Quiet US diplomacy to affect Europe
The US administration says it won’t beg OPEC to increase oil production and export quotas. US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference in Vienna yesterday that “there was no necessity to resort to flattering to persuade OPEC to increase crude oil production and export quotas.” This is the truth, as the possible American war against Iraq is poising over the world like the sword of Damocles.
This war might silence the Arab nations and relieve the USA of its economic rivalry with the EU for many years.
Spencer Abraham called upon the largest oil producers to “influence the situation on the world energy markets regardless of whether OPEC increases quotas or not.” In fact, it looks like the US government’s indulgence toward those countries that wish to profit from an jncrease in oil production and exports. These countries shouldn’t no longer be afraid of actions in response from the oil cartel. Such statements sound like a delaration of war against OPEC countries. In this case, the only thing left to do for the oil cartel is to do as told and raise quotas. An increase of the quotas and fall of oil prices is what the Americans are striving for. Most likely, Spencer Abraham calls this international pressure “quiet diplomacy.” America's European allies are in a very vulnerable and idiotic situation. Unlike in the USA, Europe imports its all of its oil, and European countries have already declared they would like the price of oil to be 20 dollars per barrel. This was a harsh response to the statement by OPEC Secretary General Alvaro Silva that the world economy successfully copes with the $28-30 oil price. The USA itself can stand this price and even higher due to two reasons.
First, the USA produces oil of its own, and, second, Russia and other strikebreakers on the oil market are ready to offer alternative fuel sources to America. The European Union, however, has no reserves of this kind. According to the Wall Street Journal, the economic downturn in the world has ruined the myth that that oil prices have no influence on the slowdown of economic growth. It is said that the European economy on the whole is weaker than the American economy, which makes the former more susceptible to external factors. Currently, consumption volumes are increasing slowly in Europe, unlike in the USA, where people still actively buy cars and houses. Politicians and economists said at the 2nd European economic summit that opened in Salzburg on Monday that an American war against Iraq might lead the world economy into another credibility gap. Belgian Minister of Finance Didier Reynders thinks that the war might bring even harsher consequences: it will not be a deficit in oil energy resources and a subsequent increase in oil prices, but a slowdown of the European economic conjuncture. Mr. Reynders is sure that “the European economy will suffer from military operations in Iraq more than the American one.” This is the reason why the Belgian minister says that Europe should do its best to prevent a war against Baghdad. German Deputy Minister of Finance, Caio Koch-Weser, says, “oil prices still manage to resist various economic and political shocks; however, nobody can say how long it will last.”
No doubt that European politicians will do their best to save Hussein’s regime and themselves from inevitable collapse. This was also proven by Hussein’s consent to allow UN inspectors into Iraq. This all would be quite right if it were not absolutely useless.
As the experience has shown, US foreign policy always pursues several general objectives, economic objectives first of all. And now, when the investment attractiveness of US markets has dropped to the 1996 level, and when US economy is still declining, the threat to start a military operation against Iraq even without an UN mandate are quite feasible. Does anyone believe that “mighty America” will forgive Europe for the triumph of the euro over the dollar? When the war against Yugoslavia started, the world community also strongly objected to it; European allies of the USA couldn’t even imagine that military operations would start near their borders. However, Americans didn’t hesitate at all to start its war against Yugoslavia. The USA needed that small war in the Balkans as never before for several reasons. The Russian mass media clearly outlined America's key priorities in the Yugoslavian campaign. First of all, Kosovo is rich in large deposits of tungsten, manganese, and other rare minerals that are essential for the US military establishment. Export of these raw materials made for Yugoslavia’s economic prosperity. Second, European countries started the transition to the euro, the single currency, which created rather strong competition for the USA. Milosevic was at the bottom of the whole list of US priorities. The USA has succeeded with all its objectives: Milosevic is in the Hague Tribunal, US commandos from the UN peace contingent are on guard at the rare earths deposits, and the euro's start was bad luck.
Currently, objectives of the USA are as complex as usual, and the threat of the collapse of European economies will hardly stop it. The matter of the fact is that all EU countries have fallen hostages to the US’s global ambitions long ago. Even though European nations cannot claim independence from a political point of view, they are still considerable rivals to the USA from an economic point of view. Now, as usual, the USA aims to pursue many objectives with only one short operation. It wants to put the Arab world in its place and secure itself against Islamic terrorism. The USA would also like to gain control over Iraqi oil and settle the OPEC problem once and for all. It also aims to break the economic potential of EU countries and to guarantee the obedience of the Old World countries. This will allow George W. Bush, pretending to be some Old Roman emperor, to declare proudly: “We have conquered everyone; no one is left for us to struggle with.” And then he will fearfully look back at China. Dmitry Slobodanuk PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/09/17/47200.html