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by James Corbett
March 5, 2013
After a newspaper reporter was sent to investigate the (falsely) rumored death of Mark Twain in 1897, he famously remarked that “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Exactly opposite to that snappy reply we could very well contrast the current situation of the European Union and the Eurozone: rumors of its death have been greatly underreported.
Despite the lofty rhetoric and hot air that was floated in Davos at the annual World Economic Forum earlier this year—claims that economic headwinds had been reduced or even eliminated altogether—last month’s surprise election results in Italy and the political scandals in Spain have demonstrated to the markets once again that the EU is still a political and economic basket case, teetering on the brink of collapse and propped up only by the phony paper promises of Mario Draghi and the banksters at the ECB.
Yet despite the abject failure of the European Union and its increasingly certain demise, the “answers” being offered by the globalists for this problem is familiar and predictable: in order to fix the problems of the EU, we need to give the EU more power, and to give the ECB more power to control the Eurozone generally. This, of course, has been the globalist game plan for the EU all along, and it should surprise no one that they are attempting to fail forward with such false bluster and bravado.
What should surprise us is that anyone would attempt to repeat the follies of the EU project by creating regional trade blocs that seek to work toward a common currency. Yet this is exactly what has been developing in one of the few regions of the world that has enjoyed relatively stable economic growth over the past decade: Latin America. Although usually ignored altogether by the English-language media, Latin America enjoyed a period of economic growth and growing international trade during the very time that the wheels were coming off of the American-led G8 economies in the collapse and crisis of the Lehman Brothers-Quantitative Easing era.
Naturally, these countries—led by Brazil, but increasingly represented by some of the region’s lesser economic powers like Peru—are anxious to preserve and develop their economic growth without anchoring themselves to the IMF/Washington Consensus system that has wreaked such havoc on the South American continent in decades past. And in order to do so, they are founding and strengthening regional trade agreements and even intergovernmental unions.
One of those agreements is Mercosur, an economic and political treaty established in 1991 between Argentina, Brazil, Paragauy and Urugauy. Like the EU itself, Mercosur sprung from a smaller trade agreement between Argentina and Brazil in 1985, and has since expanded to embrace Venezuela as a full member, Bolivia as an accessing member, and Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru as associate members. The treaty includes a common market council and a joint parliament with 81 MPs. Trade within the treaty grew from $10 billion in 1991 to $88 billion at the start of the decade.
Even more ambitious is UNASUR, the Union of South America. Expressly modeled on the European Union, UNASUR represents a fledgling intergovernmental institution that is designed to foster continental integration. Officially signed into existence in 2008, it boasts 12 members, including Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, and 2 observer members. Originally intended to pave the way for a common currency and central bank, those plans have been on hold since 2011 when the cracks began to appear in the EU and members began to have second thoughts. Although stalled at the diplomatic level, the institutional elements are in place for this to become the building blocks of a truly continental union.
The first Secretary General was Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner, who was appointed to the position in 2010.
Optimism about organizations like UNASUR, however, have to be balanced with the stark reality: governmental and monetary unions are the ultimate goal of the very same globalist banksters who were behind the creation of the European Union, NAFTA, the World Trade Organization and similar organizations. Not only that, they have tried to foster this exact process before in a larger trade agreement between North and South America that would have led to integration of the entire Western hemisphere: the so-called Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.
It is not empty rhetoric to say that it is the same people behind all of these globalist projects. With proposals like the FTAA, the treaty’s proponents can be directly identified as the self-same banksters and oligarchs who have been in charge of the American political and economic scene for over a century.
Others, like Professor James Petras of Binghmaton University, believe that the types of unions that are being fostered between the nations of South America are different than these globalist-led projects. In this reading, these bodies are in fact a healthy and natural outgrowth of the region’s increasing importance, and a hopeful sign for increasing economic prosperity. Last week I had the chance to talk to Professor Petras about UNASUR and Mercosur, and what these agreements mean for the region as a whole.
For all of the reasons that Professor Petras cites, there is hope that the developing trade ties within South America will be fostered within a sustainable network of cooperative countries, able to support each other without the need for outside “assistance” by the IMF and other international bodies. In a strange way, then, bodies like UNASUR and Mercosur might represent an increase in independence from the institutions of globalism even as it undermines the sovereignty of the individual nations involved.
This seems like an intractable problem. Like it or not, economic development in our current day and age relies on regional and global trading partners, and these relationships are fostered and strengthened through formal arrangements. But these formal arrangements can so easily be hardwired into vast, unwieldly, unsustainable and ultimately tyrannical bureaucracies, as the European example demonstrates all too effectively.
Ultimately, the question of whether these regional bodies will help or harm South America depends on the degree to which the countries involved can differentiate economic cooperation from governmental integration. To the extent that they hardwire into law the merging of these separate countries and cultures, the entire enterprise seems to fall into the hands of the globalists, who would merely have to merge their existing North American institutions to their South American counterpart to create a type of ersatz FTAA. However unlikely this might seem at the moment, given the increasing resistance to American interference displayed by South American leaders, it is important to be reminded that this is how centralized authority works: it creates institutions where power is accrued and then takes those institutions over, by bribery, assassination, or invasion.
Ironically, the South American people would do well to heed the words of one of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, when deciding how to proceed in this era of increasing economic cooperation: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” This is the only way to avoid the globalist trap…but it is easier said than done.