I have to admit, over the past few months I have written quite a few depressing columns. It’s probably justifiable given just how much pessimism there seems to be out there right now. However, this week I want to hopefully give you a good dose of optimism.
With Russian president Putin, threatening nuclear war, A global energy crises that could lead to much of Europe being without heat this winter, Chinese aggression in the Asian-Pacific destabilizing the region, and our own economy seemingly at the tipping point, you could be wondering what is there to be hopeful about? In my opinion, plenty.
While it is true that one could argue the world is more destabilized than at any point since WWII, in some ways, that could be to our advantage as Americans. Think back to the aftermath of WWII in the United States, it was a time of unprecedented economic prosperity here. Due to much of Europe and Asia’s manufacturing abilities being destroyed by war, The US, which was largely untouched militarily, became poised to be the world’s leading economic super power which we ultimately did.
With the infrastructure, workforce, and natural resources needed to provide goods and services to a world still recovering from war, the US rose to prominence during this time. I believe we face another potential opportunity in the coming years.
This time, in my opinion it might not simply be the rise of America, but the rise of North America. When you think about it, we are in an enviable situation here in North America today. As a continent we are separated by large bodies of water from any foreign adversary. With the vast amount of raw natural resources located in Canada, the labor force and manufacturing potential of Mexico, and the technological infrastructure and agricultural productivity of the United States we have the ability as a continent to be generally self sufficient from the rest of the world. No other nation, or group of nations can make such a claim.
There’s an old saying that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. In a lot of ways, I believe that is where we currently sit. Do we have challenges here in the US? We certainly do. However, they pale in comparison to what much of the rest of the world faces. Therefore, the coming decades could prove to be very prosperous for us as a nation if other parts of the world falter.
There are things we can do to insure we are poised to make the most of this opportunity as a nation. In my opinion, we must first recognize who are our friends and who are not. Nations such as Saudi Arabia and China have for too long been falsely treated as allies. The reason for this is simple. They produce things we need. This needs to change significantly. At best, these countries should be viewed as competitors and at worst adversaries.
For us to have success in the future these things we need must be produced closer to home. Whether it be, microprocessors, consumer goods, or most importantly energy, we have the ability to partner with people nearby who do not wish us ill. It’s time we do that. Despite their flaws we could not ask for better trade partners than Mexico and Canada. They are keys to our success and we must strengthen these relationships.
When it comes to energy, we must recognize our current energy policy is not sustainable and by continuing it we are handing power over to tyrants and despots. Without the west’s dependence on Russian natural gas, Putin would have no ability to rule. As China corners the market on lithium mining, and the construction of solar panels we risk becoming made subservient to them for our energy needs.
I don’t pretend to have all the solutions to becoming truly energy independent, but I am convinced at this time nuclear energy is our best option, supplemented by natural gas, oil, and some coal, wind and solar.
The last thing that we must do is get control of inflation. With continued rate hikes, the Fed is certainly doing their part. Now it’s Washington’s turn. The rampant government spending must stop and I believe it likely will at least begin to slow down soon.
Given the current economic and political climate, I know being bullish on America may not be the prevailing wisdom right now. However, I never bet against the American people and still have confidence in our ability to make the 21st century even more prosperous for our great nation as the 20th proved to be.