|Your money or, errr …|
How the world changes, as amply illustrated by this story. Chad proposes to fine Exxon $74 billion for – well, who really knows why? Because they think it’s the way to get 4 billion? Because Exxon has 10 billion of local assets to seize? Because they are desperate? Because they can?
Well, can they? I am sure their courts are sovereign in their own country and their adherence to the rule of law is impeccable, etc etc. Just like everywhere else on the planet, in fact, and everyone will start taking a pop if this one works – there are enough US companies exposed around the globe. And British, and German …
Global hostage-taking and blackmail is hardly new, indeed it’s an entire industry, with consultancy services and all. But it’s mostly been at a *tolerable* below-the-radar level. Piracy has been on the uptick in recent years, and at one stage got beyond a joke. Russia has long felt at liberty to impound oil company assets at will, as BP, Shell, Conoco, aye and even the mighty Exxon have discovered over the past 15 years or so. On the subject of BP, even the sainted Obama wasn’t above outright theft. VW hasn’t fared much better there: and even more broadly America’s de facto claim to universal jurisdiction has long been a cause of chuntering in many quarters.
Another straw in the wind of the end of globalisation as we thought we knew it? It could be viewed even more simply: Might is Right. But treason doth never prosper, etc, so when the USA does it, it’s *globalisation*.
Maybe it explains TTIP et al. Maybe the US saw this coming a mile off, and is trying to build a new layer of defence – short of sending in the drones, that is. Trump’s attitude will be interesting: he’s said to be agin TTIP. It might not only be Chad that discovers what the balance of international power looks like in 2017.