‘Military Option’ Poses Threat to Global Economy (Handelsblatt, Germany)
How damaging would another war in the Middle East be, not only in terms of human life, but damage to the global economy? Columnist Dietmar Neurer of German business daily Handelsblatt reveals a jittery atmosphere among German economists and banking officials, who express concern about the ramifications of war and talk of war on the global economic climate.
Joschka Fischer is no economist, but the former German Foreign Minister’s recent assessment of the Middle East was not far off the mark. Especially considering that when his views were published, it wasn’t yet known that an Islamophobic U.S.-made film would lead to a wave of violence in the Arab world. “The next few months threaten to be dangerous. Several severe regional economic and political crises could combine into a mega-crisis, which would in turn create very serious global shockwaves,” wrote Fischer. “The drums of war in the Middle East are pounding ever louder.”
Fischer referred to the crises over Syria and Iran, and the fact that around the world, there is talk of a “military option.” If such forecasts come to pass, there will be no limited “surgical strike,” but the beginning of two wars: an air war led by the U.S. and Israel, and one that will be asymmetrical led by Iran and its allies. Fischer warned that under these circumstances, the “effects would be far reaching.” Such a war in the Persian Gulf, the “petrol station of the global economy,” would impact oil exports, and prices would go through the roof.
Fischer’s concerns are now shared by leading German economists, as the situation has become increasingly dangerous. Many economists have expressed the view that a further escalation could have a massive impact on a sensitive world economy. “The global economy is vulnerable to geopolitical shock,” chief economist at Dekabank, Ulrich Kater, told Handelsblatt. “At a time when many economists are trying to deal with domestic debt problems, economic confidence remains low.”
Particularly after significant economic crises, the economy is left vulnerable. “Negative influences (when the economy is weak) can cause far greater damage than during more robust times.” Kater said. A “precipitous rise” in oil prices along with an ailing economy in many industrial countries can hit hard.
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