Our U.S. government owes $2.67 trillion to foreign governments and investors - 20 percent of our gross national product.
That number has grown rapidly over the last few years. In 2001, China held $61.5 billion. In 2001, we owed Russia less than $10 billion, and now it's $74.4 billion. The debt is sold to other countries in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, and we must pay interest on these securities. In the near future, a big chunk of our country's wealth will leave our economy and go overseas to pay back the loans. How will this outflow of cash affect our standing in the world?
After World War II, the U.S. emerged as a major global power and the U.K. declined in part because we owned so much British debt. Ironically, today the U.K. is our third largest creditor. Countries that own the most U.S. debt are Japan at $585 billion, China at $541 billion, the U.K. at $305.5 billion, OPEC nations at $180 billion and Caribbean banking centers at $148 billion.
China has now replaced Germany as the No. 1 export country in the world. During January 2009, China surpassed the U.S. in car sales. It's interesting that these things are developing under the communist system, which failed miserably under the leadership of Russia's Soviet Union. Clearly, the various forms of political and economic philosophies are no longer decisive. China is making use of capitalist principles, while capitalist America has resorted to communist principles to rescue failed capitalist institutions.
It is absolutely true that we will reap what we sow, and it's also true that we will suffer proportionately under the bondage of debt that we owe. It is not difficult to see that our world is shifting, and redistribution of wealth and a new one world order are emerging.
William Van Amber Fields