Weaponized finance


By Dr. Farrukh Saleem

The US Department of Treasury now
has a definite  -and defined  role in “advancing US national security
interests.” Ian Bremmer, the founder of Eurasia Group, asserts that “instead of
fighting countries militarily, the US can now cripple them financially.”
Bremmer told Yahoo Finance that the “almighty dollar is more powerful than
nuclear weapons.” According to Ian Bremmer, “George Washington carried a
musket. Franklin Roosevelt sent in heavy bombers.

The new armament of choice is
weaponization of finance.” Jack Lew, the 76th US secretary of treasury, told a
symposium entitled ‘The evolution of Treasury’s National Security role’ that
the “weaponization of finance offers to the US a new battlefield…..one that
enables the US to go after those who wish the US harm without putting US troops
in harm’s way or using lethal force.”

Weaponization of finance is all
about bringing into service financial instruments and tools in order to advance
a country’s national security interests. Weaponization of finance is all about
employing new ways in which financially powerful countries use their financial
resources  in addition to other
instruments of national power to affect global outcomes.

Washington is now fully into
weaponizing finance as an instrument of its foreign policy. Washington is now
heavily dependent on financial measures in order to achieve its “core foreign
policy and national security goals.”

According to Business Insider,
“Forget nukes and battleships. Washington may increasingly flex its
geopolitical muscle….using an unconventional weapon: finance.” On January 29,
WikiLeaks leaked a document titled ‘Army Special Operations Forces,
Unconventional Warfare (FM3-05.130)’. The leaked document reveals how the US
military uses the IMF and the World Bank as ‘unconventional weapons’.

In the US, weaponization of
finance also means a link-up between the Department of Treasury and the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA). For the record, David Cohen, who served as Under
Secretary in the Department of Treasury, was made deputy director of the CIA.
There’s a new theater in town  the
financial theater of war. The new armaments of financial warfare are both
analog and digital. Analog weapons include the IMF / World Bank, economic
sanctions and anti-money laundering regulations. Digital weapons include
denial-of-service attacks, disruptive intrusions and data manipulations.

Forget bombs and bullets.
Washington has weaponized finance and finance is becoming America’s most potent
weapon of war. Not to forget that the modern financial infrastructure continues
to be America-centric and high-tech in nature. Modern warfare is not about
‘opposing armies’ but a “confrontation between opposing operational systems”.
Modern warfare is not about counting ‘enemy casualties’ but about ‘system
disruptions’. Countering the weaponization of finance begins with a mapping
exercise of critical financial functions and fault-lines plus a thorough
assessment of our non-military vulnerabilities.

Developing a counter-strategy to
this non-kinetic, non-military assault means adopting a ‘whole of nation’
approach that includes ‘political leaders, military commanders, financial
regulators and corporate executives.’ Modern warfare is a perpetual war. Yes,
war is “still a contest of wills, but technology is changing its character”.
Weaponization of finance aims at weakening the “war waging capability of the
target nation”.

The writer is a columnist based
in Islamabad.

‘Courtesy The News International’.

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