Manipal, India — It must be wonderful to believe that the rest of the world shares one's own self-perceptions of omniscience. Weeks after Western financial institutions and instruments cleaned out thousands of clients in the Middle East, China and Russia, French President Nicholas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, at last weekend’s Asia-Europe Meeting in Beijing, offered Asia a simple prescription: Trust us and follow our lead unquestioningly, so that the non-Western part of the world can earn the tag of being "responsible (to the West) stakeholders."
It is unlikely that Asian governments will follow this advice and pour billions of dollars of their capital into two institutions controlled by North America and Europe – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. After the recent banking meltdown in the United States and the European Union, it is not only small children in the rest of the world who can see that the emperor has no clothes.
What has astonished many in Asia is the way in which Western governments are acting as accomplices to what looks like the perfect crime: the stealing of trillions of dollars in value from pockets across the world. This was done not simply by getting the unwary to invest in assets known to be dubious, but by gerrymandering increases in the prices of commodities, notably petroleum, which has gouged economies such as China and India.
This columnist would like to repeat his advice to the oil economies to install gold statues of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in prominent locations, for it is the policy pushed by that distinguished international statesman that caused oil prices to rise far above what market fundamentals dictated.