Estratégia Brilhante de Trump Para Desmembrar a Hegemonia do Dólar Americano

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/01/trumps-brilliant-strategy-to-dismember-u-s-dollar-hegemony/

Estratégia Brilhante de Trump Para Desmembrar a Hegemonia do Dólar Americano

O fim do domínio econômico global indiscutível dos Estados Unidos chegou mais cedo do que o esperado, graças aos mesmos neocons que deram ao mundo o Iraque, a Síria e as guerras sujas na América Latina. Assim como a Guerra do Vietnã tirou os Estados Unidos do ouro em 1971, seu violento regime de guerra contra a Venezuela e a Síria – e ameaçando outros países com sanções se não se unirem a essa cruzada – está levando as nações européias e outras a criar suas instituições financeiras alternativas. .

This break has been building for quite some time, and was bound to occur. But who would have thought that Donald Trump would become the catalytic agent? No left-wing party, no socialist, anarchist or foreign nationalist leader anywhere in the world could have achieved what he is doing to break up the American Empire.

The Deep State is reacting with shock at how this right-wing real estate grifter has been able to drive other countries to defend themselves by dismantling the U.S.-centered world order. To rub it in, he is using Bush and Reagan-era Neocon arsonists, John Bolton and now Elliott Abrams, to fan the flames in Venezuela. It is almost like a black political comedy. The world of international diplomacy is being turned inside-out. A world where there is no longer even a pretense that we might adhere to international norms, let alone laws or treaties.

The Neocons who Trump has appointed are accomplishing what seemed unthinkable not long ago: Driving China and Russia together – the great nightmare of Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. They also are driving Germany and other European countries into the Eurasian orbit, the “Heartland” nightmare of Halford Mackinder a century ago.

The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world’s largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet.

Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines “democracy” to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy.

In the Devil’s Dictionary that U.S. diplomats are taught to use as their “Elements of Style” guidelines for Doublethink, a “democratic” country is one that follows U.S. leadership and opens its economy to U.S. investment, and IMF- and World Bank-sponsored privatization. The Ukraine is deemed democratic, along with Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries that act as U.S. financial and military protectorates and are willing to treat America’s enemies are theirs too.

A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls “internationalism” (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest.

This trajectory could be seen 50 years ago (I described it in Super Imperialism [1972] and Global Fracture [1978].) It had to happen. But nobody thought that the end would come in quite the way that is happening. History has turned into comedy, or at least irony as its dialectical path unfolds.

For the past half-century, U.S. strategists, the State Department and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) worried that opposition to U.S. financial imperialism would come from left-wing parties. It therefore spent enormous resources manipulating parties that called themselves socialist (Tony Blair’s British Labour Party, France’s Socialist Party, Germany’s Social Democrats, etc.) to adopt neoliberal policies that were the diametric opposite to what social democracy meant a century ago. But U.S. political planners and Great Wurlitzer organists neglected the right wing, imagining that it would instinctively support U.S. thuggishness.

The reality is that right-wing parties want to get elected, and a populist nationalism is today’s road to election victory in Europe and other countries just as it was for Donald Trump in 2016.

Trump’s agenda may really be to break up the American Empire, using the old Uncle Sucker isolationist rhetoric of half a century ago. He certainly is going for the Empire’s most vital organs. But it he a witting anti-American agent? He might as well be – but it would be a false mental leap to use “quo bono” to assume that he is a witting agent.

After all, if no U.S. contractor, supplier, labor union or bank will deal with him, would Vladimir Putin, China or Iran be any more naïve? Perhaps the problem had to erupt as a result of the inner dynamics of U.S.-sponsored globalism becoming impossible to impose when the result is financial austerity, waves of population flight from U.S.-sponsored wars, and most of all, U.S. refusal to adhere to the rules and international laws that it itself sponsored seventy years ago in the wake of World War II.

Dismantling international law and its courts

Any international system of control requires the rule of law. It may be a morally lawless exercise of ruthless power imposing predatory exploitation, but it is still The Law. And it needs courts to apply it (backed by police power to enforce it and punish violators).

Here’s the first legal contradiction in U.S. global diplomacy: The United States always has resisted letting any other country have any voice in U.S. domestic policies, law-making or diplomacy. That is what makes America “the exceptional nation.” But for seventy years its diplomats have pretended that its superior judgment promoted a peaceful world (as the Roman Empire claimed to be), which let other countries share in prosperity and rising living standards.

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy. Without such power, the United States would not join any international organization. Yet at the same time, it depicted its nationalism as protecting globalization and internationalism. It was all a euphemism for what really was unilateral U.S. decision-making.

Inevitably, U.S. nationalism had to break up the mirage of One World internationalism, and with it any thought of an international court. Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations’ International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. “That investigation ultimately found ‘a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity.’”1

Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton erupted in fury, warning in September that: “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” adding that the UN International Court must not be so bold as to investigate “Israel or other U.S. allies.”

That prompted a senior judge, Christoph Flügge from Germany, to resign in protest. Indeed, Bolton told the court to keep out of any affairs involving the United States, promising to ban the Court’s “judges and prosecutors from entering the United States.” As Bolton spelled out the U.S. threat: “We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

What this meant, the German judge spelled out was that: “If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the U.S. or investigate an American citizen, [Bolton] said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States – and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted.”

The original inspiration of the Court – to use the Nuremburg laws that were applied against German Nazis to bring similar prosecution against any country or officials found guilty of committing war crimes – had already fallen into disuse with the failure to indict the authors of the Chilean coup, Iran-Contra or the U.S. invasion of Iraq for war crimes.

Dismantling Dollar Hegemony from the IMF to SWIFT

Of all areas of global power politics today, international finance and foreign investment have become the key flashpoint. International monetary reserves were supposed to be the most sacrosanct, and international debt enforcement closely associated.

Central banks have long held their gold and other monetary reserves in the United States and London. Back in 1945 this seemed reasonable, because the New York Federal Reserve Bank (in whose basement foreign central bank gold was kept) was militarily safe, and because the London Gold Pool was the vehicle by which the U.S. Treasury kept the dollar “as good as gold” at $35 an ounce. Foreign reserves over and above gold were kept in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, to be bought and sold on the New York and London foreign-exchange markets to stabilize exchange rates. Most foreign loans to governments were denominated in U.S. dollars, so Wall Street banks were normally name as paying agents.

That was the case with Iran under the Shah, whom the United States had installed after sponsoring the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mosaddegh when he sought to nationalize Anglo-Iranian Oil (now British Petroleum) or at least tax it. After the Shah was overthrown, the Khomeini regime asked its paying agent, the Chase Manhattan bank, to use its deposits to pay its bondholders. At the direction of the U.S. Government Chase refused to do so. U.S. courts then declared Iran to be in default, and froze all its assets in the United States and anywhere else they were able.

This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But that was a generation ago, and only recently did foreign countries begin to feel queasy about leaving their gold holdings in the United States, where they might be grabbed at will to punish any country that might act in ways that U.S. diplomacy found offensive. So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.

But then came Venezuela. Desperate to spend its gold reserves to provide imports for its economy devastated by U.S. sanctions – a crisis that U.S. diplomats blame on “socialism,” not on U.S. political attempts to “make the economy scream” (as Nixon officials said of Chile under Salvador Allende) – Venezuela directed the Bank of England to transfer some of its $11 billion in gold held in its vaults and those of other central banks in December 2018. This was just like a bank depositor would expect a bank to pay a check that the depositor had written.

England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: “The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela’s overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank.”2

Turkey seemed to be a likely destination, prompting Bolton and Pompeo to warn it to desist from helping Venezuela, threatening sanctions against it or any other country helping Venezuela cope with its economic crisis. As for the Bank of England and other European countries, the Bloomberg report concluded: “Central bank officials in Caracas have been ordered to no longer try contacting the Bank of England. These central bankers have been told that Bank of England staffers will not respond to them.”

This led to rumors that Venezuela was selling 20 tons of gold via a Russian Boeing 777 – some $840 million. The money probably would have ended up paying Russian and Chinese bondholders as well as buying food to relieve the local famine.3 Russia denied this report, but Reuters has confirmed is that Venezuela has sold 3 tons of a planned 29 tones of gold to the United Arab Emirates, with another 15 tones are to be shipped on Friday, February 1.4 The U.S. Senate’s Batista-Cuban hardliner Rubio accused this of being “theft,” as if feeding the people to alleviate the U.S.-sponsored crisis was a crime against U.S. diplomatic leverage.

If there is any country that U.S. diplomats hate more than a recalcitrant Latin American country, it is Iran. President Trump’s breaking of the 2015 nuclear agreements negotiated by European and Obama Administration diplomats has escalated to the point of threatening Germany and other European countries with punitive sanctions if they do not also break the agreements they have signed. Coming on top of U.S. opposition to German and other European importing of Russian gas, the U.S. threat finally prompted Europe to find a way to defend itself.

Imperial threats are no longer military. No country (including Russia or China) can mount a military invasion of another major country. Since the Vietnam Era, the only kind of war a democratically elected country can wage is atomic, or at least heavy bombing such as the United States has inflicted on Iraq, Libya and Syria. But now, cyber warfare has become a way of pulling out the connections of any economy. And the major cyber connections are financial money-transfer ones, headed by SWIFT, the acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is centered in Belgium.

Russia and China have already moved to create a shadow bank-transfer system in case the United States unplugs them from SWIFT. But now, European countries have come to realize that threats by Bolton and Pompeo may lead to heavy fines and asset grabs if they seek to continue trading with Iran as called for in the treaties they have negotiated.

On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX — Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for “humanitarian” aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe.

I have just returned from Germany and seen a remarkable split between that nation’s industrialists and their political leadership. For years, major companies have seen Russia as a natural market, a complementary economy needing to modernize its manufacturing and able to supply Europe with natural gas and other raw materials. America’s New Cold War stance is trying to block this commercial complementarity. Warning Europe against “dependence” on low-price Russian gas, it has offered to sell high-priced LNG from the United States (via port facilities that do not yet exist in anywhere near the volume required). President Trump also is insisting that NATO members spend a full 2 percent of their GDP on arms – preferably bought from the United States, not from German or French merchants of death.

U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland, independent of U.S. ability to bully into the state of dependency toward which American diplomacy has aimed to achieve since 1945.

The World Bank, for instance, traditionally has been headed by a U.S. Secretary of Defense. Its steady policy since its inception is to provide loans for countries to devote their land to export crops instead of giving priority to feeding themselves. That is why its loans are only in foreign currency, not in the domestic currency needed to provide price supports and agricultural extension services such as have made U.S. agriculture so productive. By following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail – sanctions against providing them with grain and other food, in case they step out of line with U.S. diplomatic demands.

Vale a pena notar que a nossa imposição global das míticas “eficiências” de forçar os países latino-americanos a se tornarem plantações de culturas de exportação como café e bananas, em vez de cultivar trigo e milho, falhou catastroficamente em proporcionar vidas melhores, especialmente para aqueles que vivem na América Central. A “disseminação” entre as safras de exportação e as importações de alimentos mais baratas dos EUA, que deveriam se materializar para os países seguindo o nosso manual, fracassou miseravelmente – testemunham as caravanas e refugiados em todo o México. É claro que nosso apoio aos mais brutais ditadores militares e senhores do crime também não ajudou.Da mesma forma, o FMI foi forçado a admitir que suas diretrizes básicas eram fictícias desde o início. Um núcleo central tem sido o de impor o pagamento da dívida oficial inter-governamental, retendo o crédito do FMI dos países em default. Esta regra foi instituída no momento em que a maior parte da dívida intergovernamental oficial era devida aos Estados Unidos. Mas há alguns anos a Ucrânia não pagou US $ 3 bilhões devidos à Rússia. O FMI disse, com efeito, que a Ucrânia e outros países não tinham que pagar à Rússia ou a qualquer outro país considerado como agindo de forma muito independente dos Estados Unidos. O FMI tem estendido o crédito ao fundo da corrupção ucraniana para encorajar sua política anti-russa, em vez de defender o princípio de que as dívidas inter-governamentais devem ser pagas.É como se o FMI agora operasse em uma pequena sala no porão do Pentágono, em Washington. A Europa tomou conhecimento de que seu próprio comércio monetário internacional e vínculos financeiros correm o risco de atrair a ira dos EUA. Isso ficou claro no outono passado no funeral de George HW Bush, quando o diplomata da UE se viu rebaixado para o final da lista para ser chamado ao seu lugar. Foi-lhe dito que os EUA já não consideram a UE uma entidade em boa situação. Em dezembro, “Mike Pompeo fez um discurso sobre a Europa em Bruxelas – seu primeiro e ansiosamente aguardado – no qual ele exaltou as virtudes do nacionalismo, criticou o multilateralismo e a UE e disse que“ organismos internacionais ”que restringem a soberania nacional“ devem ser reformado ou eliminado. ”5A maioria dos eventos acima fez a notícia em apenas um dia, 31 de janeiro de 2019. A conjunção dos EUA se move em tantas frentes, contra a Venezuela, Irã e Europa (para não mencionar a China e as ameaças comerciais e movimentos contra a Huawei também em erupção hoje) parece que este será um ano de fratura global.
Não é tudo que o presidente Trump está fazendo, é claro. Nós vemos o Partido Democrata mostrando as mesmas cores. Em vez de aplaudir a democracia quando os países estrangeiros não elegem um líder aprovado por diplomatas americanos (seja Allende ou Maduro), eles deixaram a máscara cair e se mostraram os principais imperialistas da Nova Guerra Fria. Agora está em aberto. Eles fariam da Venezuela o novo Chile da era Pinochet. Trump não está sozinho no apoio à Arábia Saudita e seus terroristas Wahabi, como Lyndon Johnson disse: “Bastardos, mas eles são nossos bastardos”.

Onde fica a esquerda em tudo isso? Essa é a questão com a qual abri este artigo. Quão notável é que são apenas os partidos de direita, Alternative for Deutschland (AFD), ou nacionalistas franceses de Marine Le Pen e de outros países que se opõem à militarização da OTAN e procuram reavivar os laços comerciais e económicos com o resto da Eurásia.
O fim da nossa imperialismo monetária, sobre o qual eu escrevi pela primeira vez em 1972 em Super Imperialism , atordoa até mesmo um observador informado como eu. Foi preciso um nível colossal de arrogância, falta de visão e ilegalidade para acelerar seu declínio – algo que apenas Neocons enlouquecidos como John Bolton, Elliott Abrams e Mike Pompeo poderiam fazer por Donald Trump.

Notas
[1] Alexander Rubenstein, “Não pode ser consertado: juiz sênior do ICC termina em protesto dos EUA, turco intrometido”, 31 de janeiro de 2019. https://www.mintpressnews.com/icc-judge-quits-turkish- intromissão / 254443 /

? [2] Patricia Laya , Ethan Bronner e Tim Ross , “Maduro Stymied na tentativa de puxar US $ 1,2 bilhões de ouro do Reino Unido”, Bloomberg, 25 de janeiro de 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019- 01-25 / uk-disse-para-negar-maduro-s-lance-puxar-1-2 bilhões de ouro . Antecipando justamente tal dupla-cruz, o Presidente Chávez agiu já em 2011 para repatriar 160 toneladas de ouro para Caracas dos Estados Unidos e da Europa.

[3] Patricia Laya , Ethan Bronner e Tim Ross , “Maduro se frustrou na tentativa de puxar US $ 1,2 bilhão de ouro do Reino Unido”, Bloomberg, 25 de janeiro de 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-25/uk-said-to-deny-maduro-s-bid-to-pull-1-2-billion-of-gold

[4] Corina Pons , Mayela Armas , “Exclusivo: a Venezuela planeja fazer reservas de ouro do banco central para os EAU – fonte”, Reuters, 31 de janeiro de 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics -gold-exclusivo / exclusivo-venezuela-prepara-se-voar-toneladas-de-banco-central-ouro-para-uae-fonte-idUSKCN1PP2QR

[5] Constanze Stelzenmüller, “A política da América sobre a Europa toma uma virada nacionalista”, Financial Times , 31 de janeiro de 2019.