It should be obvious by now that bringing the U.S. civil space program into heavy reliance on Russia was a mistake. Part of the blame goes to Al Gore, though in fairness Russia looked a lot less menacing when he got them involved in the space station. And the Bush administration's allowance of a 5-year gap between the shuttle's retirement and its replacement isn't helping.
Competition works in space, no less than on Earth. Competition is the key to private-sector space efforts, and it's also a necessary ingredient on government projects (see, eg., moon shot). If they're to get anywhere, that is. The old Carl Sagan-inspired dream of nations defusing their tensions on Earth by joining hands in space hasn't accomplished much on Earth or in space.