Within every crisis is an opportunity. At the other end of this global pandemic awaits a new world of economic winners. Russia is already evoking Cold War memories by calling its test coronavirus vaccine “Sputnik V.” China is no different in the race for a vaccine, portraying itself as a global citizen and using that as a bargaining chip against U.S. global leadership.
This highlights the need for America to have a long-term high-technology vision, policy and set of goals in order to make strategic investments that correlate to our way of life, economic well-being, and democratic norms and values to shape not just the next decade but the decades to follow. The United States can either prepare and posture to shape a future with American strategic leadership, or resign itself to follower status. In many possible future scenarios, follower status may mean subservience to authoritarian-led economic systems.
The U.S. has seized on such strategic opportunities in the past. At the beginning of World War II, America was still recovering from the Great Depression and possessed the 12th largest army in the world. The government turned to America’s manufacturing sector to help repair the economy and prepare America’s industrial base. This investment and strategic posture produced innovative developments in scientific technologies that ushered in advances in radio, ships, railroads, airplanes, nuclear power, solar power, space flight and, eventually, the internet.
Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. depended