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Current agreements on budget means no new bills
Sahadi 14 (Sahadi, Jeanne. "Deficit Continues to Drop Sharply." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 04 Feb. 2014. Web. 18 July 2014.
<>. Jeanne Sahadi is a writer and reporter for CNN that writes
about the economy and money. Fred).
The age of trillion-dollar deficits is well over. For now. Thanks to a recovering economy,
spending restraint and higher tax receipts, the Congressional Budget Office now projects the deficit for
2014 will be $514 billion, or 3% of the size of the U.S. economy. As a share of gross domestic product,
that represents a nearly 27% drop from last year, and marks the smallest deficit since
2007. In its latest budget and economic outlook, released Tuesday, the CBO also projected that
the 2015 deficit would reach a low for the coming decade, at $478 billion, or 2.6% of
GDP, and then stay below 3% for a couple of years after that.
OTEC is prohibitively expensive-1 real plant cost billions
Strickland 13 --an associate editor for the international technology magazine IEEE
Spectrum, Strickland has reported on the environment, science, and technology for 12
years. She has worked as the online news editor for the science magazine Discover, and
as a contributing writer for Wireds website.(Eliza, Lockheed Martin Pioneers Ocean
Energy in China July 25th 2013,
Just a few years ago, Lockheed Martin was working to build a pilot plant to
demonstrate a renewable energy technology called ocean thermal energy conversion
(OTEC) near the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The company wanted to get funding from the
U.S. Navy for the pioneering project and to cable the electricity it produced straight to
the naval base at Pearl Harbor. Now Lockheed is designing that 10-megawatt pilot
plantbut not in American waters. Instead, the facility will be off the coast of southern
China, and Lockheeds customer is a private Chinese company that develops resorts and
luxury housing. Over the years Lockheed has approached various potential partners,
says Rob Varley, the companys OTEC project manager. Building an offshore energy
station at commercial scale is an expensive proposition, particularly when its the first
time the technology is being tried out. Lockheed wont release the cost of the project,
but outside experts estimate that a 10-MW facility would cost roughly US $300 million
to $500 million. However, experts say that a full-scale 100-MW plant would be more
competitive at just $1.2 billion. The biggest challenge has been to get the gold and
start the project, says Varley, but in terms of engineering, he says, I dont see any
showstoppers at this point. Thats not surprising, since the company has been working
on OTEC since the 1970s, and the technology hasnt changed drastically since then.
OTEC systems make use of the temperature differential in tropical areas between warm
surface water and cold deep water. In most systems, ammonia, which has a very low
boiling point, passes through a heat exchanger containing the warm water. The
ammonia is vaporized and used to turn a turbine, and then its cycled past the cold
water to recondense. This is a renewable energy technology with the rare capacity to
supply base-load power, as water temperatures are fairly stable. The ammonia passes
through a closed loop, while the water comes and goes through massive pipes. The
project in China may pump cold water up from a depth of about 1000 meters, using a
pipe thats 4 meters across. Varley says that some of the infrastructure can be borrowed
from the offshore drilling industry: We showed them our requirements for the
platform, and they yawned and said, Is that all you got? he says. But then we
showed them the pipe. Attaching the massive pipe to a relatively small floating
platform creates unusual stresses, Varley says. Lockheed also had to find materials for
the pipes and the heat exchangers that could withstand the harsh marine environment.
Lockheeds client is Reignwood Group, a Chinese company whose diverse portfolio
includes resort and housing developments. According to a company press release,
Reignwood Group wants the 10-MW plant to supply all the power for a large-scale
environmentally sound resort community that the company will build in southern China.
A Reignwood spokesperson did not respond to requests for more details by press time.
A Lockheed spokesperson says the companies are currently working on site selection
and that theyll start designing a facility this year to suit the specific conditions at that
site. The China project isnt the only OTEC project going ahead. Baltimore-basedOTEC
International is negotiating the terms of a 1-MW demonstration plant in Hawaii, and the
company is planning much bigger facilities in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Both OTEC
International and Lockheed Martin see their current plans as steps toward a much more
ambitious goal: utility-scale OTEC plants. Going from a PowerPoint to a 100-MW would
be too big a leap, says Lockheeds Varley. OTEC advocates have been trying to build
megawatt-scale facilities for decades, but several ambitious projects have failed to
materialize. So why should it be different this decade? Eileen ORourke, president of
OTEC International, says theres a convergence of favorable conditions. Island
jurisdictions like Hawaii have very high energy prices and limited alternatives for base-
load power, and OTEC fits with their desire to be energy independent and green, she
says. Add in mature technology from the offshore oil industry, she says, and we just
think the time is right for OTEC.

Continued deficit spending harms economic growth
Thornton 13--Vice President and Economic Adviser [Daniel L. Thornton, Does the
Economy Need More Spending Now?, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, Economic
Synopses, 2013, No. 24,,
accessed 7/19/14]RMT
In addition to concerns about the extent to which deficit spending crowds out private
spending is the fact that any increase in output is temporary: Increased deficit spending
can have no permanent effect on output. In short, government debt cannot be considered
net wealth by all U.S. households. If it could be, then we could all become infinitely
wealthy simply by incurring an infinite amount of debt. Just as with fiat money, you
cannot simply print your way to long-run prosperity. Assessing the benefits of additional
deficit spending is further complicated by the likelihood that deficit spending reduces
economic growth. Additional deficit spending reduces economic growth by crowding out
capital investment. A smaller stock of capital means less future output. This is an
intergenerational transfer: People today get more output, while those in the future get
less. It seems likely that such a loss of future output could easily swamp any (temporary)
increase in current output. Future output gains associated with a larger capital stock
accrue over a long period of time, while the increased output associated with additional
deficit spending is short-lived.

Economic decline causes conflict, resource competition, terrorism and war
Kemp, 10, , [Director of Regional Strategic Programs at The Nixon Center, served in the
White House under Ronald Reagan, special assistant to the president for national security
affairs and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security
Council Staff, Former Director, Middle East Arms Control Project at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, Geoffrey The East Moves West: India, China, and
Asias Growing Presence in the Middle East, p. 233-4)
The second scenario, called Mayhem and Chaos, is the opposite of the first scenario; everything that can go wrong does go wrong. The world
economic situation weakens rather than strengthens, and India, China, and Japan suffer a major
reduction in their growth rates, further weakening the global economy. As a result, energy demand falls and the price
of fossil fuels plummets, leading to a financial crisis for the energy-producing states, which are forced to cut back dramatically on
expansion programs and social welfare. That in turn leads to political unrest: and nurtures different radical groups,
including, but not limited to, Islamic extremists. The internal stability of some countries is challenged, and there are more
failed states. Most serious is the collapse of the democratic government in Pakistan and its takeover by Muslim extremists,
who then take possession of a large number of nuclear weapons. The danger of war between India and
Pakistan increases significantly. Iran, always worried about an extremist Pakistan, expands and weaponizes its nuclear
program. That further enhances nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt joining Israel and
Iran as nuclear states. Under these circumstances, the potential for nuclear terrorism increases, and the possibility of a nuclear
terrorist attack in either the Western world or in the oil-producing states may lead to a further devastating
collapse of the world economic market, with a tsunami-like impact on stability. In this scenario, major disruptions can be
expected, with dire consequences for two-thirds of the planets population.

Turn Hydrogen Econ Bad
a) Transportation costs its prohibitively expensive
Shinnar 03 Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, City
College of New York, Colombia University Member: National Academy of Engineering
(Reuel, The Hydrogen Economy, Fuel Cells, and Electric Cars, Technology in
Society 25.4 (2003): 455-476)//js

3.2. Fallacy B: It is easier and more efficient to transport hydrogen than natural gas over
large distances We have available numbers based on long-terrn experience for both electricity and natural gas, which are given in Table
2. The energy losses for transportation of hydrogen in pipelines depend on the design and cost. It has been proposed to use present pipelines
designed for natural gas, although there remain severe questions whether it is safe to do so because of the potential leaking of hydrogen though
the valves. For H; we need to triple the volume to supply the same energy as natural gas.
Therefore, if we were to use existing pipelines, the velocity in the pipe would have to be
tripled (pressure drop increases by a factor of nine), which makes H2 transport much less eicient than
either electricity or natural gas in the national distribution system. The transport losses of methane and
electricity over large distances are fairly equal at 5-770 (with electricity having a slight advantage for long distances). With hydrogen,
using the same pipelines for hydrogen could increase the losses to 20% (see Table 3). In reality, it is
very doubtful that we would use natural gas pipelines or local distri- bution systems for H3. Hydrogen requires various
dilferent fittings and pipe specifi- cations. It would also require installation of much more
powerful compressors. We would probably need a totally new distribution system both
nationally and into the houses, a very high cost- Additional electricity can be gradually introduced and the grid can
be expanded as needed- While it is true that H; could be shipped in a liquid form, this is
prohibitively expensive and energy intensive (based on available cost of shipping
methane)' as H, is more expensive to liquefy and much more expensive to ship.
b) Safety facilitates terrorism and public outcry over hazards turns the case
Shinnar 03 Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, City
College of New York, Colombia University Member: National Academy of Engineering
(Reuel, The Hydrogen Economy, Fuel Cells, and Electric Cars, Technology in
Society 25.4 (2003): 455-476)//js

3.3. Fallacy C: H2 is safe. It diffuses faster into the air than it can ignite. The Hindenburg disaster was not caused by hydrogen
While H2,like nitroglycerin,can be safely handled,it is the most dangerous of all fossil fuels known to man. It
is true that H2 did not self-ignite to cause the burning of the Hindenburg,and that some of what burned was the aircraft fuel aboard and the cabin
and skin of the dirigible. It is also true that some of the hydrogen may have burned without exploding and sent heat mainly upwards. But if the
Hindenburg had been filled with helium,nothing so rapid or serious would have happened. Like nitroglycerin, hydrogen does not explode by
itself. It needs an energy release (a spark, for example) to ignite or explode a hydrogen-oxygen mix- ture. However, for hydrogen the minimum
energy required is very small. All fuels mixed with air can cause explosions or large fires and have done so. The question is the likelihood and the
severity of the safety measures that have to be taken to prevent a fire or explosion. The flammability or explosion limits
of H2 are much wider than for any other fuel, and the minimum energy required for
ignition or explosions is by a magnitude lower than for methane (see Table 4). This limits the
maximum amount that can be safely stored and demands special expertise of the
personnel handling it. Safety instructions for handling compressed hydrogen are distributed by Air Products, Inc."
i5.,a..,t_'ugl_..,..,tl1an. gasoline, which is safer than natural gas, which is safer than H; notwithstanding some assertions to the con- natural gas
and propane, have caused explosions, of the hazald, we strongly limit the size of propane dtiiiiks One is not allowed to transport even a reason-
ably small propane cylinder for a camping stove through a tunnel despite the fact that the maximum explosive force of a propane cylinder for a
camping stove is between 40 to 100 lb of TNT. By comparison, the explosive force of a H2 container as proposed by the car companies is 220 lb
of TNT (equal to five suicide bombers). Furthermore, the probability of a fuel tank for a hydrogen car to
explode is an order of magnitude larger than that of a propane tank. A bus has a much
larger potential explosive force than a propane tank. For a H; storage tank of the size used in a bus, one would
normally recommend a protected special room with a blow out wall into a safe area with no people or any combustibles (see footnote 5). In a bus
this blowout wall is into the bus itself. An accident in one bus in a tunnel would put the tunnel out of use
for months. There is also a critical post-September ll problem. H3 cars can be easily modified to become an
undetectable bomb for a suicide bomber. All one has to do is to equip the hydrogen tank
with a release valve and a delayed detonator. If 10% of the cars were H2 cars, less than five cars exploding at the
same time in rush hour in a confined space, such as the Lincoln Tunnel in New York, might kill more people than on September ll, and make the
tunnel unusable for a year. Whenever accidents can happen they will ultimately happen regardless
of safety measures. Therefore one has to limit the impact of the largest reasonably
possible accident even if it has a low probability to o`ccur. No safety measures can
compen- sate for the physical properties of hydrogen (very wide combustion limits of H2 air mixtures and low
minimum ignition energy) nor can safety measures compensate for the fact that H2 is the most dangerous fuel known to man. The question is,
why introduce it, especially as it is not an energy resource, only an energy carrier? And if it were introduced. the public
outcry after the first few catastrophic explo- sions would shut down any large-scale use of
d) Generation causes methane emissions turns warming
Shinnar 03 Distinguished Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, City
College of New York, Colombia University Member: National Academy of Engineering
(Reuel, The Hydrogen Economy, Fuel Cells, and Electric Cars, Technology in
Society 25.4 (2003): 455-476)//js

3.5. Fallacy E: Hydrogen is a clean fuel widely available and environmental] y beneficial As
said before, hydrogen is not an energy resource, but an energy delivery sys- tem. Therefore, while hydrogen just like electricity is clean, the
impact on the environment in both cases depends on the primary energy source used. If Hz were made from a fossil fuel such as natural gas, the
inherent loss of eiciency would cause a large increase in greenhouse gases compared to direct use of the fossil fuel (double or higher).
Furthermore, if the hydrogen is generated in small-distributed generators, instead of a
large central plant, the increase in greenhouse emissions could be much larger. Small
units are hard to tightly supervise, and as the catalyst ages the unit could have significant
emissions of methane, which has a 20 times lar- ger global warming effect than carbon dioxide. Therefore, the
hydrogen economy could have a strong negative impact on the environment especially if
distributed energy is used. It is claimed that if we build large Hg plants from fossil fuels, we could sequester the CO2. But the
same is true for electricity generation. We could even sequester CO; from some of the existing coal power plants. However, it is by no
means sure that we have the capability to safely sequester such tremendous amounts of
CO2 for ever. At present we already recover about 50 million tons of CO; from hydro- gen plants and another hundred million tons a year
from natural gas and ammonia plants, and release this CO; with no attempt to sequester it. If we were to intro- duee solar power plants, we could
have an immediate impact on greenhouse emis- sions; whereas a hydrogen economy would not only cost more
than three times as much, but any significant impact on CO2 emissions would have to
wait until we have built a national distribution system.


OTEC has a host of problems
Fujita 13 oceans program director of research and development for the Environmental Defense Fund, expert [Rod, The
Ocean: An Unlikely Clean-Energy Source (Op-Ed),
6/7/13 accessed 7/21/14] JW
If OTEC is so great, why has it been in development since the late 1800s but never commercialized? One reason is that there are only
so many suitable sites conventional OTEC plants need to be onshore yet close to deep
water, and the surface water must be quite warm. Another reason is that the capital costs are high
while the energy yield is low the process isn't very efficient. Another reason is that it is technologically
challenging to lay a pipe long enough to reach deep water and keep it there.

OTEC causes thermal pollution
Reisman 81 (Reisman, W. Michael, "Key International Legal Issues with Regard to
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Systems" (1981). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper
712., XM)
The external injuries which may be caused by an OTEC oper-ation are quite diverse. In
addition to breakdowns, foulings and collisions, thermal pollution is an obvious problem.
The OTEC op-eration will unquestionably increase the surface temperature of the ocean
gradient with potentially negative effects on complex ecologi-cal systems. Since the
reticulate network of interdependencies of ocean areas is only dimly understood, the
extent of the injury from a single operation cannot now be guaged. Of course, ecological
sys-tems have a certain flexibility and are accustomed to adapting to changes. But a
change in ecology necessarily means that certain human uses and exploitations
theretofore based on the prior eco- logical constellation may be obsolesced. For example,
certain types of fishing in areas where gradient temperatures have been changed may be
impeded. It is also possible that species of coastal fish, which coastal fisheries with
limited capacity for long distance fish-ing have exploited, will move away from the
coasts thereby depriv-ing local industries of an important resource. Other complex
changes may take place in land areas. Little inquiry has been made into the possible
injuries which may ensue from the transmission of high voltage from the OTEC facility
back to the land. It is generally known that high power transmission lines do create
certain electrical disturbances which affect other electronic uses of the air space and may
also have im-pact on living creatures. Here again the problem will be to find an
appropriate balance between the ocean as a medium for solar en-ergy harvesting and for
all of its other traditional and anticipated uses. This problem will not arise in those
circumstances in which the OTEC operation is conducted by a plant ship and the
harvested energy is immediately exploited in that area either in mariculture, or the
production of ammonia or hydrogen.
OTEC causes a laundry list of pollutants that destroy biodiversity and release
GEA 12 (GEA, 2012: Global Energy Assessment - Toward a Sustainable Future,
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA and the
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria. XM)
The exploitation of ocean energy, as with any energy resource, is not without its downsides. For very large OTEC systems,
thermal pollution, toxic releases, and impingement and entrainment of organisms on the
plant itself pose potentially harmful sources. While the magnitude of thermal pollution
would be small, even 3C shifts in temperatures are known to cause high mortality to
corals and fishes (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2007 ). Sensitive ecosystems could be affected
further through nutrient loading caused by the drawing of deep coldwater. OTEC systems
also release a small amount of CO 2 , because gas solubility is reduced in warmer water.
OTEC systems have the greatest potential for small island developing states, which need both a reliable energy source and fresh-water (Binger,
Contrary to what they want you to believe, OTEC emits co2 and proliferates
Woodford 13 author and academic, won numerous awards in academic fields, MA in natural sciences [Chris, OTEC (ocean
thermal energy conversion), 12/2/13 accessed 7/21/14] JW
Although OTEC produces no chemical pollution, it does involve a human intervention in the temperature
balance of the sea, which could have localized environmental impacts that would need to
be assessed. One important (and often overlooked) impact of OTEC is that pumping cold water from the deep
ocean to the surfaces releases carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas currently most
responsible for global warming. The amount released is only a fraction (perhaps 10 percent) as much as that produced by a
fossil-fueled power plant, however.
1NC Oil DA [Russia]
Russian oil exports high now, and will continue in the future
Reuters 6/12 (News Agency Company Headquartered in London, Russian Pacific port
raises 2014 crude oil export forecast, online article,
export-forecast, hhs-nw)
Russia's Pacific port of Kozmino plans to export 24.6 million tonnes of oil this year (494,000
barrels per day), up from 21.3 million tonnes last year, Deputy Energy Minister Kirill
Molodtsov said on Tuesday. Russia is ramping up exports eastwards as it tries to reduce
reliance on its main market, Europe, because of the threat of expanded EU sanctions against Russia over the crisis in
Ukraine. In January, the port operator said that exports this year were expected to total 22-23
million tonnes. Molodtsov did not say whether exports to Europe would fall as a result of the
planned increase. Igor Dyomin, a spokesman for oil pipeline monopoly Transneft , confirmed
the new figure. He said that of the total 24.6 million tonnes to be shipped, 1.2 million would be delivered to the
port by railway and the rest via the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline

The plan causes a drop in Oil Exports.

Oil is key to the Russian economy
Rautava 4 (Jouko, Economist for the Institute for economies in transition in the Bank of
Finland, The role of oil prices and the real exchange rate in Russia's economy - a
cointegration approach, online article,
6, within the abstract, hhs-nw)
Despite a lively debate on the importance of oil prices and the real exchange rate for
Russia, little empirical research exists on this topic. In this paper, the impact of international
oil prices and the real exchange rate on the Russian economy and its fiscal policy are
analyzed using vector autoregressive (VAR) modeling and cointegration techniques. The results imply that the
Russian economy is influenced significantly by fluctuations in oil prices and the
real exchange rate though both long-run quilibrium conditions and short-run direct
impacts, Although the underlying growth trend indicates the Russian economy has
strengthened in recent years, we find no evidence that the role of oil prices has
diminished. Journal of comparative economic 32 (2)(2004) 315-327. Institute for economics in transition (BOFIT), Bank of Finland, PO
Box 160, FIN-00101 Helsinki, Finland. 2004 Association for comparative economic studies. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
Oil decline results in Russian Economic collapse
Whitmore 13 (Brian, Senior Russia Correspondent Radio Free Europe, After The
Storm: Trends To Watch In Russia In 2013, Radio Free Europe, 1-2, The Power
Vertical, hhs-nw)
It began with a roar and it ended with a whimper. As 2012 wound down in Russia, the soaring expectations for change that accompanied the civic
awakening and mass protests at the years dawn had clearly faded. But the social, economic, and political forces that spawned them will continue
to shape the landscape well into the new year. A fledgling middle class remains hungry for political change,
splits still plague the ruling elite over the way forward, and a fractious opposition movement continues to struggle to find its voice. With the
Kremlin unable to decisively squelch the mounting dissent and the opposition unable to
topple President Vladimir Putin, Russia has entered an uneasy holding pattern that has the feel of
an interlude between two epochs. "I don't think we are at the end of the Putin era, but we are at the beginning of the end,"
says longtime Russia-watcher Edward Lucas, international editor of the British weekly "The Economist" and author of the recently published
book "Deception." With economic headwinds on the horizon, generational conflict brewing, and new political forces
developing, Russian society is changing -- and changing rapidly. But the political system remains
ossified. So what can we expect in 2013? Below are several trends and issues to keep an eye on in the coming year. The Oil Curse: Energy
Prices And The Creaking Welfare State If 2012 was all about politics, 2013 will also be about economics. The Russian
economy, the cliche goes, rests on two pillars -- oil and gas. And both will come under increasing pressure as the year unfolds.
World oil prices, currently hovering between $90 and $100 per barrel, are expected to be volatile for the foreseeable future.
And any sharp drop could prove catastrophic for the Russian economy. Energy experts and economists say
Russia's budget will only stay balanced if oil prices remain between $100 and $110 per barrel. Five years ago, the figure needed for
a balanced budget was $50 to $55.
Russian economic collapse spills over and causes nuclear war
Filger 9 (Sheldon, Correspondent Huffington Post, Russian Economy Faces
Disastrous Free Fall Contraction,, hhs-nw)
In 1987 I visited the Soviet Union with Republican Congressman Tom DeLay (who has since moved on to bigger-but not necessarily better-
things), and observed firsthand how a society with bright, well-educated people can still undergo a profound economic collapse when the elites
running the nation are infused with corruption, fossilized dogmas and misplaced priorities. Four years after my visit, the USSR of old imploded
under the weight of its own colossal economic mismanagement and contradictions.Will history repeat itself? The Russia of today is far from
immune to the ramifications of the Global Economic Crisis. Though I would not argue that the Russia being ruled by the duality of President
Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is on the same trajectory as Gorbachevs Soviet Union, there has already emerged a
sustained trend of harsh macroeconomic data that attests to a severe economic crisis gripping the Russian nation. The countrys stock market has
sustained losses from its peak in the range of 70%, while the prices for Russias commodity exports, the major source of foreign exchange
earnings, have plummeted at a staggering rate, especially with regards to oil and natural gas. Perhaps more alarming, the latest projection by the
European Bank of Reconstruction and Development reveals a dire forecast of negative 7.5 % growth in Russias GDP for 2009. Though some
believe that the EBRD projection may be too pessimistic, only four months ago this same institution was predicting that the Russian economy
would contract by a mere negative 1%. Recent indicators point to a national economy going south at an accelerating pace, reflected in official
Russian government statistics which reveal that the national economy contracted by a staggering negative 9.5%. in Q1 of 2009. At the very least,
Moscow faces a crippling recession. The Medvedev/Putin regime has initiated a host of policy responses to mitigate the impact of the Global
Economic Crisis on the nations fragile economy. Time will determine their long-term effectiveness; however, in the short-term some measures
have proven more efficacious than others. A major goal of Moscows economic technocrats has been to stabilize the countrys banking system,
and for the time being a degree of success has been achieved through government provision of liquidity to financial institutions. However, this
complex geopolitical space that is Russia is now facing a vast array of complex challenges that other members of the G8 are spared, despite the
destructive impact of the global synchronized recession facing all major industrialized countries. In Russia historically,
economic health and political stability are intertwined to a degree that is rarely
encountered in other major industrialized economies. It was the economic stagnation of the former Soviet Union
that led to its political downfall. Similarly, Medvedev and Putin, both intimately acquainted with their nations history, are
unquestionably alarmed at the prospect that Russias economic crisis will endanger the
nations political stability, achieved at great cost after years of chaos following the demise of the Soviet Union. Already, strikes
and protests are occurring among rank and file workers facing unemployment or non-payment of their salaries. Recent polling
demonstrates that the once supreme popularity ratings of Putin and Medvedev are eroding
rapidly. Beyond the political elites are the financial oligarchs, who have been forced to deleverage, even unloading their yachts and
executive jets in a desperate attempt to raise cash. Should the Russian economy deteriorate to the point
where economic collapse is not out of the question, the impact will go far beyond the
obvious accelerant such an outcome would be for the Global Economic Crisis. There is a
geopolitical dimension that is even more relevant then the economic context. Despite its economic vulnerabilities and
perceived decline from superpower status, Russia remains one of only two nations on
earth with a nuclear arsenal of sufficient scope and capability to destroy the world as we
know it. For that reason, it is not only President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin who will be lying awake at nights over the prospect
that a national economic crisis can transform itself into a virulent and destabilizing social and political upheaval. It just may be
possible that U.S. President Barack Obamas national security team has already briefed
him about the consequences of a major economic meltdown in Russia for the peace of the
world. After all, the most recent national intelligence estimates put out by the U.S.
intelligence community have already concluded that the Global Economic Crisis
represents the greatest national security threat to the United States, due to its facilitating
political instability in the world. During the years Boris Yeltsin ruled Russia, security forces responsible for guarding the
nations nuclear arsenal went without pay for months at a time, leading to fears that desperate personnel would illicitly sell nuclear weapons to
terrorist organizations. If the current economic crisis in Russia were to deteriorate much
further, how secure would the Russian nuclear arsenal remain? It may be that the
financial impact of the Global Economic Crisis is its least dangerous consequence.