FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Monetization of International Relations

“The point is that you can’t be too greedy.” The author of this saying, President Trump, is brazenly monetizing international relations. He demands more money from the NATO members for common defense. He urges Mexico to pay for the wall. He is slashing financial assistance to allies (except Israel). He vies to renegotiate trade agreements. He proposes to impose tariffs on Mexican and Canadian goods in violation of international trade laws. He campaigned in the 2016 presidential election to declare China as a currency manipulator. Much like a Las Vegas tycoon, Trump views the world as a big casino where the U.S. is losing money. Trump fancies rigging the international game for the U.S. to come out as a tireless winner.

Trump’s money obsessions add nothing innovative to international relations. For centuries, money has been a dominant factor in relations among states. Occupations, invasions, war booty, indentured labor, and slavery were the common instruments for wealth aggregation. Now, nations marshal affluence through trade, investments, remittances, immigration, and migrant workers. Nations that have little to sell in international markets are poor. Nations with natural resources are vulnerable to subjugation. Nations raise huge armies and some develop weapons of mass destruction to commit as well as deter aggression. Predatory nations are armed to the teeth. Most nations are terrified. Fear rules the humankind.

By making money calls, Trump aggravates the undercurrents of self-interest permeating international politics. In many parts of the world, nations are terrorizing each other, seizing land and resources, seeking unfair advantage, spilling blood, and doggedly retarding the models of civilization that poets, philosophers, environmentalists, and ethicists romanticize.  Trump is not an idealist. He is a coarse money merchant with little interest in the welfare of global civilization. Trump speaks the language of intimidation to defend and extort money. Millions of Americans detest Trump the man and Trump the money maniac.

Superpower Status

Superpowers have action choices. A superpower can act as a greedy nation determined to aggregate wealth through exploitation, intimidation, threats, invasion, and occupation.  It can also act as a benevolent world leader imbued with generosity, idealism, and wellbeing of all the peoples of the world. Sadly, most superpowers, including the British and Spanish colonial empires, have committed immense crimes against humanity, including massacres, theft of land, destruction of occupied cultures, and transfer of wealth from abroad to national exchequers.

As a superpower, the U.S. has been inconstant as it swings from one choice to the other. Reconstructing a war-ravaged Europe, financially supporting international organizations for peace and security, opening its borders for the poor and the tired of the world, and giving money for the prevention and elimination of epidemics in different parts of the world, these and other munificent acts make the United States a special superpower, one that endears the hearts of the world and inspires other nations to do good as a purposeful policy preference.

Trump contemplates the other choice, much like Spanish conquistadors and British imperial viceroys known for their treachery and gold-grabbing.  Trump’s affection for President Andrew Jackson, who stole millions of acres of land from Native Americans, reveals his predatory mindset.  Trump’s campaign utterings that the U.S. “should have kept the Iraqi oil” reinforce his deep-seated hunger to loot assets that belong to others. If Trump is allowed freely to shape international relations after his own mind, the U.S. will become a superpower that the peoples of the world would hate from the bottoms of their hearts.

The World is no Pushover

What Trump misses to understand is the inherent will of other nations and communities to resist the dynamics of overreaching. If Trump opts for monetized national interests, other nations are unlikely to play dead.  History demonstrates that Germany can be pushed only too far before it reacts with irrational might. So is Japan. Vietnam proved that a small nation resolved to defend itself can successfully fight a weighty war machine.  Mexico refuses to succumb to Trump’s monetized pressure, as does Iran, China, Venezuela, and Russia.

Of course, a superpower can determine the dynamics of world affairs. Nations tend to imitate superpowers, at least in dealing with superpowers.  If Trump transforms the U.S. into a money-aggregating hegemon, the world is bound to resist and frustrate any such efforts. Turning selfish is not an act of genius for persons or nations. It’s easy. The U.S. has no special privilege to be selfish. Yes, the U.S. may pursue its monetized self-interest with the use of force, including the weapons of mass destruction, but even this option is a loser rather than a winner. North Korea trapped tightly in economic sanctions, and facing starvation of its people, may be condemned as a crazy country but crazy countries do emerge in a world where superpowers terminate fair play in favor of dog-eat-dog imperative.

More articles by:

Liaquat Ali Khan is the founder of Legal Scholar Academy, a firm dedicated to the protection of civil rights and human liberties. Send your comments and question to legal. scholar. academy[at] gmail.com

November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail