Securities Insecurity: Examining the Economic Weapon

Article excerpt

In 1997 the Indonesian economy was devastated by a financial crisis, sending its currency plummeting and exposing President Suharto's corrupt and shortsighted policies. The meltdown turned out to be the nail in the coffin for the aging dictator, whose hold on power had lasted for 30 years.

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What was perhaps more interesting than the resignation of this beleaguered president was the response made hundreds of miles away. On Jim Lehrer's The News Hour, US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin remarked, "We are in a new world ... It's a world of enormous opportunities, but it also has new risks ... [Recovery] is obviously very much in the interest of the Indonesian people, but it's also very, very much in our economic and national security interest."

The Asian financial crisis crystallized a notion that has become integral to the policymaking processes of contemporary economic and national security bodies: that globalization of financial markets has made it impossible for countries to fully protect their national security interests without also considering economic factors. In light of this fact, this symposium seeks to investigate how economic and national security policymaking can and should be considered in tandem. Each contribution presents and explains one or more national security considerations that might be approached, at least in part, from an economic perspective.

The interrelationship of economics and national security manifests itself on several levels. Our first author, Michael Mastanduno, examines this interplay on a geopolitical scale, using an economic approach to explain the increasingly tense power rivalry between China and the United States. …