(CNSNews.com) – Former Bush National Security adviser Stephen Hadley, speaking at the annual conference of the World Affairs Councils of America on Friday, said the number one national security challenge is “getting our fiscal house in order.”
“If you look at the national security challenges and the foreign policy challenges we face, I say the number one challenge is getting our fiscal house in order, getting a handle on the debt, getting a handle on the deficit, which are critical in order to get the economy growing again and people back to work,” said Hadley, who succeeded Condoleezza Rice, as national security adviser under President George W. Bush.
This year’s conference was “galvanized around a set of issues” – “U.S. economic competitiveness, U.S. education competing globally, the Middle East, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and U.S. energy policy.”
“So starting with that, looking at it strategically, do you feel those are the core issues before President Obama and this administration and our country going into 2013? If not, what would you change? What would you add?” the host asked.
“I think there is an overarching issue on top of all of them that in some sense affects and enables all of them, and that is if you look at the national security challenges and the foreign policy challenges we face, I say the number one challenge is getting our fiscal house in order, getting a handle on the debt, getting a handle on the deficit, which are critical in order to get the economy growing again and people back to work,” Hadley said.
“And I think…it’s certainly the number one domestic challenge. My point it’s also the number one national security challenge. Why? Because a healthy economy and a healthy balance sheet undergirds everything we do internationally,” he said.
“It funds our military. It gives strength to our diplomacy. It allows us to be an attractive trading partner, which gives us economic influence. It undergirds everything we do overseas, but secondly, it also undergirds the power of the American idea,” he added.
“The American idea is political democracy, and free markets makes for a stable situation in the long-term, but also makes for a prosperous society that is able to deliver on its people. That is really what America has stood for, and by our failure to resolve our own problems and get our economy growing and going again, we undermine the strength of the American idea internationally,” Hadley said.
“And that’s why countries are flirting with this notion of maybe China has it right – state capitalism plus keeping your people in line. And that is very destructive. It’s destructive for our influence but also in my view, it’s not the right path for countries to take,” he added.