On January 30th, the South China Morning Post bannered “How Donald Trump could change the course of Meng Wanzhou’s ‘years-long’ battle against extradition: Canada usually complies with extradition requests but the China-US trade war – and the US president’s apparent willingness to intervene in the case – could make the difference this time.” That “‘years-long’ battle” referred to an expected future “years-long” legal wrangling over Wanzhou, not to anything in the past, because the extradition request was made by U.S. President Donald Trump only on December 1st of last year.
Canada’s press likewise is reporting the intense political nature of Trump’s demand to bring Wanzhou, one of China’s top international corporate executives, to the U.S., on criminal charges. On January 28th, Canada’s Global News TV network headlined “Conservatives slam Liberals for handling of Meng Wanzhou case” and “Liberals say Conservatives making ‘false claims’ on China”.
On January 29th, Toronto’s Globe and Mail headlined “U.S. formally requests extradition of Meng Wanzhou to face financial fraud charges”, and reported that “Canada has received a formal request from the United States for the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, officially starting the clock on a complex process that could ultimately see her sent stateside to face multiple charges of financial fraud. … Ms. Meng, who is living in her Vancouver home, appeared briefly in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday for a bail adjustment hearing.”
China’s Government views “Western egoism and white supremacy” behind Trump’s actions in this case.
On January 9th, China’s Ambassador to Canada reacted to the 1 December 2018 arrest of the the mega-corporate Chinese executive Wanzhou by saying:
Without violating any Canadian law, Meng was arrested last month and put in handcuffs just as she was changing planes at the Vancouver International Airport. … Some people in Canada, without any evidence, have been hyping the idea that Huawei is controlled by the Chinese government and poses security threats to Canada and other Western countries, and that Chinese law requires China’s enterprises to collaborate with the government in espionage activities. However, these same people have conveniently ignored the PRISM Program, Equation Group, and Echelon — global spying networks operated by some countries that have been engaging in large-scale and organized cyber stealing, and spying and surveillance activities on foreign governments, enterprises, and individuals. … Something is considered as “safeguarding national security” when it is done by Western countries. But it is termed “conducting espionage” when done by China. What’s the logic? … The reason why some people are used to arrogantly adopting double standards is due to Western egoism and white supremacy. In such a context, the rule of law is nothing but a tool for their political ends and a fig leaf for their practising hegemony in the international arena.
The U.S. arrest warrant alleged that Wanzhou had violated Trump’s anti-Iran sanctions. However, Trump himself had instituted those sanctions after his having single-handedly, and in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that all treaties must be approved by at least two-thirds of all sitting U.S. Senators, failed to seek such Constitutionally mandated approval (and his predecessor, Barack Obama, had likewise committed the United States to ending those sanctions by Obama’s violating the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of at least a two-thirds vote approving in the Senate any treaty-change). Violating the U.S. Constitution is now perhaps even the norm for the U.S. Government, especially regarding international relations. And the U.S. Supreme Court almost never intervenes or objects, at all, in any way. The U.S. Constitution is dying, if not dead, at least on many of the most important issues.
(Incidentally, at the time, 9 June 2010, when the sanctions were first being imposed against Iran, Susan Rice, Obama’s U.S. U.N. Ambassador, had endorsed them heartily, by saying, “Today, the Security Council has responded decisively to the grave threat to international peace and security posed by Iran’s failure to live up to its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).” So, these sanctions were instituted by the U.N. Security Council in 2010 with Obama’s support. However, in order for the U.S. to participate in them without violating the U.S. Constitution, a two-thirds vote of the U.S. Senate was necessary, but no such vote was ever held in the U.S. Senate. And such ignoring of the U.S. Constitution is normal. Furthermore, the White House proudly announced on 31 July 2012, during President Obama’s re-election campaign, that “With President Obama’s leadership, the United States gained the support of Russia, China, and other nations to pass United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 in June 2010, which created the most comprehensive and stinging international sanctions the Iranian regime has ever faced.” It wasn’t until Obama’s coup in Ukraine in February 2014, that Russia’s leader, Putin, knew that Obama had been deceiving him that Obama was intending to reverse, or “reset”, former U.S. President G.H.W. Bush’s secret policy since the time of 24 February 1990 to continue America’s Cold War against Russia even after the Soviet Union and its communism and Warsaw Pact would end, as they all did in the following year, 1991. Obama had used that deceit in 2010 to get Russia and China onboard America’s anti-Iran train. Under Trump, it’s a train that’s crashing through to China. All of this — everything — is in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s two-thirds-of-Senate clause. U.S. foreign policies are established, and set, almost entirely in secret, and without any public debate, even in the U.S. Senate. That’s the reality: a secretly imposed dictatorship. This is America’s reality, today.)
On December 11th of 2018, the economist Jeffrey Sachs bannered, at Asia Times, “Meng arrest a huge provocation to China”, and he said:
The context of the arrest matters enormously. The US requested that Canada arrest Meng in the Vancouver airport en route to Mexico from Hong Kong, and then extradite her to the US. Such a move is almost a US declaration of war on China’s business community. …
The US rarely arrests senior businesspeople, US or foreign, for alleged crimes committed by their companies. Corporate managers are usually arrested for their alleged personal crimes (such as embezzlement, bribery or violence) rather than their company’s alleged malfeasance.
Yes, corporate managers should be held to account for their company’s malfeasance, up to and including criminal charges; but to start this practice with a leading Chinese businessperson, rather than the dozens of culpable US CEOs and CFOs, is a stunning provocation to the Chinese government, business community, and public.
Meng is charged with violating US sanctions on Iran. Yet consider her arrest in the context of the large number of companies, US and non-US, that have violated US sanctions against Iran and other countries. In 2011, for example, JPMorgan Chase paid US$88.3 million in fines for violating US sanctions against Cuba, Iran and Sudan. Yet chief executive officer Jamie Dimon wasn’t grabbed off a plane and whisked into custody.
And JPMorgan Chase was hardly alone in violating US sanctions. Since 2010, the following major financial institutions paid fines for violating US sanctions: Banco do Brasil, Bank of America, Bank of Guam, Bank of Moscow, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Clearstream Banking, Commerzbank, Compass, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, JP Morgan Chase, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, National Bank of Pakistan, PayPal, RBS (ABN Amro), Société Générale, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Trans-Pacific National Bank (now known as Beacon Business Bank), Standard Chartered, and Wells Fargo.
None of the CEOs or CFOs of these sanction-busting banks was arrested and taken into custody for these violations. …
Quite transparently, the US action against Meng is really part of the Trump administration’s broader attempt to undermine China’s economy by imposing tariffs, closing Western markets to Chinese high-technology exports, and blocking Chinese purchases of US and European technology companies. One can say, without exaggeration, that this is part of an economic war on China. … They certainly have nothing to do with upholding the international rule of law.
The US is targeting Huawei especially because of the company’s success in marketing cutting-edge fifth-generation (5G) wireless technologies globally. …
Sanctions regarding non-national parties (such as US sanctions on a Chinese business) should not be enforced by one country alone, but according to agreements reached within the United Nations Security Council. In that regard, UN Security Council Resolution 2231 calls on all countries to drop sanctions on Iran as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Yet the US – and only the US – now rejects the Security Council’s role in such matters.
Michael Moore’s latest documentary film, Fahrenheit 11/9 (not to be confused with his 2004 Fahrenheit 9/11) documents that throughout the career of Donald Trump, he has been racist in his actions, even where he wasn’t also racist in his explanations of his actions. Moore also documented there the full participation of Trump’s predecessor, President Obama, in the Republican Michigan Governor Richard Snyder’s having caused and then covered up the lead-poisoning of Flint Michigan’s children, who are overwhelmingly Blacks. However, with Obama, the contempt appears to have been against the poor, whereas with Trump, there is, in addition to that classism, clearly a hatred of racial and ethnic minorities. That’s perhaps the major difference between the two men.
Could it then be that Trump’s now-indubitable racism is part of his sense of “Make America Great Again” (the alleged basis of his trade-policies)? The Republican Party says that it’s not, but they also deny that Trump is a racist, which now clearly is a false allegation about him — he certainly is a racist.
How much more about America’s foreign policies might Trump’s deep-seated white-supremacist racism be affecting those policies — especially trade-policies (and this includes, of course, economic sanctions)?
Given the evidence that’s presented in Moore’s documentary, his racism has been expressed — in his actions — against Blacks, and it has also been widely expressed, even also verbally, against Hispanics, and, perhaps even more blatantly, against Muslims (except not against U.S.-allied aristocracies, such as the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia).
In keeping with the majority of America’s Christians, Trump is not racist against Jews. He even is largely financed by Jewish billionaires, such as the Israeli Sheldon Adelson. But whether he is racist against Chinese is, as of yet, an open question. But now, China’s Government has raised the issue.
The Chinese Government is certainly not going beyond the bounds of the evidence and of logic, to raise this question.
Furthermore, Sachs’s own statement against Trump on this matter is actually a damnation against not only Trump but also against all recent U.S. Presidents and their Administrations, when Sachs said, “Yes, corporate managers should be held to account for their company’s malfeasance, up to and including criminal charges; but to start this practice with a leading Chinese businessperson, rather than the dozens of culpable US CEOs and CFOs, is a stunning provocation to the Chinese government, business community, and public.” Sachs was saying there that, up till the present time, it has never been the case that “corporate managers” are “held to account for their company’s malfeasance, up to and including criminal charges.” He is there alleging that the only, or virtually only, people who are in prison in the United States, are people who are not “corporate managers” who themselves carried out, or rewarded or incentivized their employees to carry out, “their company’s malfeasance.” Only lower-level people are subjected to any significant imprisonment in the United States, no matter how corrupt the mega-corporations are. He is saying that America, which has the world’s highest percentage of people in prison, allows “corporate managers” to perpetrate, and to reward their employees for perpetrating, “criminal” acts. So, although America is an incredible police-state regarding its poor (and the Moore film also copiously displays that fact) Sachs, there, is saying that “corporate managers” in the United States are actually above the Law. That’s a remarkable admission from him — and it’s true. For the aristocracy, America is no police-state at all, except one that protects them and their privileges — privileges both legal and otherwise, both in prison and on the outside.
Another meticulously researched nonfiction movie, this a top-quality “docu-drama,” is the 2014 Kill the Messenger, about how the CIA was caught organizing and protecting narcotics kingpins and using kickbacks from this multibillion-dollar-per-year illegal business to finance off-the-books foreign regime-change operations, which are too costly to be funded merely in the official ways. The same U.S. Presidents who were famously waging “The War Against Drugs” were secretly having their CIA use the illegal narcotics trade in order to pump up up their regime-changes abroad, to serve America’s billionaires’ interests. And then the mainly Blacks who became victimized by, and who participated in, this trade got slammed into prison for it, while their CIA-cooperating bosses did not. This movie is a cult classic amongst investigative journalists, because it shows how the CIA destroyed and perhaps murdered the great investigative reporter, Gary Webb, who revealed the scandal. America’s major ‘news’-media fired him and never allowed him ever again to work for them. Then, once Webb’s career was destroyed by that blacklisting of him on the part of the ‘news’-organizations, and he was in obscurity, he died mysteriously with two bullets in his head, and few among the public even heard about the murder, at the time. It seems that Webb never got to know that the CIA’s narcotics trafficking kickbacks had begun with the CIA’s first-ever coup, which was in 1948 Thailand and installed there a general who was the lynchpin for the southeast Asian narcotics network and who helped establish, with Nugan Hand, the CIA’s future dependence upon drug-trafficking. So, both regime-change and narcotics-trafficking were joined together right at the CIA’s very start. But Gary Webb reported only about the Reagan-era part of this longstanding (if not permanent) CIA system. And this was the first time that any part of this seedy history became publicly known (to the extent it did, at all).
It’s not merely Trump, and Moore’s documentary made clear that Obama was just as psychopathic against the poor as Trump is, though slick enough to hide it, even from the people who despise Trump for his racism.
Future of BRICS: BRAXIT or ‘Power Next’?
The club of emerging political and economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in response to new global challenges is famously known as BRICS. Since its inception in 2006, it has been a platform to highlight the prominence of multi-polar world order challenging the collision of G-7 members. These five countries account for 20 percent of world GDP and 40% of the world population. Further, they hold 40 percent of gold and hard currency reserves. Being collectively the largest market, their cumulative GDP has tripled in the last ten years.
With the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro on 28th October 2018, many are skeptical about the future of the BRICS as he comes from the far-rightwing camp which seems to be antagonistic to the BRICS. Brazil is the most populous nation in South America with the world’s eighth-largest economy of the world. Bolsonaro wants Brazil to be great as Trump wants America to be great. Even during Bolsonaro’s campaign period, he has reiterated that his foreign policy would be changed from his precursor. Further, he is a follower of conservative Christianity who profoundly believes in restoring Judeo-Christian tradition against communism.
With this scenario, the future of BRICS has been subjected to controversial as to Jair Bolsonaro would lead Brazil to exit the BRICS moving towards the pro-western camp. Another argues that this collision would last long due to their close trade relations.
The Origin of BRICS
In 2001 the term BRIC was firstly coined by Jim O’Neill, a British economist in a paper written for ‘Global Economic Paper’ of Goldman Sachs using the acronym stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The first summit was held in 2009 at Yekaterinburg, Russia emphasizing the need of reformations to be made to the international financial institutions. In 2011, South Africa became a member of this group at the third Summit held at Sanaya, China making BRIC into BRICS. The primary purpose of BRICS is to broaden the cooperation among members and enhances the support for multipolar world order. It is mainly an indication of the movement of world power from the west to the South. Since the inception BRICS conducts its annual summit of heads of the states to youth forums though the members don’t have their own permanent executive body or a secretariat.
Functions of BRICS
Two main functions of the BRICS are, to 1) liaise with meetings and international organizations such as IMF and G-20 Grouping and to 2) design a framework for BRICS members for multi-sectoral cooperation. Today it covers more than 30 sectors including agriculture, science and technology, culture, outer space, think tanks, Internet governance and security, social welfare, intellectual property, health, and tourism. The forum called BRICS Business Council promotes and strengthens business, trade and investment ties amongst the business communities of the members. Think Tank Council formulates long term economic strategies of the members.
Further initiatives have been made for establishing New Development Bank (NDB) to finance the infrastructure projects in emerging economies and developing countries and also for entering into Contingent Reserves Arrangement (CRA) to promote mutual support among the members in situations of instability in the balance of payments. Demands have also been made to reformulate the IMF but, they were not yet successive because of the resistance caused by the Western power. Moreover, the BRICS are open to cooperation and constructive engagement with other countries, as well as open with international and regional organizations in dealing with current global issues.
Despite this, one of the vital political demands that the BRICS has made to the United Nations Organization is to expand the number of members of the Security Council covering the BRICS members and making decisions of the UNO more democratic and accountable. This shows the importance of BRICS to balance the prevailing world order and also to voice for the global south in international relations.
However, as it is mentioned the foreign
policy of Bolsonaro is opposite to the leftist approach which was a blessing to
accelerate the activities of BRICS. It is more similar to the protectionist
approach followed by the US President, Trump. Once, Bolsonaro said at a press
conference as “It is about aiming for a great Brazil like that – the way Trump
wants America to be great”. This approach is contrary to the joint statement
made at the 2nd summit of the heads of the states held at Brazil
where the members pledged to resist all forms of protectionism and fight
disguised restrictions on trade. Further, criticisms made concerning
multilateralism and pulling out Brazil from Global Compact for Migration also
support Bolsonaro’s protectionist approach. With respect to the crisis in
Venezuela, Bolsonaro supporting the USA rejects Nicolas Maduro as the duly
elected President, while all other BRICS members accept Maduro as
democratically elected president.
Moreover, distant relations between China and Brazil also a reason to make BRICS in a more controversial position. With the Xi Jinping’s rise in China from 2013, China took the leadership of the BRICS group and proposals were made at the Fortaleza Summit in 2014 to establish NDB to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries. However, Bolsonaro’s far right and anti-communist ideology is contrary to fundamental policies of China. His early visit to Taiwan and South Korea and China’s reaction on his visit has greatly influenced on assuming Bolsonaro would choose between BRICS and OECD members.
Nonetheless, since 2009 China is the top trading partner of Brazil and on the other hand export of soy to China from Brazil is as crucial as the arrival of Chinese investment into Brazil. According to a recent study carried by the Started Charted Bank, China will become the largest economy of the world in 2020. Hence, though there is much ideological dissimilarity, both the countries are dependent on each other concerning their trade relations.
If Bolsonaro is more driven by his far-right ideology than by pragmatism, he will not deal closely with the BRICS members. However, it is difficult to assume that he will abandon this BRICS group as Brazil is highly dependent on Chinese imports. It would be challenging for him to dramatically shift in his trade relations having with China and also with Russia. More importantly, in the middle of this year, it is Brazil’s turn to host the BRICS summit of 2019. Though there are no valid reasons for BRAXIT, i.e. for Brazil to exit from BRICS, Brazil would not be an active player in BRICS making BRICS into the most powerful allies of the South as it happened during LuizInácio Lula da Silva’s tenure. Skepticism arose even when Narendra Modi appointed as Prime-Minister in India coming from the far right wing that how BRICS is going to maintain cooperation among members with the rivalry between India and Russia. Further, Brazil was not prominent in BRICS during his predecessors Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer’s period. Conversely, it’s not only stance of Brazil has been changed even China doesn’t seem to be willing to invest much on the BRICS as in the past. As Lord Palmerston once stated, “in international relations, there is no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies. Only the interests are eternal and perpetual”. Hence, BRAXIT seems to be far away than we assume.
Sanders will criticize Trump
Of course, during the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, there will be a lot of criticism from the White House and the U.S. president. This is a matter of great concern to Donald Trump. On the other hand, Democratic Party elections will begin shortly. The common point of all candidates for this election is criticism of Trump’s policies.
Bernie Sanders, the old American senator, and one of Democratic nominees for the 2020 presidential election, continues to oppose U.S. President Donald Trump. This confrontation started at the time Trump entered the White House (by early 2017). Sanders called for an end to Washington’s support for Riyadh in the Yemeni war. Sanders also condemned Trump’s stance on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. At any rate, Sanders’s recent position against Trump has led to the U.S. President’s concerns.
Sen. Bernie Sanders says it would be an “impeachable offense” if President Trump were to fire Robert Mueller the special counsel leading the federal probe into ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.
“I’ve been very reluctant to talk about impeachment until we have all the information coming in from the investigation. But that would be a major, major, major obstruction of justice. That would be an impeachable offense in my view,” Sanders said in an interview for The Intercept’s newly launched podcast “Deconstructed” released Friday.
In his tweet, Sanders was referring Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Justice Minister, and his forced resignation. Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, replacing him with a loyalist who has echoed the president’s complaints about the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and will now take charge of the inquiry.
Among all Democrat candidates, Sanders has a lot of motivation to challenge the trump!The fact is, according to polls conducted in 2016, Sanders had a much greater chance of winning the U.S. presidential elections. Many Democratic voters believed that Sanders could have an important role in regulating power in America as a symbol of change in the United States. Although such an idea was wrong due to the political structure in the U.S., it was, however, strongly accepted by some Democrat supporters.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate who was supported by her husband, Bill Clinton, and many influential figures in the party, managed to defeat Sanders with her secret lobbies, and went to fight Trump as Democrats’ final candidate. Anyhow, if Sanders were to reach the final round of the 2016 presidential competitions, he could have defeated Trump and enter the White House. Sanders, however, was the victim of Democrat leaders and Hillary Clinton’s secret lobbies. It was not without a reason that many Sanders advocates voted for Hillary Clinton’s rival, Donald Trump!
Ultimately, the tensions between Trump and Sanders in the U.S. presidential election of 2020 will be of great interest to many Americans. If the Sanders win in the Democratic Party, this conflict will become more intense and more serious. A topic that the president of the United States and his entourage are scared of.
First published in our partner Tehran Times
The collapse of American empire is a warning to Europe
The wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and threats and violence against Latin America, and imposition of sanctions on various nations, all can deface the United States and its unpopular policy in the international community, set to protect U.S. financial institutions.
Although the U.S. empire has already begun to crumble, U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy has sped the process. The wrong policy of the U.S. administrations has brought the nations to stand against the U.S. led-world order.
The U.S. has turned into the biggest threat to world peace with its duel policies, violence in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and support for Saudi Arabia and Israel. Obviously, the “regime change” in Venezuela, on the pretext of democracy, is nothing but a cover-up in the U.S. policy to seize Venezuela’s oil reserves.
American democracy means supporting U.S. foreign policy, privatization of public infrastructure, non-compliance with domestic laws and compliance with U.S.-dominated global institutions. Decades of war and U.S. military intervention, have brought nothing but violence, killing, and destruction on planet earth.
To the U.S., a country is considered democratic that follows its leadership such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, otherwise, that country is non-democratic and a foe. This policy is challenged by states like Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela and others which don’t bow down to Washington’s policy and seek to defend their own national interest.
Any international control system requires the rule of law to mediate in the world challenges. However, U.S. diplomacy contradicts international law. The American diplomats claim their better judgment on the world allows other nations to adopt a more prosperous lifestyle, and they don’t allow the intervention of international laws in the U.S. policy and diplomatic system.
The U.S. has the “power of veto” in the United Nations that enables Washington to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” resolution. In the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), they can easily veto any policy or loan. Without such powers, no international organization will join the United States.
Without having the power of veto, the U.S. doesn’t recognize the verdict of and authorities in the international court of Justice. If sentences issued by The Hague Court oppose the U.S. policy, they will be considered inadmissible to the U.S. For example, the verdicts issued on U.S. war crimes in Iran and Afghanistan, human rights abuse, and illegal sanctions are not recognized by Washington.
In September of last year, Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton, a hawkish politician, strongly criticized the International Criminal Court and said, “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”
Senior judge Christoph Flugge from Germany resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague in objection to the U.S. that had threatened judges after moves were made to examine the conduct of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Bolton vowed that the United States would retaliate by banning ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the U.S., imposing sanctions on any funds they had in the States and prosecuting them in the American court system. “If the court comes after us, Israel, or other U.S. allies we will not sit quietly,” he said, also threatening to impose the same sanctions on any country that aided the investigation. Bolton held a speech last September in which he wished death on the international criminal court. “We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead.”
The central banks of states have long maintained their gold and other monetary reserves in the U.S. and UK. Perhaps the approach seemed logical in 1945; however, the U.S. and UK orchestrated 1953 coup d’état against Mohammad Mosaddegh, Iran’s prime minister, who nationalized Iran’s oil, and the Iranian revolution of 1979 which led to overthrow of the Shah, the American courts blocked Iran’s assets in the U.S. The movements showed that the IMF is an arm of the U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon. In today’s global politics, international finance and foreign investment have become leverage against nations who won’t bow down to U..S policies.
Lately, foreign countries are apprehensive about their gold holdings in the U.S. They know full well that their assets can be blocked unilaterally by the U.S. if Washington’s interests are threatened. That is why in 2017, Germany decided to repatriate half of its gold reserves from the U.S. The U.S. authorities have considered the act an insult to their own civilized state.
Now, it’s Venezuela’s turn. The country called on the Bank of England to return $1.2 billion of its reserved gold to repair the economy, which has been hurting by the American sanctions.
The Bank of England, however, froze Venezuelan gold asset following Mike Pompeo United States Secretary of State and Bolton’s instruction. Bloomberg wrote that the U.S. handed control of Venezuela’s bank accounts in the U.S. to the opposition leader Juan Guaido to have a better chance to control the self-claimed government.
In late January, a rumor broke out that a Russian Boeing 777 that had landed in Caracas to spirit away 20 tons of gold from the vaults of the country’s central bank, amounting to $840 million in return for food and medicine. Although Moscow rejected the report, the Nicolás Maduro government has the right to purchase food for the Venezuelans who are under brutal U.S. sanctions by the country’s gold reserve. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio called the act “stealing money” as if Maduro is a criminal for trying to reduce the pressure of U.S. unfair sanctions against his people.
The European countries, too, have to abide by the U.S. policy, otherwise, they will be threatened to sanctions. For instance, if the European Union wishes to remain committed to the Iran deal, it will have to surrender to the U.S. pressure and sanctions. European states have realized that Bolton and Pompeo’s threats can lead to confiscation of their assets by the U.S.
The U.S. threats are not merely military but a cyber-attack is a way of
confronting an enemy and crashing its economy. The main cyber money transfer is
led by Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)
which is based in Belgium. Some countries are developing an alternative money
transfer system to protect themselves against U.S. threats.
In late January, Germany, France, and England launched INSTEX, a trade tool to counter U.S. sanctions in support of trade with Iran and other countries. Although for Iran, INSTEX is nothing but a similar U.S. humanitarian aid to Venezuela, for Europe it may be a way out of U.S. opposition to transporting Russian gas from Nord Stream to the European continent.
The U.S. energy official warned European official of the risk posed by
relying too heavily on Russia’s cheap gas and offered plans to sell America’s
liquid natural gas (LNG) at a higher price to Europe through ports, which don’t
exist for high volume yet. Trump stresses The North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) members spend two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP)
on weapons, preferably from the U.S. and not German or French.
It seems the IMF is administered from the Pentagon in Washington. Undoubtedly, Europe is aware of losing its international financial ties.
At the funeral of George H. W. Bush, EU diplomats were at the bottom of the list of candidates to sit in their seats; the United States no longer considers the European Union as a credible entity.
In December, Mike Pompeo delivered a speech on Europe in Brussels, in which he admired the virtues of nationalism, criticized multilateralism and the European Union, and said that “international institutions” that dominated national sovereignty “must be corrected or deleted.
On Twitter, Pompeo says with a mockery: “Europe was an enemy of Europe.
But it was Germany in World Wars 1 and 2. How did that work out for France?
They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for
NATO or not!”
The idea of creating a European army has been discussed in the European Union. The initial offer was from Germany, and then Macron in the commemoration of the centennial of the end of the First World War in France.
Sigmar Gabriel, former foreign minister of Germany, said in February 2018 at the Foreign Policy Forum in Berlin “that it’s time for Germany and Europe to put their agenda on the agenda because the United States no longer sees the world as a global community or shared interests.
French President Charles de Gaulle long ago believed that no nation could be considered an independent state and ordered the withdrawal of France from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1996.
Europe is at risk and knows it too, but it doesn’t have many options ahead. It has to choose either to use the historic opportunity to gain political, and economic independence, or give in to U.S. policy while it awaits the fall of U.S. which will jeopardize its economic and political future.
First published in our partner Tehran Times
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