Euro Currency War: Implications for Anti-War Movement

Hans G. Ehrbar ehrbar at
Sun Feb 9 11:30:24 MST 2003

In the last two days, two web sites have been publicized on
various mailing lists which give a credible explanation of
the motives behind the impending assault on Iraq:

One of the main arguments on these two web sites is that the
main goal of the war is to prevent the Euro from becoming a
threat to the dollar.  After some initial scepticism the
idea seems to be catching on.  What are the implications of
the analysis on these two web sites?

(1) One of the unspoken mottos of the anti-war movement has
been that the movement is really saving the capitalists from
themselves.  People did not think that it was in the US
ruling class's own best interest to go to war in Iraq.  Dave
MrReynolds said on Louis Proyect's marxism list that "Bush
is out of control, obsessed", and Lou Paulsen said, if I
remember right, that Bush cannot go back because his
re-election is at stake.  (I am quoting all this from
memory.)  Some commentators said it only helps the oil
businesses which Bush is connected to, not all US
capitalists.  This is not the right analysis.  The two links
above argue convincingly that the strategy is rational in
its own sick sense.  What Bush is trying to achieve is
indeed good and necessary for continuing the privileged
position of the US in the world system.  If Bush were to
succeed with his plans, this would ensure continued
prosperity for the US in the next 10 to 15 years, although
it would make the eventual awakening even more devastating.

(2) The problem with this strategy however is that it is not
going to succeed.  It is far too ambitious, it is clearly
imperial overreach.  The plans for this were worked out
during the nineties, and they failed to factor in two recent

(a) The power of the internet.  The ruling clique thought
they could pull a fast one on the US and international
public, as with the Gulf of Tonkin incident for the Vietnam
War and the incubator babies for the first Gulf War, or when
they claimed bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was an

(b) Bush's lack of grace as national and international
leader has always helped to focus the scattered opposition
against him.

(3) But now there is no going back.  The USA cannot go back
to its image of benign hegemon.  The goodwill all over the
world which was built up over many decades has been spent by
Bush in a few months.  Bush's provocations already caused
the withdrawal of $200 billion of Saudi Arabian investment,
and it is inevitable that the anti-American sentiment will
motivate investors and governments all over the world to
diversify their currency holdings into the Euro.  Bush's
irresponsible budget policies and his tax cuts are
undermining the confidence in the dollar as well.  Although
academic economists try to downplay the implications of
this, this will make a whole house of cards come tumbling
down.  Capitalism itself will survive, but the end of
economic US hegemony is approaching much faster than anyone
had expected.

(4) The US is still the overwhelming military power, and its
only chance is to use this to the fullest.  They will sweep
into Iraq, while Sharon will expel the Palestinians from the
West Bank, and they are prepared to seize Saudi Oil fields,
etc.  They know that there will a world wide public outcry,
this outcry is already underway.  Their hope is that this
outcry will subside again in the light of a continued US-led
prosperity in the industrialized nations.

(5) What does this mean for the anti-war activists?  Don't
say that the Bush strategy is irrational.  We must explain
this strategy and we must argue that its success is not in
the interest of the people, not even those living in the
USA.  I.e., in contrast to the slogan "Win without war" we
must say: "We don't want any part of this, even if it would
be achievable without war, or only with short and 'clean'
military interventions."  This is called an "Achilles heel
critique" (Bhaskar, Dialectic, 1994): we must criticise the
opponent where he seems strongest.  Only then will we be
able to do the right thing in a situation which has the
potential to become World War III.

Hans G. Ehrbar

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