Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
“Europe should aim for a strategic economy and move away from dependence on America”… With these simple words, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed what was on the minds of Western European leaders who did not want to push Ukraine into a war against Russia and did not want to break relations with Russia. But the question is: are a few words from an influential European leader fed up with US hegemony enough to change course and bring Europe back to the rationality it has lacked since the outbreak of the US-Russian war on Ukrainian soil? Is Macron sincere in his offer? If so, can he change Europe’s subservience to the US? Whatever the right answers are, the consequences of the war are coming to the surface, but the war is far from over.
This is not the first time that Macron has uttered similar words, calling for Europe’s independence and warning against the growing influence of the US on the Old Continent. Indeed, in 2018 the French president said that Europe must have its own army to protect itself from its enemies, especially the United States, and that NATO was in a state of ‘brain death’.
A few years later, however, he was forced to support the US war in Ukraine, and all six of his attempts to mediate with Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the war failed. To worsen relations between Moscow and Paris, France, under US pressure, sent military equipment to Ukraine and Germany and Eastern Europe (which are more obedient to the US) and joined the Western club in imposing sanctions on Russia. Europe ignored its need for cheap and good quality Russian gas, believing that Russia would soon fall into its hands and it would only be a matter of sharing the “spoils of war”.
But the course of the war to Russia’s advantage and Ukraine’s detrimental loss is becoming more evident today, despite the support of more than forty countries in a US-led joint operational command in Ramstein, Germany. On the other hand, the countries that rejected Western sanctions against Russia have begun to organise and unite away from the West, representing only 16 per cent of the world’s population.
These countries have decided to activate their trade and oil sales without relying exclusively on the dollar. Instead, they have agreed to trade in the Chinese yuan and local currencies, which will bring China to a higher level of monetary power and help the local economies of these countries to develop and maintain their value. Europe is worried about this, especially as its industry has already been hit by the rise in energy prices and the decision by Congress to support industrial companies with tax breaks and energy facilities, triggering the migration of European industry to the US.
As oil-producing countries move away from dollar-only trade, the “petrodollar” argument that emerged in the mid-1970s in support of the US currency is likely to crumble under the impact of the use of the yuan. Saudi Arabia has already signed a deal to sell a third of its oil to China in the local currency. This has sounded the alarm in Washington, which has realised that sanctions and economic control over the world are beginning to wane. The BRICS are following suit, a significant step towards de-dollarisation.
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