Below is our translation of an analysis from RIA Novosti with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
“In this context, two seemingly unrelated stories paradoxically fit together: sanctions against the European clearinghouse created to continue buying oil from Iran, and future sanctions against Gazprom’s European partners participating in the Nord Stream-2 project. In the Iranian case, the US is trying to control which oil EU countries can buy, and in the case of sanctions against Nord Stream 2, Washington will seek to establish control over what gas the European Union can buy.”
Remember I had said in my remarks on Trump's war on Huwei that the US is acting just like a colonial master toward its colonial subjects:
“I recalled learning during my stay in Taiwan that that country had once been occupied by Japan and that it once served its colonial masters as a source of agricultural products but that the Japanese had made sure, by discouraging higher education, that the Taiwanese colony would not be allowed to develop industry. These examples from Israel and Japan embody the very essence of Neo-Colonialism.
“There is an analogy here [in the context of the war on Huawei] with China and its colonial relationship with the US, which was quite happy to have China manufacture low-tech products with cheap labour and later even allowed the country to assemble high-tech instruments and information technology as long as the US masters were in charge of the technology and the Chinese refrained from learning the tricks of the trade. And herein lies the ulterior motive behind the trade wars.”
Danilov says the US attitude toward Europe is the same:
“...the administration of Donald Trump is not just trying to deprive the European Union of at least some chance of its own energy and financial policy. At the same time, it is seeking to de-industrialize Europe, as well as opening its market for American food products, which, firstly, do not meet European environmental requirements, and secondly, will bring European farmers to mass bankruptcy with their artificial low prices.”
According to a European Commission report,
“The EU exported over €10.8 billion worth of goods to Iran in 2017. EU exports to Iran are mainly machinery and transport equipment (€5.5 billion, 50.9%), chemicals (€1.9 billion, 18.1%), and manufactured goods (€0.9 billion, 8.9%).”
Yes, when Trump exited the trade deal and tried to force Europe to do likewise, he was in fact tending to de-industrialize Europe by depriving them of an important buyer of industrial products. Further, Danilov’s comment about Trump forcing US food imports on Europe are in reference to the latest trade talks between Trump and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, where the latter insisted that US food exports did not meet European standards.
And the following could be a sign of things to come:
“Even if Trump loses in 2020, (German officials. - Ed.) say that the trust that has buoyed transatlantic friendship for seven decades, may be lost forever. Germany has already started to create new alliances that will protect its interests in a world where the US won’t do this. And some of them don’t like Washington. "In the future, we must take our destiny into our own hands to a much greater degree if we want to be strong," Merkel said at a political rally on Friday in Munich."
The United States threatens Europe with sanctions. Europe is preparing for the last battle
May 31, 2019
Below is our translation of an analysis of Ivan Danilov from RIA Novosti with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
The administration of Donald Trump openly threatens to impose sanctions on the European Union for interfering with US foreign policy. On the one hand, one can admire how tough official Washington is to defend its foreign policy interests. On the other hand, there are reasonable doubts that such a policy will be beneficial to the United States in the long term.
Relations between Washington and Brussels are far from ideal, and if it comes to real sanctions, then they may well pass the point of no return. Potential anti-European sanctions, which, judging by the statements of officials of the US Treasury Department, include a “disconnect from the American financial system,” may well lead to undesirable diplomatic consequences for the United States. Sooner or later, countries that are under various US sanctions will simply have to cooperate with each other in order to withstand American pressure. The Trump administration works on the principle of "look at successful predecessors and do the opposite." The "divide and conquer" principle is proven by historical experience (from ancient Romans to Machiavelli, Bacon and Napoleon), but the US sanctions policy is now based on the "unite all against us" scheme, which horrifies those mastodons of American diplomacy who still remember how masterfully the United States pitted its opponents among each other in the twentieth century.
Such a view may seem biased due to the fact that the shattering of the once “united West” is very beneficial to Russia, but analysts of influential American media are arriving at similar conclusions, looking at the situation not with delight, but with deep spiritual pain. Bloomberg Business Information Agency informs readers:
“Even if Trump loses in 2020, (German officials. - Ed.) say that the trust that has buoyed transatlantic friendship for seven decades, may be lost forever. Germany has already started to create new alliances that will protect its interests in a world where the US won’t do this. And some of them don’t like Washington. "In the future, we must take our destiny into our own hands to a much greater degree if we want to be strong," Merkel said at a political rally on Friday in Munich. "
It is in this political context that the consequences of the US Treasury’s intentions to impose sanctions against a special structure that the European Union is trying to launch to circumvent the US sanctions against Iran should be considered.
The Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker sent a letter threatening the leadership of INSTEX, a European clearinghouse created jointly by Germany, France and the UK. As noted by The Washington Post, “the idea of creating INSTEX is that a company supported by three major US allies can tie the hands of the American administration, since any step towards sanctions against INSTEX or companies trading through it will create a conflict between Washington and (the group) Berlin - London - Paris." The Europeans have not played the bet, and the Washington Post has a logical explanation: “The experiment (ie, the mechanism for circumventing the Iran sanctions. Author’s note) Is being watched closely. If expanded, it could jeopardize the global dominance of the US dollar, which is the [currency] most frequently used for international transactions and allows the United States to have some control over the global economy. <...> If INSTEX or other alternatives are successful, international trading systems that bypass the US currency can limit the ability of future US (presidential -.. ed.) administrations to use sanctions as a foreign policy tool.”
The leaders of the European Union are squarely confronted by the question: what level of conflict with the US are they ready to go to pursue their own foreign and energy policy? In this context, two seemingly unrelated stories paradoxically fit together: sanctions against the European clearinghouse created to continue buying oil from Iran, and future sanctions against Gazprom’s European partners participating in the Nord Stream 2 project. In the Iranian case, the US is trying to control which oil EU countries can buy, and in the case of sanctions against Nord Stream 2, Washington will seek to establish control over what gas the European Union can buy.
Indirectly, both of these attempts to throw an energy noose around the neck of the European Union are connected with another key question (as relates to the future of the USA as a world hegemon): is the euro a regional European currency or is it a full-fledged competitor of the dollar in world trade?
It is worth noting that if the problem were confined to the sphere of energy and currency regulation, the chances of forcing Europe to preserve and deepen its status as an American colony would be much greater. However, the administration of Donald Trump is not just trying to deprive the European Union of at least some chance of its own energy and financial policy. At the same time, it is seeking to de-industrialize Europe, as well as opening its market for American food products, which, firstly, do not meet European environmental requirements, and secondly, will bring European farmers to mass bankruptcy with their artificial low prices. In this context, the threat of Trump himself to impose sanctions on German auto makers, as well as punish the European Union as a whole for state support of the Airbus concern, that is, the main competitor of the American company Boeing, which is now experiencing far from the best times [Danilov is referring to the 2 disastrous crashes of Boeing 737s that have grounded these aircraft indefinitely due to charges of negligence] - these are just pin-points of large American operations to transform the European Union into a kind of analogue of Ukraine. That is, to make it a territory that is rapidly losing any signs of belonging to a developed and high-tech world.
The leaders of the European Union, even if they are only interested in political self-preservation, and not a place in history, have only one rational way out of the situation: to move closer to those who are under similar pressure from Washington. Fortunately for Berlin and Paris, almost all potential geopolitical partners and possible situational allies are in a similar situation. Moreover, those geopolitical players who have not yet been thrown under Trump’s bus, such as Japan and India, have every chance of finding themselves in his crosshairs soon [India has, for example, weighed the possibility of buying the S-400 air defence system from Russia, against the warnings of Washington]. Judging by the fact that Angela Merkel cancelled her departure from politics, and her government continues to defend Germany’s right to cooperate with Gazprom (on Nord Stream - 2) and Huawei (on building 5G networks in Europe), at least the main central EU forces are preparing to fight the final battle against American geopolitical ambitions. And in this case, any success of Berlin will be very good for Moscow.