Harper Blew It – Again

We have been tracking the final days of the Asian Infrastructure  Investment Bank (AIIB) drive for prospective founding members (PFM) (read Harper’s Days Are Numbered). At the close of the application process today, March 31, the approved members and the applicants for membership stand at 53 countries as shown below:

Asia regional members Non-regional members
Country/Region Date of approval
 Bangladesh* 24 October 2014
 Brunei* 24 October 2014
 Cambodia* 24 October 2014
 China* 24 October 2014 (Founder)
 India* 24 October 2014
 Indonesia* 25 November 2014[13]
 Jordan 7 February 2015
 Kazakhstan* 24 October 2014
 Kuwait* 24 October 2014
 Laos* 24 October 2014
 Malaysia* 24 October 2014
 Maldives 31 December 2014[13]
 Mongolia* 24 October 2014
 Myanmar* 24 October 2014
   Nepal* 24 October 2014
 Oman* 24 October 2014
 Pakistan* 24 October 2014
 Philippines* 24 October 2014
 Qatar* 24 October 2014
 Saudi Arabia 13 January 2015
 Singapore* 24 October 2014[25]
 Sri Lanka* 24 October 2014
 Tajikistan 13 January 2015
 Thailand* 24 October 2014[25]
 Uzbekistan* 24 October 2014
 Vietnam* 24 October 2014
Country Date of approval
 Germany 1 April 2015
 Luxembourg 27 March 2015
 New Zealand 5 January 2015[26]
  Switzerland 28 March 2015[27]
 United Kingdom 28 March 2015[25]

Applicant Countries

Country/Region Date of application
 Australia 29 March 2015[28]
 Austria 27 March 2015[29]
 Brazil 28 March 2015[30]
 Denmark 28 March 2015[31]
 Egypt 30 March 2015
 Finland 30 March 2015[32]
 France 17 March 2015
 Georgia 28 March 2015[30]
 Hong Kong December 2014[24]
 Iceland 31 March 2015[33]
 Israel 31 March 2015
 Italy 17 March 2015
 Kyrgyzstan 31 March 2015
 Netherlands 28 March 2015[30]
 Norway 31 March 2015[34]
 Portugal 31 March 2015
 Russia 30 March 2015[35]
 South Korea 26 March 2015[36]
 Spain 27 March 2015[37]
 Sweden 31 March 2015[38]
 Chinese Taipei 31 March 2015
 Turkey 26 March 2015[39]

Source: Wikipedia.

Let’s look at the membership in more detail. The so-called BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, are all present. Most of the industrial powers in the EU are either members or applicants. The Scandinavian countries are in the list. Much of the Pacific Rim is present including Australia and New Zealand. In short, most of the global economy and manufacturing base with exceptions noted in the next paragraph, is present in the AIIB.

The exceptions also stand out, the US, Japan and Canada. The US views China as an emerging threat to its global hegemony (read: Asian Infrastructure Investment bank challenges U.S. supremacy). The China is the founder of the AIIB. The US can dominate the other global financial institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, but is unlikely ever to have the influence over the AIIB that they would want. Nor are they likely to want to come in as a junior member of an organization set up by one of their main protagonists. It’s pure politics of the American Empire.

It has been reported that the US pressured its allies not to join (read: Under US Pressure, Major Countries Snub China’s New Regional Bank; U.S. Pressure Fails to Stop New Development Bank). We know that the UK successfully resisted this pressure (read: UK’s joining of AIIB marks critical shift in global financial order). The other major European countries successfully resisted US pressure (read: France, Germany, Italy to join China-led $50bn infrastructure bank). Japan has flip-flopped.

Japan is a special case. It has current and historical issues with China – and vice versa – over disputed territory. It has depended on the US for its defense under special defense treaties. It seems to have been considering joining (read: Japan expected to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and then not joining (read: Japan Holds Out on Joining China-Led AIIB as Deadline Arrives); Japan, Sticking With US, Says It Won’t Join China-Led Bank), and then joining later, maybe (read: Japan says not bound by deadline to join AIIB, and not yet decided).

And then there’s Canada. We have no issues with China except those that we manufacture from our ideologies. But with our made-in-Washington foreign policy we have missed the deadline. The ship has sailed without us. Given the money Harper has blown on trade missions to China, we find his behavior towards this initiative inexplicable. Maybe the Americans applied pressure of a degree he didn’t think Canada could afford. Maybe he has some strange ideological reasons why Canada should not be part of an initiative that will be part of the major economic growth in the twenty first century. Unfortunately he hasn’t deigned to tell us what his thinking is. And if it turns out badly for Canada as well it may, he may be able to get a position at Harvard or the Council on Foreign Relations.

Addendum: 20150406

A review of comments by Larry Summers posted on Zero hedge has relevance to the AIIB story. It suggests the creation of the AIIB was in response to American self-interest and lack of global understanding that led to restrictive control over other global financial institutions that we referred to above. Read: This Is Why The US Just Lost Its Superpower Status According To Larry Summers.

Addendum: 20150611

Zero Hedge reports: China’s Global Ambitions Take Shape As AIIB Structure Revealed, Germany Pledges Full Support. The structure of the bank has been established. It is clear that it will be an important institution operating outside the controlled territory of the IMF and the World bank which the US controls.

There is a voting structure based pn the size of initial contribution, founding member status, and to some extent geography. This is where future development will gestate. Canada has already lost considerable advantage and will lose more as time progresses. But with a made-in-Washington foreign policy, Canada’s position is no surprise.


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