I looked out from my balcony today and did not see the beautiful blue skies of Orlando, Florida. I did see many large grey clouds, with many (I counted 29) ospreys or falcons, circling and circling, not a wing flapping. It truly looked like an old movie scene from World War II with the sky darkened by bombers. I must say, this was unusual.
But these last few days in Lisbon, Portugal, it was business as usual. The war in Afghanistan is proving to be the longest war in modern times not only for the United States but also for many NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies. The 2010 NATO Summit in Portugal focused on near and future NATO policy but also included the “West’s” commitment to a democratic Afghanistan. The summit’s concluding announcements included NATO’s endorsement to continue the Afghan effort essentially through the year 2014. That’s four more years, and that’s business as usual.
This affects business and everyday citizens. The costs of this so-called war-on-terrorism in Afghanistan, including Iraq, does affect the United States national debt and deprives money from being spent in other problem areas that only the government can solve or help mitigate. The higher than normal debt causes the government to print more money and to borrow more money just to keep operatioinally afloat. In turn, this lowers the value of the U. S. currency compared to the euro, yen, British pound, and dear I say, the Chinese yuan (a whole different article in itself). This affects businessmen in Orlando and elsewhere in the U.S. It affects citizens of Orlando who are not in business.
For easily a half-century after World War II, the United States arguably enjoyed the world’s best standard-of-living and the world’s strongest currency. That was business as usual. But the latest events at the NATO summit this year will keep the U.S. entrenched in the far side of the world spending much needed dollars that can be used on this side of the world and used more effectively to bring the strength of the dollar back to where it belongs. As events in Lisbon show, at least for four more years, this is the new business as usual.