Financial Security

Authored by: Marieke de Goede

The Routledge Handbook of New Security Studies

Print publication date:  January  2010
Online publication date:  January  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415484374
eBook ISBN: 9780203859483
Adobe ISBN: 9781135166205


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During the 2008 US Presidential campaign, the Republicans raised substantial questions about Obama’s capacity to deal with imminent terrorist threats and to command the national security apparatus. Obama’s strategy to counter this line of attack was to draw the economy in general, and the credit crisis in particular, into the domain of security. ‘We often hear about two debates – one on national security and one on the economy – but that is a false distinction,’ said Obama in a October 2008 speech in Virginia. He rephrased finance as one of the greatest national security ‘challenges facing our nation’, and concluded: ‘We are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. … To succeed, we need leadership that understands the connection between our economy and our strength in the world’ (Obama 2008b). The news media picked up on Obama’s reformulation of security, and, increasingly, the language of war became used to understand the credit crisis. Even one of the war on terror’s most central and controversial concepts – preemption – was redeployed to the financial domain, so that by early 2009 new Treasury Secretary Geithner could encourage G20 finance ministers to move ‘preemptively to get ahead of the intensifying pressures … across national financial systems’ (Geithner 2009; emphasis added).

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