Globalization and US National Security – Essay Sample

Globalization and US National Security – Essay Sample

Mr. Thomas P.M. Barnett argues that Gap states will present security threats to the U.S. in the future if they have not already. Thus, it is a pragmatic approach on the part of U.S. to bring change in Gap states even if it requires military intervention and turn them into Core states. Mr. Barnett defines ‘Gap states’ as countries with oppressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, mass murders, internal conflicts that produce terrorist elements. In addition, Gap states have shunned globalization in favor of isolation. ‘Core states’ are states that are reaping benefits of globalization, are connected with the rest of the world, have free markets and media, stable governments, and rising standards of living (Barnett 2003).

Politically stable economies help promote globalization. Economies cannot thrive unless they adopt free market principles as well as achieve political stability. India and Pakistan serve as great examples. Both countries are committed to free market principles but what separates India from Pakistan is the degree of political stability. As compared to Pakistan, India has always enjoyed relatively high degree of political stability. Thus, as soon as India opened up its economy after the crisis of the early nineties (Lyons 2011), the foundation for its economic success had been laid because India already had a stable political system. Today, India is one of the most talked-about success stories while Pakistan still struggles due to political instability and most of its economic potential remains unexploited.

Political instability and lack of security discourage foreign direct investment and trade because they increase the risk and degree of uncertainty. The rate of return required by investors varies directly with the inherited risk of the investment. The more risky a particular investment is, the higher the rate of return required by investors. Political instability and lack of security not only make it difficult for investors to estimate the expected return on their potential investments but they also introduce the possibility that investors may not recoup even their initial investments. When governments change often, it is difficult to predict government policies. In addition, a new government may invalidate the trade agreements reached by the previous governments or alter the terms of those agreements.

Similarly, dictators rule their countries with iron hand and often engage in economic blackmailing. In addition, the threat of nationalization is always real in politically instable economies. The investment risks inherent in political instability have been demonstrated by the actions of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who rules his country more as a dictator than as an elected President. After winning his next six-year term, Chavez announced plans to nationalize four lucrative oil projects being run by foreign companies in the Orinoco River Basin. The U.S. investors in the Venezuelan stocks responded by selling their shares after the announcement of Chavez’s plans (Pearson 2007). Chavez repeated his actions by ordering the nationalization of some operations of the U.S. based food giant Cargill in early 2009 (CNN World 2009). In 2010, Chavez nationalized 11 oil rigs belonging to Oklahoma based Helmerich and Payne. As of mid-June 2010, Venezuela’s economy was the worst performing in Latin America (Daniel 2010) that year which reflects the impact of political instability on Venezuela’s economy despite being a major oil producer. Thus, economies can only benefit from free market economic policies when there is political stability and the assets/investments of international investors don’t face security threats. Engaging in international trade or allowing foreign investors to set up domestic operations is not enough if the investors face huge uncertainties regarding the economic returns on their investments.

Gap states are also a breeding ground for terrorism, either state-sanctioned or due to frustrations among the masses. According to disclosed documents of Soviet General Andrian A. Danilevich. Cuba’s Fidel Castro wanted a pre-emptive Soviet nuclear strike against the United States in 1982. Similarly, Castro also preferred a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis instead of Soviets backing down from locating nuclear weapons in Cuba (Rowan 2009). Like many dictators, Venezuela’s Chavez has also supported terrorist regimes and factions. Venezuela was one of the three countries that voted against a U.N. Atomic Energy Agency resolution to report Iran to the Security Council over its failures to abide by U.N. sanctions to curtail its nuclear program. When Iranian protestors took it to the street to protest against Ahmedinejad’s fraudulent re-election, Venezuela stood with Iranian hardliners (Politicafe 2009).

A U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study reported that Venezuela has become a major transshipment route for trafficking cocaine out of Columbia. In a raid on a FARC training camp in July 2009, Colombian military operatives found Swedish-made anti-tank rocket launchers that had been sold to the Venezuela in the 1980s (Politicafe 2009). Similarly, during a commando raid that killed FARC second in command Raul Reyes, Colombian soldiers found files on Mr. Reye’ laptop that revealed Venezuela’s high ranking officials plan to supply FARC with high-tech weapons, ammunition, and a $300 million grant (Brand and Arria 2008). Similarly, Al-Qaeda found support mainly among the populations in Gap states including Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya, Egypt, and Iraq. These states had dictator or corrupted governments, failing economies, high jobless rates, high illiteracy rates, and inflation among other things that cultivate the ground for extremist beliefs and support of terrorism.

When a country has an effective government and the economy is thriving by being able to take advantage of globalization, the youth population is optimistic and determined to reap the fruits of a promising future of the country. They have less uncertainty regarding their future and know that there will be lucrative jobs waiting for them upon completion of college degrees. Their national pride is high and they have higher degrees of loyalty as well as trust of their national governments. India is a great example of a country whose history has its fair share of ethnic violence and separation movements but a survey by Kairos Future Group revealed that Indian youths were the most optimistic of all nationalities while Japanese ‘now’ generation ended at the bottom of the list (Ruth 2007). India’s young generation is not only optimistic about its own future but also the future of the society. Because they have fewer grievances towards the government and the society, they are less likely to engage in acts of violence or terrorism.

But in Gap states, youths have fewer reasons to look forward to their future and high degree of uncertainty. They are frustrated with their corrupt governments and display low levels of national pride. Their frustration is realized by religious extremists and terrorist groups who preach them distorted versions of religion to downplay the importance of worldly life as compared to the after-life. They promise the frustrated youths, unimaginable pleasures of so-called heavenly life and give them a purpose to live. Given the fact that there is already little good going on in their lives and they see corrupt governments as nothing but a menace to the society, the thought of fighting against the society’s evil suddenly seems quite appealing. Thus, thriving economies and stable governments are one of the best defenses against the potential rise of terrorist organizations. Even in Core states, the youths in most danger of falling victim to the ideologies of terrorist groups are those that feel alienated in the society and are usually uneducated as well as unemployed.





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