OPINION

War preparations

The economic and security measures announced by the government yesterday in order to mitigate the dire effects of a US-led showdown with Iraq prompted grim thoughts about the future. The expected, but nevertheless precipitous, rise in oil prices and, effectively, the surge in the cost of economic activity in general, will place an additional strain on the economy, which has already slowed down both at home and worldwide. Most crucially, if an American attack on Baghdad and the installation of an occupation regime touched off a broader ideological, cultural and political crisis – as many leaders and intellectuals in Europe and America fear – then our future would become even more dark and uncertain. This would also occur if Washington was tempted to launch more wars in a campaign aimed at enhancing its global hegemony. Even according to the most optimistic scenarios of a quick military victory, the months up to the summer season will be tough and dangerous. During this period, in the economic sector the Greek administration will, at best, adopt a policy of limiting the economic fallout. Any ideas about pursuing a development policy is a pipe dream. However, in the fortunate event that this extremely perilous period – during which the whole of Europe and the rest of the planet will be called upon to shoulder a huge economic and political cost for the sake of Washington’s hegemonic aspirations – be followed by a period of economic revival, the Greek government should be prepared so as not to miss out on any opportunity to quickly recoup its losses. Timely and cautious planning is imperative. Even if the positive scenarios of a fast postwar economic recovery materialize, opportunities after a war are few and they are not the same for everyone. Only the well-prepared can hope to overcome the crisis. Needless to say, the country must be prepared for the possibility of further international instability, should more wars take place after Iraq. In that case, Greece’s fate would be closely tied to that of the rest of Europe, a Europe which would certainly not have the capacity for a display of economic solidarity toward all member states. Unfortunate and undesirable as this may be, the government must hammer out measures for a «war economy» and be prepared for every eventuality.