Greece has been in the headlines quite a lot lately, and this time, it's for more than their delicious olives and their big fat weddings. As the Greek economy continues to dwindle, banks have been forcibly closed, with a dismal chance of accepting European aid. With such a major world event, attitudes of indifference and apathy have augmented, paving the way for a global disaster.
In response to Greece's situation, people around the world have commented, "They're all the way in Greece. Why should I care? It doesn't affect me." However, what many people fail to realize is that when one area of the world is affected, the other side doesn't go off painless and pure.
Let's take the Great Depression for example. When the stock market crashed in 1929, Americans were shocked and devastated. However, what's commonly ignored when teaching the Great Depression is the events that occurred around the world that catalyzed the collapse. After facing defeat in World War One, Germany experienced extreme economic conditions as a result of trying to repay war damages to Great Britain, France and the United States. Money became so invaluable that German children would play with it in the streets. The US Department of State lists the Great Depression as a "global event". Ironically, although an event as globally rooted as the Great Depression would give reason for America to become more invested in international affairs, it did the opposite, paving the way for isolationist attitudes to exist today.
There's an occurrence in history that I like to call the "100 Year Curse." One hundred years ago, our nations faced one of the most grueling economic periods because of the Great Depression, wars, and foreclosed banks. Going back even further, the period of 1815-1830 was marked by several banking crises, political instability, and the threat of war, both at home and abroad. Even in the 1700s, revolutions worldwide foreshadowed the French banking crisis, the New York Panic of 1792, and the redevelopment stages that would need to inevitably occur.
Not to mention that the militant groups we've put billions of dollars into containing feed desperately off countries facing a financial crisis. Greece is in an awkward position, sandwiched between Europe, Asia and Africa. There's a reason why Greece and Turkey first received the Marshall Plan to contain communism, and that's because of their strategic location. Should a militant organization gain control of Greece, it would be only a matter of time before they could significantly conquer the rest of Europe, seeping into influential countries such as Italy, Turkey, and France.
History repeats itself, and if we're not careful, we could be tricking ourselves into ignoring a potential global disaster. I'm not writing this article with a spirit of timidity or paranoia, but I've taken enough history classes and listened to enough stories to know the extremity of the solution. As we look at the situation in Greece, it's important to remember the age we're living in today. Our economy has become significantly more focused on globalization in the last few decades, and any economic issues can greatly alter the balance that we've so proudly and laboriously built. Just one glimpse at today's falling stocks is enough evidence that we are in a state of great international reliance, and ignoring the situation isn't going to make things better.
Although it might be simple to shrug at the headlines, I challenge you to look at the events with an international perspective. You might be surprised to find out we're more connected than you think...