By : Michele Flournoy and Richard Fontaine
From the polls, one might think that a stark partisan divide has developed about which issue is of greatest importance to the nation. Take The Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey released earlier this month, which asked likely primary voters to name their top two priorities for the federal government from seven options.
The top choice among Republicans was “national security and terrorism,” picked by 54%. That option placed only fourth with Democrats, who instead chose “job creation and economic growth”—which placed third with Republicans.
The truth is that national security and economic strength are inextricably linked, and Washington needs to pursue both. In siloed government agencies, though, they are too often considered in isolation. America’s economy is the foundation of its military and political power, and boosting growth helps relieve the downward pressure on defense and foreign-affairs budgets that reduces Washington’s ability to shape international events. With the world aflame from Syria to Ukraine, and tensions with China rising, the demand for U.S. power is higher than it has been in decades. The challenge today is supplying it.
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