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The present state of vulnerability of the American economy is caused by the balance of trade, public finance and family budget deficits – all correlated – which render indispensable a constant inflow of financial resources from the rest of the world. This explains why the US’s power of attraction and the dollar’s conservation of its role as a reserve currency and its central position in the world monetary transaction system are so fundamental. The effects of military political factors and oil price trends make two alternative scenarios feasible: either a crisis leading up to the collapse of the dollar or a non-crisis, if the situation in the Middle East were to improve. The Bush administration, which views the international panorama as being extremely dangerous, is conscious of the risks involved, but has decided to run them, feeling that the war on terrorism is worth the investment of all the resources necessary to ensure its effectiveness. As is well known, how serious the danger actually is has caused a sharp difference of opinion between much of the American political and economic world and virtually the rest of the planet.