Saturday, September 17, 2011

All Hail the Conquering Euros!

Sometimes headline writers say more than they mean to say (or maybe not): “Western leaders march into Libya” -- to describe the victory lap Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron are taking around the country they did so much to help conquer on behalf of the rebels. And... well, for one thing, where was Obama? Isn't he feeling a bit left out? But let's admit, Britain and France did most of the heavy lifting, and all we contributed were a few million tons of bombs, drones, and missiles, and a few billion dollars, all of which we can easily afford since our economy is doing so well... so one can hardly blame Obama for not wanting to upstage his allies and steal even a tiny fragment of their glory. Plus, he has better things to do, like saving his behind in next year's election. But still – it is a bit grotesque, in this day and age, to see the two most prominent colonial powers of the 20th Century celebrating as they once again descend on the helpless hordes of Africa. Is this the beginning of a new colonial era? Or simply the last dying gasp of the old one? One thing's for certain – they are protecting their interests when it comes to oil, and the interests of their banks when it comes to finance... and, I suppose, in some sort of roundabout way, the interests of Israel.

But not so fast! Hasn't it turned out that, in many cases, these drives for “democracy” in the Arab/Islamic world have resulted in greater hostility toward Israel, and toward the West in general, than was there before (or, at least, evident before)? It turns out that, in the view of the various rebel/insurgent groups, their estwhile leaders were actually “American puppets” -- although we always saw them as sketchy allies at best. After all, didn't they require a steady diet of bribes – oops, I mean “foreign aid” -- to keep their hands off Israel? And thus the resentment grew among the unwashed and disenfranchised. We never really supported democracy in the Third World; only pretended to. And we're only pretending to support it now – until it turns out not to be in our best interests, in which case we'll be the first ones to cheer when a military coup brings another tyrant to power.

But I don't want to give the wrong impression here. I fully agree that our interests don't always coincide with what other people might consider “democracy”. The best thing, or one of the best things, that could ever happen to our foreign policy would be to disavow all interest in converting countries to democracy that have no interest in being converted. And in fact, “democracy” and human rights – which we should support – are not necessarily synonymous; that's a misconception. You can, at least in theory, have human rights in a dictatorship... and few if any human rights in a democracy, if it results in radical majority rule. So I'm not interested in their forms of government per se, and I don't think the State Department or the administration should be either. And I suspect that they really aren't, but see a need to mouth the right words from time to time. Does anyone really think that Sarkozy, or Cameron, or Obama care about the form of government in Libya? Please. Whoever, or whatever, serves our interests is the right form of government, by definition. We see this already in plenty of other places around the world.

So with that picture of hypocrisy in mind, let's at least reflect on the fact that Sarkozy and Cameron descended on Libya like conquerors. It's a miracle they didn't stage a victory parade, with Gadhafi supporters being led along in chains behind flatulent elephants. In any case, it left no doubt as to who is now in charge in Libya, and it has nothing to do with the National Transitional Council. No – Libya is now securely in the hands of the E.U., as are all of its assets – the newest jewel in the crown of the Euro-Empire, and hopefully a much less troublesome one than Libya and its neighbors were in former times.

And then – coincidentally, perhaps – we also read about a new bailout plan for the E.U. and the euro – namely an infusion of American dollars, courtesy of the Federal Reserve. That's right, folks – your taxpayer dollars are now being used to bail out the behinds of ne'er-do-well European countries and of the banks that are located in the more prosperous countries. And I guess it would be silly to ask whether the American taxpayers, or even their representatives in Congress, had anything to say about this; of course they didn't. This is a deal hatched at the very top of the heap, and serves the interests of those at the top and no one else. And, as usual, the American taxpayer is the cash cow, just sitting there waiting to be milked – or bled. And besides – since when have the Europeans been so enamored of American dollars? Aren't they betting against it and assaulting it on a regular basis? And yet we see that “(t)he coordinated action is intended to give large European banks ample access to dollars...” And that “European banks... have had trouble raising dollars from U.S. investors and financial institutions, which are scared off by Europeans' heavy exposure to Greece” (as if Greece isn't part of Europe – it makes it sound more like a disease than a country). Translation: No one right now wants to voluntarily invest in European banks, so the Fed will cheerfully step in with money stolen from the American taxpayer and do the investing itself. Isn't international finance great?

And get this: “European banks need the cash to make loans to their U.S. customers and repay their own dollar-denominated borrowings.” Translation: We're bailing them out, period. (Plus, why do "their U.S. customers" need to borrow U.S. dollars from European banks? Can't they borrow from American banks? I'm sure I don't want to know why... ) So... the Fed, not being satisfied with overseeing the massive bailouts of criminally-negligent American banks, investment houses, insurance companies, mortgage companies, automobile companies, etc., are now doing, or helping to do, the same thing in Europe.

And then – get this! -- here's Timothy Geithner – (I can't believe he's still running loose, and not in jail!) -- going over to Europe to “press his counterparts for stronger action to stem the crisis”. “Take our money! Please!”

So what does all of this tell me? It merely confirms my suspicion that the true power center these days is nowhere near the U.S. The Europeans get us to help them conquer Libya, then move in and gather up all the goodies and glory. The Europeans create this bogus crisis with the euro and the “PIGS”, then call on us to bail out their banks. So – who's in charge, after all? It certainly isn't us. We have become, for all intents and purposes, a European colony once again – a source of military resources and of money – just like any colony in the old empire days which provided soldiers, raw materials, and other forms of wealth to the colonial powers. And I don't care how many stories I read about “Europe in crisis”, and “when is the euro going to crash”, blah blah – it might be true to some extent. But we are in an even worse crisis, which is that our fate – economically and militarily at the very least – is no longer in our own hands. Welcome to the Euro-American Empire, which – once the mask is no longer of any utility – will be known simply as the Euro-Empire, with us as the largest chunk of meat hanging in the smokehouse.

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