Power And Dollar

Navy Or Education?


Naval conflicts are obviously more exciting and therefore more headline deserving.  However, Obama’s education announcement may have a greater impact over the US competitiveness.  US’ timing of airing out these incidents at this time is interesting.  So is the timing of China’s testy behavior. 


US has been relying on foreign labor supply for a long time, both the high and low paying jobs, just lower than Canada’s (and thus lower college grad/capita than other western European countries).  However, tightening this foreign labor supply since 911 and later due to border control will make the quality of domestic labor supply more critical to the US competitiveness.  US can certainly produce high quality labor supply.  Given the size of the US economy, does US have sufficient quantity of high quality labor supply to sustain the complexity and sophistication of US economy?  Does US suffer from too much variation of more basic labor supply?  The answers to these questions may not matter much to the restaurant down the street.  However, they matter from call center and assembly line operators to pharmaceutical companies. 


Obama’s quest of the week, apparently education this time, is important not for this recession (or depression), but for the sustainability or viability of our Social Security.  America needs to find more domestic supply for higher end jobs, if America decides to continue tightening foreign supply.  America also will need to have a more consistent quality for lower paying jobs as well.  All these mean education system of the US has to pump out products that are more fitting to the buyers of the labor market.  That is why Obama is stressing on quality of education, merit pay, etc.  


Quality labor supply does not come easy.  They require a long investment cycle.  And they are difficult to measure.  AFT says the devil is in the details.  Obama is getting into the habit of not giving details.  Will we see something of substance to improve the education?  How long will we have to wait for this one?


About the naval conflict, this is similar to what happened to Bush 2 as well.  Is China testing Obama’s style or determination?  Or, is US military trying to seize the agenda of Obama’s diplomacy?  After all, DoD secretary Robert Gates is supposed to just “help out”.  In a situation like that, Department of State should be able to assert more influence than Defense.  What is the story here?  Watch how this evolve and we will get a better clue. 


March 10, 2009 - Posted by | China, clinton, Current Events, 美國, Democrats, obama, opinion, politics, Republican, US politics, wordpress-political-blogs


  1. FP had a good article a couple of months ago about how India was doing better than China on the education scale especially literacy. It’ll be interesting to see if something brews there too. Asia’s ocean going nations are all very good topics to cover. All (or at least the majors) are building up there navies. Along those lines I’d echo your comment concerning how this all plays out. On the US v China USN/DoD v Obama though I’d say the Dod and Navy would use something other than a USNS ship to test China and or foreign policy issues.

    Comment by Alfie | March 10, 2009 | Reply

    • Both countries are difficult to measure on literacy. India certainly does better and that figure is skewed toward a few southern states of India where they have >90% literacy rates (say Kerala). China’s rates are less variable.

      I agree USN would want to use something else. Harassments of this sort was already established publicly back in early Bush 2 days that all air forces and navies expect that in non-allied areas. My interests for this story are 1) China picking this time to do it and 2) the timing of USN/DoD airing out (probably I did not say it out well). Both points are about timing, not the substance.

      Comment by royho | March 11, 2009 | Reply

  2. USS Chung-Hoon an Arleigh Burke destroyer is now on station in the sea and escorting the Impeccable. I’ve toured a couple of Burke class destroyers. They’re pretty formidable.

    Comment by Alfie | March 13, 2009 | Reply

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