The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Trump’s Cancellation of the Korea Meeting Is an Excellent Excuse for Europe and Asia to Break America’s Financial Power

Globe on FireThis is vastly disappointing, even though, after the appointment of Bolton to the White House, it is not all that surprising.

A peace treaty with North Korea would be, or would have been, a great accomplishment. One hopes its negotiations will resume in the future.

Even if they do not, I expect that South Korea will continue to push forward with the peace process, much as Europe has decided to ignore the US in regards to Iran. Unfortunately, as the structure of sanctions and their enforcement hinges on the US Treasury department and its ability to unilaterally sanction foreign banks and companies, the US’s participation really is necessary. At the least, the treasury needs to be willing to look the other way.

This is why allowing the US to control the payments system has always been a bad idea. China and Russia have been doing what they can to create their own system, and I would say it is time for the world as a whole, ex-US, to do so. The US can’t be trusted. This has been true for some time–it didn’t start with Trump, but if Trump is the excuse needed to end the US’s ability to choose who can move money around, then seize it.

Europe will never be a real power, in any case, so long as it allows the US to set the rules and control their implementation. And every time a Trump, a Bush, or even an Obama (whose Treasury abused this power as well) rises, well, everyone will have to bow.

The hegemonic power is the, well, hegemon, but the US is in decline and in such a situation it behooves the US to pay attention to the concerns of its satrapies (and Europe, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Canada are all core vassals).

This is especially true when dealing with vassals like South Korea who is under vast pressure from China (the rising super power), and has reasons both to abandon the US shield and to stay under it.

Trump is an opportunity. I suggest Europe and the Asian satrapies take it to free themselves.

And while they’re at it, make peace with North Korea.

Update: and it may be back on?

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  1. different clue

    The rich elites of Europe, MexAmeriCanada, Asia, etc. are all the Common Enemies of non-rich Humanity. They all support the International Free Trade Conspiracy. They all support the Sweet Rackets they have all constructed together and all share together.

    The ruling elites of all these regions will try to de-Trumpify and re Free-Trade-Conspirafy the United States before they give up on it and try running their Sweet Overclass Rackets without the support of their Co-Racketeering US Overclass.

    The RussiaGov and the ChinaGov might have ( and beLIEVE in having) enough separate stand-alone Command Power to craft their own payments processing system and invite others to use it. The only way that Europe, the Other Four Eyes, etc. would do such a thing or join such a thing is if their own internal subject populations can tear down and destroy their own Elite Globalist Overclass Overlords. Maybe they can get it done. But only if they give it a try.

    If Trump becomes so bad for bussiness that the other International Free Trade Conspiracy Governments try to seccede from American Hegemony in order to save their Sweet Rackets, then the Trump may be thanked for having driven a despairing World Elite to defect from American control. But remember, these are the people who believed in the Holy Obama, and still believe in the Holy Obama even unto this very day. And they all wanted to see the Clinton elected so they could continue their Sweet Rackets under protective American hegemony.

  2. Hugh

    There are several different lenses we can look at this through. I agree with different clue that the world’s governments are kleptocracies. This is a race I have no horse in. I’m with the have-nots and we’re not allowed on the track.

    In the present day framework, it is important to remember that the US still has enormous military power and can project this anywhere quickly, vastly more than any other country on the planet. And sure, much of this power is wasted but it is still there.

    Financially, the US’ power remains overwhelming. First, the dollar is the world’s reserve currency. This is both a function of US political power but also an artifact of our large trade deficits. The only way you can have the reserve currency is if you have a lot of your currency out in the world and lots of people are willing to use it. In this regard, Russia has a pissant economy and in the ruble a joke currency. As for the renmimbi, China is an exporter of goods but its currency? not so much. There has been nibbling around the edges of this dollar dominated and denominated system for years but the reality remains the dollar.

    Second, the Fed is the de facto reserve bank to the world. It was its dollar swaps after the 2008 meltdown that kept most of the rest of the world economy and banking system from freezing up and going bust. There is simply no other actor anywhere who could have pulled this off or would have.

    And third there is the SWIFT payment system which allows the US to look into and control so much of international finance.

    The US may be a terrible hegemon and Trump is a dangerous, narcissistic moron, and other countries, especially China would dearly love to be the hegemon and exercise hegemonic power, but they simply do not want to pay the costs that go along with being hegemon. China talks big but it can’t even decide whether it wants to stabilize Northeast Asia by bringing North Korea to heel or continue to score short term points using it as the regional bad boy and risking the nuclear destruction of North Korea, millions of Korean refugees pouring across its borders, and radioactive rain falling in Manchuria . Worse, it is not even clear that China and Xi-di have the internal wherewithal to make such a decision.

    Meanwhile Europe is mostly being run by the Germans, and how is that working out? Merkel allows in fairly unilaterally hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and immediately tried to palm them “multilaterally” on to her neighbors. As for EU and EZ members, the Greeks, she throws them virtually under the bus because of the sins of German banks whom she bails out by destroying Greece. Yeah, that’s leadership. So we have the Eastern Tier of Europe going authoritarian, the Southern Tier increasingly shaky politically and economically due to German mercantilism , and of course, Brexit, the departure of the second largest economy in Europe. And seriously does anybody see Germany or Merkel capable of leading Europe militarily or even formulating and executing a coherent foreign policy? Me either.

    And beyond all this, we have the twin specters of overpopulation and climate change. Against these, no hegemon or hegemonic wannabe, good or bad, will prevail. The real question is will they or anyone survive?

  3. Good, bad or indifferent, the more effective catalyst for change, good, bad or indifferent.

  4. Peter

    Excellent comment, Hugh excepting the last paragraph.

    I do wonder why anyone who has read Korean histoy would be surprised by what just happened, this is the N Korea we’re dealing with.

  5. Synoia


    “And third there is the SWIFT payment system which allows the US to look into and control so much of international finance”

    How does the US control SWIFT?

  6. Jeff Wegerson

    The pieces are there Hugh but there is no glue in sight. The European military force is in Russia. The thin end of the wedge may be slipping into the crack Of Trump’s splitting of the Iranian nuclear deal. Germany’s forced diesel error is slowly shifting their automobile industry towards China’s accelerating electric car commitments. So maybe the slow turning Titanic can yet miss the iceberg? If Corbyn takes British power could a shift or nod towards Russia/China set off a European detante race.

    The pieces are there.

  7. NJ Rubble

    Two things:
    1. The “off” setting as to NK is simply another trick in the Trump arsenal of how to negotiate [sic]. The idea is to threaten and bully and then show you can change your mind, so that the other party comes to heel. That is all that is afoot here, so I find myself surprised that even at this blog people still act as if Trump was going to act in a manner consistent with the office as opposed to consistent with his personality. Essentially he is attempting to conduct US foreign policy as if it was his personal business. There is no need for me to go into any specifics as to why this is an idiotic idea. Instead, I encourage anyone who still reacts to Trump as if he were a “regular” president (that is, someone who whatever their policy preferences may be, will still adhere to most norms of organized states. Nothing, nothing is done until it is actually done; everything as to the USA runs a far far second to what our fearful leader thinks of himself.

    2. Respectfully, I think you are mistaken about China. It is pursuing its own path to hegemony, and it is spending far more than the US to do so. It is now #2 in foreign investment abroad (second only to the US) and that does not include the trillions of dollars China is spending in its Belt and Road. And it is now attempting to gain a toehold in the EU’s backyard:
    Oh, and who is Iran’s largest customer for oil? Yup, the Chinese, who may now seek to fracture the petrodollar by paying for Iranian (embargoed) oil not with a semi-useless USD but with the yuan. Did you know that Iran has already banned the use of the USD in its import trade?
    I don’t expect any major fracture anytime soon, but if China does drop the dollar in Iran, that might well be the beginning of the end of the dollar’s supremacy in the oil markets.

  8. bruce wilder

    I don’t think Trump’s cancellation letter to Kim Jong Un was so extraordinary. Kim had already made noises about cancelling himself, which is par for the course with the North Koreans. Trump showed he can play the same stupid game.

    The pretension of diplomacy and of class-based “professionalism” in general is pretty hollow at this late stage of American Empire.

    I say, relax and enjoy the Trump Show.

  9. Hugh

    Re the wiki on the SWIFT system,

    “On 26 February 2012 the Danish newspaper Berlingske reported that US authorities have sufficient control over SWIFT to seize money being transferred between two European Union (EU) countries (Denmark and Germany), since they succeeded in seizing around US$26,000 that was being transferred from a Danish businessman to a German bank. The transaction was automatically routed through the US, possibly because of the USD currency used in the transaction, which is how the United States was able to seize the funds.”


    “Der Spiegel reported in September 2013 that the National Security Agency (NSA) widely monitors banking transactions via SWIFT, as well as credit card transactions”

    Re Chinese foreign investments, these have sparked a lot of criticism in the recipient countries because the Chinese don’t use local labor or companies. As much as possible, it is all Chinese. Iran has the 29th largest nominal GDP just behind Norway, i.e. about 2% that of the US. So no, it is not going to overturn the world financial system.

  10. Ché Pasa

    Looks like Moon and Kim are going ahead with their rapprochement; Trump and Bolton will try to muscle in, but oh well…

    As for opportunities to extricate from under the thumb of the hegemon and Trump, those opportunities are ever-present, yet aren’t used for some reason. How many times could “something else again” have been done but wasn’t?

    For all intents and purposes, Europe is stuck. At this rate, Britain’s “exit”– if it ever comes — will be about as beneficial as Greek resistance to German bankers. As long as the impetus remains the preservation/restoration of some idealized status quo (ante) positive developments in any direction will be stymied.

    Nevertheless, the Kim-Moon diplomacy efforts (greased by China?) may well bear fruit which the US will not share.

  11. Tom

    India just announced they will not respect US sanctions on Iran.

    Makes sense, trade with Iran is a vital national security imperative for India which enables them to bypass Pakistan and rival China’s trade routes. It also enables them to project influence in the Persian Gulf by completing the Chabahar Port development with Iran.

  12. Gaianne


    This news item may be a significant change.

    India has done quite a few stupid things at the behest of the US. Their opposition to China probably being the main reason for doing so. But breaking with Iran is too much to ask, and India may be forced into a more independent course.


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