The Cold War made a lot of money for the military/security complex for four decades dating from Churchill's March 5, 1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri declaring Soviet an "Iron Curtain" until Reagan and Gorbachev ended the Cold War in the late 1980s. During the Cold War Americans heard endlessly about "the Captive Nations." The Captive Nations were the Baltics and the Soviet bloc, usually summarised as "Eastern Europe."
These nations were captive because their foreign policies were dictated by Moscow, just as these same Captive Nations, plus the UK, Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Georgia, and Ukraine, have their foreign policies dictated today by Washington. Washington intends to expand the Captive Nations to include Azerbaijan, former constituent parts of Soviet Central Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
During the Cold War Americans thought of Western Europe and Great Britain as independent sovereign countries. Whether they were or not, they most certainly are not today. We are now almost seven decades after WWII, and US troops still occupy Germany. No European government dares to take a stance different from that of the US Department of State. Not long ago there was talk both in the UK and Germany about departing the European Union, and Washington told both countries that talk of that kind must stop as it was not in Washington's interest for any country to exit the EU. The talk stopped. Great Britain and Germany are such complete vassals of Washington that neither country can publicly discuss its own future.
In Modern Britain, Stephane Aderca writes that the UK is so proud of being Washington's "junior partner" that the British government agreed to a one-sided extradition treaty under which Washington merely has to declare "reasonable suspicion" in order to obtain extradition from the UK, but the UK must prove "probable cause." Being Washington's "junior partner," Aderca reports, is an ego-boost for British elites, giving them a feeling of self-importance. Under the rule of the Soviet Union, a larger entity than present day Russia, the captive nations had poor economic performance. Under Washington's rule, these same captives have poor economic performance due to their looting by Wall Street and the IMF. The looting of Europe by Wall Street has gone beyond Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Ukraine, and is now focused on France and Great Britain. The American authorities are demanding $10 billion from France's largest bank on a trumped-up charge of financing trade with Iran, as if it is any business whatsoever of Washington's who French banks choose to finance. And despite Great Britain's total subservience to Washington, Barclays bank has a civil fraud suit filed against it by the NY State Attorney General. The charges against Barclays PLC are likely correct. But as no US banks were charged, most of which are similarly guilty, the US charge against Barclays means that big pension funds and mutual funds must flee Barclays as customers, because the pension funds and mutual funds would be subject to lawsuits for negligence if they stayed with a bank under charges.
The result, of course, of the US charges against foreign banks is that US banks like Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are given a competitive advantage and gain market share in their own dark pools.
So, what are we witnessing? Clearly and unequivocally, we are witnessing the use of US law to create financial hegemony for US financial institutions. The US Department of Justice has had evidence for five years of Citigroup's participation in the fixing of the LIBOR interest rate, but no indictment has been forthcoming. Washington is organising the world against Russia and China for Washington's benefit. On June 27 Washington's puppet states that comprise the EU issued an ultimatum to Russia. The absurdity of this ultimatum is obvious. Militarily, Washington's EU puppets are harmless. Russia could wipe out Europe in a few minutes. Here we have the weak issuing an ultimatum to the strong.
Putin's hope, and Russia's, is that Europe will eventually realise that Europe is being badly used by Washington. Putin's dilemma is that he is caught between his heart-felt desire to reach an accommodation with Europe and Washington's desire to demonise and isolate Russia.
The risk for Putin is that his desire for accommodation is being exploited by Washington and explained to the EU as Putin's weakness and lack of courage. Washington is telling its European vassals that Putin's retreat under Europe's pressure will undermine his status in Russia, and at the right time Washington will unleash its many hundreds of NGOs to bring Putin to ruin.
This was the Ukraine scenario. With Putin replaced with a compliant Russian, richly rewarded by Washington, only China would remain as an obstacle to American world hegemony.
The author is the former US assistant secretary of the Treasury and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.