Looking to the future

A salute to Godfrey Sperling for his plea to the President for ``A call for a national goals study'' (Feb. 19). He targets the most significant element in America's future. The United States, nearing its turn into the 21st century and faced with perplexing problems for which solutions remain elusive, must not delay in charting its course. Yes, ``star wars,'' nuclear weapons, the MX missile, the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, just as the Departments of Energy and Education, must be tested in the crucible of the long-term national interest; the well-being of the state; the safety of its citizens. Policy must provide the incentive to attain long-range goals; and within the vision of the nation's future, design a rationale for sound decisionmaking which contributes to the people's ultimate aspirations.

The studies recommended in the article must become the first forward-reaching steps to educational, political, industrial, strategic, maritime, labor communications, and economic actions on a global scale to gain the realization of America's full prospect -- moral as well as material -- as the leader of the Free World.

I would further suggest a nationwide symposia aimed at bringing the leaders of each major segment of American society together to forge a consensus as to ``wherein the national interest reposes.''

For too many years ``America's Tomorrow'' has remained immersed in an extravagant ``immediacy,'' with the ship of state frequently sailing far afield from where its long-term interest could be charted. The litany of former presidential efforts recited in the article accents the urgency of the columnist's initiative. It also confirms the need for clear-cut perception of policy procedures to provide continuity to the long-term global policy Sperling urges. As is clearly too evident, such national policy remains nonexistent. History may well record that the ``sea change'' may prove the most significant element of not only President Reagan's inspirational statesmanship, but of the nation's future!

To confirm the validity of this one must turn to Seneca the Elder:

``Our plans miscarry, because we have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.'' Gilven M. Slonim, President The Oceanic Educational Foundation Falls Church, Va.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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