Yesterday we reported that with the Russia-China axis firmly secured, the scramble was on to assure the alliance of that last, and critical, Eurasian powerhouse: India. It was here that Russia had taken the first symbolic step when earlier in the week its central bank announced it had started negotiations to use national currencies in settlements, a process which would culminate with the elimination of the US currency from bilateral settlements.
Russia was not the first nation to assess the key significance of India in concluding perhaps the most important geopolitical axis of the 21st century - we reported that Japan, scrambling to find a natural counterbalance to China with which its relations have regressed back to World War II levels, was also hot and heavy in courting India. “The Japanese are facing huge political problems in China,” said Kondapalli in a phone interview. “So Japanese companies are now looking to shift to other countries. They’re looking at India.”
Of course, for India the problem with a Japanese alliance is that it would also by implication involve the US, the country which has become insolvent and demographically imploding Japan's backer of last and only resort, and thus burn its bridges with both Russia and China. A question emerged: would India embrace the US/Japan axis while foregoing its natural Developing Market, and BRICS, allies, Russia and China.
We now have a clear answer and it is a resounding no, because in what was the latest slap on the face of now crashing on all sides US global hegemony, earlier today India refused to sign a critical global trade dea. Specifically, India's unresolved demands led to the collapse of the first major global trade reform pact in two decades. WTO ministers had already agreed the global reform of customs procedures known as "trade facilitation" in Bali, Indonesia, last December, but were unable to overcome last minute Indian objections and get it into the WTO rule book by a July 31 deadline.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo told trade diplomats in Geneva, just two hours before the final deadline for a deal lapsed at midnight that "we have not been able to find a solution that would allow us to bridge that gap."
Reuters reports that most diplomats had expected the pact to be rubber-stamped this week, marking a unique success in the WTO's 19-year history which, according to some estimates, would add $1 trillion and 21 million jobs to the world economy.
Turns out India was happy to disappoint the globalists: the diplomats were shocked when India unveiled its veto and the eleventh-hour failure drew strong criticism, as well as rumblings about the future of the organisation and the multilateral system it underpins.
"Australia is deeply disappointed that it has not been possible to meet the deadline. This failure is a great blow to the confidence revived in Bali that the WTO can deliver negotiated outcomes," Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said on Friday. "There are no winners from this outcome – least of all those in developing countries which would see the biggest gains."
Shockingly, and without any warning, India's stubborn refusal to comply with US demands, may have crushed the WTO as a conduit for international trade, and landed a knockout punch when it comes to future relentless globallization which as is well known over the past 50 or so years, has benefited the US first and foremost.
Broke, debt-monetizing Japan, which as noted previously, was eager to become BFFs with India was amazed by the rebuttal: "A Japanese official familiar with the situation said that while Tokyo reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining and strengthening the multilateral trade system, it was frustrated that such a small group of countries had stymied the overwhelming consensus. "The future of the Doha Round including the Bali package is unclear at this stage," he said."
Others went as far as suggesting the expulsion of India:
Some nations, including the United States, the European Union, Australia, Japan and Norway, have already discussed a plan to exclude India from the agreement and push ahead, officials involved in the talks said.
However, such a move would clearly be an indication that the great globalization experiment is coming to an end: "New Zealand Minister of Overseas Trade, Tim Groser, told Reuters there had been "too much drama" surrounding the negotiations and added that any talk of excluding India was "naive" and counterproductive. "India is the second biggest country by population, a vital part of the world economy and will become even more important. The idea of excluding India is ridiculous." ... "I don't want to be too critical of the Indians. We have to try and pull this together and at the end of the day putting India into a box would not be productive," he added.
And yes, the death of the WTO is already being casually tossed around as a distinct possibility:
Still, the failure of the agreement should signal a move away from monolithic single undertaking agreements that have defined the body for decades, Peter Gallagher, an expert on free trade and the WTO at the University of Adelaide, told Reuters.
"I think it's certainly premature to speak about the death of the WTO. I hope we've got to the point where a little bit more realism is going to enter into the negotiating procedures," he said.
But the one country that was most traumatized, was the one that has never before been used to getting a no answer by some "dingy developing world backwater": the United States, and the person most humiliated, who else but John Kerry.
"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday that India's refusal to sign a global trade deal sent the wrong signal, and he urged New Delhi to work to resolve the row as soon as possible." "Failure to sign the Trade Facilitation Agreement sent a confusing signal and undermined the very image Prime Minister Modi is trying to send about India," a U.S. State Department official told reporters after Kerry's meeting with Modi.
Wrong signal for John Kerry perhaps, who is now beyond the world's "diplomatic" laughing stock and the man who together with Hillary Clinton (and the US president) has made a complete mockery of US global influence in the past 5 years. But just the right signal for China and of course, Russia.