Anthony Eames, a doctoral candidate in history at Georgetown University, wrote a superb defense of the role of education in supporting strategic strength and the importance of government investment in that enterprise. As an academic who also works in policy, I’ve always believed that government investment in education (especially the humanities) leads to a stronger society.
What I find most compelling about his argument is that he cites not only the importance of tech and math education (which is important), but also the value of the humanities, and comprehensive primary through secondary education.
Frankly, it’s not possible to be a strategic power in the modern world unless there is significant government investment in education, from elementary through graduate school. It’s also not enough to put all the resources into STEM; the arts and humanities are a necessary component of a well-rounded education that supports an informed, critically-thinking citizenry.
If the U.S. wants to be a world leader in anything, whether it be security, economic growth, innovation, or good governance, it will have to do away with its current strategy of self-defeating cuts to education and research funding.