Most political agendas are based on making our country #1. I suspect it is because political strategists conclude that our preoccupation with being #1 in sports also applies to world affairs. For the most part the strategy succeeds or more accurately we succeed in rationalizing that we are #1 in the world. The cornerstone of this strategy is military strength. Being #1 in military strength however, does not necessarily make us a leader of nations and that is really what being #1 has been all about. Somehow or other in the past several decades we have successfully weaned ourselves from the necessity of being smarter than anyone else and working harder than anyone else in order to be a leader of nations. Military strength alone makes us a bully. Military strength combined with educational strengths and strong work ethics makes us a leader.
An eye opener was an op-ed column in the New York Times by Thomas L. Friedman titled “We’re No. 1(1)”. The column was written on 9/11/10 and is as true today as it was then. As Mr. Friedman pointed out, until we learn to postpone gratification, invest for the future, work harder than the next guy and hold our kids to the highest expectations we will be concede our leadership position to the likes of China and India.