The United States should have more global participation in order to create more jobs at home, influential North Carolina leaders said Monday.
Speakers, including former Govs. Jim Hunt and Jim Martin and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., discussed smart power during a luncheon hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.
Smart power involves the use of development, diplomacy and defense as global strategy to promote national security and the global economy.
“We can’t solve our problems by leaping into military action. Nor can we solve our problems alone with diplomacy,” said Admiral James Stavridis, who served as the commander of the U.S. European Command.
Stavridis said before he saw the plane crash into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, he thought it was the safest building in the entire world.
“I realized that building walls will not create security in the 21st century,” he said. “We have to build bridges.”
The first thing the American policymakers ought to do is learn more about other countries’ cultures, he said.
“We’ve got to study languages more,” he said. “To know another language is to know another culture, to know another life.”
Stavridis said one way the United States has started to build bridges is by teaching literacy, and the U.S. has already taught 400,000 Afghan security forces how to read and write.
“This is the most profound bridge you can create — a bridge to knowledge,” he said.
Stavridis said social media and programs like Coursera, which allows students around the world to take free online courses from top universities, will also help build bridges.
“The ability to use the internet to deliver education, I think, will profoundly shape the global environment,” he said.
Hunt said participating in global exchange will also help bring in more American jobs, including jobs in the state.
“All of us know that America must be a global leader if we are going to be successful economically,” he said.
By assisting in developing other countries, the United States is increasing the number of clients to sell its exports to, thereby creating more jobs, Hunt said.
“There’s a job involved in things that we export,” he said. “One out of five of our jobs is connected with exports.”
Hagan said she plans to increase jobs through increased exports.
“Already, trade supports over 1.2 million jobs in North Carolina,” she said. “But we’ve still got to do more.”
Hagan, who is running for re-election in 2014, said her top priority was to get North Carolinians back to work.
“My four favorite words are ‘Made in North Carolina,’ and I want to see that label shipped all over the globe,” she said.
Stavridis said the United States needs to work collectively with other countries to have a successful future.
“Wikipedia is a perfect example of not one of us is as smart as all of us together.”
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