Numerous high-level officials and experts warn that the economic crisis could lead to unrest world-wide even in developed countries:
Today, Moody’s warned that future tax rises and spending cuts could trigger social unrest in a range of countries from the developing to the developed world, that in the coming years, evidence of social unrest and public tension may become just as important signs of whether a country will be able to adapt as traditional economic metrics, that a fiscal crisis remains a possibility for a leading economy, and that 2010 would be a tumultuous year for sovereign debt issuers.
The U.S. Army War College warned in 2008 November in a monograph titled Known Unknowns: Unconventional Strategic Shocks in Defense Strategy Development of crash-induced unrest:
The military must be prepared, the document warned, for a violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States, which could be provoked by unforeseen economic collapse, purposeful domestic resistance, pervasive public health emergencies or loss of functioning political and legal order. The widespread civil violence, the document said, would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security. An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home, it went on. Under the most extreme circumstances, this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance, the document read.
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Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said:
"The global economic crisis … already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries … Economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they are prolonged for a one- or two-year period," said Blair. "And instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community."
"Statistical modeling shows that economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they persist over a one-to-two-year period."
The crisis has been ongoing for over a year, and economists are divided over whether and when we could hit bottom. Some even fear that the recession could further deepen and reach the level of the Great Depression. Of course, all of us recall the dramatic political consequences wrought by the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, the instability, and high levels of violent extremism.
Blair made it clear that while unrest was currently only happening in Europe he was worried this could happen within the United States.
[See also this].
December 19, 2009