The administration of Donald Trump has once again demonstrated that, in principle, nothing can be negotiated with Washington – because the US leadership is basically unable to honor its obligations. Despite the fact that last year the US State Department published official explanations that the “Nord Stream-2” is not subject to sanctions, the issue of punishing European companies cooperating with Gazprom in this project was again raised by high-ranking representatives of American diplomacy . Furthermore. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump offered Angela Merkel an ultimatum: Germany should abandon the construction of the “Nord Stream – 2”, and in exchange Trump will agree to begin (!) Negotiations on the issue of mutual trade claims between the US and the European Union. The reaction of the pro-American part of the Russian media and expert communities was lightning fast and was reduced to a repetition of the message “The US market is more important for Europe than gas from Russia.” Hence, the “North Stream” is over, the “Iran deal” is over, and in general to all of us , from Brussels to Moscow and Beijing, it is high time to kneel before the omnipotent owners of the dollar system and beg their pardon for bad behavior and bold words.”
This is a very primitive and rather inaccurate assessment of the surrounding reality. The leaders of the European Union really faced the question of how far they are ready to go in their struggle for independence from the United States. But the context of this choice is much less unambiguous than it may seem at first glance.
The European “revolt” against the United States began not now, but a few years ago, when the EU’s elites, despite the colossal pressure from Washington, were able to disrupt the signing of the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” which implied the complete elimination of the remnants of European sovereignty. To understand what would happen to the EU in the event of signing this “partnership”, it is enough to imagine what would happen to Russia if it signed an international treaty under which the supreme judiciary (and the ability to abolish any laws in court) for example, in The Hague Arbitration Court or in any court of Washington. In the case of the signing of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a special corporate court working in the interests of the US and American corporations was given the right to abrogate any European laws, including the laws of specific EU countries, if they violated the interests of American companies. It was the very moment when the French and German business realized that there was nowhere to retreat, and literally forced German and French politicians to “fail” the relevant negotiations. It’s funny that Trump also spoke out against the “Transatlantic trade and investment partnership,” but his claim was that the option discussed in 2015 was, for his taste, “not profitable for the US.” So when Trump asks Merkel to abandon Nord Stream 2 in exchange for starting negotiations on a new trade agreement, he means talks on the complete enslavement of the EU on conditions even worse than the Obama administration proposed.
In this case, many Russian analysts do not understand at all that the conflict between Washington and Brussels is not limited to choosing what is more important for Europeans – Russian gas or the American market. This is a fundamental choice – between increasing economic sovereignty and a complete loss of economic and political sovereignty to please the political ambitions of the Trump team. If the European elites and business were ready to easily abandon their plans for independence, they could do it in 2015 and not cut off their own way to retreat, raising a diplomatic riot, refusing to withdraw from the “Iranian deal” and stating that Europe It’s time to take your destiny into your own hands.
Of course, the European Union should not expect any vivid and demonstrative steps in terms of denoting its anti-American stance and its readiness to defend its interests to the end. Deputies of the European Parliament will not exactly burn an American flag in the conference hall and chant “Death to America!”, as their Iranian counterparts do. European political culture in style and temperament is much closer to the style of Vladimir Putin, who retains utmost politeness even during the presentation of the latest high-tech weapons invented specifically to turn the USA into “radioactive ash” if necessary.
Some experts and commentators are disappointed by the supposedly “toothless” response of the European Union to the breakdown of the “Iranian deal” and point out that European corporate giants like Total and Maersk leave Iran, despite protests from European politicians. In fact, the actions of European politicians may seem toothless only to those who are accustomed to perceive geopolitics as a match in domestic football, rather than a multi-dimensional strategic game, more reminiscent of a mixture of poker and chess. Even before the informal EU summit in Sofia, we wrote about the most effective method of counteracting the Americans in the Iranian issue: “There are a lot of European, Chinese, Japanese and other medium-sized companies, due to objective reasons (which are now added to the protectionism of Donald Trump) they do not have a market in any case, they are afraid of restrictions only because of the possible loss of contacts with international banks and dollar financing for foreign economic activity. a scheme that allows them to use only euros, yuan, yen or rubles for foreign trade and at the same time large (state or specialized) banks will work with them, for which such customers will not be “toxic,” US sanctions will immediately lose their meaning. ”
The forecast was 100% accurate. The official communiqué issued by the European Commission on the results of the summit in Sofia states that: “We, the European Commission and the European Union as a whole should do our utmost to protect our European businesses, especially small and medium-sized companies.” … We launched a withdrawal process restrictions for the European Investment Bank so that it can use European budget guarantees to finance activities outside the European Union in Iran, which will allow the European Investment Bank to support European investments in Iran And this can be particularly useful for small and medium-sized companies. ”
It’s amazing, but almost all Russian and Western media and experts missed this statement and concentrated on discussing the effectiveness of other European countermeasures, such as the use of the EU’s “Blocking Directive”, adopted in 1996 just to counteract American sanctions.
Meanwhile, the above-described approach to zeroing out the effect of US sanctions is already working, and the first example of such an approach also turned out to be beyond the scope of the Russian media community. Radio Voice of America, which is hard to be suspected in sympathy for Tehran, reports that, despite sanctions, on May 18 the British (!) Oil consortium Pergas signed an agreement with the Iranian state oil company to produce 655 million barrels of oil over a period of ten years at the field Keranj. A special piquancy of this history is attached to the participation of the British Ambassador in Iran in the signing ceremony of the contract. Against the backdrop of the departure of the French giant Total, which revealed too many vulnerabilities to the United States and great dependence on the dollar system, a consortium of 14 oil and oilfield services companies that does not have a single project in the US looks exactly like an example of circumvention of sanctions.
When discussing the conflict between the US and the EU, one should remember that European politicians do not engage in amateur activities. Those who claim that Europe does not currently have a political leader capable of challenging the US simply do not understand that in the political reality of Europe, unlike Russia, nominal power (presidents, prime ministers, deputies) is only a tool for those in possession of real power – old European families “that hold tightly in their hands financial flows, controlling stakes in European banks and corporations. Looking for Emmanuel Macron’s political will and some fighting qualities, and then making some far-reaching conclusions from this is an incredible stupidity, because Makron is essentially (and not in form) merely a spokesman for the forces that, in time Many American presidents have seen their existence and on which Trump and his methods of political blackmail are unlikely to make a special impression. When McRaugh (ex-banker of the Rothschild house) and the British The Economist (the edition belonging to the Rothschild house) unanimously condemn Trump – they are unlikely to engage in verbal amateur performance. They express a position that is characteristic of at least a significant part of the European political and economic elite.