Global Economic Crisis Top National Security Threat Facing U.S.
Illustrating the quantitative and qualitative thinking that went into the annual threat review, Blair told the senators that, “statistical modeling shows that economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they persist over a one to two year period.” In other words, many countries will be vulnerable to the fracturing of their social cohesion, some obviously more prone than others. The implications are clear; internal instability will induce external behaviors that are geopolitical destabilizing. Among the examples of such behavior cited by the Director of National Intelligence is the scourge of economic nationalism and protectionism that is likely to result from the prolongation of the Global Economic Crisis. Protectionism will exacerbate the economic and financial crisis while creating rivalries and tensions involving the United States and her allies.
Not specifically spelled out, but a clear menace understood by the U.S. intelligence community, is that major worldwide economic turmoil will multiply the danger of armed conflict between nation states. The Great Depression of the 1930s provided the context that led to the most destructive war in human history. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, with the scourge of nuclear proliferation a dire reality, the dangers pointed out by Dennis Blair are sobering in the extreme.
The Global Economic Crisis already poses, according to leading economic analyst Nassim Taleb, possibly the greatest challenge to the United States since the American Revolution. The essence of Blair’s threat assessment is that the Global Economic Crisis may represent the most threatening challenge to the preservation of world peace since the end of the Cold War. “Time is not on our side,” warns Blair. The Global Economic Crisis is now a strategic crisis, with dangers that go beyond the economic and financial meltdown of the planet.