01.10.2018 Author: Grete Mautner

Washington Pissed Off Enough States to Provoke a Joint Response to its Sanction War

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Lately, an ever increasing number of states started expressing their dissatisfaction with Washington’s protectionist policies, thus forming a group states that are determined to oppose unfair trade practices on the international stage. Therefore, there’s little surprise that the UN general assembly in New York turned into a show of solidarity against the White House and what it stands for on 25 September. The frustration of various states over Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran deal (JCPOA), turned this state into a symbol of an opposition to dubious policies introduced by the Trump administration and its unilateralism.

It’s been pointed out by Wirtschaftswoch that the rift between Washington and Brussels on Iran came on the back of a trade war Donald Trump started with Europe and China. It resulted in a number of European states trying to search for ways to bypass Washington’s newly reintroduced anti-Iranian sanctions.

Unsurprisingly, the European Union, Iran, China and Russia have come up with a joint plan to sidestep unilateral American sanctions designed to cripple the Iranian economy. Representatives of these states are convinced that Tehran is going to remain fully compliant with the terms of the nuclear deal, that is why they are going to do everything that is in their powers to preserve it.

All of them have repeatedly expressed “deep regret” over Trump’s decision to kill the deal, while pointing out that sanctions and so-called trade tariffs that the White House has been busy introducing go against the multilateral diplomacy endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council. In the past both Russia and the EU had their contradictions on a number of issues, by now it seems that they’ve managed to put it aside to unite against the US.

As it’s been laid out by European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini alongside Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif in the margins of the UN assembly:

EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world.

France’s president Emmanuel Macron has also attacked Trump for fomenting “nationalism” and “protectionism” in his UN speech, while pointing out that the EU is being pushed around by Washington’s unilateral decisions, that are made detriment of everyone as they lead to isolation and conflict. After delivering this speech at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, Macron added that there’s an acute need to strengthen the economic and financial sovereignty of the EU.

Earlier last month, German foreign minister Heiko Maas urged Europe to resist unilateral American sanctions, while pointing out that the EU shouldn’t “sit like a rabbit in front of a snake.” In an interview with Bild, he added that he was appalled by a number of public statements that Donald Trump made, in which he described the EU as an opponent of the EU, alongside with Russia and China.

There’s been a lot of voices urging Europe to take responsibility for its security into its own hands, thus returning back its sovereignty. Last August, prominent political figures in both Paris and Berlin were particularly articulate in promoting this notion. What this basically means is that the two leading countries are determined to spearhead resistance of the EU to Washington’s unilateral practices. The fact that similar statements could be heard at the same time both in Berlin and Paris was a coincidence, but the ideas that were laid out in those could hardly be described as surprising. It’s curious that Emmanuel Macron made such a statement at a meeting with French ambassadors in Paris, just like Heiko Mass that pointed this notion out while also foreign ministry staff in Berlin.

It was rather unexpected that even the UK, which has been an adamant supporter of Washington’s designs for decades, has also chose to disagree with the United States on JCPOA. London is confident that Iran is fulfilling all the criteria of the deal, which was pointed out by Britain’s PM Theresa May in one of her speeches, which come as a surprise to international analysts.

In a bid to protect its interests on the international stage, the US is now following in China’s and Russia’s tracks in starting a process of diminishing the role of dollar in the financial transactions made across the union. Thus, it becomes increasingly evident that the Trump administration is contributing to a future demise of the global dollar system, even if that is hard to see right now. It’s been pointed out that the “America first” foreign policy, the trade wars and seemingly arbitrary nature of tariffs, trans-Atlantic tension and other geopolitical rivalries are all factors that could push the dollar off of its perch.

As it’s been pointed out by an analyst for the Arms Control Association, Kelsey Davenport in his interview for the Washington Post:

In the Iran case, the United States is damaging sanctions as a tool of statecraft, as it has put a lot of states between a rock and a hard place.

The growing effort aimed at conducting euro-denominated oil sales, combined with a smattering of other initiatives intended to weaken the influence of Washington’s financial dominance, could chip away at the dollar big time. American analysts argue that the dollar remains all-powerful, yet they seem to all agree that the Trump administration’s aggressive use of sanctions, crystallized by its zero-tolerance sanctions campaign against Iran, could undermine its role on the financial markets, as an ever increasing number of states adopt the idea that of the world coming up with a joint response to Washington’s unilateralism.

Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.


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