Wars And Rumors Of Wars: The Destabilizing Effect Of Economic Collapse

Very little public and media attention has been paid to the inescapable truth which always accompanies economic collapse: The spectre of war. As developing nations see their borderline economies crumble and their populations rise up in revolt, the inner strife often spills over outside of their borders embroiling their neighbors and often entire continents. The last time we had a Great Depression, it took World War II to get us out of it!

Although charting the stock markets don't show so much of a waterslide as they do a ball bouncing down stairs, it is a dire fact that the general direction is consistently down down down and is likely to not plateau out for at least a year or two. And it is the developing countries with the most fragile economies which are going to suffer the worst effects.

North Korea vs. South Korea & USA

There is no more desperate nation than North Korea anywhere in the world. It is estimated that millions of North Koreans regularly ingest straw and hay to fill their starving bellies. Stroke prone Daffy Duck enthusiast Kim Jong-il has been following up on his father's policy of Juche, which translates not only into self reliance but into a vicious, brutal Stalinist Communist dictatorship unlike any in half a century. As I write this, Daffy Kim is threatening all out war against South Korea should the USA shoot down its "satellite-bearing" multi stage missile test: an intercontinental ballistic vehicle which could comfortably transport a nuclear warhead onto the continental USA. Even though you can shake your head at a country that pours millions into nuclear weaponry when its population is starving to death, Kim Jr. is just as much of a nutbar as his daddy was, and as prospects of foreign aid evaporate, he is the number one threat to detonate a nuclear weapon over a city.

Venezuela vs. Colombia & USA

While we're on the subject of bozo Stalinist leaders, how can we leave out that prime lunatic opportunistic Communist idiot, Hugo Chavez? I could overflow Hubpages' servers in just providing the highlights of his crazed irrationality, and how he has criminally impoverished the population of what should by all rights be South America's most prosperous and stable nation. As he tries to maintain his macro largesse giving away shiploads of oil and petrodollars to his Marxist buddies in Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and anywhere else that the Hammer & Sickle still flies proudly (in budgets that were set when oil was around $150 a barrel), PDVSA's $100+ a barrel current shortfalls represent a stick of dynamite under Hugo's throne. However, don't underestimate his ability to surprise everyone, including himself, as to the extent of his delusional, demented and deranged decision-making process. He might decide to escalate his blatant support of the Colombian rebels to overthrow his neighbor, or he might even make good on his long-standing claim to the majority of neighboring Guyana's territory. Either way the USA is not going to be able to help itself from getting involved and we could be looking at a very nasty military confrontation in the Southern Caribbean.

India vs. Pakistan

With all his many faults, at least Musharraf kept a lid on the kettle of the tensions between his country and India which date back to the misconceived, rushed and profoundly asinine post-British partition of the subcontinent. Zardari's status as the "widower of the martyr Benazir" qualifies him to lead Pakistan as much as I'm qualified to perform neurosurgery. The Mumbai attacks are an example of the provocations going back and forth across that tortured border, and given the fact that both countries are bristling with nuclear weapons, the economic pressures of endless millions of unemployed could quickly escalate to a point where somebody somewhere finally pushes that button.

Africa from Bur Sudan to Gaborone vs. Itself

The central swath of the continent is a complete mess to the point where there very well may be no anchors of stability anywhere within this region. Greedy, power-grabbing politicos have devastated most of the continent to a level where it seems that the majority of the African population has to be effectively written off for a generation or more. Only a miracle would be able to turn around most of the African countries to where they can become progressive and stable. Until then, it seems as if it's just going to be more guns, more starvation, and more unrest. As the developed economies turn their attention to their own marginalized populations, the untold billions of aid dollars which have been flowing to Africa in a massive torrent are going to dry up, which means... even more guns, more starvation, and more unrest.

Afghanistan & Iraq vs. Reality

Total morass. Total loss. No resolution in sight in the quagmire of the century, no matter how much military prowess is exercised. Stay and fight or cut and run? Damned if you do and damned if you don't. No hope here for anything or anyone.

Iran vs. Sanity

There is very little doubt that since the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini Iran has gone from being a developing, progressive country into a simmering hothouse of xenophobic negativism. Just like Hugo and Fidel's endless "revolutions" that are only contronyms for what are really steady state dictatorships, the Iranian Islamic Revolution exists primarily to maintain control over a country by a handful of Mullahs with personal agendas. As soon as the slightest flicker of protest from the long suppressed populace surfaces, the leadership immediately launches into some threatening diatribe against its favorite whipping boys, the USA and Israel. Even if the former can keep its head, I am not placing any money on the likelihood that the latter is not going to be provoked past its limits and strike back. The opening of an Israeli - Iranian front would shatter the Middle East and destabilize the entire world.

There are many other flashpoints that could spark up at any time, especially now that the world is facing prospects of a downward spiral with no bottom in sight: Serbia and Kosovo; China and Taiwan and/or Tibet; Myanmar; Sri Lanka; even Turkey and Greece, or conflicts which were thought to have been relegated to the trash heap of history such as Britain and Ireland.

Although it is true that diplomacy and restraint have kept many of these flashpoints at bay for decades, that was during a time of ever burgeoning prosperity, when the carrot of individual and national wealth was waved in front of billions of people as a condition of their relative docility. In an era where the struggle for food, water and shelter will be the primary concern of at least half of the world's population, there is a statistical certainty that many of the hard pressed populations of the world will take violent action. And when that happens may our respective deities save us all.


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Comments 23 comments

born to be free profile image

born to be free 7 years ago

Hello Hal, excellent Hub

Sure makes one look outside of their own little box doesn't it? It is the, "What If," that most economists leave out of their predictions, although we don't want people to be in fear of the, "What If," they do need to be aware of them.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks, born to be free! Much appreciated. I believe that a healthy touch of fear is actually called for at this time in human history. We have become all to complacent in our "little boxes" expecting that our so-called leaders will take care of us and keep the status quo status quoing. I am firmly convinced that we are currently facing a paradigm shift in global socio-economics and that as citizens of the world we must put the pressure on our politicians to ensure that they are aware of the dangers which we face everywhere so that they may pull their heads out of their porcine sands. If we fail to do so, hundreds of millions of people will be ravaged.

Misha profile image

Misha 7 years ago from DC Area

Ummm, I'm afraid more immediate threat for you guys (and me for that matter) is civil/drug wars on your own soil, Africa and such are far away...

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

By all means, Misha. What is happening right now in Mexico is a harbinger of what will soon spill north of the Rio Grande. Various entities fighting for their narcotics territories are going to start filling morgues around the continent. Just look at what has been happening lately to traditionally staid and peaceful Vancouver, BC, Canada, which has seen daily death tolls due to a drug gang war! But keep in mind that regional conflicts usually have a habit of spreading in the most unforseeable ways. Just look at Somalia which has been without a government for years, and the business of marine piracy which it has spawned.

stevenschenck profile image

stevenschenck 7 years ago from Sacramento California

Great hub Hal

I was worried about the individual conflicts, thanks to you putting them all in one place I am truly afraid.

Being a child of the 60's I just thought we would be beyond all of this junk by now, world peace, enlightenment, end hunger, end war.

We run a non profit taking crutches around the world, it still amazes me that countries with huge well armed military have people using branches to be able to hobble around.

I just wonder what the world economy would look like if so much was not spent on killing each other better. Could we end hunger, poverty on a global basis.

Thanks Hal

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

stevenschenck, you are an aging flower child like myself, and we both understand that unbridled optimism of our youth when we believed that anything was possible in the Aquarian Age. Well, it turned out that humanity is not yet ready to embrace love and peace. Perhaps after we are through ripping ourselves and our planet asunder for a couple of decades we may arrive at a post-Apocalyptic utopia... but I doubt either one of us will live to see it. :(

quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

The fact that it takes only one maniac to push a button is more frightening than everything else.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

At least in the "old days" there were two buttons. One in the White House and another in the Kremlin. Now there are literally dozens of buttons, some in the hands of people so emotionally fragile and unbalanced that I wouldn't trust them to valet park my car! Heaven help us!

quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

This is really serious. If I had telekenetic powers, I would use them to make all radioactive substances on this planet inert. How about you?

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pgrundy 7 years ago

I think Misha may be on to something---war might come to us instead of vice versa if things continue as they are. We're busy trying to get visas right now--not like that will help if things get bad enough, but it won't hurt.

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Visas for where, Pam?

OP, I'd love to say you are wrong. But I can't. Great hub.

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pgrundy 7 years ago

LG--We went to Toronto three years ago to visit and almost didn't get back in the U.S. The border guard gave us a ration of crap and asked us about baseball teams and all kinds of other stuff. Now they've changed the rules so that travel to Canada is not possible without a visa, just like travel to Europe or Asia or Australia. We thought that since we live four hours away from the border, it would be good to at least HAVE visas in case we need to "head for the hills" on a moment's notice. And it if it never gets that bad, at least we'll have to visas to visit Toronto again. It's a great city. We love it there.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

quicksand: If we made all radioactivity disappear on this planet, we'd rip it apart as it would violate the laws of physics! :)

London Girl: Thanks!

pgrundy: I believe that a visa is not required by a US citizen to enter Canada for "conventional tourism" as long as they have a biometric passport or other similar form of Homeland Security approved ID. Which visa are you getting?

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hal, you may as well add Northern Ireland to your list, as 'the Troubles' seem to be bubbling up again despite everyone's best endeavours. Two soldiers and a policeman have been killed in the last week or so.

Good hub BTW, but scary reading.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

The latest developments are extremely unfortunate, especially considering I have spent several years living in both countries and adore both of them! I had already listed them at the end of the second-last paragraph of the Hub. I can only pray that some semblance of reason returns to both sides soon! :(

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pgrundy 7 years ago

Hal, I have no clue. We got into Canada with no problem. It was getting back into the U.S. that was an issue. Very unsettling. Since then I know they've changed the laws and a visa is required to get back in, but I don't know what kind. Right now we're just assembling important papers and then we'll find out. Bill just got his birth certificate by mail and I'm waiting for mine. It's good to have them in a plastic zip lock or something anyway--It's something people often don't think about, but if there is a natural disaster or a political one, you often need to grab them fast, and most people wouldn't be able to do that.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

pgrundy, check:


and it's clear that no visa is required, but the State Dept. does enforce the need for a passport or other biometric ID.

It's interesting that you mention a ziplock, as I have all of my travel documents in one of those bags and in my nightstand. In an emergency I might not have time to put on clothes, but I'll have my passport... now if they would only let me on a plane naked! :)

quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

Okay Hal, let's restrict our telekenetic activities only to the radioactive substances contained within nuclear instruments of war.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Sounds good! I'm concentrating now! I can just feel all that plutonium and uranium in those missile silos starting to turn into gold! 21st century alchemy! :)

bgamall profile image

bgamall 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

I will say this, the neocons in the United States are the most dangerous party. Even true historical conservatives like Pat Buchanan fear their empire building ways. We went into Iraq for oil. We went into Afghanistan to build apipeline to Daddy Bush's investments in the Caspian Sea. Localized wars out of greed are everywhere. The US is as guilty as other nations but we have the power so our leaders don't get tried for war crimes.

But my concern is that this regional stuff gets out of hand. The neocons reallyh want to provoke Russia, and that is a dangerous thing. Sarah Palin and Jeb Bush are neocons and are dangerous.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

bgamall, IMHO, all politicians are dangerous. After 8 years of bellicose yelping from across the aisle, the Dems finally get their chance and what happens? They go on the biggest spending spree in history which:

1) Accomplishes nothing, and may actually be making things much worse.

2) Places debt on the US taxpayer that can never be paid off.

3) Rewards the same greedy exec who got us into this mess in the first place to the tune of trillions of dollars.

This is not a matter of donkeys and elephants. It's simply that the bipartite democratic format is no longer relevant. Voters can no longer trust or believe anything any politician says or does, regardless of party affiliation.

Besides, Sarah Palin is not dangerous. She's just plain stupid. :)

joer4x4 profile image

joer4x4 7 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

My money is on the Middle East.

If this administration is bent appeasing Hamas, Taliban, Syria, Iran, etc,. then Israel will be attacked. Just like Europe appeased Germany in the 30's and 40's.

America will need to step in since Russia will back these countries directly.

Putin is determined to be the number one super power. Putin will miscalculate and force America's hand.

There is one reality you need to prepare for. You can not offer peace to those who do not want it. This will be America's mistake as our leaders insist on taking the path of political correctness.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

I definitely agree that Russia is taking some outrageously dangerous steps. The basing of bombers in Cuba and Venezuela is the single most destabilizing action taken by Moscow since the fall of the Wall.

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