"The President refers to the challenges of global competitiveness as a "Sputnik' moment " said U.S. Under Secretary of State Dr. Robert D. Hormats. "The difference is that Sputnik was launched from only one country, the Soviet Union. It's different today as 'Sputniks' are launched from all angles, not just from
one country. [In terms of global competitiveness] it's not just China (which commands all the attention). It's South Korea, its Russia. There are huge numbers of competive challenges from many countries -- the list includes countries from Israel to Brazil."
Hormats remarks were made in conversation with Professor Kal Raustiala, director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations in an event co-sponsored by the Burkle Center and UCLA Anderson's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). The conversation, billed as a discussion of the State Department's role in U.S. foreign economic policy, was held in Anderson's Entrepreneurs Hall Friday, February 25. Hormats noted that there were two broad ways to respond to the challenges of global competitiveness. The first -- which he rejected while acknowledging the existence of advocates -- is to turn inward, failing to take advantages of competitive challenges and and blame external factors in other countries for an inability to compete. "The other," Hormats said, "is to recognize the challenes and see how we can take advantage of them and find ways to work with other countries."
Recognizing and meeting those challenges, Hormats said, will take major effort in four areas: improving education as a means of creating new technologies and to fill the jobs created by innovative companies; a decrease in dependence on foreign hydrocarbons through the development of green technologies; the development of infrastructures including rapid transit, better ports and ways of moving information across electronic grids and harness the changes in the global economy and find ways to work with nations like China, India and Brazil in creating the rules of the global economy in the 21st century.