Pentagon stages economic war games
For too long under the Bush administration the American people were taught to believe the greatest threat to their safety was Islamic terrorism. Indeed Republican figures played this meme over and over again on television ads, radio broadcasts and speeches attacking Democrats as spineless guts who would easily cave in and weaken America’s national defenses. Now for the first time, after America has elected its first Democratic President in eight years, they have finally acknowledged that the greatest threat to the American way of life and superiority isn’t security per se but economic security. The financial crisis has finally forced America to acknowledge that reality.
Politico reports on the economic war-games staged by the Pentagon last month:
The Pentagon sponsored a first-of-its-kind war game last month focused not on bullets and bombs — but on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the U.S. economy, a scenario made all the more real by the global financial crisis.
The two-day event near Ft. Meade, Maryland, had all the earmarks of a regular war game. Participants sat along a V-shaped set of desks beneath an enormous wall of video monitors displaying economic data, according to the accounts of three participants.
“It felt a little bit like Dr. Strangelove,” one person who was at the previously undisclosed exercise told POLITICO.
But instead of military brass plotting America’s defense, it was hedge-fund managers, professors and executives from at least one investment bank, UBS – all invited by the Pentagon to play out global scenarios that could shift the balance of power between the world’s leading economies.
Much can be said about how the Soviet Union came to collapse in 1991, but most accounts tend to over-emphasise the role of President Reagan. The Soviet Union was beset by economic difficulties and disparate voices were fighting to be heard. In the same way, if America ever loses its status as a superpoweror drops to second place, it appears far more likely that it would achieved by economic maneuvering rather than a series of devastating domestic terrorist attacks. The Bush administration and congressional Republicans never realised this, as they worshipped at the altar of financial de-regulation. Reality has finally hit home, but it took a recession the worst since the Great Depression for Americans to appreciate and understand this sobering reality:
In the end, there was sobering news for the United States – the savviest economic warrior proved to be China, a growing economic power that strengthened its position the most over the course of the war-game.
And it’s hardly science fiction. China recently shook the value of the dollar in global currency markets merely by questioning whether the recession put China’s $1 trillion in U.S. government bond holdings at risk – forcing President Barack Obama to issue a hasty defense of the dollar.
Yes, hardly science fiction indeed.