Terrorism's Threat to Globalization
Following the attacks of September 11,
the United States recognized the threat terrorism posed to the
global economy. Whether or not it was their specific intent, the
architects of the attacks caused immense damage to the global
economic structure. By striking at the economic and military core
of this system, the inevitable spread of free trade capitalism
throughout the world was temporarily postponed.
Since September 11, the United States
has been pursuing a policy of coercion in order to destroy any
threats to the current global economic order. The attacks of that
day have been used as a justification to eliminate globalization
opposition groups; this justification has also been used to mask
increased U.S. expansion in parts of the world that were previously
beyond Washington's sphere of influence.
Such newly acquired regional control can
be seen in the Caucasus and Central Asia. This has given the United
States greater influence in the Middle East by encroaching upon
Iran's eastern and northwestern border. Military bases have been
built in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The U.S. has also been furthering
economic ties with Georgia in the middle of fresh invasion threats
By increasing its presence, the United
States has worried other regional powers, namely Russia and Iran.
Moscow fears that the United States will gain more control over
the oil and gas deposits in the southern Caucasus, in countries
such as Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Tehran fears that increased U.S. involvement
around Iran may limit their country's economic growth and possibly
even threaten its existence. Iran recently built a gas pipeline
from Turkmenistan and is currently planning a new pipeline with
India; Tehran also fears that increased U.S. influence in oil-rich
Azerbaijan could limit Iran's access to oil drilling sites in
the Caspian Sea. How the resources of the Caspian will be divided
is still under contest with the five bordering countries -- Iran,
Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan -- vying for
rights. Further, U.S. corporations are planning on building oil
and gas pipelines out of the oil and gas rich Caucasus and Turkmenistan
Along with encroaching U.S. troops on
its eastern border with Afghanistan, many in Tehran worry about
possible U.S. troops along its western border with Iraq. Iran
and Iraq have strengthened economic cooperation recently with
the Iraqi-Iranian joint committee for trade and economic cooperation.
Both sides stressed the development of bilateral cooperation in
all fields. All of this may be squandered any day with a U.S.
invasion of Iraq. While many in Iran would not mind seeing Hussein
go, the prospects of having the U.S. military next door is not
a desirable alternative.
But Iran has remained cautiously silent
over the encroaching United States. If they do not comply with
U.S. demands, Tehran fears that the U.S. may induce "regime
change" sooner than later considering that they are already
part of the "axis of evil." U.S. President Bush recently
stated, "Iran must be a contributor in the war against terror.
Our nation and our fight against terror will uphold the doctrine:
either you're with us or against us. And any nation that thwarts
our ability to rout terror where it exists will be held to account,
one way or another." Such statements have put Iran on the
With the American people supporting the
Bush administration against perceived and real threats, the Bush
administration has unique leverage to build more military bases
and thus increase U.S. influence and intrusion around the world.
Washington is gambling that increased
influence will decrease the chance of attacks against the global
economic system and its own territory. With U.S. bases now littering
previously hostile areas, and authoritarian central governments
being propped up by funding from the U.S., the administration
is hoping to suppress any militant sections of foreign societies.
However, such a policy is truly risky.
The overt use of force by Washington is exposing U.S. policy,
making it harder to disguise its strategy in moral and humanist
terms. Because voting blocs primarily respond to moral justifications,
the Bush administration could lose support at home as such justifications
erode under continued scrutiny.
In addition, the administration could
further inflame segments of the world already discontented with
the global economic system. This could result in more attempts
to attack the system. With the spread of U.S. forces as part of
this strategy, there will certainly not be a lack of targets.
Further attacks on U.S. and Western interests
will severely disrupt opportunity for economic growth. The October
bomb attack in Bali, Indonesia was a perfect example of what further
attacks will do to the world economy. Indonesia's tourist industry
has been damaged, which threatens the entire country's economy
since tourism accounts for 3.4 percent of its GDP; it also decreases
foreign investment in what looks to be an unstable market. The
Bali attack has already sharply reduced the flow of tourists to
points of interest throughout Southeast Asia.
Therefore, Washington believes that the
best way to increase world stability and thus restart economic
growth is to expand U.S. influence across the globe. Instead of
relying on foreign governments to control segments of their own
populations who resist globalization, the United States is taking
matters into its own hands. As for foreign governments who directly
threaten global economic growth, either by not taking action against
militants or simply hampering the release of economic resources
into the world market, they risk certain demise.
Erich Marquardt drafted this report;
Matthew Riemer contributed.
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