Y2K Global Overviewgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Y2K Global Overview
It's somewhat ironic to be writing this essay on Pearl Harbor Day; however, the global situation is probably as grim as it can get without actual, declared war. In the United States this will be the strangest Christmas season since December 1941. As you walk around everything appears normal physically, but the people seem absent. The Neutron Christmas of 1999 is what I'll call it. Just like one of those neutron atom bombs that leaves the buildings standing but kills the people, so everyone tries to act normal as reality frays around them. There is a great verse in Proverbs where the laughter of fools is compared to the crackle of weeds thrown onto a fire. Am I a fool for being concerned about Y2K? We'll know in three weeks or so. Are the inhabitants of this American Neutron Christmas correct as they wander zombie like around the shopping malls, apparently blissfully unaware of Y2K looming in mere days? Again, we'll know in about three weeks.
Not that many Americans are interested in foreign affairs these days, until the overseas two by four bangs them between the eyes. Y2K certainly has that potential to disrupt our carefully crafted economic nirvana, if we only took the time to look calmly at the rapidly approaching overseas weather patterns. The hurricanes which decimate Florida and North Carolina begin off the west coast of Africa. The following are some carefully documented weather forecasts I've culled from mainstream press releases. Even the corporate whore press is starting to panic now as the looming Y2K reality looms ever closer. If you peer carefully between the lines and especially in the foreign news sections of the AP breaking news, the outline of global chaos stares one in the face. But judge for yourself based on the following.
Japan: Japan's economy contracted 1% last quarter after growing the previous two. Y2K progress is spotty and unverified. Japan is heavily urbanized, heavily dependent on imported energy, food and raw materials. Cultural and economic barriers make a clear prognosis nearly impossible. We'll just have to wait and see on Japan. I'm inclined to think they aren't as prepared as they claim, but there is no way to prove it until next year.
China and Taiwan: Taiwan has suffered heavy damage from the earthquake and is subject to further Y2K disruption of unknown severity. China has written off its interior, entire sectors of its economy, health care, trade and all pirated software. China claims its core infrastructure of banking, transportation, energy and its large cities are Y2K compliant. Yet, China plans to shut down its banks for several days on 12-31-99, has no independent verification of its claims and started very late with a crash program. Prognosis is for large scale disruptions of unknown duration and with unknown political and military effects.
SouthEast Asia: Prognosis is grim. Basic infrastructures will be disrupted throughout the entire region. Indonesia is in the advanced stages of social disintegration. Y2K will merely increase the pace of decay. Malaysia, Thailand, Burma are also not in good shape. Vietnam does have at least one analog electrical generating plant that should operate normally during Y2K.
New Zealand and Australia: Australian regional governments are implementing supply seizure laws aimed at "hoarders". Panic buying is reported in West Australia. New Zealand and Australia are the best prepared in region. What exactly this means is unclear. Best guess is that they will avoid the chaos of a complete collapse, but not the effects of economic chaos.
India and Pakistan: Pakistan and India make unverified claims core infrastructures are Y2K compliant. Pakistan admits political chaos delayed Y2K efforts and could lead to blackout of Karachi, a city of 14 million. India state run energy companies are also questionable. Large scale infrastructure disruptions are probable in both countries. Given the current political instability over Kashmir, a nuclear exchange cannot be ruled out. Britain's Foreign Minister Hain says India and Pakistan came "very close" to a nuclear exchange during the summer over Kashmir.
Iran and Iraq: Iran admits that Y2K will cause problems and is warning the population to expect trouble of unspecified severity and duration as reported by the Washington Post. Global economic implications if Iran or Iraq oil production is disrupted. Iraq has officially adopted a fix on failure Y2K policy. Large scale infrastructure disruptions probable.
Gulf Oil States, Egypt and Saudi Arabia: All claim unverified core infrastructure Y2K compliance. Embedded chips in oil production, refining and desalination plants are unknown factor. Global political, economic and military effects if Y2K disruptions are even moderate.
Israel: Claims core infrastructure compliance, but admits problems. Y2K failures in military technology could lead to the destruction of the Jewish state.
Syria and Turkey: Turkey heavily damaged by earthquakes and decades old Kurdish war. Syria ignored Y2K and concentrated on arming to destroy Israel. Large scale infrastructure failures are likely with unknown political, economic and military effects.
Africa: South Africa is way behind the curve and expects significant disruptions. Libya recently emerged from economic isolation and is also way behind. Nigeria is beset by corruption, AIDS and tribal warfare. It's oil producing regions are chaotic, with armed attacks and hostage incidents; also have embedded chip problems. The combination of Y2K and AIDS will set the African continent back a generation. Prognosis is for large scale infrastructure collapse continent wide.
Russia: Expect large scale core infrastructure collapse throughout Russia. Itar-Tass reports Air traffic control is only 50% compliant. Probable that energy shipments to Western Europe will be disrupted. Probable that health care, energy exports, transportation and nuclear power will be impacted. Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear plant recently restarted and then shut down due to cooling tower leak. Don't even want to pursue that one. Finances, communications and basic life support likely to be adversely impacted by Y2K. United States is withdrawing personnel from Russia, Belarus, Moldavia and Ukraine due to Y2K concerns. Australia is also pulling out of Russia.
Eastern Europe: Australians pulling out of Poland. Large scale infrastructure collapse is likely region wide.
Western Europe: Italy and Germany are way behind the Y2K eight ball and significant economic disruptions are likely. Euro launch stripped resources away from Y2K and will come back to haunt Europe. French and Swedish nuclear plants are thought safe. Basic core infrastructure claimed to be Y2K compliant, but business is ill prepared. Economic impacts likely throughout the European Community of unknown severity and duration.
Mexico, Central and South America: Core infrastructure failures leading to political, economic and military instability continent wide. Direct economic impact upon the United States due to loss of export markets and oil imports being disrupted from Venezuela and Mexico. Ecuador has defaulted on its Brady Bonds and the military is hinting at a coup. Gold and silver are not barbarous relics there. Columbia's territorial integrity and central government cohesion are under direct attack by FARC cocaine warlords. Peru's President Fujimoro has assumed the mantle of dictator in an attempt to stave off collapse. Paraguay is likely to see catastrophic Y2K failures. Argentina, Chile and Brazil are Y2K questionable, but not hopeless. Venezuela is in the throes of a populist revolution under Hugo Chavez. Mr. Chavez is an open admirer of Fidel Castro, has two thirds popular support and is rewriting the constitution to favor the poor. He is also threatening civil war on anyone who doesn't agree with him, just like he staged a military coup back in 1992. Venezuela plans to shut down its oil terminals on New Year's Eve and reopen them on New Year's Day. The Y2K question is will they be able to do it? The rest of South America is Y2K irrelevant.
Mexico is a corrupt oligarchy where the outgoing presidents steal the light bulbs from the Mexican white house. The Mexican military is engaged in war crimes against Zapista rebels. The Mexican drug lords buy ranches and then bury dozens of murdered people on them. NAFTA stands for not anything in it for the average American. The corrupt corporate class of the United States uses Mexico as a cheap labor source to strip mine and exploit. How much is Y2K compliant? Considering the massive corruption prevalent in Mexico, I'd say not much.
Central America has been set back a generation by Hurricane Mitch. Y2K is merely added insult. The Caribbean Islands have also been stunned to find out no tourists want to travel on Y2K day. They jacked up the rates only to find out tourists are Y2K paranoid. Jamaica is reduced to whining about Gartner Group Y2K rankings. Panama is becoming a Chinese military base according to both Caspar Weinberger(former Reagan Defense Secretary) and Admiral Moorer(former Joint Chiefs in the 70's). So you see my essay "Chinese First Strike" wasn't the product of a diseased mind.
This is how I see the Global Y2K picture with roughly three weeks to go. These opinions are all based on documented, factual news reports that I have personally read in newspapers, over the Internet or other news sources. We'll know shortly whether my analysis is flawed or the information is false. However, I do have one question if you think I'm slanting things negative. If you disagree with my reporting of say Pakistan then note this. If you say that Pakistan is in good shape then you are relying on the same gentleman who said Karachi could go black. So if this man is to be believed when he says that the rail system and banks will work; then, why shouldn't he be believed when he says the airports are in trouble and the power grid will have major problems?
WHO WILLS CAN-WHO TRIES DOES-WHO LOVES LIVES
Doug McIntosh 10 December 1999
-- Helium (Heliumavid@yahoo.com), December 10, 1999
-- Helium (Heliumavid@yahoo.com), December 10, 1999.
Ah cheer up, it might never happen. 21 days until we find out, might as well stay focussed on fixing what you can rather than worrying about what you can't.
-- Servant (email@example.com), December 10, 1999.
Duck. Economic tidal waves... incoming.
-- Diane J. Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 10, 1999.
Kinda reminds you of Mathew Chapter 24: 19-21 doesn't it?
-- tired of worrying (email@example.com), December 10, 1999.
Doug, don't forget to put your neutron cookies out for neutron Claus on the 24.
One comment is that S. Africa may not be any worse off than OZ, if you separate the bullshit from the facts, and yet SA takes some crap for being more behind the curve. We'll see.
Comments about Mehico and Indonesia are very well taken. They are in social disarray and anybody that thinks they can FOCUS on technical problems like this is in La La Land.
Whole countries are about to explode in chaos.
Russia is in a similar place - pathetically unprepared, waging war with only a few days to go.
Several countries are nearing a social/economic collapse and that the rollover can only mean one thing in such circumstances. The drug lords will try to seize the opportunity, the dictators will do likewise, and the rioting masses (Indonesia) will do likewise, all to affect the changes **they** want to see. There are many lurkers waiting like vultures to seize this moment, as if profiting and winning is the highest meaning they can glean from the situation. In that atmosphere it will be very chaotic.
-- paul leblanc (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 10, 1999.