One of the top questions asked at change.gov was something like, "What will the Obama administration do to insure America remains the world leader in scientific research?"
Personally, I don't care about rankings. I'd settle for a well funded, robust, open, impartial scientific community free to speak without political coercion. Getting the public behind the "well funded" bit is admittedly a challenge.
Then I read this article on MSNBC: China honors scientists to spur innovation.
The [Chinese] government is spending on research ranging from stem cells to nuclear power, both to spur economic development and to win the prestige that comes from basic breakthroughs.
Ah, perfect. China's got what it takes to make Americans nervous. Other world powers just aren't in the same league.
India? Too friendly.
Arab world? Too backward.
Russia? Hmm, perhaps.
Raise the spectre of a technologically advanced, economically powerful, militarized China, and Americans will shit bricks.
Fear = funding.
Oh noes! We broke! Who we gonna call fer de loans?
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