By Kevin Townsend on ITSecurity
The United States dominates the world not because of the strength of its economy but because the US Dollar is the world’s reserve currency, used in almost all major international transactions. This position is primarily maintained by the world’s practice of buying and selling oil in dollars. It means that the US economy doesn’t have to earn its wealth, it can simply print more money knowing the almost every other country in the world will buy those dollars so that they in turn can buy oil. The petrodollar rules the world — and the Middle East wars of recent decades have been fought, and much of the NSA’s economic surveillance conducted, to maintain the petrodollar.
Ultimately, however, this is unsustainable. An unholy alliance between Russia and China to trade in ruble and yuan, and the emergence of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) means that the petrodollar will shrink in importance. The writing is on the wall, and it says that the era of US world dominance is coming to an end.
Unless, of course, the US can find some other method of ensuring the world trade continues to be conducted in the US dollar.
A new world order built on trade agreements
Enter the international trade triumvirate: TPP, TTIP and TISA. We’ve spoken a little about all of them earlier:Who wants TTIP?, TTIP transparency clouded by smoke and mirrors, WikiLeaks leaks a secret teaser on TISA. Make no mistake: these trade agreements are designed to ensure the continuing and increasing world domination by US commercial, financial and service organizations; and thereby ensure that the US dollar remains the world reserve currency after the demise of the petrodollar.
Between them, TPP and TTIP cover the greater part of the trading world (neatly excluding or controlling those renegades Russia and China). These are, simplistically, ‘commercial’ trade agreements. TISA covers more of the world than TPP and TTIP combined, but is a ‘finance and services’ trade agreement. According to the World Bank, 75% of the EU and 80% of the US economies comprise ‘services’.
One of the biggest concerns about TPP and TTIP is that they contain a provision called Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). This process allows business to challenge sovereign national governments over anything they perceive to be counter to their business profits. Put another way, it is unlikely that Europe’s new General Data Protection laws could be enacted after TTIP because such controls would impinge on the profits of companies. Or put another way, democracy and the citizen are explicitly discounted in favour of business and profits.
TISA, however, is so pro-business that it doesn’t even require ISDS (even though it is included in the draft). Using the data protection example, TISA specifically allows the off-shoring of financial data, in direct conflict with the proposals in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
However, the real dangers in TISA only become apparent when it is viewed as a whole: TISA is designed to prevent individual countries from having any meaningful control over international corporations. It is quite literally ‘profits before people’. In fact, TISA even subjugates national sovereignty to profits. Professor Jane Kelsey from the Faculty of Law at the the University of Auckland has analysed new WikiLeaks documents on TISA and comments:
Governments cannot restrict cross-border movements of capital that are essential to a service, or inflows of capital that relate to foreign investment, where they have made commitments in those services. There are very limited options for governments to impose capital controls, even in situations of an actual or threatened balance of payments emergency. If they manage to meet those circumstances, the kinds of controls they can adopt are severely limited and would face a high risk of being challenged.
TISA: The Leaked ‘Core Text’
A nation that has no control over its own finances cannot be considered a sovereign nation – just consider Greece.
TISA also means that no country will be allowed to promote or protect its own new businesses if doing so will threaten existing foreign companies. The effect will be that existing large corporations will simply get bigger and any attempt to challenge their position will be deemed illegal. In short, TISA will protect and exaggerate the existing status quo – that is, the existing world commercial domination by large US companies will become entrenched. The petrodollar is going to be replaced by the tradedollar – and US global dominance will be protected.
Nor will BRICS be allowed to threaten the tradedollar in the way it threatens the petrodollar. Julian Assangecommented in an associated statement,
While the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) have become well known in recent months, the TiSA is the largest component of the United States’ strategic neoliberal ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate. Together, the three treaties form not only a new legal order shaped for transnational corporations, but a new economic “grand enclosure”, which excludes China and all other BRICS countries.
This is the New World Order; and it has no place for democracy or dissent.