Financial turmoil could threaten pro-US governments

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WASHINGTON: US intelligence officials are concerned the current financial crisis could weaken pro-Western governments around the world and diminish the US government’s ability to respond to new security threats, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Citing unnamed US 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 defences.

Meanwhile, intelligence experts believe that a protracted crisis could threaten the survival of friendly governments in Pakistan and the Middle East because Western nations will be forced to cut spending on defence, 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.

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