galactic global goods that only we can provide. If Obama renounces a permanent base on the moon, he will be signalling in unmistakable terms his commitment to American decline.