On Friday, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote an article in the Washington Post titled, "Why Europe No Longer Matters." Today, Monday, the headline in the Wall Street Journal was "Europe Wrangles Over Greece," the top two headlines in the Financial Times were "Medvedev rules out poll tussle with Putin" and "Greek PM's plea for unity to tackle crisis," the top headline in the Washington Post was a story about NATO entitled "Misfire in Libya kills civilians" and the lead story in the New York Times was entitled "Companies Push for a Tax Break on Foreign Cash" which dealt with a key challenge in the age of global companies.
Haass, one of the canniest and most thoughtful U.S. foreign policy analysts around, was responding to Secretary of Defense Bob Gates's valedictory jabs at Europe concerning pulling their weight within NATO. The point of the Haass article was that Gates's comments were not just a coda on his time in office, but the end of a "time-honored tradition" which involves Americans tweaking our allies for shirking their global responsibilities. The piece made all the usual points: Europe's influence beyond its borders will decline, Asia is rising, the threats NATO was established to address have vanished to be replaced by new ones it is not very well-suited to meeting, etc.
The problem with the piece is that while Haass is right in terms of each of these points, I think he comes to the wrong conclusion.
The headlines in this morning's papers attest to the fact that Europe still very much matters today. In a tightly integrated global economy, Europe's economic fate impacts ours dramatically. An economic meltdown there around Greece or Spain could easily create a global economic crisis and send the United States into a precipitous and uncomfortable double dip.
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The Japanese nuclear crisis, though still unfolding, may, in a way, already be yesterday's news. For a peek at tomorrow's, review the testimony of General Keith Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command. Testifying before Congress this week and seeking support to pump up his agency budget, the general argued that all future conflicts would involve cyber warfare tactics and that the U.S. was ill-equipped to defend itself against them.
Alexander said, "We are finding that we do not have the capacity to do everything we need to accomplish. To put it bluntly, we are very thin, and a crisis would quickly stress our cyber forces. ... This is not a hypothetical danger."
The way to look at this story is to link in your mind the Stuxnet revelations about the reportedly U.S. and Israeli-led cyber attacks on the Iranian nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz and the calamities at the Fukushima power facilities over the past week. While seemingly unconnected, the stories together speak to the before and after of what cyber conflict may look like. Enemies will be able to target one another's critical infrastructure as was done by the U.S. and Israeli team (likely working with British and German assistance) targeting the Iranian program and burrowing into their operating systems, they will seek to produce malfunctions that bring economies to their knees, put societies in the dark, or undercut national defenses.
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Under cover of tsunami, the Saudi military rolled into Bahrain to help secure a minority's rule over an angry, abused majority.
Under cover of a nuclear crisis, Libya's military battered brave but outgunned opponents whose only crime was seeking an end to a four-decade-long brutal dictatorship.
Under cover of an earthquake, the nations of the West dithered, threatening action in Libya … but by waiting, assuring it would only come after Qaddafi's loyalists had strafed and blasted their way to an upper hand in that country's civil war.
Japan's compound tragedies held the world spellbound, and frankly, the world seemed pretty happy with the arrangement.
There were hard questions lurking in the Middle East. Questions about whether America and its allies only supported democracy in states that didn't produce oil, whether our high values could be traded on the world's commodity markets, one full measure of national integrity for every barrel of crude. Questions about whether we only supported democracy for some in the Islamic world but, for example, not for Shiites because of their ties with Iran. Or perhaps it is that we support, it seems, rights for Shiites in Iran but not for Shiites in the Gulf.
The Japan disaster obscured the slaughter of a family of five Israeli settlers and the Israeli government's subsequent announcement of more settlement construction and then the shrill commentaries trying to equate the two. One was the murder of an innocent family. The other was a defiant if ill-considered and demonstratively unproductive policy. But the modern Middle East trades as easily in false equivalencies as it does raging hypocrisies.
Consider that this week that the world debated nuclear reactor safety in Japan while Iran worked silently to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, while Pakistan continued to build its massive arsenal.
What is happening in Japan is extremely important and it warrants the attention of world leaders and it is heartening to see global assistance flowing into the stricken nation. But it does not excuse those leaders from their responsibilities to address other urgent issues elsewhere, and yet one cannot help but feel that many are seeking cover behind these grim stories datelined in Sendai or Iwate Prefecture, an excuse for inaction or worse, for inexcusable actions.
It would be a sad irony if part of the toll of the Japanese quake included thousands more dead in Libya, or the freedom of aspirant millions from the Maghreb to the Gulf. Britain's David Cameron has said he will seek U.N. action on Libya, a resolution and a threat of a no-fly zone at some point in the future. It's an admirable ambition but poses the questions: At what point will that be? What will be left of the opposition?
The measure of Cameron's sincerity and that of the world leaders who once condemned Qaddafi or cheered on the revolutionaries in Tahrir Square is not how soaring their rhetoric is, but how swiftly and decisively they act … and whether or not they remain engaged in support of democratic reforms and the right of self-determination even in the face of other priorities, events that might offer a distraction but can never excuse hesitation from the only people who are in a position to help.
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The tsunami and earthquake that tragically struck Japan today could not come at a worse moment for the Japanese. The economy has been struggling for almost two decades to recover and seemed poised to make progress, but now has suffered yet another bitter blow. The costs of rebuilding will add to already high deficits and high anxiety. It is only fortunate that there is perhaps no other country in the world as well prepared to deal with earthquakes and their consequences as Japan.
That said, the disaster also resonates in many ways with what is happening elsewhere in the world. It reminds us that "black swans" are not rare events. Indeed, the first few months of this year have demonstrated yet again that nothing in this world is as commonplace as the unexpected. That is no doubt more a commentary on the way we arrive at expectations than it is on the nature of life on the planet. In just the past 10 weeks alone, we have seen revolutions, earthquakes, major economies downgraded by credit ratings agencies, spiking energy and food prices, and the usual accompanying market roller coaster rides that bespeak the fact that we are collectively spun around by events more often than your average weathervane is by the daily breeze.
Another way the tsunami resonates is with the images we have already seen on the television of it sweeping ashore -- a great black wave of destruction -- causing havoc and then retreating to the sea. As I watched I couldn't help but wonder if that was not how we were ultimately going to view the upheaval that has rocked the Middle East this year. There came a wave and great drama and then, almost as quickly, the wave withdrew and was forgotten.
Certainly, we are at risk of such an outcome at the moment. If Qaddafi succeeds in pushing back the rebels during the next couple of days, the world may well conclude -- if it has not done so already -- that supporting the Libyan opposition may be a losing proposition. And if Qaddafi wins and reestablishes his control on the country through brutality, it will send a strong message to other regimes across the region that the right response to rebellion is to be both ferocious and merciless.
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In yesterday's post, I noted some of the most relevant developments in the political world that've occurred recently. But we're hardly out of the neck of the woods. The summer of 2010 promises to be an ... interesting time.
As promised, here's an idea of the potential Black Swans to come:
1. Wars of Summer, Part I: The Koreas
As we've seen just in the past couple of days, "engagement" doesn't seem to be doing the trick with North Korea. When you have two countries that have been pointing guns at each other for half a century and one of them is run by the kind of guy who makes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad look like Albert Schweitzer trouble is always just a Dear Leader moodswing away. When one of those countries starts firing torpedoes at the other, that raises the temperature a bit ... and when that same country has a diplomatic tantrum because its neighbor actually doesn't like having its ships sunk, you get a sense of how off-balance and dangerous the whole thing is. (You also get dictionary editors everywhere rushing to insert North Korea's reaction into the official definition of chutzpah right where "burying your husband in a rented suit" used to be.) While most people assume this is just one of those periodic Korean peninsula hiccups, you never know.
2. Wars of Summer, Part II: Somalia, Yemen, etc.
These places are just two examples of plenty where conditions are chronically horrible and getting worse. If you're going to worry about the Koreas where the stakes are high and both sides would pay an unimaginable price for a conflict, don't rule out conflicts in places where everyone has a gun and life is cheap.
3. Wars of Summer, Part III: Israel, Syria, Lebanon
Speaking of places not to rule out, over the years few places have proven themselves more reliable breeding grounds for warfare than the borders of the state of Israel. And tensions are rising along the most northern of these as we speak. The Israelis are worried about growing stockpiles of missiles being deployed in Lebanon, new missile capabilities in Syria and Iranian mischief in both places. Of all the possibilities for tensions turning to a shooting war this summer, this one may top the list. And, what a great distraction it would make from Iran's nuclear issues (or what great cover for an Israeli strike against the Iranians who are paying for the missiles and underwriting Hezbollah trouble-makers in Lebanon and elsewhere).
4. The Other "Big Spill"
While Washington works itself up into a lather over the spill in the Gulf, it effectively ignores a much bigger catastrophe. A recent NPR report indicated that the amount of man made pollutants that have flowed into the Gulf during the current crisis flow into the air every 2 minutes or so. That's 30 crises like this an hour. 360 a day. Over 1,000 a month. That means this summer there will be 3000 crises like this offshore drilling calamity ... and throughout this period the likelihood that the U.S. government or the world move any closer to addressing this much larger, much less photogenic disaster is pretty close to zero.
5. The Financial Crisis They Call "The Big One"
Remember the financial crisis that took down Bear Sterns? Now we look at that as only prelude. Remember the one that took down Lehman, Merrill and AIG? Perhaps we'll look at that as just the appetizer. Because with the world economy now trembling at the thought of further deterioration in the Eurozone, it wouldn't take much to send us into territory that was unimaginable even two years ago. Likely? No. But possible? Well, let's see, Japan has a debt to GDP ratio that is worse than most of Europe's. What if the markets sour on lending them any more money? What if that takes down some of their banks and they start calling in IOUs and cut lending in places like China? Tim Geithner said this week that overall China's economy is not a bubble. Maybe so. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have some pretty big bubbles in it (see: real estate).
6. The Dem Rebound
The big political story in the United States is supposed to be the losses Dems will suffer in mid-term elections in November. Big time members of the punditocracy are calling for a big swing to the right, a likely Republican take-over in the House and even the possibility of one in the Senate. But by the end of the summer, once campaigns have started in earnest, the loony, fringy, dysfunctionality of the "just say no" party will be revealed and the big surprise U.S. political story of the year will start to take shape. The Dems may have modest losses in November, but it won't be anything like the washout the chattering classes expect.
7. Argentina's Surprise Victory
Despite Lionel Messi's dominance on the soccer field, Argentina won't win the World Cup this year. That'll be Spain. But maybe as the summer ticks on a few more people will start to realize that having done everything wrong and utterly alienated the financial system by telling the big banks to take a hike a few years ago, Argentina is actually having something like a recovery worthy of a tango. Oh, all is not rosy to be sure, but take a look at its per capita GDP in purchasing power parity terms. It just passed Chile to be number one in Latin America (according to Latin Business Chronicle). Between this and the U.S. dollar strengthening despite the fact that the U.S. has also done practically everything wrong (and China's flourishing for years despite its penchant for, how shall we put it, well, communism) who knows... this could be the summer that moral hazard makes its long awaited big comeback.
8. Someone Writes the Truth About Financial Reform
This is the least likely black swan on this list. But it is possible that once financial reform passes later this summer and is signed into law that someone will note that "the most sweeping financial reforms since the Great Depression" actually don't amount to much when it comes to fixing the problems we face. Mortgage defaults, unregulated global derivatives markets, unintended consequences of interconnectivity of markets, lack of global regulatory mechanisms, failure to address the trading culture's perversion of finance, etc... this is like the health care bill and Beatlemania: not the real thing, just an incredible simulation.
9. The White House Gets Humble
Ok, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is the most improbable of the Black Swans. But the folks in the White House are good people at heart and smart ones. Sooner or later they will realize that their mixed, incomplete record in office trumps the historic nature of their victory and that a little humility is in order ... if not because they feel that way then because by alienating even their most enthusiastic supporters they are doing themselves great political damage. As for the American people, they would do better with more realistic expectations. We all want Washington, Lincoln or Roosevelt whenever we elect a president. But the vast majority of the time we get Chester A. Arthur. Bush was Chester A. Arthur. Clinton was Chester A. Arthur. And in all likelihood Obama will end up being Chester A. Arthur.
10. Iran Cooperates
Ok, never mind. This one is most likely. But the dangerous twist here is that cooperation from Iran is actually just them buying time to move toward their goal of possessing nuclear weapons technology. The only thing that will stop them from such a stalling course is if they are much further ahead of schedule than we think and that the big black swan of this summer will be the announcement that the world's largest state sponsor of terror will actually have gone nuclear.
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In the wake of Hillary Clinton's generally successful trip to India, the Financial Times turned to former State Department No. 3 guy Nick Burns for some perspective. Nick, one of the very best the State Department has produced in recent years despite his indefensible love of the Boston Red Sox, said, "If you look at the history of the 21st century, there will be just a handful of great powers and India and the U.S. will be among them."
Which got me to thinking...
The United States is certainly at the moment a great power by any definition. We are the only country on earth capable of projecting force anywhere at any time. The U.S. GDP is almost three times that of the next biggest country, Japan and is roughly the equivalent of the next four added up (Japan, China, Germany and France.) To get a different perspective on the size of the U.S. economy relative to that of the world, take a look at this two-year old map comparing the size of the economies of U.S. states to those of other countries.
We have plenty of political juice, are the leading force in the alliance that spends 85 cents of every defense dollar on the planet and helped design the international system in ways that it reinforces our position. We're also protected by two great oceans and our neighbors are fairly easy to get along with. (Mexico is a bit of a concern at the moment but Canada lost its last remaining offensive capability when Wayne Gretzky moved to the United States.)
All that said, the United States may be nearing the peak of its power. With the U.S. public debt around 90 percent of GDP and likely to pass the 100 percent mark in the next year or two, with well over $40 trillion in unfunded retirement health care liabilities that are unlikely to be significantly reduced anytime soon, and with uncertainty about when our addiction to debt will end, we're just going to have less money to spend for everything...including defense. We're also likely to have less of a stomach for spending on the kind of far-flung efforts associated with projecting force. Iraq-fatigue which will soon be joined by AfPak-fatigue will further dampen our appetite for using that big military we have and we may well take a generally more defensive, less-interventive stance than we have seen in the recent past.
So, what about the other "great" powers? Who are they?
Burns says India will be among them and it's hard to argue with the proposition that India is critically important to world affairs (which is why Clinton's outreach and efforts to institutionalize a stronger relationship were so welcome and timely). But in terms of military capability, although India has a big military (the world's third largest in terms of manpower), it has only the ninth largest defense budget in the world and spends only about a 20th of what the United States spends, it has only one aircraft carrier and while it is expanding its capabilities rapidly as perhaps the largest developing world arms acquirer, it is ultimately constrained by the size and state of its economy. While growing rapidly, it still has a nominal per capita GDP of just over $1,000 a year, ranking it 142nd in the world. Roughly 80 percent of the population live on less than $2 a day and according to some estimates the almost 90 percent who live on less than $2.50 a day on purchasing power parity terms represent a larger chunk of the population than who live on the same meager amount in sub-Saharan Africa. The country is heavily dependent on foreign oil imports, half the children are malnourished...it's growing, it's a great story, it's a remarkable achievement in democracy, but it's ability to project force or throw its economic weight around is severely limited. (It's economy is smaller than that of Canada which, as noted earlier, is no one's idea of a great power...even though they're a swell neighbor, a useful ally and could offer great vacation values should global warming continue.)
Ok, then, certainly China is a great power. After all, they have 1.2 billion people. (Although India will soon overtake them as the world's most populous country.) Their economy is growing, according to Morgan Stanley, at a robust 9 percent even in the midst of this nasty "great" recession. They have the world's third largest economy (which is about twice as big as the economy of California) and will soon surpass Japan. They have the world's second largest army and the second largest defense budget...which is about one seventh that of the United States. They are upgrading their capabilities but unlike the United States or other would-be great powers on this list they do have as a significant military consideration maintaining the integrity and stability of their country in the face of restive populations in far-flung regions. Despite China's economic growth it faces the paradox of labor shortages and perhaps as many as 150 million unemployed or under-employed citizens floating unsatisfied through society. It is heavily dependent on foreign imports of food and energy as well as on a faltering U.S. market. Around three-quarters of its reserves in U.S. dollar denominated instruments which shows a heavy dependence on a potential rival (that's a two way street, of course.) And despite astonishing progress in reducing poverty, in terms of per capita income China is still poor, ranked at somewhere between 100 and 110 among all countries worldwide. Finally, China is ill-at-ease on the world stage, uncomfortable throwing around its political weight and still reluctant to intervene far from home except economically (which will lead, of course, over time to growing influence abroad.)
Who else? The EU would be a great power in economic and military terms...if it actually had a workable means of achieving a common foreign policy and the will to actually project force. Its individual members, notably Germany, France and the U.K., are important powers, 4th, 5th, and 6th respectively in GDP...but France is home to only the 17th largest military in the world, Germany the 20th largest and the U.K. the 32d largest. What's more, Germany is particularly reluctant to project force (much to the relief of anyone with a memory), France does so seldom and the U.K. is developing a pretty bad taste in its mouth in that respect recently. Japan is still legally constrained from projecting force and, while it is the world's second largest economy for the moment (say the next three to five years), that status, is fading and its economy is struggling. While it might be expected that in the next few years Japan will normalize it's military, it is still unlikely it will be useable for much beyond defensive and multilateral actions for the foreseeable future. Russia? Lots of nukes -- perhaps 3,000-5,000 warheads putting it alone on a par with the U.S. (the stockpiles of other would be great powers -- the U.K., France, China and India-range from 10 percent of the low end of this total for France to just over 1 percent of the high end of the total for India.) And Russia's economy? Smaller than that of Brazil (and of course, that economic powerhouse, California). It also may contract at as much as 10 percent this year, which is roughly half what some estimate the bad loans in the Russian banking system. But Russia's biggest problem that it is undergoing one of the greatest peace-time demographic collapses in history, with estimates suggesting the population could shrink from almost 150 million to 80 or 100 million by 2050. That would be a population loss equal to or greater than that associated with the Black Plague of the mid-14th Century in Europe.
What's more, many of the great powers are further constrained by participation in global regimes that only grant legitimacy to multilateral undertakings...which are very hard to achieve as we have regularly seen. While Gideon Rachman makes the case for a UN army in today's FT (one with which I agree...there will be no effective NPT 2.0 without enforcement mechanisms that include the ability to wield force to require compliance)...we're a long, long way from there. So the rule of international law has effectively weakened those who did the most to craft it (even if it has, as I believe, improved the general quality of civilization). And who knows what the impact will be of another global economic shock if, as I believe is going to be the case, we fail to fix what is broke this time around? On these big economies? On their ideological underpinnings?
Are these "great" powers nonetheless still greater powers than the others of the world? Certainly. Most of the countries of the world are virtually powerless. Only 25 countries have the ability to field active armed services in excess of 200,000. Of these perhaps 17 would be considered very economically constrained and all but a tiny handful would be useless too far beyond their own borders. Only 25 countries have GDP's larger than the annual sales of the each of the world's 3 largest companies. (Not an apples to apples comparison, I know...but I offer it primarily to underscore the relative smallness of the rest of the world's economies. The 100th largest company in the world in sales, Target, has sales that total more than the GDPs of all but the 60 largest.) Most countries have precious little political influence and that influence tends to be diluted when it is channeled through low-functioning multilateral institutions. It is amplified via effective alliances but precious few of these exist on any global scale.
That said, as striking as the weaknesses of great powers may be, a parallel trend is that which gives the weakest access to powerful technologies (of mass destruction or political persuasion) that enable them to gain previously unavailable global stature and leverage. Twenty five countries are reportedly considering or planning nuclear power programs. Some of these will lead to nuclear weapons programs. Some of these will contribute to proliferation and making new threats available to weak states and non-state actors. And some of those big companies I mentioned earlier are now weighing in, using their global economic clout to influence everything from tax codes to trade regimes to who wins or loses big elections. So the ends are converging on the middle and the terms we are used to, great and small, powerful and weak, are coming to mean something entirely new.
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Washington is a city of oxymorons. It is a city of garden variety morons, as well. On the oxymoron side we have old favorites like "military intelligence," "compassionate conservative," and "government organization." On the moron side...well, in U.S. politics we have morons on both sides.
Now we have something new however, as in Washington the oxymorons and the morons are coming together in the form of America's latest reality television extravaganza (we really needed another): "Real World Washington." This is a unique double oxymoron in that it calls itself real but, like most reality TV, it is not...and because it is suggesting, fancifully, that there is somehow a connection between Washington and the real world. As for the morons, well you need only visit the bars around the DuPont Circle neighborhood location of the Real World set and you can view for yourself the cast in all their beer-soaked glory.
At first I wondered to myself how it was that a show like "The Real World" could have become MTV's longest-running hit, now in its 17th year. After all, it's pretty formulaic. Semi-attractive young adults including at least one or two with deep psychological problems are put together in a house in which they: drink, puke, appear to grope one another in grainy night-vision camera shots, and then fight about who groped whom.
Of course, thinking of it that way, I naturally started to wonder why it took so long for the show to come to the home of American politics which have been featuring all these activities for years. (For those of you who are more insensitive than I, insert Teddy Kennedy joke here. And for those of you who don't have the stomach for such humor but still want a laugh at the expense of all that Kennedy family groping, see this link about a new book on America's zany royal family.)
Once I started thinking about politicians and groping and the real world, however, my thoughts immediately drifted eastward, out over the Atlantic, and in the direction of the world's most famous aging libido, that of the host of this week's G8 Meeting, Silvio Berlusconi. This in turn led to a thunderbolt of inspiration akin to that which struck another famous Italian in the Berlusconi mold, Michael Corleone, when he first saw the ill-fated Apollonia Vitelli. What about the Real World Berlusconi-style? What about Real World L'Aquila? Once we get the G8 leaders to Italy, why don't we lock them in a room until they actually produce something productive? And let's put it all on video! Big Brother for Big Brother!
And to keep it interesting we can add elements of other reality shows. For example, how about a taste of Real Housewives Berlusconi-style, while we're at it. Just locking Silvio and his really (justifiably) angry, estranged wife Veronica Lario in a house for the enjoyment of tv audiences everywhere would be irresistible.But throw her in with a bunch of other world leaders? See what happens when Silvio shoots an ill-considered glance in the direction of Michelle Obama? Who's wailing on him first? Veronica, Barack or Michelle? (My money is on Michelle.) Sadly, of course, Veronica is passing on the G8 Summit, forcing the Italians to turn the wife of their president to be the hostess for the affair.
We still have plenty of fun cast to choose from, however, given that the meetings in Italy will actually be attended by more than 25 countries, including all the G20. Just think of the potential gang we could feature in the house that meet the Real World formula for diversity and mayhem.
Given the fact that Berlusconi will be joined in Italy by members of the G20, the cast can be expanded to included a diverse enough group of lively characters to make this one version of Real World actually look a lot more like the real world than its many predecessors. South Africa's Jacob Zuma is, for example, a party all by himself with four wives, three other fiancés, perhaps as many as 18 children, and a list of run-ins with the law that would allow him to play the bad boy role. China's Hu Jintao was reportedly fond of singing and dancing in his teen years and therefore might add a little lift to those party nights out. And although Brazil's President Lula and Zuma may only have achieved the fourth and fifth grade in school, respectively, this actually makes them educationally over-qualified by Real World standards.
Sadly for the Real World premise...and for the real world...not many of the visiting leaders are women so we will have to rely on host Berlusconi to add a few of his close personal friends to add a little sexual tension to the show. But what with party credentials of the crowd gathering in L'Aquila and the help of Il Cavaliere it's clear this could make for fine viewing. If we wanted to make it something more than that...and something more than the bland communiqué machine G8 meetings typically are...we could add a different reality show twist, à la say "Big Brother" or "Survivor," in which participants are voted out after each week. Except in this instance, what we could do is rely on the general odiousness of hanging out with pols around the clock to motivate the cast to want to leave the house, but then not let them out unless they actually get something done in their negotiations. Think how that system would change the nature of summits. Although my fear is that rather than producing more productive meetings of government leaders, the requirement that they get something done would actually lead to the end of summits altogether.
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I wrote this last night. (Actually the day before. It's a long story that involves trains, planes, snow, and an incident in a parking garage with an Eskimo that I just don't have time to go into here.) In any event, after I wrote it, I noticed that my colleague Dan Drezner has written an FP article called "13 Unexpected Consequences of the Crash." What am I supposed to do, shoot myself?
No, we'll just pretend it was all planned and maybe the editors can link them together and have it look like a carefully conceived symphony of in-depth perspectives on what is going to happen to us all at the end of this economic death spiral.
And in that vein, just to help you with your planning, here are some people and things that won't survive the economic crisis:
Ok, that's 20. Now, over to you. Global changes? Careers that won't make it? Institutions that won't survive it? Don't leave me hanging here.
Images from Getty
David Rothkopf is the CEO and Editor-at-Large of Foreign Policy. His new book, "Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government and the Reckoning that Lies Ahead" is due out from Farrar, Straus & Giroux on March 1.