Monday, Oct 19th, 2009
Autumn 2012, the “Greatest Depression” has spread worldwide. Billions are unemployed, homeless and desperate. Countries bankrupt, trade pacts broken, tariffs rise, borders close.
Protectionist, nationalist and anti-globalization movements have moved out of the margins and into the mainstream. Immigrants brought in during boom times – blamed for bringing down wages, stealing jobs and rising crime – are being rounded up and deported.
Despite differences between the 1930’s Great Depression and today’s “Greatest Depression,” unsettling similarities conjure up memories of pre-World War II. From the United Kingdom to Russia, war drums eerily beat.
China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore – all countries that ramped up production to meet insatiable business and consumer demands of the prior decade – fight for survival.
Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, long industrialized and export driven, blame China for their mounting trade imbalances, internal strife and Southeast Asian instability.
Mexico, once the US resort/retirement retreat, is as dangerous as the Congo, and its government – what’s left of it – is equally ruthless.
Across much of South America, depression, coups and wars prevail; few nations have been spared.
In Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan it’s the same news, different year, different body count: “Five US troops killed in Afghanistan.” “US drone attack kills 60 civilians in Pakistan.” “Car bomb blast kills 47 in Iraq.”
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In the eleven years since President George W. Bush promised to bring Osama bin Laden back “dead or alive,” there have been more Elvis sightings than traces of bin Laden.
The US military asks for more troops, more money and more time. The President and Congress plunder the treasury and sacrifice more lives all under the pretext of keeping America Al Qaeda-free.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process remains permanently and violently stalemated.
Iran, having forged a business/military alliance with China and Russia, is now a Nuclear Club member, and the world is forced to deal with it.
Oil-rich nations, having sunk trillions and lost trillions in high stakes investments, are trying to cope with internal rebellion and decreased demand for their only cash crop.
India’s miracle economy has run out of miracle, pushing it back into Third World conditions. Incessant flare-ups with Pakistan carry nuclear implications.
Canada, Australia and New Zealand are not in great shape, but compared to most other nations, they seem like paradise.
Africa is Africa. Not much has changed. Corruption, poverty and conflict prevail. Despots and dictators vie for control. Newly emerging colonial powers outmaneuver old colonial powers to commandeer rich lodes of natural resources.
A few countries flourish, some even in the middle of regional hotspots. Smart citizenry, good leadership, a little luck, energy and resource self-sufficient – they saw the trends coming and made proactive decisions.
This article was posted: Monday, October 19, 2009 at 4:12 am