The Geopolitics of Katrina
by Ben P, Fri Sep 02, 2005 at 12:44:27 PM EDT
It is in this sense, then, that it seems almost as if a nuclear weapon went off in New Orleans. The people mostly have fled rather than died, but they are gone. Not all of the facilities are destroyed, but most are. It appears to us that New Orleans and its environs have passed the point of recoverability. The area can recover, to be sure, but only with the commitment of massive resources from outside -- and those resources would always be at risk to another Katrina.
The displacement of population is the crisis that New Orleans faces. It is also a national crisis, because the largest port in the United States cannot function without a city around it. The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city's population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States.
Again, right now, this is not the most pressing story. I simply cite this to note this hurricane is going to have going to have major, major ramifications. Indeed, this is - in terms of its material and human toll - a significantly more event devastating event than 9/11. I don't think it is more significant geopolitically. But in the damage it hath wrought, substantially greater. Today and Down the Road.