What was then West Germany, probably with encouragement from the French, suggested to Washington DC that the US Dollar should be devalued. As the response was not unlike that given by the defenders in the Bastogne Pocket, the authorities in Bonn reluctantly decided to revalue their currency upwards. Not even the mighty Deutschmark could hold a candle to the US Dollar. But a Europe-wide currency might just. And it now has.
That memory should be borne in mind today as the repercussions from the AUKUS deal, struck between the USA, UK and Australia, are examined. Sadly, it does not appear to be on the radar of new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has instead declared “Read my [Telegraph] piece on how we are putting at the heart of a network of economic, diplomatic and security partnerships. This will drive growth and jobs in the UK and across the world and help make us safer”. She ends with the sad and meaningless #GlobalBritain hashtag.
Maybe we should consider the reality here. John Lichfield, writing for The Local France, certainly has, and has concluded “The nasty row which has broken out between Paris, Washington, Canberra and (to an extent) London, is about more than a €60bn French contract to build 12 submarines for the Australian navy”. There is more.
“It is about France as a Pacific and Indian ocean nation; it is about France’s desire to play an important role in Indian-Pacific affairs, containing China without antagonising China; it is about America’s willingness to treat allies as allies, not vassals; it is about honesty and openness in international affairs”. And he offers an ominous coda.
“The AUKUS affair, coming so soon after the debacle of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, proves that [Emmanuel] Macron is right. Nato is brain dead. Washington doesn’t have allies, only junior partners. Britain has willingly accepted that role. It is time that for the European Union to consider how (to coin a phrase) it can take back control of its own security and prosperity”. There are other issues in play, too.
As Mutjaba Rahman has noted, “Macron's decision to escalate IS partly an electoral calculation. He remembers Chirac gained popularity not just by refusing to invade Iraq, but by taking initiative & publicly disputing US strategy”. But France, the UK and US are part of NATO, aren’t they? Founder members, too. But Mike Galsworthy has that one covered.
Another fine mess, son of Stanley
“Lord Ricketts, a former UK ambassador to France said: ‘French diplomats have told me that America lied about what they were doing and they will be releasing documents to show that America lied.’ Well that's NATO royally screwed then”. What became NATO originated in the UK, and more importantly, mainland Europe. What may supplant NATO in the face of US indifference could also originate there.
It could simply be called the EU Defence Force. It would provide a countervailing power to the US, enable the EU and its pals to look after themselves, work constructively with the likes of China - and would leave “Global Britain” out in the cold. Another Brexit triumph.
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