|29/06/04||Cut, and continue to run By Edward Teague|
Bush and the Beltway Gang took a gamble. Invade Iraq, get rid of Saddam and his satraps, get the oil price, the trade deficit and jobless down. Well when Saddam so smartly started selling it for Euros and not US dollars in January 2000 he had niftily pulled out the rug from under dollar hegemony. As a warm up to “liberation” the US had demonstrated the lethal carpet bombing by the Diego Garcia based B1 bomber fleet of Afghanistan and Kosovo. Any uppity sand niggers and cave dwellers could see that American firepower was truly shocking and televisually awesome…not to mention lethal to many thousands of Iraqis.
Fresh from the fields of victory a second term beckons for the puppet President and his geriatric gunsel backers and buddies.
The grim paradox is, that this Forger of Freedom, the Dealer in Democracy dare not appear in public anywhere outside the US. Shunned in London, and hounded by hundreds of thousands bringing the capital to a halt, the home of his ally and chum in war Tony Blair. He required this weekend one third of the Irish Garda to keep the baying critics from him whilst stopping over in Ireland on the way to Istanbul where Chirac made in front of 22 national leaders from NATO that France and the French would have nothing to do with anything in Iraq.
Whilst Bush is not popular outside the US, neither is the almighty dollar, standing at 1$ to 1 Euro in February 2003 one year later you need 1.30$ to buy 1 Euro.
Yet as the US dollar declines they hoover up the world's exports, so much that in the 1st Qtr 2004 they spent $144Bn dollars more than they earned and spent another $46 Bn more in April alone. In absolute and dollar terms this deficit continues to grow, and also as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (around 5%).
To fund this, the world has sucked in US Treasury notes yielding a return of less than 1%, but there is a limit to federal bankers credulity, and it's being reached.
In Europe, the Euro is now increasingly funding world trade. European hi-tech products are edging out US products, BMW's biggest market is now the US, Airbus has overtaken Boeing in sales of jetliners worldwide – leading to the increasing clamour for controls over state assistance by Boeing executives – mired in influence peddling scandals with the US Government. Low cost labour from the expanded market is keeping labour costs down – helping to keep those 3mn US workers out of work who were in work when Dubya's gang got hold of the economy.
Europe doesn't want hormone saturated beef, genetically modified corn and wheat – Big Mac's and coke are sapping the health not only of Americans but the youth of Europe.
So what do we do to keep the gang together?
Find someone amongst the janissaries, a sort of Saddam “Lite” successor – Iyad Alawi, a former Saddamite and Baathist, described puzzlingly as a neurosurgeon in early reports. Apparently his chosen method of despatch of overseas critics of Saddam was to butcher with an axe, starting with the head. Which is why when he crossed Saddam that is what they did to him.
Aided by ex-CIA Chief, Ambassador Negroponte, housed in Napoleonic splendour in the curiously un-bombed Saddam palace, who cut his milk teeth on handling the awkward squad in Honduras, we can expect a swift and probably bloody solution to internal strife.
One thing you can be sure of is that none of this will find its way into the world's Press and TV – nor will you learn much about the building of the new Israeli settlements on the West Bank. A policy now endorsed actively by Dubya and passively by Christian Crusader Tony who has formed some sort of Faustian pact with the Washington Warmongers to support the Zionist zealots demanding their Biblically determined “lebensraum”.
But US price inflation is rearing its ugly head, if you are on welfare and Hormel raise the price of Spam by 6% from June 1st (which they have) it hits you just as badly as a middle class mom paying $2 a gallon to fuel her family people mover.
Don't forget that by November 4th, the new winter heating bills will be hitting the mailboxes of middle America, increasingly reliant on imported gas for heating.
With inflation, comes higher interest rates, well trailed in the Financial Press, which will hit domestic markets, employment and investment especially the very sensitive housing market – and Wall Street is ready to dive – again. The new US legislation for Marine Safety (ISPS) a product directly of 9/11 which will allow the Coastguard to refuse ships from ports not approved under ISPS access to American ports will be used to control some imports in the short term, the new Homeland Tax Act with Congress will also continue the special tax treatment of US companies overseas earnings. Uncle Sam always has a few tricks up his sleeve.
The end result will be continuing high oil prices, reinforced by wider disruption to production in the Middle East, Nigeria and possibly in Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia. It may be that Muammar Gadaffi and Libyan oil will ride to the rescue of the gas guzzling soccer moms of America!
Of course if the gang's efforts in getting Dubya re-elected are repaid with a second and final term, they will rewind Iraq fast. They may have cut and run at the moment, but there will be still be 150,000 troops in Iraq and a growing fleet of B1 and now B2 Stealth bombers lined up on Diego Garcia.
But surely the residents of Diego Garcia had the High Court approve their return earlier this year? Well, up to a point Lord Copper, the Queen using her Royal Prerogative through laying an Order in Council has decided that the Chagos islanders so unceremoniously removed to live in squalor in Mauritius by a Labour Defence Secretary, Lord Chalfont, cannot return – apparently global warming could threaten their precarious livelihood!
There is something deliciously ironic that the New World Dealers of Designer Democracies maintain their rent-free residence for their shocking and awesome Hammer of Justice as a result of the mediaeval powers of a hereditary European Monarch.
If you visit the website of the US naval force on Diego Garcia you will find that they call the island, because of a fanciful pattern the island and it's minor islets form the “Footprint of Freedom”…Oh and they now call the base, Camp Justice… Despite press items stating that Al Quaeda suspects are “rendered” at the base, Baroness Amos has assured the House of Lords that such stories are unfounded and the US would be required to ask permission to use the island for such purposes.
Well, as the dollar dives against the Euro, as inflation edges up along with unemployment in the US, we can only hope that the terrorists don't visit their war on mainland US, say by damaging oil and gas pipelines or radioactively polluting a tanker heading for a Texas port.
If that did happen, it would appear that the US nuclear power industry have been very far sighted and prudent in quietly applying for planning permission for new units at some of their current generating sites. Any guesses where the political donations from the nuclear power industry and its leaders have gone?
… Of course Kerry may win…but don't bet the ranch on it.