Poland plans new canal to by-pass Russia

Poland plans to construct a new canal to bypass a stretch of coastline controlled by Russia, as the country tries to rid itself of dependence on its neighbour.

Costing an estimated £167 million, the planned canal will link the Vistula Lagoon in the north east of Poland with the Baltic Sea. Currently, all sea traffic from the lagoon and the flourishing port of Elblag has to travel through Russian waters to get to the Baltic. The canal will cut through a narrow strip of land separating the lagoon from the sea. Continue reading

What’s Behind Russia’s Revival of a Soviet-Era Song Contest?

Russia will revive the Cold War-era Intervision Song Contest this October, according to July 25 reports.

Intervision was first established back in 1977 as a direct rival to the Europe-oriented Eurovision Song Contest. Few people in the participating Soviet nations had private telephones, so Intervision’s television viewers would turn on their house lights if they liked a certain song, or off if they didn’t. The state energy company would then record the size of each power spike, and report the results to the television company to determine points for each contestant. As the Soviet Union began to weaken in the early 1980s, Intervision was discontinued.

Now, Putin is reviving this relic of the Soviet Union’s “glory days,” as he recently has with so many others including a military prep fitness program, the “Hero of Socialist Labor” award, and a grip on domestic media that would earn a hat tip from Comrade Stalin himself.

All these moves serve Putin’s general purpose of resuscitating the Soviet Empire. But this latest one—reviving the song contest—also serves another specific purpose. Continue reading

Russia Sanctions Accelerate Risk to Dollar Dominance

While no one’s suggesting the dollar will lose its status as the main currency of business any time soon, its dominance is ebbing. The greenback’s share of global reserves has already shrunk to under 61 percent from more than 72 percent in 2001. The drumbeat has only gotten louder since the financial crisis in 2008, an event that began in the U.S. when subprime-mortgage loans soured, and the largest emerging-market nations including Russia have vowed to conduct more business in their currencies.“The crisis created a rethink of the dollar-denominated world that we live in,” said Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at Bank of America Corp.’s U.S. Trust, which oversees about $380 billion. “This nasty turn between Russia and the West related to sanctions, that can be an accelerator toward a more multicurrency world.”

Such a transformation may take as long as 25 years, with the dollar remaining “top of the heap” even as other currencies play a greater role, Quinlan said, speaking by phone on Aug. 4 from New York. Continue reading

SCO to admit new members

The SCO was always intended to be a counter-balance to NATO and the West. With the admission of new states such as India and Iran, it’s looking to tip the balance and push the west of of Asia and Eurasia. This also isn’t limited to a political capacity, but will also involve a military component.

Draft documents on the procedure of the admission new members to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have been adopted. This is one of the main outcomes of the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, China, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kirgizstan held in Dushanbe on Thursday.

The adoption of these documents at the next SCO summit will give the green light for admitting the four observer-states, India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia, to the six-member organization.

Documents will be submitted to the SCO summit for the adoption. The summit will be held in Dushanbe in September. At present, Tajikistan holds the SCO presidency. Continue reading

Mexico Looks To Back Peso With Silver: “Would Unleash a Global Power Shift”

 

For many Americans the country of Mexico conjures up images of a third world nation. The poverty, lack of basic services, and extreme violence has left the populace so desperate that thousands of people on a daily basis head to the United States for a better life.

But according to Future Money Trends, all that could change in the near future as key Mexican financial leaders and politicians have been working to institute sweeping monetary change that, if implemented, could unleash a global power shift of epic proportions. Continue reading

The World’s Next Oil Shipping Corridor: The Arctic Ocean

It’s colder than the Persian Gulf, needs more icebreakers than the Suez Canal and passes less picturesque beaches than the Mediterranean, but the so-called Northern Sea route connecting Europe to Asia via the northern coast of Russia has its advantages. Continue reading

The U.S. Must Deny Russian Influence in Egypt

In the violent aftermath of the Egyptian military’s removal of Mohamed Morsi from power, the United States has tried to send a message with limited suspensions of aid. As the security situation on the Sinai Peninsula continues to deteriorate, re-engaging Egypt in counterterrorism efforts is warranted. The administration’s oscillating decisions to maintain, halt, and then reinstate this type of security assistance have been confusing at best and harmful at worst. Egypt’s need for satellite services (including launch capabilities) to address the growing problem of insurgents in the Sinai is a key national security concern to Egypt, Israel, and the U.S.

On the geopolitical stage, the fact that Russia has stepped in to solve Egypt’s technology services gap should further motivate the U.S. to action.The Egyptian sentiment that the U.S. has turned its back on them in their hour of need has left an opening for other players to provide financial and technical military assistance. Attempting to preserve the appearance of propriety and support a democratically elected leader, exert regional influence, and keep radical Islamists out of office, Washington has fallen short and created a vacuum whereby a pro-Syrian Russia has moved in to further its strategic regional interests. Continue reading

Energy as a Weapon (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia. Continue reading

The Galloping Militarization of Eurasia

Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the deployment of up to 40,000 troops on Ukraine’s border to support the actions of pro-Russian separatist forces have been widely identified as a turning point in the “post-Cold War” European security system. But Russia’s militarized policy toward Ukraine should not be seen as a spontaneous response to the crisis. It has only been possible thanks to a long-term program by Moscow to build up its military capabilities.

A 21ST CENTURY RUSSIAN MILITARY

To be a “great power” – which is the status that Moscow’s political elite claim for Russia – is to have both an international reach and regional spheres of influence. To achieve this, Moscow understands that it must be able to project military force, so the modernization of Russia’s armed forces has become a key element of its “great power” ambitions. For this reason, seven years ago, a politically painful and expensive military modernization program was launched to provide Russia with new capabilities. One of the key aims of this modernization has been to move the Russian military away from a mass mobilization army designed to fight a large-scale war (presumably against NATO) to the creation of smaller and more mobile combat-ready forces designed for local and regional conflicts. Continue reading

Russia-China alliance could resist US in Asia: expert

As Russia looks to strengthen ties with China, the country can profit from selling weapons while also helping China to resist US influence in the Asia-Pacific region, writes Huanqiu, the website of China’s nationalistic tabloid Global Times, citing a Russian military expert.

The expert, who works for a military institution in Russia and wished to remain anonymous, suggested that Moscow would side with China in a potential conflict with the US. Russia may also look to help China build a powerful naval force with five to six aircraft carriers. Continue reading

Russia and Nicaragua to cooperate on construction of interoceanic canal

 

Moscow and Managua are to cooperate over the next few years on the construction of the so-called Interoceanic Grand Canal, a new alternative to the Panama Canal. Deeper, wider, and longer than its rival in Panama, the new canal will challenge U.S. control over the region, though experts are divided on its geopolitical benefits for Russia.

The main investor is the Chinese company HKND, which has received a 100-year concession for building and operating the canal. The construction will be carried out by workers from China and Central America, while Russia, according to the RBTH source, will provide not so much economic and organizational assistance as military and political support. Continue reading

Are the dollar’s carry trade days numbered?

The video unfortunately cannot be posted here due to compatibility issues, but can be found in the link to the source, if interested.

Traders borrowing U.S. dollars to fund investments in other currencies should beware, with analysts expecting the greenback to strengthen and advising a shift to borrowing the euro instead.

“U.S. rates and the U.S. dollar may get a pop from an expected jump in April inflation,” Barclays said Monday in a note titled “Carry on, but don’t fund with USDs.”

Over the medium term, Barclays expects the U.S. inflation risks are to the upside, making it likely the greenback will continue to strengthen. Barclays expects the U.S. dollar index (DXY) to rise 5 percent by year end, with a 7.3 percent rise over 12 months. Continue reading

John Embry: Hold onto Gold as ‘Currency Event’ Likely

John Embry said last month that the rally at the beginning of the year was encouraging, but to remember that sentiment for gold was still extremely negative. He says that the stock market’s new highs are a result of the Fed ‘jamming cash into the economy.’ With nowhere else to go, cash is creating bubbles in stocks, real-estate and bonds, he warns.

What is your view of gold in the next few years? What if we continue to have low inflation, or even deflation? How will gold fare?

Well, I don’t think that the situation that we have here is sustainable. We are going to have to create a sufficient amount of money to keep the debt load afloat. We are going to have to keep interest rates low because if those basic requirements are not met – that is lots of liquidity and maintenance of low interest rates – the system is going to collapse. Continue reading

China ‘has more gold than official figures show’

In other words, they could be getting ready to pull the plug.

China could be holding even more gold than previously realised, according to Alasdair Macleod, a researcher at online precious metals trader,GoldMoney.

Official figures from China Gold Association (CGA) show that the Asian superpower consumed 1,176 tonnes of gold in 2013, 41pc higher than in 2012.

However, about 500 tonnes of gold from Chinese mines and scrap is unaccounted for by the CGA.

Mr Macleod believes the country holds more gold that the stated figures suggest, and in fact consumed 4,843 tonnes in 2013 alone. He raised his estimate after researching Chinese Gold Reports, where he said he found details of the amount of gold vaulted.

Continue reading

By 2015, Russia Wants To Establish A Eurasian Union To Rival The EU

Is Moscow’s proposed Eurasian Union an initiative to revitalize stagnant economies, or an attempt to re-establish a Soviet Union “lite?”

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the world suddenly had 15 more nation states, some of whom had not been sovereign territories since the 19th century.

Nevertheless, calls for a re-integration of the Eurasian region were soon heard, often led by Russia, according to (pdf) a Chatham House paper.

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the fall of the USSR “a major geopolitical disaster of the century.”

There’s been a smattering of different attempts at unification, including the Commonwealth of Independent States security union, but a lack of commitment to creating the institutions have stalled efforts, Chatham House writes.

Continue reading