The US is driving further wedges between Russia and Europe

by Prof. Eberhard Hamer

A week ago, the US Department of State submitted a new sanction list against Russia, thus meeting a requirement signed on 2 August under the name of CAATS (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) by President Trump. This regulation will come into force on 29 January 2018. It is a new attack in the economic war against Russia, which affects not only Russian companies, but also, and most notably, European firms which do business with sanctioned Russian companies.
This new intensified economic war is in line with Trump’s “America First” policy. The sanctions against the Russian and German companies participating in the North Stream pipeline, for example, are avowedly explained by the desire to cut Europe off from Russian gas, so that Europe will have to buy the more expensive American LPG, which is currently abundant and not otherwise marketable. Accordingly, the North Stream line is to be discontinued after half of the way, in that the German companies involved are also threatened with sanctions to keep them from further involvement.
All US sanctions can be dealt with and punished arbitrarily in the United States because the American judiciary puts all business, all over the world, under American law, if it is invoiced in dollars or carried out with the help of the dollar. So American jurisdiction and dominion rules wher ever the dollar is used, and therefore European companies can arbitrarily be sentenced and exploited according to US law. VW alone has already had to pay 25 billion euros to the American judiciary because of the US standard regulations specially introduced against the diesel engine, the German bank has paid more than 10 billion, and the other international corporations differing amounts.
The American CAATS Act stipulates that all sanctions must be coordinated with the US partners. It cannot be expressed more openly that these sanctions are to be prosecuted only in the case and to the extent that they harm American partners in competition, and that ultimately, it should lie within the competence of American companies to demand these sanctions.
With the aid of these sanctions, the US not only wants to systematically isolate Russia from Europe, to cut off Russian companies from all dealings with Europe and the world, but also to threaten (and penalise) the rest of the world, especially Europe, if they do business with Russian companies. This has a significant impact on Europe, where trade in the most promising future market (Russia) has fallen by 30 per cent in the last two years alone. And American trade with Russia has increased to the same extent as European trade with Russia has been reduced.
So it is not just about damaging Russia but also about “America First”, which means excluding Europe from doing that business with Russia which American companies want and are able to do.
There can be no more brutal way of implementing America’s economic imperialism to the detriment of Europe. It is not only the big companies who no longer dare to trade with Russia or to participate in Russian investments – even hundreds of medium-sized companies which have up to now successfully dealt with the Russia business, dare not continue these dealings because they would not survive the brutal US sanction payments.
In the US, a further intensification of the economic war against Russia is in preparation: European banks and even private individuals are to be prohibited from trading or holding Russian bonds in the future. So Russia is to be punished for not accepting the dollar as the only world currency, and for wanting to establish also the ruble as an international currency. And the European financial markets are to be prevented from calculating in rubles instead of in dollars or from trading in ruble bonds altogether.
Such measures unilaterally damaging Europe would properly have to be discussed with the European allies, and at least the protest of the EU Commission and the German Federal Government would have to be expected (“this is not done among friends”). Nothing has happened. The EU is quietly bowing to the colonial power, even where it hurts.
The isolation of Russia from Europe is not only fatal for some of our economy in the short term, but for all of Europe’s prosperity in the long term. The “America first” policy in favour of American companies is already making trade with the US increasingly difficult and it is rapidly declining. This is likely to entail dramatic effects when the over-indebted US’ toxic dollar system collapses.
In the long term, Russia is not only more solvent, it also needs the European economy as a supplement in the future. The German economy will only continue to grow until 2050 if it continues to expand to the east. Russia has all the raw materials we need, and we have all the technologies Russia needs. For both of us, and for Europe, this cooperation is crucial for a prosperous century.1 If we allow the US to shut us off from it, the competing American companies will then have conquered this market, and we will stay behind as the losers.
But who in Germany or Europe would dare to take a stand against American arbitrariness?     •

1     cf. Hamer, Eberhard. Visionen 2050. Wohin steuern wir? Trends und Prognosen für Deutschland und Europa. (Visions 2050. Where are we going? Trends and prognoses for Germany and Europe) Kopp Verlag 2016