Re: It does have a finite life
That is a bit harsh
Fact is that Russia kept the station going for more than a 13 years -when no other country could put anything up with people in it. (first time was the first shuttle accident, second with the end of that program)
The basic design was Russian - and the first modules were also - they have been up now for years, and proven themselves to work far and away beyond their design parameters.
Pretty much all of the ISS is operating this way - from batteries, solar panels, and internal spaces. Sure we could do better now - but - we have it now and have had it for 20 years.
Think of the thousands of thermal cycles alone that the aluminimum and glass has to go through...
The ISS has been one of the greatest achievements anyone has achieved. We should work for a replacement - but it should not be decommissioned before a replacement is actually in place.
It is unfortunately the case that current US paranoia has reached the point where joint efforts for its replacement will be pretty much limited to ESA and NASA. It makes it a lot less likely that either station will be as great as a proper collaboration could have been.
Lets hope the russions dont want their modules back - they provide a physical hub, one of the global life support/water recycling & half the docking ports.