President Trump could well hold the key to ensuring that a ‘no deal’ Brexit works to the benefit of the United Kingdom, and triggers that Second Irish Famine in Southern Ireland.
Likewise, if The Donald uses his strong dollar effectively, he can land another economic punch below the belt on the European Union and guarantee it will be the UK which comes out top of the heap in the EU/UK Brexit divorce case.
Indeed, a future historic gathering of Irish clans in the next year could well see the dollar replace the euro as the most influential currency of the European Union.
Realistically, the eurozone needs a massive and unified austerity injection across all EU member states to avoid the euro becoming merely a Franco-German financial package.
There has always been a money lobby in the United States wanting to see the dollar as the preferred EU currency. The Donald may not have it all his own way. For example, any Greek abandonment of the single currency will see that economy re-introduce its former drachmas, not the dollar.
At first reading, the dollar dominating the EU may seem like American wishful thinking. But that was before the Irish government launched a last-ditch tourism drive to kick-start its severely battered economy, once dubbed the Celtic Tiger because of its world-wide reputation for rapid expansion.
What last ditch attempt? I hear your say! The Irish Republic is merely trying to spin that any tourist push is really a cover story to batten down the economic nightmare which will hit the South in the advent of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
It reminds of a now dead Irish Presbyterian elder who once boasted: “Don’t give to the freewill offering and we’ll starve them out!” This was the view of a liberal elder trying to organise a hate campaign to force out the evangelical minister in his church. It worked! The minister quit.
Basically, in the scenario of a ‘no deal’, what happens if the EU refuses, or doesn’t have the cash, to bail out the republic again, forcing the South into a closer and more formal political relationship with the UK?
Like Greece and Portugal in the current EU climate, should a ‘no deal’ become an economic reality, Southern Ireland will be on the brink of another economic meltdown. While re-introducing the former highly popular and successful Irish pound is the obvious solution, there is a danger such a move could play into the hands of Sinn Fein, the one-time political apologist for the Provisional IRA.
Formerly fronted by the County Louth TD and party president Gerry Adams – a former Westminster MP for West Belfast, the republican party has become the unofficial leader of the Republic’s anti-austerity movement, and any move to link up with British sterling could be misinterpreted as a sinister plot to bring the South back into the Union.
That reality could save Mary Lou McDonald TD’s political bacon as she recently oversaw a disastrous Southern local council and European elections. Mary Lou needs a new platform and there is the ironic outcome that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could actually play into the hands of an election-battered Sinn Fein.
A few years ago, Irish tourism bosses and the Dublin government unveiled a highly innovative initiative known as The Gathering: An Irish Homecoming. Over the next year, the plan was to attract hundreds of thousands – even millions - of people with Irish family roots back to the Emerald Isle for holidays.
The main targets of The Gathering were North America, Australia and New Zealand – all countries where the dollar reigns supreme. With indicators firmly suggesting the United States is edging well out of recession, this shift could secure The Donald a second term in the Oval Office.
Trump’s visit to Ireland during his first term has already charmed the influential Irish American lobby.
The Southern Irish government, based at Dublin’s Leinster House, is gambling heavily that the millions of tourists will follow their President across the Pond, bringing American dollars to the Republic – not weakened and dwindling euros. Could The Gathering become The Invasion as Ireland effectively becomes the next unofficial state of the Good Old USA?
With the United Kingdom facing financial uncertainty over Brexit, sterling may not have the financial muscle to become a viable alternative to the under-pressure euro. Realistically, too, the single currency’s leading partners – France and Germany – are highly unlikely to recommend sterling as a radical alternative to any crumbling eurozone.
This situation has far-reaching implications for EU-US relations. Another Gathering in Ireland will also be boosted by a significant number of historic centenaries between 2020 and 2022, all of which will increase the dollar’s European power base.
Southern Irish tourism bosses and politicians will recall the massive global publicity and marketing exercise which accompanied 2012’s centenary commemorations to mark the sinking in the icy North Atlantic of the luxury liner, the Titanic, in April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.
Could the Southern Irish tourism authorities continue the ‘homeland bluff’ over the past 100th anniversaries of the founding of two key Irish nationalist militia movements which played a major part in the Home Rule crisis which bedevilled Ireland in the early years of the 20th century.
These were the Irish Volunteers – the forerunner of the IRA – and the Irish Citizen Army. Both were formed in 1913 in response to Unionists establishing the Ulster Volunteers a year earlier to combat Irish Home Rule.
This month also marks the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, conceived out of the bloodbath known as the Great War, which claimed millions of lives across the trenches and battlefields of Europe.
World War One saw the Commonwealth nations, especially Australia and New Zealand, as well as the United States, send tens of thousands of troops to fight – and die – in Europe. 2017 marked the centenary of America’s entry into World War One.
The Second Gathering organisers can use their events as a template to encourage hundreds of thousands of tourists from these nations – many with no Irish roots at all – to come to Europe to visit battlefields and cemeteries where their ancestors fought, died, or were buried. That obviously means the prospect of billions of dollars flooding into the EU.
The Irish American link will also be enhanced in 2021 as Irish nationalists across the globe pour into Ireland to commemorate the centenary of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which partitioned the island.
While militarily, most nationalists look to the Easter Rising, it was a complete disaster, politically because the British executed most of the Rising leaders by firing squad, it laid the foundations for the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which in turn paved the way for the Free State and ultimately the Irish Republic.
The Second Gathering also provides America with an ace card to financially combat its biggest economic rival, China, which has already offered to use its currency to bail out the entire European single currency.
In spite of China’s very dubious human rights record, many EU states may be prepared to ‘look the other way’ if the yuan was used to stabilise the rapidly faltering euro. Such a move would give the Chinese their biggest financial prize since China’s acquisition of Hong Kong in 1997 from the UK.
An EU-China axis would effectively outmanoeuvre any scheme by the American dollar to dominate Europe’s single currency. The euro would exist in name only, with the Chinese yuan dictating the development and stability of EU member state economies.
In spite of Vladimir Putin’s grip on Russian politics, his ruble is still not yet powerful enough to challenge the yuan – let alone the dollar and sterling – as an alternative European single currency. Besides, would the emerging former Soviet bloc nations really want arch rival China to dominate their economies?
This China-Russian rivalry will be another factor which would play into the hands of financiers wanting to develop the EU-US alliance post Brexit. Time is not on the side of the dollar. A lot of lobbying will have to be done to ensure any beleaguered EU states look west to the US, rather than east to China.
It is one of the ironies of Irish history that for eight centuries the Irish tribes butchered each other for supremacy of the island, yet in the next decade, a series of commemorations could see the dead of those campaigns act as a springboard for the dollar’s domination of Europe.
Listen to religious commentator Dr John Coulter’s programme, Call In Coulter, every Saturday morning around 9.30 am on Belfast’s Christian radio station, Sunshine 1049 FM. Listen online at www.thisissunshine.com