We all know about, read about, watch and hear about the many perils that surround Israel: Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, etc. There is also much ado about Israel's domestic threats, including political polarization, governmental instability and inter-communal conflict, especially involving the Haredi and Muslim communities.
But I submit that there are two other looming threats, both of them encompassing not just Israel but the whole world, which don't receive nearly as much attention, public or governmental, that they ought to.
The first of these underemphasized threats is symbolized by the simultaneous hacking of companies and organizations around the world, just this past weekend, by a Russia-related gang, which is demanding 70 million dollars to restore the information it has stolen. Recently the most important oil pipeline in the US was crippled by a cyber-attack, and on and on.
Cyber-terrorism and cyber-crime are growing by the day, but until very recently this uber-threat was largely downplayed by the authorities and by the private sector. All of a sudden, they have awakened to the magnitude of the threat, which has the potential to disastrously damage all the various networks that together make up the contemporary world. It is very late and the bad guys have a big lead, not to mention sponsorship of countries in many cases, but at least some attention is finally being paid to this threat and countermeasures studied and adopted.
The other looming disaster is one that is not only not being addressed with proper seriousness, but in many cases is actually being worsened by the governments of the so-called Western world. Since the administration of George W. Bush, the United States has been spending money like a drunken sailor, in horrendously costly wars to combat terrorism, a worthy cause, but actually much more to "...bring democracy to the countries of the Middle East", a goal so unrealistic as to approach insanity. Coupled with huge increases in social spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the US and many other countries are on the verge of an economic/financial collapse of epic proportions.
No-one will escape. Even those few countries that avoided overspending, and they are very few indeed, will not escape unscathed because of the effects of the looming financial/monetary crisis on economic activity, including trade. There is no government in the world, very much including the US (which continues to spend more and more billions--sorry--trillions with every passing day), that is doing anything at all to address this mega-threat--quite the contrary.
Cyber-threats are staged by criminals and terrorists. The debt bomb is being built and will be detonated by governments. Between the two groups there is little to choose. More and more the criminals/terrorists infiltrate governments, and more and more governments are acting like criminals and terrorists.
Iran and the rest, sure they are dangerous. But around the corner there are dangers that equal or potentially greatly exceed them.
Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 7, 2021
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