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November 20, 2012 |  3 comments |  Print  Your Opinion  

Editorial Team

Ask NATO about Security Despite Austerity

Editorial Team: Adrian Kendry is NATO’s Senior Defense Economist and works in the Emerging Security Challenges Division. In our latest Q&A, he takes your questions on the interaction of economic and security challenges. Watch his opening statement.


In an exclusive video statement for atlantic-community.org, Adrian Kendry describes austerity as a major source of not just economic but also social instability in different parts of Europe. Moreover, the aging of populations, falling birth rates and the shrinking of the working-age populations will increase pressure on public deficits and decrease economic activity and tax revenue. Thus, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has highlighted the need to prevent an economic crisis from becoming a security crisis. NATO's Senior Defense Economist, Adrian Kendry, also describes the need to strengthen international economic and financial cooperation to prevent currency wars, protectionism, and competitive devaluation that played a crucial role in creating the conditions for global conflict in the 1930s.



What would you like to know about the complex interaction of economic and security challenges? This is your chance to hear directly from NATO's Senior Defense Economist. To submit your question, just send an email to the editorial team (staff@atlantic-community.org) by Tuesday, November 27th. Please include your full name, country of residence and your professional or academic affiliation (optional). When crafting your questions, make sure to keep them short and to the point so that we can get many questions across. The editorial team will select ten questions to present to Mr. Kendry and will then post his responses on atlantic-community.org. You will also have the opportunity to comment and debate on them.

This is the fourth Q&A with senior NATO representatives in 2012. Read and watch the opening statements, questions and answers from the past sessions:

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Unregistered User

November 26, 2012

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I think we're coming to a stage of the economic crisis where the austerity programs being implemented in Southern Europe are becoming a case study for gradually readjusting policies on a global scale.

The situation is obviously very complex, but it can easily be said that the economic and social fabric of Southern Europe does not mirror the German model. Austerity programs are putting a huge strain on those countries: their economies are shrinking even more, unemployment is rising and resentment towards a model that is perceived as alien to the respective national characteristics is triggering social unrest.

What I question is that the EU, the World Bank and the strongest economies in Europe are giving out loans on condition that the indebted countries surrender all their policies to the troika, putting themselves in a position that closely reminds the one Mexico and other developing countries were in in the '80s when borrowed money from the World Bank with the infamous structural adjustment loans.
Did those loans, and for that matter World Bank programs, ever allow a borrower country to recover and flourish again?
We should all acknowledge our respective national debts, starting from the U.S. (a country that has lived above its means for too long - I regard obesity rate in America as a metaphor of how over-abundance can be as pathological as extreme poverty in the Third World) and stop pretending that those debts will ever be paid back. Lenders, the financial sector, that has lost all resemblance with the real economy it should mirror and has become detached from any notion of production of material goods, should accept losses and be brought back into a healthier economic system (Polanyi and the concept of disembedded economy).
I heard no mention of that in Adrian Kendry's speech, unfortunately. The one passage that has also struck me is the one about ensuring maritime trade security. Of course security should be top priority worldwide: the West has taken a gamble by favouring the Arab Spring, a long overdue move in my view, but we should also be prepared to come to terms with the fact that Islam might potentially turn out to be a bigger problem than foreseen with no intention to modernise and democratise in the future. The killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya in September 2012 following the unrest stirred by a third-rate movie about the Prophet Muhmmad, painfully made us aware that Western values won't automatically spill over to other parts of the world if they are not wanted, nor will they be exported with war.
Trade should be allowed to flow freely and unhindered is being said, to prevent protectionist tendencies to degenerate into conflict (as in the '30s). But are we sure that global trade is balanced in the first place, that it's a level-playing field everybody is taking advantage of to the same degree? In the early stages of development the West used and abused protectionist measures to shelter and nurture new-born industries from foreign competition (‘Kicking away the ladder' is an excellent read by Ha-Joon Chang); why don't we have the courage and honesty to let developing countries do the same?

Isn't neo-liberal capitalism turning out to be a failed model as soviet communism was established to be more than twenty years ago?
A new development model has to be found where economic 'growth' is not the (only) keyword that features on politicians' agendas.
 
Unregistered User

November 27, 2012

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Throughout NATO's history there has been a single focus for the Alliance - USSR, The Balkand crisis and then Afganistan. Post 2014, and the pull out of Afghanistan, could maintianing Defence capability in times of Austerity, or the new threats that Austerity creates (such as nationalistic civil unrest within Europe) become a unifing focus for the Alliance? if not then what focus will keep the Alliance together?
 
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December 4, 2012

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Mr. Kendry, my compliments to your inventory of failed monetary policies or perhaps
intended journey to capitalistic cabal under one currency umbrella.
Is it possible that the Iraq invasion was also to stop Iraq from changing the oil currency
from USD to Euro or a mulitple of currencies, the Saudis played also with the idea.
Would you oppose for reasons of healthy competition a modern Islamic currency and banking system side by side with the Western system.
Because International security, as you mention, cannot be achieved with creditor countries taking advantage over debtor countries under the military might of just one and a grouping
of smaller countries assisting under the same currency umbrella.
The introduction of the Euro was not very welcome in England and the US as one can imagine. Would one agree that Greece with its debt dilemma was a welcoming means to challenge the Euro group and its capacity. Afterall the EU with its Euro Group would be by scale a bigger ecoomic arrangement when compared to the US.
So the problem is really within our Western's self, with the UK still trying to identify its loyalty.
Unfortunately other developing countries are well aware of our problem and are starting the process of currency disengagement and the creation of trading blocks and free trading
arrangements.
So what sort of security are we proposing. Are we trying to camouflage our problems through military might just to satisfy capitalistic cabal.
These are really our intensions, aren't they.

HRF

Tags: | security/ austerity |
 

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