Wars are immoral because survival is at stake. Even when the stakes are not that drastic, victory get away with their own moral superiority. The ongoing war of survival between the European Union and the United States of America, therefore, is no exception.
It might be news for the naive among us but it is nothing new for seasoned observers of international politics. This is not a new war. It is a replay of the old story the world has seen re-enacted many times over. The First and Second World Wars has defined our current history.
The Multilateral system that evolved through the Bretton woods process could not survive beyond 1970 and died when President Richard Nixon pulled the rug from under its feet by delinking the American dollar from gold. The Europeans were demanding conversion of their dollar reserves into gold @35 dollars per ounce and the US was legally obliged to pay at that rate but could not. The price of gold had risen to over 300 dollars per ounce by that time. In other words, the USA was stealing 265 dollars from every ounce of gold from the rest of the world!
Those with better memories can recall how the United Kingdom also joined the chorus led by President Charles De Gaule demanding America convert French dollar reserves back into gold. It is instructive to recall how the UK became vociferous. In fact, her mannerism became so obnoxious that the US used it as an excuse justifying their Nixon Shock.
Aside: Brexit is the same game under another name!
And where the US got China to join hands with it at that point in time, it was UK which facilitated moving the US dollar peg from gold to oil with its Brent crude which is now used to benchmark prices along with WTI crude. However, the Europeans had already capitulated.
This ushered in an unprecedented era in world history. The whole world traded without knowing the value of any currency used for these exchanges.
It is indeed one measure of the immense power the United States of America wield which ensures the US not only has its way but also that it makes sure the notion of value never becomes an issue in global politics. It is strange that the Soviet Union did nothing to counter American hegemony that but only got more entrenched with the Chinese agreeing to join the multilateral system.
This was the time when 97% international trade took place between the 22 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) while the so called Third World only had a paltry share of 3% only. The Soviet Union and its satellite states were not part of these trade figures which makes it easy to understand the Europeans had no choice but to accept American hegemony and play ball according to the new rules of finance running on paper money.
Since Europe and the United States –nay Japan plus five eyes including UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—were the main beneficiaries of this new scheme to impoverish the rest of the world, there partnership went on expanding into the new era that moved from paper money to digital currency which collapsed in 1996 with the Asian Tigers running around like house cats in a downpour that brought the roof down on their heads.
The EU and the US, however, continued to run the patently unworkable system till the dot com bubble burst in year 2000. This is what led to the unleashing of the War Against Terror to the whole world in 2001 in the wake of 9/11. All terrorism and war is but a camouflage to ensure profits in trade and finance.
This was a war that benefitted both the EU and the US and its allies. To independent observers, it was apparent the global financial engines running on inflation were securing growth through the defense industrial complex that created wealth in rich economies by bombing mud houses with million dollar armaments in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. This however, was not enough which became evident in the 2008 financial meltdown that was the first real falling out of the US and the EU power brokers in recent history.
Still the Europeans did not utter a single word that might make the rest of the world bolt and abandon hopes of getting out of their poverty by trading goods and services in a global system rigged in favour of the rich. However, the Djinn of inflation has now got the better of them all thanks also to the wanton lending and the consequent debt crisis in the US as well across the EU. The fiction of money run by financial institutions has loaded so much debt into sovereign accounts, corporate finance and the consumers that it is no more tenable.
The American debt of nearly 22 trillion dollars is a case in point proving it cannot be paid back. Same goes for the sovereign debt across the EU where Germany and France are obliged to pay for the profligacies of the Greeks, Portuguese, Irish, Spanish and Italian nations. Hence Brexit became a clarion call to abandon the sinking ship of the EU which is reminiscent of the Nixon Shock and the role Britain then played against the Europeans.
There is no rival military power anywhere in the world to challenge the USA. Yet American supremacy is at stake. However, like China is so dependent upon exports all America needs to do to bring it down on its knees is to stop buying from it, the fact of the matter is that without the rest of the world paying for the mighty American military, it is bound to fall apart for want of resources.
That is why the US and the EU are now in another round of war. The UK has once again taken sides with the USA. The EU is fighting for its very survival. It has gone ahead and taken sides with China in its trade war with the US, with Iran to help it evade American sanctions by floating special currency mechanisms that might just become alternatives to the once mighty American dollar and eventually replace it. But these are all measures that cannot irk an elephant the size of the Five Eyes & Japan any more than a few flies bother the beast in the wild.
Since nothing is new in these financial squabbles and there are but few known ways out, it is hardly going to threaten American sovereignty. So why would the Americans want the EU disbanded then?
Besides the obvious reason of the EU being the only other trading entity that rivals the US, the fact of the matter is that the world has run out of its major natural resource deposits in areas where the Western countries –the US and all its allies including the Europeans—the last region to open up for future exploitation and natural resource supplies is the one from Balochistan in Pakistan to Afghanistan and other central Asian states and the vast untouched reserves of the immense Siberia.
This is the last contiguous chunk of undeveloped areas and unexploited natural resources that can sustain global economic growth for another two centuries. And this is a region where the Europeans have little influence. Russia is no longer a rival to super powers like the US and the UK. Thus it is UKUSA that is calling the shots in these regions.
A lot of this is hidden behind the confusion that is the trade war between the US and China, the US and the EU, the US and Iran and an active simmering conflict between Israel and the Middle Eastern countries where oil reserves are now on the wane. It is common sense that these regions were divided up by the victors in the Second World War.
Germany was the loser and it paid a heavy price. France got more than its clout thanks to the US and UK compulsion to keep it in a closer alliance versus the rest of Europe. Now the times have changed and new areas are again needed for future growth. UKUSA does not wish to share these with their cousins in the EU.
The EU is on tenterhooks. UKUSA is dangling the prize of virgin lands and untold riches in the West and Central Asia where the duo has immense clout. The debt ridden EU nations in the EU have little to look forward within the framework of the EU. The way out is already chalked out by the UK with its Brexit plans.
This leaves both France and Germany high and dry dreading the day their house of cards comes crashing down. Their meaningless efforts in the United Nations thrashing the corpse of an already dead multilateral system bespeak their compulsions to work with the US instead of trying to find a way out by putting an end to the very system. They cannot do that for it is not in their interest.
It is in this backdrop that American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo going around the EU to find fault lines, Trump is openly calling to disband the EU and UK remains hell bent upon Brexit. France cannot survive on its own. Thus UKUSA is going to woo it all the more. All of this leaves Germany right where it was in the First and Second World War.
And that is how the Queen Trumps the rest of the world!
Khalid Hussain is Resident Editor of TLTP – You may contact Khalid Hussain at Resident.Editor@tltpnews.com.pk
The Law Today Pakistan, commonly known as TLTP, is the largest news wire service, headquartered in Islamabad. The service is providing fast, comprehensive and verified news on superior courts adjudications, regulatory framework of fiscal, monitory and external sectors, economic regulatory bodies amid apex institutions regulating the financial system. TLTP is empowering readers of more than 12 national English dailies in the country.