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Crisis and whispers

€uro: the worst case scenario

The Greek budgetary crisis, which has become a crisis of the euro, is not the inevitable result of market self-regulation, but rather the consequence of a deliberate attack. According to Jean-Michel Vernochet, the crisis was provoked by an economic offensive directed from Washington and London that followed similar principles to those of contemporary military warfare, employing game theory and a strategy of ‘constructive chaos’. The ultimate aim is to oblige the Europeans to enter into an Atlantic bloc, i.e. an empire where Anglo-American budgetary deficits would be automatically financed through the expedient of a dollarised euro. The agreement concluded between the European Union and the IMF, giving the Fund partial oversight of Union economic policies, is a first step in this direction.

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The director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Prevented from returning to the Deutsche Mark, Germany must consent to a European loan from the IMF.

The financial attack launched against Greece because of its sovereign debt and its potential insolvency soon proved to be an offensive against the Euro and to have only a distant relationship with the flaws and structural deficits of the Greek economy itself. These ‘vices’, incidentally, are largely shared by the bulk of post-industrial countries which have acquired the bad habit of living beyond their means and on credit, hence the soaring quantum of debt, a bubble (as any other) doomed to burst.

Everything seems to indicate that behind the brutality of the attack and beyond a simple stampede to pillage some European economies loom other objectives, notably of a geopolitical character, carefully thought out. In any case, the appetites of anonymous financial predators - as sharp as they might be - cannot account for the sustained intensity of the offensive which, in the short term, threatens to shatter the Euro zone, the European Union itself, indeed even beyond …

With the proliferation of crises over the last two decades, a quick reading of the pawn movements on the Grand Eurasian Chessboard is enough to suggest that Europe is actually one battle ground within a geo-economic war (war in the proper sense), a battle that it has besides already potentially lost.

Indeed, the adoption of a European plan – at the insistence of the White House – for the bailing out of heavily indebted EU member states not only does not constitute a panacea, a durable remedy to the structural budgetary crisis that has been rapidly affecting all Western states, but points in the direction desired by the U.S. of a rapid integration of the EU, a necessary prerequisite for the constitution of a united Western bloc.

This European plan responds to a crisis of confidence and solvency (largely artificial at the outset, but which became contagious and is now snowballing) by the recapitalisation of states as if it were a matter of a simple liquidity crisis. A European plan of 750 billion euros, even greater than the 700 billion-dollar Paulson plan designed to bail out the American financial establishment with public funds after the debacle of September 2008. The deviant consequences of that solution can be seen at present in the heavy expansion of the public debt on both sides of the Atlantic.

Thus, the U.S.-born crisis, after having triggered the recession which de-activated the economic pump, has since dried up the fiscal resources of states rendering it more difficult to service an ever expanding debt. Now, the EU has just increased the existing debt by an additional 750 billion euros, which further strain member states’ national budgets (the average indebtedness of the euro zone being actually 78% of GDP), all this with the illusory plan of ‘re-establishing market confidence’.

To this end, the EU has voluntarily placed itself under the thumb of the IMF which has consented to have up to 250 billion euros at the ready. This is the same IMF, whose calling until now has been to support tottering Third World economies through crippling recipes in the guise of so-called structural adjustment plans. It is thus a supranational entity, formally ‘globalist’, which will head, indeed supervise more or less directly, the structures of economic governance which the EU will most certainly adopt if the euro zone does not spontaneously break up beforehand.

Such integrative measures have been vigourously called for by Paul Volcker, Chairman of the White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board, who, while recently in London, lambasted European leaders demanding a boosting of the euro which the Americans and British need to keep their own economies afloat.

Let us note, in passing, that it is probably with a heavy heart that the German Chancellor accepted to subscribe to this mindboggling support plan for the faltering Euro zone countries since her French counterpart – according to persistent rumours – was threatening to return to France if she did not conform. But, while it is true that ‘the worker ant is not altruistic’, a return to the Deutsche Mark would be equivalent to signing the death warrant of the German economy as a strong currency would restrain its industrial exports, at the base of its economy. Like it or not, the situation forces Berlin, under duress, to navigate the strictures drawn up by the Obama Administration.

American ukases that lead to a big open trap: capital borrowed from the markets or lent by the IMF to save the ‘PIIGS’ (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) – threatened with cessation of repayment - must rely on structures guaranteeing long term solvency of the euro. A currency whose soundness cannot be assured, however, by the type of federal institutions which Jacques Attali has been promoting in calling for “… the creation of a European Treasury, immediately authorised to borrow in the name of the EU, and of a European Budgetary Fund, given immediate mandate to control the budget expenditures of any country whose debt exceeds the 80% of the GDP.”

It essentially boils down to subjecting States to economic tutelage under the guise of saving the Euro zone from an allegedly inevitable collapse ... since the abandonment of the Euro is an inviolable taboo that nobody apparently dreams of touching.

Certain projects go even further, by prescribing that the budgets of member states should be entirely controlled and decided on by a triumvirate comprising the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup (the member states’ Finance Ministers). What about the popular will and the European Parliament in Strasbourg?

No one cares about denouncing the sophistry or the fallacy of equating economic integration with a return to market confidence. First of all, why should markets, and markets alone, impose their own laws? Besides, is it not time to revisit stock market capitalism, anonymous and volatile, and capable of ruining countries on a whim or from self-interest?

On this account, centralised economic control from Brussels is no more the panacea than is a flood of liquidity the solution to the current crisis. The additional indebtedness generated by the ‘plan’ is without doubt a false solution imposed from outside with the end goal of further enslaving us Europeans to capital markets and their unspeakable dictatorship.

The idea of centralised control proceeds from the same stance for it is literally a non-sense in that it ignores all the societal differences operating across all layers of the European construct: types or models of economic growth, fiscal and social systems, etc. It is basically a “non-idea”, one which is fundamentally ideological by its nature … a smokescreen concealing a whole range of ulterior motives, all in fact foreign to the economic prosperity and well being of the peoples of the EU.

Some have rightly seen that this crisis was only the means and the pretext to precipitate the introduction of a hard-core federal system [1] encompassing all twenty seven member states despite and in contempt of the popular will over which the Treaty of Lisbon has been imposed in the most underhanded fashion. A crisis which is and remains – a cardinal fact to be borne in mind – artificial, fabricated; in a word, it is the opposite of an inherent ‘inevitability’ implied by a self-regulating and disembodied market environment, supposedly steered by an ‘invisible hand’. A reputedly ‘mechanical’ process, which, despite its anonymity, is none the less constituted by corporate executives and traders made of flesh and blood that call the shots and manipulate the market.

It is for this reason that the U.S speaks with a forked tongue through two separate voices, that of its ‘market’ representatives and President Obama himself. The latter intervened to berate the Europeans and press them to stabilise their currency, or, in other words, the European economic policies, good or otherwise, which are inextricably linked to the health of their own currency. Now, don’t start imagining for one second that some kind of meddling in the affairs of Continental Europe could be involved here! Can you picture Madame Merkel and Monsieur Sarkozy asking the White House to clean up Manhattan?

The other voice belongs to those who call the shots … in short, the managers of the self-regulating order, anonymous even to the governments themselves, as French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde shamefully confessed; those who play yo-yo with the markets like a cat plays with a mouse, anticipating the lows and highs that they themselves intentionally provoke. In practice, these people are promoting a very different discourse.

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For Paul Volcker, chair of the White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Europe must accept external control of economic policy and put the euro at parity with the dollar.

Indeed, how else to explain the evident contradiction between the concerns expressed by President Obama – legitimate by the way, for the EU needs a strong euro that penalises European exporters, but is advantageous to American industry, a useful bonus given the record US fiscal deficit ($1400 billion for 2008-09) and above all necessary to support the ongoing war effort in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – and the radical destablisation of Western economies by the persistent attacks by the markets against the euro?

No matter how voracious, inconsistent or irrational, the ‘operators’ are nevertheless aware that the pursuit of the offensive against the euro jeopardises the system in its totality and risks plunging the global economy into a new phase of chaos. Then why this dance on the edge of the abyss? Nobody will have us believe this nonsense that the markets have a life of their own, that they are uncontrollable and that all this is simply the result of the economic machine gone awry … In short, that it’s ‘nobody’s fault’, but the simple consequence of the impossibility of managing the agents and the irrational faux pas of the markets?

Clearly said, the risk of systemic collapse is at the very heart of the game currently being played. The big players, the cold calculators, are obvious disciples of the theory of games (since von Neumann & Morgenstern), probabilistic edifice on the foundations of which has been constructed the doctrine of nuclear deterrence … The winners are those who push the lethal bids the highest. A scenario that corresponds line for line to that which is unfolding before our eyes: increasing destabilisation of the European economies, with non-negligible effects for the U.S.

Let’s add that the financial chaos, monetary and economic, on both sides of the Atlantic is an undeniable windfall, for those who prosper in the backwash of the market’s trajectory, provoking and anticipating the cycles of panic and euphoria to play indiscriminately with the rising and falling currents of the hysterically erratic markets.

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the economist Werner Sombart conceived an embryonic theory of ‘creative destruction’ (subsequently taken up by Joseph Schumpeter). Since then this theory has been developed by, among others, the mathematical theory of the frenchman René Thom (‘catastrophe theory’). Amended by Benoît Mandelbrot, the theory was applied via fractal geometry to market behaviour, perceived already at that time to fall within the province of a theory of chaos, decidedly fashionable.

In the meantime, the economist Friedrich von Hayek, one of the theorists of neoliberalism, claimed to have raised the free-market economy to the status of an exact science. According to his hagiographer Guy Sorman, “… liberalism converges with the most recent theories of physics, chemistry and biology, in particular the science of chaos formalised by Ilya Prigogine. In the market economy as in nature, order is born out of chaos: the spontaneous agency of millions of decisions and pieces of information leads not to disorder, but to a superior order” … One could not say it any better, for a priori we hold there the keys to understanding the crisis.

At the end of the 1990s, the Neo-conservative disciples of Leo Strauss have carried to its logical limits the new dogma of greater disorder in making themselves the bards of ‘constructive chaos’ as a legitimation a priori for all the wars of conquest of the Twenty First Century. From this viewpoint, each is able to see this chaos at work in the Greater Middle East as s/he is able to see it at work today in Europe.

We can wager that the new regional order that the great organisers of chaos intend to see emerge from the crisis itself will be a unified Europe, centralised and federal, placed under the direct influence of the US with the aid of the Federal Reserve of which the European Central Bank will be only a branch, and under the vigilant watch of the IMF, representative or product of an emergent global power, deterritorialised yet omnipresent.

One understands quickly enough that the deification of the market associated with the idea of ‘constructive chaos’, itself complemented by an intensive application of game theory in the hands of the disciples of demolition, constitutes a mixture that promises to blow up in one’s face. An observation immediately comes to mind: ‘chaos’ (intentional) is these days a mode of government, of socio-economic transformation and of unopposed conquest. A heavy duty version of ‘divide and conquer’ even if it means nations will perish and the people with them.

For it’s a risk worth taking if in the end Europe finds itself on its knees. Greece – certainly at the soft underbelly of the euro zone but no more so than Italy, Spain, Ireland or Portugal – has been until now a sort of free electron frustrating a full integration of the Balkans in the American geostrategic orbit.

By way of a provisionary conclusion, if the EU, facing crisis, advances at forced march towards central economic control, a stage will be reached whereby quasi-discretionary power will be granted to the European Commission - for the most part composed of non-elected technocrats and recruits - for a stainless Atlanticist allegiance. To put it plainly, this will signify the obliteration of the European nation states.

In reality, nothing can prevent the integration of Europe within a trans-Atlantic Bloc. In the end, the merging of the euro with the dollar will accelerate the union of the old world and the new world. This conclusion is evidently not a matter of pure speculation but a simple projection of the architectonic tendencies visibly at work in the framework of a process of redistribution or of geopolitical recomposition of the global map. Sufficient to say that if the euro zone does not break apart, the fate of the European peoples seems definitely sealed, tied for better or worse to the manifest destiny of the United States. And this irrespective of a ‘reform’ of the global economic system.

The financiers will perhaps get their fingers burnt if the international community agrees to curb their appetites in regulating the markets, but the fact remains that the promoters of constructive chaos will have won this hand as they set out to recreate the conditions for new conflagrations.

The worse case scenario, often evoked in France by such influential men as Bernard Kouchner and Jacque Attali, happens to be the least improbable at a time when governments, backs to the wall, see themselves condemned to fleeing headlong into the unknown. In Kuwait in 1991, in Iraq in 2003 among the thinly disguised objectives of war, the boosting of the economic machinery through plans of reconstruction was high on the list. Not to mention other more flagrant and immediate interests such as fossil fuels, arms sales and all the related industries.

Whatever the accords between Turkey and Iran on uranium enrichment for medical purposes, whatever the related diplomatic annoyance for the State Department, it suffices to re-read the fabulist Jean de la Fontaine to know that the rhetoric of the wolf always prevails over that of the lamb! In a situation of extreme fragility of the global economy, one must await an end to the crisis at the harrowing door of the chaos constructor.

Translated by Evan Jones and Delphine Rabet.

[1] The word ‘federal’ has contrary meanings in Europe and to English readers. For the latter, federal implies shared authority, as reflected in the constitutional division of powers in various federalisms (the US, Germany, Canada, Australia). In the former, federal implies the appropriation of authority from the member states of the EU.

Jean-Michel Vernochet

Jean-Michel Vernochet Former journalist for Figaro Magazine and professor at l’École supérieure de journalisme (ESJ-Paris). Most recent published work: Europe, chronique d’une mort annoncée (Éditions de l’Infini, 2009).

 
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