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Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare    by Juan Zarate order for
Treasury's War
by Juan Zarate
Order:  USA  Can
PublicAffairs, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

In the Prologue to Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare, Juan Zarate writes, 'This book tells the story of this new era of financial warfare. It began after 9/11, as the US government developed these techniques for use against terrorists rogue regimes and other illicit financial actors.'

The author continues, 'These capabilities – which fall between diplomacy and kinetic warfare – would increasingly become the national security tools of choice for the hard international security issues facing the United States.'

A former senior Treasury and White House official, Zarate was part of a small group who dedicated themselves to leveraging financial power and influence globally to undermine America's enemies. The idea was to work behind the scenes to dismantle illicit financial networks, stop terrorism and influence geopolitics.

Zarate and his colleagues also partnered with the private sector to foster an international financial environment in which banks' and multinational companies' bottom lines dovetailed directly with national security interests.

The goal was to isolate rogue regimes such as North Korea, Syria and Iran from using the legitimate financial system to further their goals.

Treasury War is the inside story of how these tactics were developed and employed on some of the most dangerous and elusive criminal and rogue enterprises around the globe. This approach not only greatly expands how international conflicts in the future will be dealt with, but it is also one that other countries and organizations are also beginning to use.

'Economic sanctions and financial influence are now the national security tools of choice when neither diplomacy nor military force proves effective or possible,' writes Zarate. 'This tool of statecraft has become extremely important in coercing and constraining the behavior of nonstate networks and recalcitrant, rogue regimes, which often appear beyond the reach of classic government power and influence.'

The Achilles’ heel of this approach lies in the country maintaining its position as the world's foremost financial power. As the author points out, if the U.S. should falter and lose economic predominance or the dollar sufficiently weakens. all bets are off.

A meltdown caused by something such as being unable to pay the nation's obligations because the debt ceiling has not been raised could have disastrous consequences in being able to use this approach in the future.

Juan Zarate has opened the window and shed some light on a little known approach for dealing with the country's adversaries. Those interested in the international financial system and how it works would find it well worth their while to take this opportunity to peer through this window to see how the game is played.

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