The six assets of national security. A strong military is last.

I’ve been giving a bit of thought to the budget arguments of health care on both sides. I’ve come to the conclusion that the arguments are incredibly silly because if you have a nation of sick people because it “costs too much” to keep them healthy, nothing else really matters.

Then I saw Al Gore being interviewed on The Daily Show and thought the green folks are also wagging the dog. It is not about the environment, but about energy independence. Things started to thread together.

So far, here is what I have concluded.

There are six assets of national security. If any of them are weak, the whole structure is weak.

  • Citizens who are secure in their persons and papers. Citizens who feel safe think, create and share. Citizens who don’t feel safe hoard and protect.
  • Citizens who are healthy and have access to quality health care. If you don’t have your health, nothing else matters.
  • Citizens who are educated and strive for education throughout their lives. Educated citizens are innovative and insure a continued development of the six assets.
  • Energy independence. Regardless of what your energy raw resources are. If all you have is sand, educated citizens and a need for energy, these smart people will find a way of turning sand into energy.
  • Respect, given and demanded. The world’s original currency is respect. More can be accomplished with others of different cultures through respect than force or money. It takes more time and patience, but the foundation is stronger.
  • Strong military. Just in case you have to protect the other five assets from those who wish to take them by force or when dealing with irrational folks who refuse to be reasoned with.

Many would argue that a strong economy should be an asset, but that is actually a product of the six assets above. If your primary focus is making or saving money, you cut into one or more of the six assets to achieve the result. If you focus on building the six assets, a strong economy will naturally flow as a result, further allowing development of all six assets.

Many also argue that a strong military should be primary and while it may be necessary to create a state initially, once the state is created, the military then plays a protective, defensive role. It is the “pulling back” and handing off power to a citizen state that is hard for militaries. But necessary for growth and true national security.

The formula is not a hard one, but the temptation to focus on making or saving money as a shortcut is strong. Saving money is easy. Building assets is hard and takes faith.

What do you think? And please, no arguments about the economy. Unless you concede that a strong economy is a result of doing the right things, not the end in itself, we’re not going to have a productive discussion.