We all watched with great apprehension the stalemate over the budget, national debt, and the Affordable Care Act these past weeks. The anecdotes of impact were everywhere, from closed national monuments to denied child care. But what was not so prominent in the news was the impact to our reputation and business overseas, and, ultimately, American Competitiveness.
America has been slipping for years in the annual ranking published by the World Economic Forum – from #1 in 2008 to #7 in 2012. There are a variety of factors responsible for this, all explained in some detail in previous pieces here at ASP by August Cole. What is different this time is that we are in the midst of negotiating two of the largest trade deals in our history: first, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union, and, second, with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 Pacific Rim countries (and potentially 6 more). These two partnerships will significantly enhance our economic competitiveness worldwide – yet here we are in Washington fighting about the Affordable Care Act. In this issue you will see several articles addressing this – pieces by August Cole, myself, Ben Secrist, Dan Grant, and Glenn Nye (the last two authoring an article in Forbes). They are not long, but they are succinct – please read them and then let me know if you think our competitiveness is slipping. We need to get the point across to everyone that we are severely impacting our national security.
Climate change has always had an air of controversy surrounding it. I was somewhat dismayed when we talked with several industry executives about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (that came out last month). Most had no clue either about the report or its findings. It has several stark findings, not the least of which is that climate change is happening and that humans are responsible for it. ASP hopes to raise the visibility of this report and its consequences, and you will see a corresponding article on it by Andrew Holland below. As well, we’ve had multiple publications about the impact of climate change on Asia, the Arctic, the insurance industry, and on food scarcity this past quarter. ASP will never quit beating this drum as we are on the verge of a major catastrophe, and many refuse to do anything about it.
The future of our nuclear weapons stockpile has long been an issue here, and it has heated up considerably during the budget debate.. ASP helped considerably during the New START debate, and now that we are discussing future funding for nuclear weapons, isn’t the time right to consider further cuts? Josh Miller addresses this issue in his article. Related to this is our ongoing dialogue with Iran on their nuclear ambitions, and Terri Lodge and Matthew Wallin talk about where new need to be in this debate.
I hope this preview whets your appetite for the truly thoughtful and comprehensive articles included in this, our latest edition of American Security Quarterly.
BGen Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret.)
CEO American Security Project
American Security Quarterly – edited by Brendan Zehner