The principal responsibility of the U.S. government, and that of any free nation, is to provide for the economic well being of all of its citizens and for the national security. It seems, however, that the state of our economy and trade relations are treated today as secondary to geopolitics and defense issues in the thinking of the executive branch. The expanding U.S. budget and trade deficits are symptomatic of the real ailment in the United States: the decline of our industrial base and a pending decline in the U.S. standard of living.

This is not to say that national security is unimportant. There is a need, however, for conscientious national debate on our military as well as economic priorities—not just of a Strategic Defense Initiative, but also an equivalent Strategic Competitive Initiative. World stability may be more affected by increasing confrontational relations among trading partners than by the threat...

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