Commanding Heights Joins IWP: Does America have the Industrial Base it needs to be a Great Power?

On January 27, The Institute of World Politics (IWP) hosted Dr. Jeb Nadaner, Executive Vice President of Government & Public Affairs and Executive Director of SAFE Commanding Heights, to speak on America’s deindustrialization, its impact on the country, and the steps needed to restore the industrial base.

Moderated by IWP President Dr. James Anderson, the discussion touched on the central role industry and manufacturing have played in the economic development and security of the United States. As Dr. Nadaner explained, “In the 20th century, we developed the most significant industrial base in the world. That industrial base was so compelling that it won two World Wars for allied powers, it was so compelling that millions and millions of people from around the world wanted to participate in that industrial base in addition to our democracy and they still keep coming.”

Though the United States still leads the world in innovation, its industrial base is a shadow of its former self as the result of decades of outsourcing and unfair trade practices from China. Vulnerabilities from this lack of domestic production capability have been brought to the forefront as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We saw during Corona, we don’t have the ability to make masks, we don’t make syringes, and we don’t make pharmaceutical agents,” noted Dr. Nadaner. “But I think for those people that look more closely at the American industrial base there are a lot of other weaknesses, and we could be suddenly cut off from a supply from abroad and find life really changes here at home.”

On the question of whether the United States has the means and the will to restore its vital industrial foundation, Dr. Nadaner said, “There is virtually nothing Americans cannot do. We have proven that repeatedly in our history. I walk down the street and I just look at the energy of the American people – we are really among the most talented people in the world – but we have to set our minds to do it, get the public policies right. And then I’m convinced we have the citizenry to do this kind of work and to do it brilliantly.”

Many thanks to IWP and Dr. Anderson for including Dr. Nadaner in this important conversation.

Read the event transcript here.