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.