Greece's financial crisis, and its accompanying social protests and violence, has sent shockwaves across the world. Although the crisis is generally viewed as an economic and sovereign debt issue, its larger significance may ultimately lie within the geopolitical realm.
As leaders in virtually every developed country, including the United States, are beginning to realize, they, too, will sooner or later face the same sort of fiscal challenges now confronting Athens. Eventually, this growing debt awareness will put pressure on defense budgets and, ultimately, on alliance structures.
Specifically, what's at stake is a global security architecture established by the United States and its allies during the Cold War era. This enduring strategy has rested primarily on two key pillars: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the U.S.-Japan alliance. Despite their success, both alliances are now facing serious fiscal and demographic constraints.