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The end of the dollar as we know it

The end of the dollar as we know it 

The end of the dollar as we know it
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Current uncertainty and worries are clearly reflected in the financial markets. Investors are fleeing into assets that are deemed safe, such as gold, U.S. Treasuries and the dollar. They still flock to the U.S. on a massive scale, whereas a lot of the current insecurity derives directly from the White House. At the same time, we are seeing more and more commentaries around the question of whether a shift is taking place, slowly but surely, from the dollar toward other currencies.

JPMorgan recently wrote, “We believe the dollar could lose its status as the world’s dominant currency (which could see it depreciate over the medium term) due to structural reasons as well as cyclical impediments.” And this month, Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney claimed that the dollar’s status as a hegemon is putting the global economy under increasing strain and needs to end. 

That the dominance of the dollar is being questioned is not surprising at the present juncture.

Current and future U.S. policies look vague or nonexistent. Allies as well as enemies feel out of control as they have to wait and see what storms are brewing in the U.S. president’s Twitter feed, about to be unleashed.

Countries such as China and Russia are taking an increasingly assertive stance.

The relative supremacy of the U.S. has been waning, and there are mounting doubts about whether the country will continue to support and shore up the international system that it has largely built up and shaped itself.

The power of the United States may be lessening in a relative sense, but the country has its tentacles in projects and countries virtually all over the world.

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

Brexit, Britain and the Permanent Crisis in the Gulf

Brexit, Britain and the Permanent Crisis in the Gulf

What on Earth were the British politicians and officials thinking who gave the go-ahead for the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar on 4 July? Did they truly believe that the Iranians would not retaliate for what they see as a serious escalation in America’s economic war against them?

The British cover story that the sending of 30 Royal Marines by helicopter to take over the tanker was all to do with enforcing EU sanctions on Syria, and nothing to do with US sanctions on Iran, was always pretty thin.

The Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, has said categorically that Britain took over the tanker “following a request from the United States to the United Kingdom”.

One fact about Iranian foreign policy should have been hardwired into the brain of every politician and diplomat in Britain, as it already is in the Middle East, which is that what you do to the Iranians they will do to youat a time and place of their own choosing.

The US and UK backed Saddam Hussein in his invasion of Iran in 1980, but this was not unconnected – though it was impossible to prove – with the suicide bombing that killed 241 US service personnel in the marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.

Commentators seeking an explanation for the UK’s seizure of the Grace 1 suggest that it was suckered into the action by super hawks in the US administration, such as the national security adviser John Bolton.

But, given the inevitability of the Iranian reaction against British naval forces too weak to defend British-flagged tankers, the British move looks more like a strategic choice dictated by a lack of other options.

Confrontation with the EU over Brexit means that Britain has no alternative but to ally itself ever more closely to the US.

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

Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare

Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare

Image via Wikimedia Commons

“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” President Trump tweeted today. “I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!”

Iran’s economy is already floundering due to the steadily mounting sanctions that the Trump administration has been heaping upon it since its withdrawal from the JCPOA last year. Crucial goods are four times the price they used to be, sick Iranians are having difficulty obtaining life-saving medicine, and life in general has been getting much more difficult for the poorest and frailest Iranian civilians.

For this reason, it is a very safe bet that there have been Iranians who have died because of the sanctions. Being unable to obtain enough life-saving medicine will inevitably increase mortality rates, as will inadequate nutrition and care for those whose health is at risk. There’s not really any way around that, and it’s only going to get worse.

And that’s exactly what was supposed to happen. As far as their intended purpose is concerned, the sanctions are working. They’re doing exactly what they were intended to do: hurt Iranian civilians.

How do I know this? Well for one thing America’s Secretary of State has said it openly. The New York Times reports the following:

Last week, Mr. Pompeo acknowledged to Michael J. Morrell, a former acting director of the C.I.A., that the administration’s strategy would not persuade Iranian leaders to change their behavior.

“I think what can change is the people can change the government,” he said on a podcast hosted by Mr. Morrell, in what appeared to be an endorsement of regime change.

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

Dire Straits Of Hormuz

Dire Straits Of Hormuz

Well, we didn’t have to wait long for ’John Wick: Chapter Portobello’ to begin, did we? Brent crude spiked 4.5% before giving up around half of those gains as a further two oil tankers–one Norwegian, one Japanese–were attacked in the Straits of Hormuz, forcing the evacuation of both vessels; that as Japanese PM Abe sat down with the Iranian government to try to dial down tensions with the US – and as the leadership refused to accept any message from President Trump. The US have now accused Iran of attacking the two ships, which follows on from two other recent tanker attacks, drones hitting Saudi oil pumps, and a missile hitting a Saudi airport this week. The easy market response was long oil, obviously, as well as a ‘Risk Off’ further leg down in bond yields. But who did this and why? And what does that say will happen next? Logically, it was either Iran, or the US, or a third party:

Iran is suffocating under US sanctions, a known instigator of such actions via proxies, and threatening the EU with walking away from the nuclear deal if they won’t help it out. An attack like this would be incredibly reckless…unless they are desperate enough to up the ante to see if a war-averse White House will press ahead with another ruinous Middle East conflict ahead of the 2020 elections and in the face of a Cold War with China. If that is the case then expect more provocations and more Risk Off even as Iran calls this all “beyond suspicious”, “economic terrorism”, and “sabotage diplomacy”.

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

Top Iranian Diplomat: US Cannot ‘Expect To Stay Safe’

Top Iranian Diplomat: US Cannot ‘Expect To Stay Safe’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a series of threats over ongoing tensions in the Persian Gulf amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat who sought to diffuse the situation.

On Monday, Zarif threatened that the United States”cannot expect to stay safe” after initiating an economic war against the Islamic republic in the wake of President Trump’s decision more than a year ago to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, along with tough sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector. 

“Mr. Trump himself has announced that the U.S. has launched an economic war against Iran,” said Zarif according to the Associated Press, adding “The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.”

Whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it,” he added. 

For his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas insisted his country and other European nations want to find a way to salvage the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. But he acknowledged there were limits.

We won’t be able to do miracles, but we are trying as best as we can to do prevent its failure,” Maas said.

However, Europe has yet to be able to offer Iran a way to get around the newly imposed U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, a July 7 deadline — imposed by Iran — looms for Europe to find a way to save the unraveling deal. –Associated Press

Anger over Israel

At one point during the meeting, Germany’s Heiko Maas angered the Iranian diplomat while discussing Israel. 

“Israel’s right to exist is part of Germany’s founding principle and is completely non-negotiable,” said Maas, adding “It is a result of our history and it’s irrevocable and doesn’t just change because I am currently in Tehran.”

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

Shielding the World From US Chaos Is No Easy Task

Shielding the World From US Chaos Is No Easy Task

Donald Trump’s foreign policy relies heavily on putting to use to the tools available to the Empire: economic terrorismthreats of wardiplomatic pressuretrade wars, etc. But in resorting to tried-and-true imperialism, it is isolating itself internationally from traditional allies and raising tensions on the global chessboard to an unprecedented level.

Threats of war against Venezuela, North Korea, Syria and Iran are now repeated on a daily basis. Economic measures involving tariffs or duties, in many ways comparable to declarations of war, are now habitual, whether directed at friends or allies. Iran and Syria are under sanctions, while Pyongyang is even prevented from docking one of its ships in its ports, thereby finding itself de facto placed under US embargo, such as was threatened against Venezuela.

China and Russia are daily fighting to support the multipolar world through diplomatic, economic and sometimes military means, offering to Washington’s enemies some kind of shield with which to withstand the outrageous slings and arrows of the Trump administration. Beijing and Moscow carry out their resistance with an eye to their long-term objectives, given that in the short term their actions will inevitably invite the implacable hostility of Washington and her lackeys.

The fate of the new multipolar world order essentially depends on how well China and Russia will be able weather Washington’s storm. It is naturally in the interests of the rest of the world that the chaos of Washington’s unipolarity will be brought to a close in the least chaotic and destructive manner.

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

Aircraft Carrier Abraham Lincoln Passes Through Suez Canal On Route To Iran As Tensions Soar

Aircraft Carrier Abraham Lincoln Passes Through Suez Canal On Route To Iran As Tensions Soar

Tehran tried to call Washington’s bluff on Wednesday when it threatened to start stockpiling enriched uranium and heavy water again – which would constitute a violation of the JCPOA’s terms – unless the treaty’s signatories abide by their commitments to buy oil and offer other financial relief, something that American sanctions have rendered impossible.

Iran

But in what appears to be an attempt to show Tehran that it’s not bluffing, Washington has committed to another threatening display of force. Reuters reports that the USS Abraham Lincoln, which had been dispatched to the Mediterranean last week amid worsening tensions with Iran, has passed through the Suez Canal, the first stop in what appears to be a journey into Iranian waters.

  • U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIER ABRAHAM LINCOLN, SENT AS WARNING TO IRAN, PASSES THROUGH EGYPT’S SUEZ CANAL – CANAL AUTHORITY

The report cited the Canal Authority as its main source.

Suez

Last night, Trump issued a statement affirming that the relationship with Iran is “broken beyond repair” and placed new sanctions on Iran’s industrial metals sector.

Meanwhile, the Iranians have dismissed Washington’s dispatching of the aircraft carrier and several B-52 bombers to the region.

The Iranians have warned that they would retaliate if US forces get too close – possibly by blocking off the critical Strait of Hormuz (vital to the global oil trade) or responding with violence. If the aircraft carrier is indeed heading for the Persian Gulf, the situation could swiftly spiral out of control.

A New Mega Cartel Is Emerging In Oil Markets

A New Mega Cartel Is Emerging In Oil Markets

Oil port

China and India—two of the world’s largest oil importers and the biggest demand growth centers globally—are close to setting up an oil buyers’ club to have a say in the pricing and sourcing of crude oil amid OPEC’s cuts and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, Indian outlet livemint reports, citing three officials with knowledge of the talks.

This is not the first time that the two major oil importers are working to create such an oil club.

India and China have discussed creating an ‘oil buyers’ club’ to be able to negotiate better prices with oil exporting countries and will be looking to import more U.S. crude oil in order to reduce OPEC’s sway, both over the global oil market and over prices, India’s Petroleum Ministry said in June 2018.

“With oil producers’ cartel OPEC playing havoc with prices, India discussed with China the possibility of forming an ‘oil buyers club’ that can negotiate better terms with sellers as well as getting more US crude oil to cut dominance of the oil block,” a tweet from the Petroleum Ministry’s Twitter account said in the middle of last year, when oil prices were rising ahead of the return of the U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil industry.

According to the officials cited by livemint, China and India have exchanged senior-level visits several times since then and have made progress on “joint sourcing of crude oil.” Related: Massive Drop In U.S. Oil Rig Count Fails To Arrest Price Slide

Reports of the strengthened Chinese-Indian cooperation in potentially forming an oil buyers’ club come just as the U.S. sanction waivers for all Iranian oil customers expire this week.

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

Why An OPEC Oil Supply Surge Won’t Happen

Why An OPEC Oil Supply Surge Won’t Happen

Oil well Middle East

The end of the Iranian sanction waivers by the Trump Administration has put oil traders on edge.

While most analysts are optimistic about OPEC leader Saudi Arabia being able to fill the gap left by lower Iranian oil exports, reality could be totally different. Looking at the ongoing discussions between OPEC’s two key members, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, there are no real signs that the Kingdom of Oil will be willing to increase its overall oil production to keep prices at the pump low in oil importing nations.

The real crux at present is what the market will do when, on the 2nd of May, the Iran sanction waivers end. History has shown that oil importers are very well equipped to take mitigating measures to counter the effects of the Iran sanctions. Saudi Arabia, and others, will have to be very careful to stabilize the market without falling into a Trumpian trap, which could result in an oversupply situation in the short term.

At present, all signs point to higher oil prices. If no real additional oil is brought onto the market, shortages will become visible within months. Statements made by U.S. president Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will add supplies to counter the loss of Iranian volumes are currently only wishful thinking, and not based on any hard promises from Riyadh or Abu Dhabi.

OPEC’s leaders are in a powerful position to react to Trump’s calls for additional volumes and lower prices as they wish. Washington’s strategy may well have backfired, as U.S. shale will not be able to supply the markets with the necessary crude grades. At the same time, national oil companies are willing to take a backseat, as long as OPEC+ production cuts are in place. 

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

Dollar Dominance Under Multiple, Converging Threats

Dollar Dominance Under Multiple, Converging Threats

Dollar Dominance Under Multiple, Converging Threats

For years, currency analysts have looked for signs of an international monetary “reset” that would diminish the dollar’s role as the leading reserve currency and replace it with a substitute agreed upon at some Bretton Woods-style monetary conference.

That push has been accelerated by Washington’s use of the dollar as a weapon of financial warfare, including the application of sanctions. The U.S. uses the dollar strategically to reward friends and punish enemies.

The use of the dollar as a weapon is not limited to trade wars and currency wars, although the dollar is used tactically in those disputes. The dollar is much more powerful than that.

The dollar can be used for regime change by creating hyperinflation, bank runs and domestic dissent in countries targeted by the U.S. The U.S. can depose the governments of its adversaries, or at least blunt their policies without firing a shot.

But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

As the U.S. wields the dollar weapon more frequently, the rest of the world works harder to shun the dollar completely.

I’ve been warning for years about efforts of nations like Russia and China to escape what they call “dollar hegemony” and create a new financial system that does not depend on the dollar and helps them get out from under dollar-based economic sanctions.

These efforts are only increasing.

Russia has sold off almost all of its dollar-denominated U.S. Treasury securities and has reduced its dollar asset position to almost zero. It has been amassing massive quantities of gold, and has increased the gold portion of its official reserves to over 20%. Russia has almost 2,000 tonnes of gold, having more than tripled its gold reserves in the past 10 years. It has actually acquired enough gold to surpass China on the list of major holders of gold as official reserves.

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Amid Blackouts and Food Shortages, Pence Unveils New Sanctions Targeting Venzuelan Oil Exports to Cuba

Amid Blackouts and Food Shortages, Pence Unveils New Sanctions Targeting Venzuelan Oil Exports to Cuba

Peace advocacy group CodePink says, “Reminder: sanctions are an act of war. #HandsOffVenezuela.”

Venezuelans seeking water during blackout

Residents carry water that they had to obtain from a natural source from the hill El Avila after the water supply was suspended following a nationwide blackout occurred March 10, 2019 in Caracas, Venezuela. (Photo: Edilzon Gamez/Getty Images)

Despite Venezuela’s worsening humanitarian crisis fueled by political unrest and economic sanctions, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced new sanctions targeting the government and companies that transport oil to Cuba as part of the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Recognizing that “oil is the lifeblood” of the Venezuelan government, Pence said in Houston on Friday that the United States is sanctioning 34 vessels owned or operated by Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)—the state-run oil company—and two international businesses and a vessel that have recently shipped crude oil to Cuba, a key ally of Maduro.

“Cuba is a major importer of crude oil from Venezuela,” the U.S. Treasury Department noted in a statement Friday, “and in return, sends assistance to Venezuela in the form of political advisers, intelligence and military officials, and medical professionals, all of whom are used to ensure Maduro’s hold on power.”

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez immediately spoke out against the sanctions. “I strongly reject new measures of economic piracy adopted by Washington to damage #Venezuela and steal its resources,” he tweeted in Spanish on Friday. “They will fail.”

“These measures are an act of extraterritoriality, interference, and imperial arrogance,” Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez added on Saturday.

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

Presstitutes Turn Blind Eye to UN Report on Venezuela

Presstitutes Turn Blind Eye to UN Report on Venezuela

Washington and the Convict Appointed to Overthrow Venezuela Continue the Lies

Don’t you think something is fishy when the presstitutes orchestrate a fake news “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela, but totally ignore the real humanitarian crises in Yemen and Gaza?  

Don’t you think something is really very rotten when the expert, Alfred Maurice de Zayas,  sent by the UN to Venezuela to evaluate the situation finds no interest by any Western media or any Western government in his report?

Don’t you think it is a bit much for Washington to steal $21 billion of Venezuela’s money, impose sanctions in an effort to destabilize the country and to drive the Venezuelan government to its knees, blame Venezuelan socialism (essentially nationalization of the oil company) for bringing “starvation to the people,” and offer a measly $21 million in “humanitarian aid.”

As the United States is completely devoid of any print or TV media, it falls upon internet media such as this website to perform the missing function of honest journalism.  

As for the alleged starvation and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, Zayas has this to say:

The December 2017 and March 2018 reports of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) list food crises in 37 countries. “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is not among them.”

“In 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because Venezuela ‘is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible’.”

The “crisis” in Venezuela “cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others.”

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

Russians Told To “Prepare For Worst Outcome” As US Prepares New Sanctions

Russians Told To “Prepare For Worst Outcome” As US Prepares New Sanctions

A bipartisan team of US senators is preparing to hit Russia with additional sanctions over its 2016 US election interference and military operations in Syria and Ukraine.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are spearheading the measure, called the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, which includes a wide range of financial penalties targeting Russia’s energy complex, financial industry and “political figures, oligarchs, and family members and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Vladimir Putin,” reported The Independent.

Threats of the sanctions rocked Russian stock and government bond markets at the end of the week, and the country’s debt insurance costs jumped alongside FX volatility.

Moscow has responded to the prospect of new sanctions with anger.

A former minister told Russians to prepare for the worst outcome; the Kremlin accused the US of “racketeering.”

“We see clear symptoms of emotional Russophobia,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists. “But behind the emotions … is an entirely pragmatic, assertive trade calculation, and … nothing less than an attempt to engage in dishonest competition.”

Frants Klintsevich, a member of the Defence and Security Committee of Russia’s upper house, described the new sanctions as a “dangerous habit” similar to “smoking a pipe before breakfast, poisoning all those around.”

The head of Russia’s largest bank and its former economics minister, Herman Gref, warned that the sanctions could damage the already slowing economy.

 “We need to prepare for the very worst of situations,” Gref warned.

The sanction also includes support for NATO, including requiring a two-thirds majority in the Senate for the US to leave the alliance. It includes plans to make it easier to transfer military hardware to NATO countries to reduce their dependences on Russian arms.

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

Does Washington Rule the World?

Does Washington Rule the World?

Does Washington Rule the World?

One of the most disturbing aspects of the past two years of Donald Trump foreign policy has been the assumption that decisions made by the United States are binding on the rest of the world. Apart from time of war, no other nation has ever sought to prevent other nations from trading with each other. And the United States has also uniquely sought to penalize other countries for alleged crimes that did not occur in the US and that did not involve American citizens, while also insisting that all nations must comply with whatever penalties are meted out by Washington.

The United States now sees itself as judge, jury and executioner in policing the international community, a conceit that began post World War 2 when American presidents began referring to themselves as “leader of the free world.” This pretense received legislative backing with passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987 (ATA) as amended in 1992 plus subsequent related legislation, to include the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act of 2016 (JASTA). The body of legislation can be used by US citizens or residents to obtain civil judgments against alleged terrorists anywhere in the world and can be employed to punish governments, international organizations and even corporations that are perceived to be supportive of terrorists, even indirectly or unknowingly. Plaintiffs are able to sue for injuries to their “person, property, or business” and have ten years to bring a claim.

Sometimes the connections and level of proof required by a US court to take action are tenuous, and that is being polite. Suits currently can claim secondary liability for third parties, including banks and large corporations, under “material support” of terrorism statutes. This includes “aiding and abetting” liability as well as providing “services” to any group that the United States considers to be terrorist, even if the terrorist label is dubious and/or if that support is inadvertent.

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

Turkey Dismisses Trump’s Threat To Devastate Economy Over Kurds

Turkey has brushed off a Sunday threat by President Trump to “devastate” them economically if they attack the Kurdish militia (YPG) in northern Syria, which US forces have fought alongside against the Islamic State (IS).

Turkey regards the YPG as terrorists.


Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….


You cannot get anywhere by threatening Turkey economically,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Trump announced in December that the US would withdraw all troops from Syria as the Islamic State had been “defeated,” a move which shocked allies and resulted in the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Concerns remain that Kurds from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are are under YPG leadership, would fall under attack by Turkey once the US withdraws.

Last week Turkey’s leaders, including the defense minister, described preparations underway for another major Turkish assault on US-backed Kurdish positions east of the Euphrates, following the exit of American advisers based on Trump’s previously announced pullout. That said, Trump said on Sunday that he would thwart any Turkish invasion plans with a “20 mile safe zone,”

Presumably this “safe zone” will be towards protecting American forces while precise exit logistics take shape, and will occur simultaneously to the US pounding remnant ISIS positions; however the details remain uncertain.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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