31.01.2023 Author: Valery Kulikov

The United States expects to exit the crisis by destroying its competitors

After the end of World War II, the United States not only managed to preserve its army and economy, but it also significantly enriched itself in the war. This is not surprising given that the war occurred far from the United States’ borders and could not have had the same impact on the United States as Europe and Russia, who had paid for their victory over Nazism with completely destroyed cities, businesses, infrastructure, and the deaths of millions of their citizens.

Against the backdrop of widespread postwar devastation and disasters, Europe used to believe that the Americans were the principal winners, not Russia, who had paid for the victory over Nazism with the lives of 26.6 million of its citizens and raised its victorious flag over the German Reichstag. This perception of the United States was actively promoted by American propaganda. So there was a legend that the United States has the most powerful army and economy, which the ruling American circles used to consolidate their global hegemony.

However, in recent years, this bubble of American superiority has burst. Washington’s continuous political and military defeats (one of which is the complete failure of US policy and its military campaign in Afghanistan), as well as the United States’ annual deepening of the global financial and economic crisis, have all contributed to the decline of US power and authority. Under these conditions, one way for Washington to stay “afloat” was to stop its financial and economic crisis at the expense of other states.

In this context, the United States has recently begun to actively impose economic sanctions, arresting multibillion-dollar accounts of undesirable countries and freezing them in their banks, therefore earning significant interest from making very impressive funds seized by them “work”. In its history, the United States has repeatedly applied its sanctions against other countries. In particular, this list included more than two dozen countries in the last three decades alone, including: Balkan states (during the Balkans conflict, these were Serbia and Montenegro), Belarus (in 2004, the US adopted the “Belarus Democracy Act”), Burma (in 1997), Cote d’Ivoire (in 2011, the US imposed sanctions on President Laurent Gbagbo), Cuba (only in 2000, the US decided to use frozen accounts totaling $120 million to pay “compensation to victims of Cuban terrorism), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (sanctions have been extended several times since 2006), Somalia, Sudan, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and many other countries. The US blocked $330 billion in Russian assets in 2022, and Russians with assets worth more than $30 billion face sanctions.

Thus, Washington’s actions have become its main weapon for destroying foreign corporations that interfere with aggressive American businesses, and have earned the moniker “law fare.” Specifically, using the so-called Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 and applying it to a company of any nationality that has nothing to do with the United States, Washington began using the FBI to arrest the management of such a corporation and send it to prison in the American territory, even under a presumption and without direct evidence. Within the framework of this law, a simple suspicion of bribery is sufficient for the US Department of Justice to bring charges against the head of a foreign company and issue a mandate to its authorities to arrest him. As a result, the US began to meddle in the affairs of any foreign company, removing its competitors.

The recognition by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the products of a number of Chinese companies (in particular, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, and a number of others) that were banned from import and sale due to the alleged risk to national security was a fairly striking example of Washington’s elimination of competing companies from the market. A member of the Carr commission, in order to gain public support in the country, even tried to point out that China allegedly threatens the interests of the United States through espionage through such companies.

However, such outright terror on the part of the US has recently become practiced not only against a specific foreign corporation. The United States has long abandoned “free trade” laws, providing political support to its businesses while disregarding the interests of other countries, particularly the EU. Against the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict, it became clear to everyone that the most important lever for any country’s development was energy, and the US decided to use this aspect to maintain its superiority over Europe. It began to do this thanks to new laws, shale gas and the imposition of an embargo on Russian energy resources. One of the most important laws for the United States on this path was the “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA), thanks to which the US gained a decisive competitive advantage over Europe, primarily in the field of energy.

Having unleashed a Russophobic propaganda campaign on the alleged need for Europe to move away from energy dependence on Russia, thereby removing it from competition for this EU market, Washington has made the entire continent dependent on American LNG, which is many times more expensive than Russian natural gas. And this has been repeatedly confirmed by Western media and experts who speak about the onset of a new era of American neocolonialism in this way. Companies in Europe, for example, have recently signed more than a dozen contracts for the supply of expensive US LNG, with a third of them due in 2022. This made the EU dependent on the United States and brought many dangers, especially against the background of lessons from the time of Donald Trump’s rule, which showed that the image of the United States as a reliable partner of Europe is especially low. Gas prices in the United States have already more than doubled since the beginning of last year, as have electricity prices. And, if the US does not have enough gas, it will decide to keep the majority of it for itself, condemning the EU to a severe crisis, which has already engulfed Europe as a result of America’s aggressive actions in recent months.

It is well known that a fifth of the world’s semiconductor production is accounted for by Chinese manufacturers. That is why, and in order to gain illegal advantages for itself in this industry, Washington forces its customers and suppliers in Europe to follow US policy. For example, the Dutch firm ASML has recently been under increased pressure from the United States by “American officials” to force it to stop selling some chip-making machines to China. Trying to become a global monopolist in the field of chip manufacturing, the United States has actively engaged in eliminating competitors in this way, not only in China, but also in the EU. Since October 2022, when the United States legislated a number of bans on the export of semiconductors to China, it became clear that the current White House administration is pursuing a ruthless policy in the field of chips under the motto “America first”. According to the German media, if Europe does not take action to stop this aggressive policy, it will lose its dominance in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. And not only semiconductors!

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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