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World’s Largest Asset Manager Warns: The Dollar’s Days As Global Reserve Currency Are Numbered

Have BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and Russian President Vladimir Putin been comparing notes?

In comments that sound eerily similar to a warning issued by Putin, who warned during a speech last month that the US risked undermining the dollar’s reserve currency status with its sanctions regime, the CEO of the world’s largest asset-management firm said Tuesday during a panel discussion at the New Economic Forum in Singapore that the US dollar’s status as the world’s dominant currency wouldn’t last forever.

Fink

And instead of citing external factors like China’s expanding economic clout and influence, or an insurgent Russia, Fink pointed to the widening US budget deficit as the biggest risk to the dollar’s status as the global hegemon. And while it might not happen tomorrow, or next year, over time, as US interest rates rise and the federal government strains under its tremendous debt burden, the creditors who were once eager to buy up Treasury bonds will gradually disappear.

“We’re going to move there over time” Fink said.

Instead of working with its creditors like China, the US is fighting them by engaging in an acrimonious trade war. Fink said that, in his experience, it’s never wise to fight with your lenders.

“The problem is we are living with a deficit that is very large. We are fighting with our creditors right now worldwide,” Fink said.

“Generally, when you fight with your banker, it’s not a good outcome,” he said.

“I wouldn’t recommend you fight with your lenders, and we’re fighting with our lenders. Forty percent of the U.S. deficit is funded by external factors. No other country has that.”

And as interest rates rise and the government struggles with its newfound debt premium, collateral damage in the equity market will be almost inevitable.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

What Empire Loyalists Are Really Saying When They Bash Julian Assange

What Empire Loyalists Are Really Saying When They Bash Julian Assange

Wired has just published what might be the single most brazenly dishonest and manipulative piece of down-punching empire smut that I have ever read. An article by Virginia Heffernan titled “The Real Houseguest of the Ecuadorian Embassy” revolves around the outright lie that Julian Assange is suing the Ecuadorian government because he doesn’t feel like cleaning up after his cat and maintaining basic hygiene in the embassy he’s been confined to since 2012. In reality, the legal case arose from the fact that despite being granted political asylum for his journalism, Assange has for months been cut off from the world and forbidden to practice journalism by the new government of Ecuador, and would remain unable to practice journalism under the new conditions Quito recently imposed upon him.

The article reads as though its author is attempting to force snarky humor through a thick fog of hatred and personal misery while seeing how many lies she can pack into each paragraph. Heffernan claims falsely that Assange is “wanted on various criminal charges”; Assange has not been charged with anything. Heffernan claims falsely that Assange “has been closely linked to the Kremlin and Russian president Vladimir Putin”; this is just objectively false with no evidence backing it up whatsoever. Heffernan claims falsely that “the distinct possibility has surfaced that during his embassy tenure Assange communicated with Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s consigliere, via magic decoder rings or the internet”; there’s no evidence that Stone had any back channel with WikiLeaks, and the information he notoriously amplified was already public. Heffernan claims falsely that WikiLeaks is “Russia-aligned”; another assertion for which there is zero evidence and much evidence to the contrary.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The New Global Tinderbox: It’s Not Your Mother’s Cold War

shutterstock_725886793

When it comes to relations between Donald Trump’s America, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and Xi Jinping’s China, observers everywhere are starting to talk about a return to an all-too-familiar past. “Now we have a new Cold War,” commented Russia expert Peter Felgenhauer in Moscow after President Trump recently announced plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Trump administration is “launching a new Cold War,” said historian Walter Russell Mead in the Wall Street Journal, following a series of anti-Chinese measures approved by the president in October. And many others are already chiming in.

Recent steps by leaders in Washington, Moscow, and Beijing may seem to lend credence to such a “new Cold War” narrative, but in this case history is no guide. Almost two decades into the twenty-first century, what we face is not some mildly updated replica of last century’s Cold War, but a new and potentially even more dangerous global predicament.

The original Cold War, which lasted from the late 1940s until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, posed a colossal risk of thermonuclear annihilation. At least after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, however, it also proved a remarkably stable situation in which, despite local conflicts of many sorts, the United States and the Soviet Union both sought to avoid the kinds of direct confrontations that might have triggered a mutual catastrophe. In fact, after confronting the abyss in 1962, the leaders of both superpowers engaged in a complex series of negotiations leading to substantial reductions in their nuclear arsenals and agreements intended to reduce the risk of a future Armageddon.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Diplomat: “Yes, Russia Is Preparing For War, I Can Confirm It”

A week after Russian president Vladimir Putin doubled-down on a warning to Russia’s geopolitical foes first made earlier this year by declaring that Russia would use its “unstoppable” nuclear weapons in response to an incoming missile attack shortly after US president Trump announced the US would pull out of the INF Treaty, , a Russian diplomat has both confirmed (and denied) what US war hawks have been calling out: Moscow is preparing for war, he said, just in case the US starts one.

Speaking at the UN on Friday, Andrey Belousov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control, echoed Putin’s comments from last week that Russia is indeed readying itself for war, but only so it can defend its people against American aggression.

“At a recent meeting, the US stated that Russia is preparing for war. Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I can confirm it”, Belousov said adding that “We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people.”

Russia’s military build-up and large-scale drills, which have often been painted in the Western media as preparations for all-out war, are a defensive necessity, he said.

Russia doesn’t seek a confrontation, he said, unlike the US. “Why else would the United States pull out of the [INF] Treaty, increase their nuclear potential, adopt a new nuclear doctrine that lowers the threshold for nuclear weapons use – that’s the question for us all.”

Belousov’s words came after a Russian draft resolution to reinforce the INF Treaty, which bans intermediate-range nuclear weapons, was overwhelmingly rejected at the UN First Committee.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty?

Who profits from the end of the mid-range nuclear treaty?

The US move to shelve the Intermediate-range Nuclear-Forces treaty could accelerate the demise of the whole post-WWII Western alliance, and herald a bad remix of the 1930s

A large Russian missile is seen in a rehearsal for a military parade in Red Square, Moscow, on May, 5 2008. Photo: iStock

A large Russian missile is seen in a rehearsal for a military parade in Red Square, Moscow, on May, 5 2008. Photo: iStock

“No Chance INF Will Be Renegotiated” Says Top Russian Official Ahead Of Trump-Putin Meeting

On Wednesday a top Russian defense official warned that it’s impossible that Moscow will renegotiate the the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF), said to likely be at the top of the agenda when Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are set to meet in Paris on November 11 on the sidelines of commemorative events of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, Vladimir Shamanov, is reported to have said there’s “no chances that the nuclear treaty will be renegotiated” citing Russia’s position of there being “no turning point” away from the Reagan and Soviet-era 1987 treaty placing restrictions on nuclear-capable missiles and outlining arms reduction agreements.

This comes after Russian officials reportedly urged US National Security Advisor John Bolton to stay in the treaty during his trip to Moscow this week, something he rebuffed while saying“There’s a new strategic reality out there,” and described the INF Treaty as a bilateral treaty in a multipolar ballistic missile world,” that remains insufficient as it does not account for countries like China, Iran or North Korea.

The two met previously at their controversial Helsinki summit, via Reuters

And separately Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Russian state media on Thursday: “I am confident that this topic [US withdrawal from the INF Treaty] will dominate the agenda,” and added “We need to understand where the US is going with this issue.”He said amidst crumbling dialogue between Moscow and Washington officials that direct contact between presidents are “twice as important,” according to TASS.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Middle East, Not Russia, Will Prove Trump’s Downfall

The Middle East, Not Russia, Will Prove Trump’s Downfall

Photo Source The White House | CC BY 2.0

The Middle East has a century old tradition of being the political graveyard of American and British political leaders. The list of casualties is long: Lloyd George, Anthony Eden, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Tony Blair and George W Bush. All saw their careers ended or their authority crippled by failure in the region.

Will the same thing happen to Donald Trump as he struggles with the consequences of the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi? I always suspected that Trump might come unstuck because of his exaggerated reliance on a weak state like Saudi Arabia rather than because of his supposed links to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Contrary to the PR company boosterism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and his ambitious projects, Saudi Arabia has oil and money, but is demonstrably ineffective as an independent operator.

The Middle East disasters that toppled so many Western leaders have a certain amount in common. In all cases, the strength of enemies and the feebleness of friends was miscalculated. Lloyd George was forced to resign as prime minister in 1922 because he encouraged the doomed Greek invasion of Anatolia which almost led to a renewed Turkish-British war.

George W Bush and Tony Blair never understood that the occupation of Iraq by American and British ground forces had no support inside Iraq or among its neighbours and was therefore bound to fail. A British military intelligence officer stationed in Basra told me that he could not persuade his superiors of the potentially disastrous fact that “we have no real allies anywhere in Iraq”.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin: In a Nuclear Holocaust “We Will Be Martyrs, They Will Drop Dead”

Putin: In a Nuclear Holocaust “We Will Be Martyrs, They Will Drop Dead”

Ever since the Euromaidan color revolution in Ukraine, the threat of a thermonuclear confrontation between Russia and the United States has been steadily growing. With the United States and NATO forces having pushed their proxy fighters literally to the border with Russia, the world’s second superpower finally became directly involved in Syria, saving the country from the impending defeat by the Gulf Cooperation Council, NATO, Israel, and American terrorists being funded, trained, and armed for the purpose of destroying the secular government of Syria.

This provided two war fronts where American and Russian soldiers could potentially engage in a direct military clash with one another that itself could potentially escalate to a nuclear war if taken to its logical conclusion.

While Western media promoted each act of war on the part of the West as a valiant fight for freedom and every Russian response as aggression, alt media, MSM, and social media were all nonetheless alight with the stark reality that WW3 could very well have broken out at any minute if the Americans pushed too far or if the Russians failed to respond with their typically cool heads.

MSM, of course, took every chance it could to portray the Russians as aggressive, bent on world domination and the domination of American elections and, thus, if a world war did take place, America would be on the right side of history, even if the earth was uninhabitable.

Recently, however, there have been more rumblings of WW3, with warnings from Russia and concerns from American servicemen and women who are worried that the US is rushing headlong into a world-ending confrontation. Oddly enough, those concerns and worries have not been receiving as much attention in the world press as they have in the past.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Threatens US Will Increase Nukes Until Russia, China “Come To Their Senses”

After hours of closed door talks in Moscow between US National Security Advisor John Bolton and his Russian counterpart Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, Bolton told reporters that the United States has yet to take a decision on whether it plans to deploy missiles in Europe if the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) is scrapped.

Bolton further said that he now understands Russia’s position on nuclear arms regulations and treaties much better, and added that more consultations on arms treaties are needed, while further denying prior Russian charges that a US pullout of the INF was an attempt at “blackmail,” according to Russian state media sources. He subsequently had a 90-minute meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and later in the trip is expected to meet with President Vladimir Putin.

John Bolton shakes hands with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. Via RFE/RL

This comes following President Trump’s shock weekend announcement concerning the Reagan-era treaty with the Soviet Union, wherein he said after a campaign rally in Elko, Nevada: “We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement,” and indicated, “We’re going to terminate the agreement.” The Guardian had the day prior to the Saturday statement revealed that Bolton – in what some described as an overreach of the position’s typical role – had been pushing Trump to abandon the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Moscow’s reaction on Sunday was fierce with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warning that Trump’s pledge to “terminate” the treaty was “very dangerous” and that “[Withdrawal] won’t be understood by the international community, but [instead] arouse serious condemnation of all members of the world community, who are committed to security and stability and are ready to work on strengthening the current regimes in arms control.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF

Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF

Photo Source White House Photographic Office | CC BY 2.0

The Trump administration has decided to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the most comprehensive disarmament treaty ever negotiated between Washington and Moscow.  National Security Adviser John Bolton, a long-time opponent of arms control, reportedly will inform Russian President Vladimir Putin this week that the United States will do so. The Trump administration will also be briefing our key European allies on the decision, which will complicate relations with Germany and France who favor maintaining the treaty.  This is the latest in a series of U.S. steps over the past 20 years that have put the Russians on the defensive, and led Russian President Vladimir Putin to be more assertive in protecting Moscow’s interests in East Europe.

The INF treaty actually eliminated an entire class of intermediate-range missiles from the U.S. and Soviet arsenals in 1987.  The Pentagon opposed the treaty, and Secretary of Defense Weinberger and his deputy for arms control and disarmament, Richard Perle, resigned in protest over President Ronald Reagan’s decision to go forward.  The Pentagon has opposed all presidential decisions to pursue disarmament, although—in the case of INF—the Soviets destroyed more than twice as many missiles as the United States, and the European theatre became safer for U.S. forces stationed there.  The treaty and the improved bilateral relations actually led to a slowdown in military spending in both the United States and Russia.

In 2002, President George W. Bush created the worst of all possible strategic worlds when he abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), the cornerstone of strategic deterrence and one of the pearls of Soviet-American arms control policy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Putin’s Puppet” Advances Nuclear Missile Escalations Against Putin

“Putin’s Puppet” Advances Nuclear Missile Escalations Against Putin

Yesterday the news broke that Swamp Monster-In-Chief John Bolton has been pushing President Trump to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the 1988 arms control agreement between the US and the Soviet Union eliminating all missiles of a specified range from the arsenals of the two nuclear superpowers. Today, Trump has announced that he will be doing exactly as Bolton instructed.

This would be the second missile treaty between the US and Russia that America has withdrawn from since it abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002. John Bolton, an actual psychopath who Trump hired as his National Security Advisor in April, ran point on that move as well back when he was part of the increasingly indistinguishable Bush administration.


This is why John Bolton shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near US foreign policy. This would undo decades of bipartisan arms control dating from Reagan. We shouldn’t do it. We should seek to fix any problems with this treaty and move forward. https://fxn.ws/2q1FqTi 

US poised to pull out of nuclear arms treaty with Moscow: source

foxnews.com


“This is why John Bolton shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near US foreign policy,” tweeted Senator Rand Paul in response to early forecasts of the official announcement. “This would undo decades of bipartisan arms control dating from Reagan. We shouldn’t do it. We should seek to fix any problems with this treaty and move forward.”

“This is the most severe crisis in nuclear arms control since the 1980s,” Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute, told The Guardian. “If the INF treaty collapses, and with the New Start treaty on strategic arms due to expire in 2021, the world could be left without any limits on the nuclear arsenals of nuclear states for the first time since 1972.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Putin: Russia Will Only Use Nuclear Weapons ‘If We Are Victims Of Aggression’

Speaking at a policy forum on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin doubled-down on a warning to Russia’s geopolitical foes first made earlier this year when he declared that Russia would only use its “unstoppable” nuclear weapons in response to an incoming missile attack.

While Russia would undertake a preemptive nuclear strike, Putin said Russia wouldn’t hesitate to retaliate if its warning systems spot incoming missiles, even if it would mean the mutually assured destruction of both parties, as ABC News reported. Any “aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable, and that it will be destroyed” Putin said.

Putin

At least Russia can be secure in the knowledge that its citizens “will go to heaven” because they would be on the defensive. Meanwhile, its aggressors would meet a much less desirable fate in the afterlife.

“When we see a coming strike on the territory of Russia, we will retaliate.” He acknowledged it will mean a global catastrophe, but emphasized that “we can’t be those who initiated it.”

We are victims of aggression, we as martyrs will go to heaven. And they’ll just die. Because you can’t even repent.”

Putin also claimed that ISIS had taken 700 hostages in Syria, some of whom were European and US citizens. And while their governments do nothing, the hostages are being killed off at a rate of 10 a day.

During a speech earlier this year, Putin unveiled a bevy of new weapons, including nuclear subs equipped with hypersonic missiles that could evade NATO ABM defenses, that he said will be ready in the coming years, as other Russian officials have warned that the US’s aggressive sanctions and abusive policies toward Russia had succeeded in instigating a revival of the Cold War-era “arms race.” 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Muli-Polar Political Project Pushed Forward by Putin In India

Muli-Polar Political Project Pushed Forward by Putin In India

I have to wonder when Russian President Vladimir Putin sleeps.  He’s busier than any other leader, traveling the globe while consistently changing the board state geopolitically.

While everyone, including me, has had their eye on the turmoil in U.S. political circles over the past couple of weeks, Putin visited India and in a little less than two days ended most speculation as to where India stands in the emerging multi-polar world that Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are building.

Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inked deals with huge future consequences for both countries.  So, while the headlines were all about the Trump Administration trying to pressure India into not buying S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, Putin and Modi put the final touches on Russia building India no less than six more nuclear power plants.

One of the things holding India back as a first-world economy is a reliable electricity grid.  Having eight Russian-designed and built plants operating around the country will upgrade the landscape for India’s electricity usage immensely.

Part of the reason India is such a large oil and gas importer is their electricity base load needs are being met with expensive hydrocarbons.  Shifting that to nuclear,more like France and the U.S., changes everything, especially in the long run, from a foreign exchange perspective.

Bernard at Moon of Alabama was first on interpreting what the scope of these deals mean for the U.S.’s attempt to cleave India from the BRICS alliance.  He rightly linked the western media’s finally picking up the Rafale fighter jet corruption scandal dogging Modi as a sign that the U.S. is very angry over these deals and is beginning the process of undermining Modi’s government.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Self-Defeating US Empire

The Self-Defeating US Empire

Trump is trying to square a globalized world through a national-based American capitalism. It won’t work.

Former President Teddy Roosevelt (1901-09) described the essence of US foreign policy as “speaking softly while carrying a big stick”. Under the incumbent president, Donald Trump, it seems to be all about “speaking loudly”.

What Trump is carrying in reserve is a moot question.

The difference comes down to a question of credibility. A century ago, America was a formidable military, diplomatic and economic power. Hence, Roosevelt could afford to speak softly because there were other indisputable means at his disposal to reinforce US power.

Today, the US is still a formidable military power, that’s for sure. But as for its economy and the role of the American dollar as a global payment mechanism the evidence suggests that it has lost much of its former dominance.

President Trump seems to be trying to compensate for the decline in US power overall by way of adopting more bellicose and foghorn rhetoric for others to comply with American demands.

This week saw a record fall in the American stock market. That suggests that the supposed strength of the US economy is not what it has been cracked up to be under Trump. A major factor in the collapse of the US stock market is reported to be the uncertainty prompted by the growing US trade war with China.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin lamented the US policy of imposing sanctions against other nations and its over-reliance on the dollar as the main global currency exchange tool. Putin said the US was making a “strategic mistake” by using the dollar as a weapon with which to punish other nations to comply with Washington’s diktats.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Sanctions Against Russia Are “A Colossal Strategic Mistake”, Putin Warns

As Russia is preparing plans to wean its banking system off the dollar, advancing a trend of de-dollarization among the US’s largest economic and geopolitical rivals, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of making a “colossal” but “typical” mistake by exploiting the dominance of the dollar by levying economic sanctions against regimes that don’t bow to its whims.

“It seems to me that our American partners make a colossal strategic mistake,” Putin said.

“This is a typical mistake of any empire,” Putin said, explaining that the US is ignoring the consequences of its actions because its economy is strong and the dollar’s hegemonic grasp on global markets remains intact. However “the consequences come sooner or later.”

These remarks echoed a sentiment expressed by Putin back in May, when he said that Russia can no longer trust the US dollar because of America’s decisions to impose unilateral sanctions and violate WTO rules.

While Putin’s criticisms are hardly new, these latest remarks happen to follow a report in the Financial Times, published Tuesday night, detailing Russia’s efforts to wean its economy off of the dollar. The upshot is that while de-dollarization may be painful, it is, ultimately doable.

The US imposed another round of sanctions against Russia over the summer in response to the poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, and the US Senate is considering measures that would effectively cut Russia’s biggest banks off from the dollar and largely exclude Moscow from foreign debt markets.

Putin

With the possibility of being cut off from the dollar system looming, a plan prepared by Andrei Kostin, the head of Russian bank VTB, is being embraced by much of the Russian establishment. Kostin’s plan would facilitate the conversion of dollar settlements into other currencies which would help wean Russian industries off the dollar. And it already has the backing of Russia’s finance ministry, central bank and Putin.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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