Paul Krugman Performs a Frightening Hypothetical Exercise That Could Come All Too True

Photo Credit: YouTube/Bloomberg

Paul Krugman looks closely at a very frightening but very real possibility in Friday’s column, asking, “What will you do when terrorists attack, or U.S. friction with some foreign power turns into a military confrontation?”

He’s just asking because, “The fate of the republic may depend on your answer.”

The likelihood, alas, is that some awful event is likely to happen in the next few years, like a terrorist attack, some hostilities in the South China Sea. Will the country rally around its leader as it did with Bush after 9/11? For a lot of Americans in 2001, it was a matter of patriotic duty, and doubts about Bush’s legitimacy after the Supreme Court gave him his victory immediately disappeared. Lest we forget, Krugman reminds:

The truth was that even then the urge toward national unity was one-sided, with Republican exploitation of the atrocity for political gain beginning almost immediately. But people didn’t want to hear about it; I got angry mail, not just from Republicans but from Democrats, whenever I pointed out what was going on.

Unfortunately, the suspension of critical thinking ended as such suspensions usually do — badly. The Bush administration exploited the post-9/11 rush of patriotism to take America into an unrelated war, then used the initial illusion of success in that war to ram through huge tax cuts for the wealthy.

As horrendous as that…

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