WASHINGTON – U.S. intelligence officials are concerned the current financial crisis could weaken pro-Western governments around the world and diminish the U.S. government's ability to respond to new security threats, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Citing unnamed U.S. government officials and private analysts, the newspaper said the economic downturn has increased the risk of a terrorist attack in the short term as radical groups look for new gaps in defenses.
Meanwhile, intelligence experts believe that a protracted crisis could threaten the very survival of friendly governments in Pakistan and the Middle East because Western nations will be forced to cut spending on defense, intelligence and foreign aid, the report said.
The paper said the crisis could also accelerate the shift to a more Asia-centric globe as China and other Asian nations gain more influence in international financial institutions.
Experts are particularly worried about Pakistan, which since September has seen its national currency devalued and its hard-currency reserves nearly wiped out, The Post said.
Analysts also worry about the impact of plummeting crude prices on oil-dependent nations such as Yemen, which has a large population of unemployed young people and a history of support for militant Islamic groups, the paper noted.
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