Les Conséquences d'une guerre contre l'Irak

La guerre contre l'Irak semble inévitable, avec ou sans le soutien de l'ONU. Le coût économique d'une telle guerre pourrait se révéler astronomique, aussi bien pour les dépenses militaires américaines directes et leurs conséquences que pour les retombées indirectes que cela entraînerait sur l'économie mondiale. Cette guerre s'inscrirait sur fond de situation économique mondiale déclinante et accentuerait ses faiblesses, la projetant peut-être dans une récession. Les séquelles économiques de la guerre pourraient très bien dépendre du contexte diplomatique. Si l'Amérique agit seule, les coûts probables de cette guerre pour l'économie mondiale seront plus élevés que si elle obtennait le soutien de l'ONU.

Les coûts de la guerre doivent être mesurés à l'aune du coût des alternatives disponibles. Le coût élevé d'une guerre n'est certainement pas une bonne raison pour ne pas passer à l'action, particulièrement face au grave risque que représente l'acquisition, et l'utilisation éventuelle, d'armes de destruction de masse par l'Irak. Pourtant, se lancer dans la guerre là où les moyens diplomatiques (inspections des stocks d'armes, menace d'une réplique face à une agression irakienne ou encore empressement de l'ONU à réagir si l'Irak représente une menace imminente) devraient suffire et pourraient entraîner des coûts économiques (et d'autres encore) importants qui pourraient être évités.

Une vision traditionnelle et orthodoxe de la guerre part du principe que toute guerre stimule l'économie, du moins à court terme. Mais cette vision simpliste de l'économie de guerre est trop étroite pour décrire les effets possibles d'une guerre contre l'Irak. Nous devons aussi admettre que la guerre contre l'Irak, même limitée, pourrait profondément gêner la circulation mondiale des biens, des services, des investissements sur lesquels notre économie mondiale repose aujourd'hui.

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