Sunday, December 11, 2011

If We Get Our Political Act Together, Other Things Can Work Out For America

Here is a column that you're unlikely to have seen but should.  It's by David Ignatius of the Washington Post, an journalist on the national intelligence network, whose output is often overlooked in favor of the most politically oriented columnists.

In today's column, he deals with a new national intelligence assessment of America's future, looking ahead about 20 years.  Here are some excerpts:
A disturbing consensus emerged among the analysts that something closer to the pessimistic scenario should be the base line. Fred Kempe, president of the Atlantic Council, the think tank that hosted the meeting, sums up the views of these analysts and of a similar exercise last month by the World Economic Forum when he warns that the biggest national-security threat is “the danger of receding American influence on the world stage.”

My own view (I was asked to critique the presentations as an independent journalist) is that the key issue is how the United States adapts to adversity. That offers a slightly more encouraging picture: Relative to competitors, America still has a more adaptive financial system, stronger global corporations, a culture that can tap the talents of a diverse population and an unmatched military. The nation’s chronic weakness is its political system, which is approaching dysfunction. If the United States can elect better political leadership, it should be able to manage problems better than most competitors....[Bold emphasis are mine--C.L.]
Yet not all is lost, according to what Ignatius is hearing.
Here’s the most interesting footnote to this gloomy exercise. Burrows said that as he discusses his 2030 project with analysts around the world, he finds them much less downbeat about America’s prospects. “The Chinese are the first ones to say that we are too pessimistic about our future,” he reports, and Brazilian and Turkish analysts have said much the same thing.

1 comment:

  1. "If the United States can elect better political leadership,..." I think this statement is a little naive given that political ambitions rely way too heavily on large contributions to fund individual and national elections from those entities that expect a friendly vote on their agenda. And our two party system does not lend itself to compromise in the best interest of the country, only in the best interest of being re-elected and for control of Congress and the White House (essentially control of the government). Control equals power, power corrupts.