By the time this blog appears, the UK will have (last week) advanced a proposal to expand the West's economic sanctions on Russia by banning it from using S.W.I.F.T., the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transfer. If you've ever wired or transferred money to or from Europe, it went through SWIFT, and you had a SWIFT transaction number recording it:
There was a time when the United Kingdom didn't march in lock step with Washington, or even with its own financial oligarchs. And Great Britain did not manage to run a global empire for a couple of centuries by being geopolitically (and for that matter, technologically) naive and suicidal.
But that, in my opinion, is what this latest bit of insanity seems to me, at least, to be portending. The one good thing here is that at least the insanity is not coming out of Washington this time, at least, not directly. Nor, I suspect, is it coming out of Parliament or 10 Downing Street (which seems to be harboring its own special brand of insanity in recent memory). It would appear to be coming from the City of London. The British will face an obstacle here, and that is Berlin (hmm... I'm sensing a bit of deja vu here, I don't know about you). You'll recall that Frau Bundeskanzlerin Merkel is openly pressing and secretly maneuvering for a negotiated end to the Washington-brokered Victoria Nuland train wreck that the Ukraine has become.
It's very simple: the sanctions will hurt Germany's export-driven economy, at at number four on the ranking of the big world economies behind the USA, China, and Japan (depending of course on where you look), and way ahead of, say, Italy or Russia, Germany's per capita productivity is even higher than that of much bigger economies with a much bigger population base. For Germans, and therefore eventually for the German government, the sanctions are a bad idea whose time has never come and never will. From Frau Merkel to the local Hausfrau, this is reality.
But there's something else this action will inevitably bring about, if pursued. Regular readers here will recall that for some time, I (and for that matter, other commentators on the internet), have been arguing that an inevitable consequence of the establishment of the BRICS development bank, and the various bi-lateral trade and currency deals being negotiated between China and her trading partners (including, you'll recall, the fact that the Frankfurt bourse is now trading bonds denominated in the Chinese yuan), will be the development of their own independent international clearing system.
Already we've seen agreements emerge between Russia and China to pool their space resources for global positioning systems, and this push by the UK will only serve, in my opinion, to broaden the degree of space cooperation between the big four BRICS nations (Russia, Brazil, India, and China), each of which has their own space capability or, in Brazil's case, a real space potential. The move, in other words, if endorsed, will only serve to hasten that development, and to hasten the crack up of the European Union. And even if not endorsed, the only thing this does is to serve notice to Mr. Putin that the west is hell-bent on the encirclement and economic isolation of Russia, and Russia's response will inevitably be to expand its own international clearing mechanisms via expanded pooling of space assets available to the BRICS nations.
The ball has been very firmly served by London. It's now in the court of Madrid, Paris, Rome, and Berlin. And in those four capitals, all eyes are on Frau Merkel, and what she will signal not only at the meeting, but after it. A de jure "Ja" today can, as we've already seen, work out to a de facto "Nein" tomorrow.
See you on the flip side.
(Thanks to Mr. J.L. and Mr. T.M. for bringing sharing these).