Twenty Years After 9/11: US & NATO Allies Less Safe and Closer to Economic Abyss, Analyst Says
15:00 GMT 10.09.2021 (Updated: 18:33 GMT 10.09.2021)
The 20-year “War on Terror” has not made the US and its NATO allies better off or safer, according to Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel. Irresponsible monetary policies and costly wars may lead the US and the world to a repetition of the 2008 global financial crisis, he says, warning against new open-ended military adventures.
The Costs of War Project at Brown University calculated that the total cost of the US' global “War on Terror” stands at about $8 trillion in current dollars
, and human losses amount to nearly a million people. The report was released on 1 September, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
"The war has been long and complex and horrific and unsuccessful," said Catherine Lutz, co-director of Costs of War during a 1 September virtual event. "The Pentagon and the US military have now absorbed the great majority of the federal discretionary budget, and most people don’t know that."
Americans did not feel the burden of the astronomical price tag because the US post-9/11 wars have been financed by debt instead of taxation, which made it easier for the American government to continue wars for a long time, according to the researchers.
Trouble Brewing for US Financial Stability
"At this moment, the United States has substantial wealth and earning power in its own right, and no currency or capital market has evolved as a credible alternative for those needing to house large sums. But this can change, and suddenly," says Wall Street analyst and investor Charles Ortel.
The past 20 years have been a disaster for workers and for savers, ie, those trying to accumulate wealth by spending less than they earn, according to the analyst. "Progress has been an illusion," he stresses.
"In the early period, 2001 through 2008, America and allies were able to borrow sums required to prosecute foreign wars and to fund costly social programmes," Ortel notes. "However, since December 2008 central banks have foolishly suppressed benchmark interest rates, inflated asset bubbles, and encouraged debt-financed speculation."
Meanwhile, the present administration is adding to the soaring national debt, which has already mounted over $28.74 trillion by pushing new multi-trillion dollar projects, according to the investor. He argues that the US needs to "trim" its government spending and reduce debt across all sectors.
And it is certainly impossible to claim, credibly, that Americans or its NATO allies are better off or safer now following this disastrous two decades long debacle, he remarks.
According to the World Bank's graphics, the US
and European Union's
annual percentage growth rate of GDP has faced a series of up and downs since 2000 but was largely guided by a downward trend. The world economy
was first severely hit in 2008, and then saw a similar slump in 2020, largely caused by the COVID pandemic. In 2000, the US and EU boasted 4.127 percent and 3.909 percent GDP growth and have yet to reach these indicators, according to the World Bank.
Although the post-COVID economies are continuing to recover, soaring inflation causes serious concerns both in the US and Europe. Eurozone inflation reached a decade high of 3 percent in August 2021, and the US consumer price inflation rate reached 5.4 percent in June 2021 and held steady through July. International economists warn
that if global inflation is not kept in check the world may soon face a repetition of 2008.
Americans Exasperated with Endless Wars
Over the past 20 years, the US has conducted counter-terrorism operations in over 80 countries, according
to Brown University’s researchers. These operations included air and drone strikes, on-the-ground combat, US Special Ops programmes, military exercises and operations to train and assist foreign forces.
"Despite the Pentagon’s assertion that the US is shifting its strategic emphasis away from counterterrorism and towards great power competition with Russia and China, examining US military activity on a country-by-country basis shows that there is yet to be a corresponding drawdown of the counterterror apparatus," the Costs of War website reads.
The question is whether the US can afford new protracted military operations under the present economic conditions, including the continuing post-COVID recovery, growing inflation, high gasoline prices and restraints on the US energy sector placed by the Biden administration's "climate change" agenda.
Hypothetically, the US still can kick off new large-scale wars, but the problem is that the Americans have got weary of them, according to Ortel.
"Americans across the political spectrum do not trust our political or our military leaders so we are not likely to embrace 'wars' against ill-defined enemies or open-ended missions," the analyst points out. "Indeed, the public is likely to demand extensive examination of what truly happened going into and rushing out of conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, at minimum."
In addition to that, the Biden administration's messy withdrawal from Afghanistan has harmed Afghans, allies and Americans stranded there now
as well as those who served with honour, the analyst says. He refers to the simmering controversy over the flights chartered to evacuate the Americans and Afghans which still remain grounded at the Mazar-i-Sharif airport
, in northern Afghanistan. Conflicting reports say that either the US State Department or the Taliban* is the main stumbling block in the way of evacuation.
The US hurried pullout has also inflicted damage on the country’s international image and Washington's relations with its NATO allies, according to the analyst. "Joe Biden stands revealed as a chronic liar and an untrustworthy partner whose motives must be rigorously questioned," Ortel suggests.
Dems Could Drag US into New Trouble Before 2024
The unfolding Afghan debacle has sent Joe Biden's approval rating down. The president has a 51 percent disapproval rating and only 44 percent of voters approve of him, according
to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. What's more, Biden's approval has plummeted in six key states, namely Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas, a Civiqs survey shows
It is highly probable that the hasty Afghan withdrawal will backfire upon the Democrat Party during the 2022 mid-term elections and then during the 2024 presidential race, according to Ortel: "Anyone who supports Biden and runs for office will pay a price in 2022 and beyond," he suggests.
However, the question is how quickly and effectively Biden and his policies will be purged so that America can heal and re-emerge positively on the world stage, according to the analyst. Ortel laments the fact that the Dems have still three more years during which they could potentially drag the US in yet another economic or political debacle.
"The Democrat Party, with few exceptions, is economically unhinged, as are too many 'Republicans in Name Only'," the analyst says. "We do not need more evidence that big spending by big governments is a big disaster. Yet, that is precisely what Biden, Harris, Pelosi and Schumer are trying to rush through. So, the first thing I worry about is a repeat of 2007/8 or worse, should investors abandon confidence in the US dollar and/or the US system of 'justice'."
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other states.