It would beeasy to pretend that what happens in each area of the world won’t have anyconsequences in the neighbouring countries, but the truth is that everything isconnected, especially with the size of today’s global trade system as the2008-2009 American financial crisis has shown.One examplebeing the tragedy that happened in the summer of 2005 due to a series ofhurricanes, in particular Hurricane Katrina, that led to a political, social,economic and security crises in the United States, with consequences thatbranched to everywhere else in the Globe.
A disaster that the rest of the worldstudied from the outside trying to determine how a hurricane no stronger than acategory 3 hitting a vulnerable area, became one of the costliest natural disasters, and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the historyof the United States. With 1,833 fatalities, $41.1billion in insurance claims, more than one million people in the Gulf region (areawhere 50% of the population lives by the coast) were displaced by the storm andin New Orleans it soon was chaos.
Anarchy spread, gun battles andrapes were plaguing the hurricane afflicted areas, and this led to thequestionable and tragic order given by Senator Kathleen Blanco to the NationalGuard to “shoot to kill” if confronted with violent offenders. After this the Gulf of Mexico (which sees the production of over aquarter of U.S.
oil and close to 15% of U.S.’s natural gas) bore theconsequences of Hurricane Katrina and the consequential flooding, causing thedestruction of 113 oil platforms and the damage of 457 pipelines. This led oil prices to spike above $70 per barrel all aroundthe globe. Such an unprecedented impact on the American industrythat didn’t leave the rest of the world unshook. A lot of questions have beenraised after such an event by their allies and enemies; how prepared are theU.
S. for emergencies? How dependent is the rest of the world on the U.S.? Is analliance with the U.
S. with interest in its resources going to create potentialvulnerabilities?