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

July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail