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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in At TMV, Economy, Education, Health, Politics, Science & Technology, Society, War | 40 comments

Why America’s Future Security Rests On Its Extraordinary Resources & Not A Mighty Military

As almost anyone with a comprehensive world view well knows, America’s future lies not in having the mightiest military but in marshaling its extraordinary assets — its people, its infrastructure and its renewable resources — to assure a more secure 21st century.

That the wonks at Foreign Policy magazine recognize that reality in publishing a paper titled “A National Security Narrative” is no surprise. Nor is it surprising that the Obama administration has pretty much merely paid lip service to this view, while Congress in general and Republicans in particular are galloping off in the other direction and madly gobbling up America’s seed corn as funding for education, infrastructure and alternative energy is held hostage and the biggest megaphones are held by mainstream media-enabled crackpots.

The subtext of the paper, which was written not by left-leaning day dreamers but with the help of two members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (that’s not a hip-hop group), is that it does no good be the world’s sole superpower “that billions of people around the world have learned to hate from fear of our military might. We seek instead to be the nation other nations listen to, reply on and emulate out of respect and admiration.”

That such a view is so commonsensical but in the eyes of too many people so radical is a sad commentary on what the U.S. has become at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century — a nation that is getting the fundamentals wrong.

But try telling Tea Party crybabies, birthers or Christianists, as the paper’s authors do, that the key to the future is not more aircraft carriers and saber rattling, but intellectual capital:

“By investing energy, talent, and dollars now in the education and training of young Americans — the scientists, statesmen, industrialists, farmers, inventors, educators, clergy, artists, service members, and parents, of tomorrow — we are truly investing in our ability to successfully compete in, and influence, the strategic environment of the future. Our first investment priority, then, is intellectual capital and a sustainable infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for the continuing development and growth of America‚Äôs youth.”

How can the defeatists and seed corn gobblers be brought around to this view before it’s too late?

While the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik in 1957 was a wake-up call that reverberated through government, education and society for years thereafter, it is difficult to image a similar cathartic event today. The fact that China is building an extraordinary high-speed train system while the U.S. dawdles? Nah. The fact that the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. grows ever wider? Nah. That the U.S. is dropping far behind other developed countries in key quality-of-life indicators? Nah.

What do you think it will take?

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Click here to go to a page with a link to the “A National Security Narrative” (.pdf).