December 6 2009
What is the outlook for the United States as a global power:
The United States has since its birth been blessed with several unique competitive advantages:
1. Our Democratic Institutions, once unique, they are now found in dozens of other countries.
2. Our enormous natural resources: Still a big help, but others can now compete to procure natural resources (Russia, China, Brazil all have demonstrated this).
3. The education level and quality of our work force: Up until the mid 20th century no country had a workforce like the U.S.
4. Traditionally NY was the financial center of the world and the dollar its currency, neither is any longer a requirement for global capital.
All of our natural advantages are being blunted. See 'Has America Lost its Mojo' by Fareed Zakaria, in Newsweek http://www.newsweek.com/id/222836
Our primary resource is our people. And the U.S. is not doing particularly well in the quality of its work force, which is largely a function of education.This also means we get a lousy government, because our uneducated people are more interested in Gate Crashers than actual foreign policy, our culture is getting lighter and lighter weight. Al Jazeera English is outperforming our networks in meaningful coverage, just look at who is getting the international journalism awards: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2008/02/2008525134933817892.html
WAR IN AFGHANISTAN:
100,000 US Soldiers with their supporting private contractors will cost over 10 billion dollars a month.
We have 55 million children in k-12 with a total expenditure of 400 billion annually. THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN WILL COST 33% OF OUR TOTAL K-12 EDUCATION.
The basic purpose of the surge is to create a security cordon around the cities where the national government of Afghanistan is in control.
THE US CANNOT AFFORD THIS EXPENDITURE THAT WILL BE 250 BILLION DOLLARS
It is not our responsibility any longer to act as the worlds policeman. We have to prepare our people and our economy to compete in a vastly different world.
1. COULD WE NOT FIND A 10 BILLION OPTION FOR AFGHANISTAN: Could not Indonesian, Bengali and Saudi troops be gradually brought in ? Why is this solely our responsibility?
2, 1 SOLDIER IN AFGHANISTAN COSTS THE EQUIVALENT OF 40 VILLAGES BROUGHT ELECTRIFICATION OR A SCHOOL. HOW MANY SOLDIERS WOULD IT TAKE TO WIN OVER 40 AFGHAN VILLAGES>
3. THere are 30 million people in Afghanistan : 250 billion dollars expended on military is equal to nearly 10,000 per Afghani. PER CAPITA INCOME IN AFGHANISTAN IS 400 DOLLARS. Our Military expenditures would be equal to PAYING EVERY MAN WOMAN AND CHILD THEIR NEXT 25 YEARS OF PROJECTED INCOME.
THE FRUGAL SURGE OPTION:
1. We accelerate cutting a deal with the Taliban, burning 10 billion a month for the first month or two only, once agreements are secured SUCH AS HAVING A MUSLIM PEACE KEEPING FORCE INTRODUCED AT 10 % THE COST OF AMERICAN TROOPS, we can provide a 30 Billion ECONOMIC development package for the country and get out. Obama cut the price of victory from 1 TRILLION OVER 10 YEARS - to 250 Billion - I propose bringing it down further.
TAKE A LOOK BELOW AT SOME SOBERING FACTS:
Excerpted from: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/12/16/literacy
"Not only does it find that the average literacy of college educated Americans declined significantly from 1992 to 2003, but it also reveals that just 25 percent of college graduates -- and only 31 percent of those with at least some graduate studies -- scored high enough on the tests to be deemed "proficient" from a literacy standpoint, which the government defines as "using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential."
China has about 194 million students in K-12, India has 212 million, and the United States has 53 million. While China and India educate only a fraction of their children compared to the United States, their raw numbers dwarf those of America, and their middle class is rapidly growing, so those figures will increase over time.
PISA scores of 15 year olds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programme_for_International_Student_Assessment
The United States compared to the other major global economies: Gross Domestic Product
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