Washington’s stranglehold over the Iraqi economy is an extreme example of a broader, worrying trend: more and more often, the United States is using its privileged role as custodian of the global financial system to coerce and punish those who object to its methods, be they friend or foe. It has slowly usurped a system intended to provide benefits to the world at large and made of it an instrument for its own geopolitical goals.
In turning financial relationships into a tool of empire, the United States follows in the footsteps of ancient Athens. The experience of this predecessor does not augur well for Washington. Athens used its financial power to abuse its allies and in doing so precipitated its own ruination. The United States risks doing the same.
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