On January 12 the Department of Defense released its 2020 assessment of U.S. industrial capabilities. It is alarming compendium of decay that signals FDR’s arsenal of democracy is on its last legs. From shipbuilding to machine tools to semiconductors, the sinews of American economic and military strength are gradually draining away to other nations, particularly those in East Asia. The notion that America could surge military production in response to an emergency today the way it did in World War Two is a fantasy: too many skills have been lost, too many offshore dependencies have accumulated. It seems that President Trump was right to put industrial policy back on the national agenda, and that President Biden will need to do the same thing. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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