The US debt ceiling negotiations kept nations and financial markets on their toes over the course of the past few weeks. As US President Barack Obama said in his address to the American nation,
[quote] “Debt negotiations have held our economy captive to Washington politics once again … for all the intrigue and drama that has taken place on Capitol Hill right now, I am confident that common sense and cooler heads will prevail.” [/quote]
Meanwhile, war torn Afghanistan is facing a deepening financial crisis that requires an estimated US$820 million in bailout money. Yet, the country is as corrupt as it is bankrupt. Although the war-torn country’s largest bank nearly collapsed last September, the government of Hamid Karzai and international stakeholders are still splitting hairs over how to raise funds and confidence over the intended bailout vision, as well as how to deal with its former leaders and rebels who siphoned off millions of dollars, and plenty of illegal gemstones and timber from Afghanistan to the outside world.
After a decade of US-led war in Afghanistan, US officials are still determined to keep its troops stationed there – amid heavy defense budget cuts and declining public support. Why is the US bent on throwing more money (which they do not have) at defense?
Growing opposition towards the war stems from the high costs involved, in both monetary sense and in terms of lives. Since the Afghan war began a decade ago, approximately 1,600 American soldiers have been killed and 12,000 wounded. Through the end of the year, the war is expected to incur a bill of US$1.29 trillion, combined with the cost of military operations in Iraq. This year alone, US$119 billion will be spent in Afghanistan.
Could that money have been better spent to avoid the current debt crisis in the US?
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