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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/14/09

The Economic Crisis is a Security Threat

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As I have noted a number of times (see links at end of article), the economic crisis is a global crisis. We are in a world of a global economic system that has been allowed to emerge with virtually no oversight or control. It is a system that has been structured to benefit richer nations and the corporations to which they are married. As nations pour trillions of dollars into the maw of the crisis, there is little (if any) improvement in the situation. This is because national strategies are analogous to trying to haul water to a fire in a bucket that is full of holes. The money poured in simply "leaks out" to the global financial "market." Yet, there is no plan (that I have seen) of a coordinated international strategy to stop the "leaks" and bring the global financial market to heel. What we do see is one nation after another trying to stabilize their own economies - and failing. Hence we get the reports of burgeoning revolutions, and that the global economic crisis has become the top national security threat. Well of course it is. Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence reported to Congress on February 12, 2009 on the Annual threat Assessment. In his prepared testimony, he detailed the origin, nature, and scope of the economic crisis. He stated that the crisis originated in the United States, and then started spreading around the world. He stated the fallout of the crisis could have deep and damaging security consequences. He mentions potential loss of both defense and humanitarian cooperation, and the potential for refugees. What he does not mention in open Congress, is the threat we are already seeing - the toppling of governments by their desperate and angry citizens. That "unrest" is clearly not just a problem for "developing" nations. Central to this globalized world has been the deliberate stripping of nations' ability to sustain themselves. A forced dependence has been created called the import-export economy. Therefore, the natural first (and sane) tendency of nations fighting economic collapse in a collapsing world is to engage in some form of "protectionism." However, the attempt to strengthen national economies by buying national products and giving preference to local and national companies (and workers) are a significant threat on two levels. First, is that people will rapidly discover (particularly in the United States) that they cannot survive on what they produce. Secondly, those developing (read exploited) nations will starve as their exports sit in the docks. If exports are not going out, there is no money to buy the imports now necessary to survival. So, the "Buy American" provisions get stripped from the stimulus package, rather than engaging in international negotiations which would allow a sane rebuilding of national economies. We don't want the U.S. in a "trade war." Of course we don't, because people in the U.S. have no idea that we cannot even feed our own populace at this point. Further, to allow some degree of protectionism would undermine the globalism already in place. So, nations turn to the IMF and the World Bank to get loans to save their nations. Indeed all is going as it should. As nations have revolted against the injustice of the debts that forced them into this "globalized" economy, the crisis allows the reimplementation of the "yoke of debt." This issue too becomes a whispered part of the national security aspects of the economic crisis. For like the collapse, the people of the world also know clearly who crafted and enforced globalization, and the hand of the United States is clearly present. We are clearly seeing that "developed" nations are as vulnerable to unrest and destabilization as the so-called "third world." We have seen mass protests across Europe, and the toppling of Iceland's government by angry pot bangers. I am sure there are concerns about a populist revolt in the United States as well. Further, rising levels of desperation around the world increases the likelihood of revolutionary recruitment. This could certainly threaten "national interests" on a global level, and as Blair notes:
The crisis presents many challenges for the United States. It started in the United States, quickly spread to other industrial economies and then, more recently, to emerging markets. The widely held perception that excesses in US financial markets and inadequate regulation were responsible has increased criticism about free market policies, which may make it difficult to achieve long-time US objectives, such as the opening of national capital markets and increasing domestic demand in Asia. It already has increased questioning of US stewardship of the global economy and the international financial structure.
In other words, the world may "revolt" against hegemonic capitalism. Since the United States has been the "steward" of this transformation into an uncontrolled, profit first and last environment, it is not surprising that global public anger may be directed at the U.S. All of these points are no-brainers. The U.S. promoted and drove hegemonic capitalism - frequently at the end of a gun. Iraq for example, is a case study in the forced implementation of an unfettered market. The U.S. facilitated what is now called the "Shadow Market" (see video below) that is swallowing every "stimulus' that the nations of the world are throwing at it. And yet, there is no global effort (at least that is being shared with us) to address the monster under the bed - the global nature of a crisis based on "exotic" and unregulated investment instruments. Unless we join with the world in either getting a new bucket, or radically "patching" the existing one, national strategies are only going to have limited (if any) success in addressing the economic crisis. This train wreck is still happening. Banks and investment firms are still paying out on the credit default swap "insurance" claims which exceed the entire GDP of the planet. More mortgages in the U.S. (and elsewhere) are resetting to higher interest rates over the next two years - which will continue to drag down recovery at the very least. Job reductions and losses are adding to further mortgage collapse. We have not seen bottom of this crisis, and if something is not done to address the global components, then that "bottom" will indeed be "catastrophic" for much of the population of the planet.
60 Minutes, 10/05/2008, "Wall Street's Shadow Market"
Previous articles by Rowan Wolf on the global nature of the economic collapse. Economic "Stimulus" Considerations. 1/25/09. Under Our Noses - The Great Heist of 2008. 1/03/09. Economic Globalization and Speculation Coming Home to Roost. 10/07/08. It's the Derivatives Stupid. 9/26/09. From 'Mortgage Crisis' to 'Economic Meltdown'. 9/19/08.
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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and Editor in Chief of Cyrano's Journal Today.

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