U.S. Debt Jeopardizes National Security

America’s national debt recently topped $13 trillion, which not only puts the economy in peril, but also the nation’s national security, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“We cannot sustain this level of deficit financing and debt without losing our influence, without being constrained in the tough decisions we have to make,” Clinton said during an unveiling last week of the Obama administration’s national security policy.

Evidence of the debt diminishing U.S. leadership around the world abounds: China, America’s largest foreign debt holder, no longer has any interest in hearing lectures on human rights; gaining international partners to deal with Iran and North Korea has become a laborious process; and some nations have openly discussed dropping the dollar as the world’s international currency reserve.

Unless America does something to control its debt, these trends will only continue and perhaps worsen.

Clinton told her audience that it was time for America to “make the national security case about reducing the deficit and getting the debt under control.”

The federal government has at least begun to take the issue seriously – sort of. In a classic Washington ploy, instead of lawmakers standing up and taking on a tough issue, they have passed it off to a commission. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, created by the president, is charged with coming up with solutions to balance the budget by 2015, which will likely include politically unpopular tax increases and entitlements cuts.

While many are concerned about the economic implications of the debt, few realize the national security implications that it could have. The 2009 deficit alone is set to reach $1.5 trillion and is expected to remain around $1 trillion for the next decade.

Clinton said much of that is to blame on the previous administration, pointing out that her husband balanced the budget with an eye on America’s place in the world in the future.

“That was not just an exercise in budgeteering. It was linked to a very clear understanding of what the United States needed to do to get positioned to lead for the foreseeable future, far into the 21st century,” she said, according to Reuters.

The national debt, which currently stands at roughly 90 percent of annual gross domestic product, has the potential to be an albatross around America’s neck for years to come. Digging deeper and deeper in debt has forced America to borrow over and over again from foreign creditors, providing them with greater influence over America’s policy decisions.

A foreign policy dictated by foreign powers is no way to remain an international powerhouse.

“We have to address this deficit and the debt of the United States as a matter of national security not only as a matter of economics,” Clinton said, according to ABC News.

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