The seven sins of the alliance system of the United States (part 2)

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The second sin: Plunder

The development of Western countries is, to a certain degree, a history of exploitation and plunder. The U.S. alliance relies on its military force, economic status and the "stick" of sanctions to intimidate and entice other countries to give up their legitimate rights and interests, and plunder resources and wealth in a blatant way.

◆The United States and its allies have plundered oil, food and other resources of Gulf countries through different means including war.

On March 20, 2003, the United States and Britain jointly launched military operations against Iraq without the authorization of the UN Security Council. The United States made up a series of excuses for launching the war, including the Saddam Hussein administration's alleged serious violations of human rights and possible possession of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

In April 2021, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, while attending an activity on employment and infrastructure policies, admitted that "for years and generations, wars have been fought over oil."

On the eve of launching the Iraq War in 2003, then British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that one of British strategic priorities was to "bolster the security of British and global energy supplies." In July 2016, former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who was involved in the decision-making of the Iraq war, published an article saying that since the 1950s, it has always been Britain's interest to ensure access to petroleum products of the Persian Gulf on preferential terms.

Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said that the threat against Iraq was for oil, and that the U.S. policy was to exploit the oil from the Gulf countries. According to the BBC, the George W. Bush administration had already orchestrated a plan to control Iraq's oil before the 911 attacks.

Andrew Simms, former policy director at the New Economics Foundation, a British think-tank, said that over the past century, the United States and Britain have left behind conflicts, social unrest and environmental destruction across the world as they have sought to control oil reserves more than their share.

On March 20, 2021, Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Bassam Toumeh said in an interview with Syrian state television that the United States and its allies were like pirates coveting Syria's oil and wealth.

The United States currently controls 90 percent of the crude oil resources in northeastern Syria. The occupation of the region by the U.S. military and its allies has led to a total loss of the country's oil industry of more than 92 billion U.S. dollars.

During a visit to Italy, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the United States has been enriching its own oil producers and arms dealers by plundering oil resources belonging to the Syrian people. Russian expert Igor Yushkov said the reason why the United States was reluctant to withdraw from northern Syria was to plunder Syria's oil resources, adding that the United States has used armed forces to shield oil smuggling and to retaliate against any actions that prevent the smuggling.

The U.S.-led military coalition also smuggled and burned Syrian wheat for many times. In May 2020, the U.S. military used Apache gunships to drop incendiary bombs at al Shaddadi in southern al-Hasakah governorate, northeastern Syria, which burned local wheat crops into ashes, killing 14 Syrian civilians and causing nearly 50 million U.S. dollars worth of damage.

According to a report from the Syrian Arab News Agency on June 9, 2021, 20 trucks of U.S. occupation forces marched towards northern Iraq, carrying wheat crops stolen from Syria. The U.S. occupation forces colluded with Syria's local militia groups, stealing and plundering Syrian oil and food, and then selling them in exchange for money.

On June 16, the news agency reported that the U.S. occupation forces stole wheat from Syria again, and the U.S.-led coalition kidnapped several civilians in the country's eastern Deir-ez-Zor governorate.

Syria used to be a food exporter. However, years of wars have led to the country's food shortages, and it has to import food to meet its domestic demand.

◆The United States pursues the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and constantly plunders assets of other countries through unconventional monetary policies.

In July 1944, the Bretton Woods system was established, which made the U.S. dollar the international currency. And the United States thereby becomes the world currency overlord.

In August 1971, the U.S. dollar was decoupled from gold, whereas the United States has maintained the hegemony of the U.S. dollar by tying U.S. dollar to petroleum through the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

For a long period of time, the United States, based on its own economic cycle, has been continuously pushing up and setting off financial risks of emerging markets and developing countries to ransack foreign exchange reserves of other countries, plunder high-quality assets, rake in huge profits from the rest of the world in the process of large-scale capital flowing.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the U.S. Federal Reserve has launched unlimited quantitative easing measures and purchased massive bonds in order to revive the U.S. economy and its stock market.

In just a few months, its balance sheet expanded by 65 percent to a maximum of 7.22 trillion U.S. dollars, and the amount of the base currency rocketed up by 3 trillion U.S. dollars.

The large amount of additional U.S. dollars has flowed to the rest of the world, inflicting huge impacts on global economic and financial markets and causing a sharp rise in prices of primary commodities, including food. These outcomes also have frustrated other countries, especially developing countries which have already been weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The euro, since its birth, has been increasing its proportion in world trade settlement. However, it has been suppressed by the United States from time to time.

By controlling the global U.S. dollar settlement and clearing system, the United States has been using this system to block countries, enterprises and individuals sanctioned by Washington. At present, the United States still relies on the U.S. dollar to maintain its hegemonic status in the reserve currency and the international settlement and clearing system.

◆Militarized plunder by the United States and its allies has led to a surge in the number of African refugees and has encroached on African interests through exploiting mineral resources.

On June 16, 2018, Iranian scholar Nazanin Armanian published an article -- "The Aquarius ship and five samples of the militarization of the plunder of Africa" -- on Spanish online newspaper Publico. The article pointed out that since 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, several U.S.-led wars forced nearly 56 million people to leave their homes in the Middle East and Africa. The refugee wave in today's world was directly related to NATO's new militarized plunder of Africa.

Peter Pham, an Africa expert at U.S. think tank Atlantic Council, said that one of NATO's goals for the militarization of Africa is to hold Africa's abundant oil and gas as well as other strategic resources, and ensure that any interested third party, such as China, India, Japan and Russia, is unable to obtain monopoly or preferential treatment of African resources.

In September 2012, Kiangiosekazi Wa Nyoka, a columnist with Tanzanian national newspaper Daily News, penned an article entitled "Who benefits from our minerals." He mentioned the plunder of African resources by Western imperialist countries in history and said that the phenomenon still exits.

Former Namibia's President Sam Nujoma said that it is impossible for Africa to erase imperialist factors in the mining sector, as the field has all the time been controlled by Western countries.

◆Britain has occupied many overseas territories and maintained illegal colonial governments.

Starting from the 16th century, Britain continuously occupied overseas colonies. Its colonization reached the peak in the 1920s when Britain occupied more than a quarter of the Earth's total land area. At that time, Britain was described as "the empire on which the sun never sets."

British scholars pointed out that when the country was at its zenith, its territory increased by 111 times, and its cultural relics collected from the colonies also increased by 100 times. At present, Britain still possesses 14 overseas territories far away from home, with a total area of 1.73 million square kilometers and a total population of 260,000.

Among them, the Chagos Archipelago, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean that Britain has refused to return to Mauritius, is of great controversy. The islands were occupied by Britain in 1810. In 1965, as an additional condition for Mauritius' independence, the islands were separated from Mauritian territory and became part of the "British Indian Ocean Territory."

Britain said it would return the islands in due course, but it did not fulfil its promise. Moreover, Britain forced thousands of indigenous people to leave the islands and supported the United States in building a military base on the islands.

In February 2019, the International Court of Justice said in an advisory opinion that Britain had illegally split the islands and is obliged to "bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible."

In May 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution with 116 votes in favor and six against, stating that the continued administration of the islands constitutes "a wrongful act," and demanding Britain "unconditionally withdraw its colonial administration from the area within six months."

However, Britain has so far failed to implement the resolution and has blatantly trampled on international law. Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said that Britain cannot claim to be a guardian of international law while maintaining an illegal colonial government.

◆France has long used its colonial legacies to control the economic lifelines of African countries.

Since the euro was born and the French franc was abolished, the CFA franc has had a fixed exchange rate to the euro. Every time the French economy declines, the countries in the CFA franc zone suffer.

The right to issue the CFA franc is not in the hands of the members of the sub-regional currency area who cannot flexibly control the value of the home currency. Consequently, the export competitiveness of West African and Central African countries has been hampered.

As most foreign exchange is controlled by France, the foreign trade of the countries in the CFA franc zone is restricted by France in various ways. In 2017, people protested against the West African CFA franc in Benin. Mali, Senegal and other countries also held demonstrations against the CFA franc.

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