Germany Blinks First In Ongoing European Gas War

Nord Stream 2

 

The U.S. is increasingly finding itself at odds against not only Beijing as Trump executes a sledge hammer approach to ongoing trade disputes with China, but also with Moscow, a potentially more lethal and unpredictable opponent both geopolitically and on the energy front.

Much of Washington’s angst with Russia includes the country’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, it’s meddling in recent U.S. elections, being on opposing sides in the ongoing Syrian Civil War and having differing views over energy security for Europe.

Russia, for its part, with its long-entrenched hold on European gas markets, seeks to solidify its grasp by keeping its gas monopoly largely unchallenged and also by pushing through with Russian energy giant Gazprom’s controversial Nord Stream II gas pipeline project. Continue reading

Iran Sanctions Are Damaging The Dollar

Iran

 

Painful sanctions on Iran have demonstrated the long reach of the U.S. Treasury, forcing much of the globe to fall in line and cut oil imports from Iran despite widespread disagreement over the policy. Yet, we are only in the first few chapters of what may ultimately be a long story that ends with the erosion of the power of the U.S. dollar.

The role of the greenback in the international financial system is the reason why the U.S. can prevent much of the world from buying oil from Iran. Oil is traded in dollars, and so much of international commerce is based in dollars. In fact, as much as 88 percent of all foreign exchange trades involve the greenback. Continue reading

Russia and the Solecism of Power

For it is the solecism of power, to think to command the end, and yet not to endure the mean.     
Francis Bacon, Of Empire (1625)

Introduction

Nearly every discussion about Russia raises three questions: Who is to blame?  What is to be done?  And where is Russia heading?  This paper focuses on the third question, though the other two cannot be ignored entirely.  Continue reading

The Altay Pipeline: A Geopolitical Game Changer

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018.

 

It is a matter of common knowledge that energy relations between Russia and China have boomed in the past decade, with all sorts of new infrastructure being built to facilitate the ever-further expansion of bilateral energy trade. Yet it has seemed for some time now that new gas projects are very unlikely to happen – the 38 BCm per year Power of Siberia pipeline will go onstream December 20, 2019 and seemed to satiate China‘s needs for Russian gas – but that has now changed. A second project, generally denoted as the Altay pipeline (sometimes also mentioned as Power of Siberia-2), which had been stalled for four years due to limited demand and Gazprom’s sanctions-induced constraints, is set to be the next big Russo-Chinese gas project. Continue reading

GREAT AGAIN: USA Is Now The Largest Global Crude Oil Producer – Surpasses Russia and Saudi Arabia

In February, U.S. crude oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades. In June and August, the United States surpassed Russia in crude oil production for the first time since February 1999. Continue reading

Turkey’s Latest Power Grab a Naval Base in Cyprus?

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/pics/3512.jpg

Turkey’s Naval Forces Command has “submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that Turkey should establish a naval base in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.” Pictured: The Turkish Navy frigate TCG Oruçreis. (Image source: CC-BY-SA-3.0/Brian Burnell via Wikimedia Commons)

 

  • The possibility of a Turkish naval base on Cyprus does not bode well for the chances of a Cyprus reunification deal, particularly after the breakdown of the July 2017 peace talks, which were suspended when “Turkey had refused to relinquish its intervention rights on Cyprus or the presence of troops on the island.” Turkey has 30,000 soldiers stationed on Cyprus, the northern part of which it has illegally occupied since 1974.
  • “If Greek-Turkish tensions escalate, the possibility of another ill-timed military provocation could escalate with them… Moreover, such a conflict might open up an even greater opportunity for Russian interference.” — Lawrence A. Franklin.

Turkey’s Naval Forces Command has “submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that Turkey should establish a naval base in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” according to Turkey’s strongly pro-Erdogan daily, Yeni Safak, which recently endorsed the proposal for the base in an article entitled, “Why Turkey should establish a naval base in Northern Cyprus.” Continue reading

How Iran Plans To Bypass The World’s Main Oil Chokepoint

Iran

 

Iran Tries to Bypass the Hormuz Strait

Global markets have recently gone into overdrive in anticipation of the US-Iran standoff’s outcome. President Trump is building up pressure on Tehran, his latest move was to announce his chairing of a UN Security Council meeting on Iran (the US is holding the council presidency this month), most likely to lambast once more the Iranian regime, whilst the Iranian authorities are reverting to their traditional threat, the closing off of the Hormuz Strait. Yet behind the bellicose façade, under the international radar Iran has been proceeding gradually with the construction of oil export infrastructure that bypasses the potentially fatal chokepoint and gives the Ayatollah regime a viable alternative to Kharg and Lavan islands, which currently account for the overwhelming majority, more than 95 percent, of Iran’s oil exports. Continue reading

Iran Sanctions, Emerging Markets And The End Of Dollar Dominance

https://www.birchgold.com/wp-content/uploads/spending-8-14-18-1.png

 

 

The trade war is a rather strange and bewildering affair if you do not understand the underlying goal behind it. If you think that the goal is to balance the trade deficit and provide a more amicable deal for U.S. producers on the global market, then you are probably finding yourself either confused, or operating on blind faith that the details will work themselves out.

Case in point, the latest reports that the U.S. trade deficit is now on track to hit 10-year highs, after a 7% increase in June. This is the exact opposite of what was supposed to happen when tariffs were initiated. In fact, I recall much talk in alternative media circles claiming that the mere threat of tariffs would frighten foreign exporters into balancing trade on their own. Obviously this has not been the case. Continue reading

The World Is Ganging up Against the Dollar

https://dweaay7e22a7h.cloudfront.net/wp-content_3/uploads/2018/08/shutterstock_1141332971.jpg

Shutterstock

 

The U.S. has been highly successful at pursuing financial warfare, including sanctions. 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. Continue reading

Russia Finance Minister: We May Abandon Dollar In Oil Trade As It Is Becoming “Too Risky”

Breaking the tie between oil and the U.S. Dollar means the collapse of the U.S. Dollar as the world reserve country. Collapsing of the U.S. Dollar as world reserve currency means the collapse of America. Ghadaffi attempted it, as well as Saddam Hussein and look how that worked out for them. Iran, Syria, China, Russia all want to. Economic warfare always precedes a hot war, in case you were wondering what’s around the corner.

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/TIC%20Russia.jpg

 

One month ago, the bond market and political pundits did a double take when according to the latest Treasury International Capital report, Russia had liquidated virtually all of its US Treasury holdings, selling off the bulk of its US government bonds in just two months, March and April.

And with the US threatening to impose a new set of “crushing” sanctions on Russia, including in retaliation for the alleged Novichok nerve gas attack in the UK, Russia not only intends to continue liquidating its US holdings, but to significantly reduce its reliance on the US Dollar. Continue reading

Russia’s Medvedev: U.S. declares war on us

https://i2.wp.com/vestnikkavkaza.net/upload2/2018-08-10/15338881215b6d46799befb6.53066755.jpeg

 

The possible tightening up of U.S. economic sanctions against Russia may be treated as a declaration of economic war, which must be responded by all economic, political and other means possible, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during his visit to the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.

During his visit to the Kronotsky State Nature Reserve, Medvedev was asked what sanctions could be imposed on Russia in the future and how they can affect the country’s economy.

“I would like not to comment on the talks about future sanctions, but there is one thing I can say: if measures like a ban on banking activities or the use of this or that currency follows, this can be clearly be described as a declaration of an economic war. And this war will have to be responded – by economic, political and, if necessary, other means. And our American partners should realize this,” TASS cited the PM as saying.

Continue reading

America’s About To Unleash Its NOPEC Superweapon Against The Russians & Saudis

https://orientalreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/OPEC.jpg

 

The US Congress has revived the so-called “NOPEC” bill for countering OPEC and OPEC+.

Officially called the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act”, NOPEC is the definition of so-called “lawfare” because it enables the US to extraterritorially impose its domestic legislation on others by giving the government the right to sue OPEC and OPEC+ countries like Russia because of their coordinated efforts to control oil prices. Lawsuits, however, are unenforceable, which is why the targeted states’ refusal to abide by the US courts’ likely predetermined judgement against them will probably be used to trigger sanctions under the worst-case scenario, with this chain of events being catalyzed in order to achieve several strategic objectives. Continue reading

U.S. Issues New Warning to Europe: End Business With Iran or Face Harsh Sanctions

Iran Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with representatives of the European Union for Foreign Affairs

Iran Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with representatives of the European Union for Foreign Affairs / Getty Images

 

Trump admin, Congress issue warnings that could impact international financial institutions

Congress and the Trump administration are issuing a stern warning to European partners: End all business ties with the Iranian regime or face harsh new sanctions in the coming months, a move that could impact international financial markets and U.S. banks tied to foreign monetary institutions, according to multiple senior U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about diplomatic efforts to pressure Europe on Iran. Continue reading

Meet China’s “Secret” Space Control Listening Base In Argentina Now Alarming US Officials

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/china%20argentina%20space%20station_0.png?itok=gAuCyxeH

Via The New York Times

 

A recent New York Times piece has sounded the alarm over what Washington perceives as China’s “expanding reach into Latin America,” related to a space mission control center located in the heart of the Patagonia region of Argentina.

It begins with an eerily beautiful description of an imposing structure, guarded by Chinese military personnel, unexpectedly rising out of Patagonian desert:

The giant antenna rises from the desert floor like an apparition, a gleaming metal tower jutting 16 stories above an endless wind-whipped stretch of Patagonia. The 450-ton device, with its hulking dish embracing the open skies, is the centerpiece of a $50 million satellite and space mission control station built by the Chinese military. The station began operating in March, playing a pivotal role in China’s audacious expedition to the far side of the moon — an endeavor that Argentine officials say they are elated to support. Continue reading

Iran’s currency plummets further to 112,000 rial per dollar

The Iranian rial plunged to 112,000 for each US dollar Sunday on unofficial markets, a further decline from 97,500 rials on Saturday. Another 29 people were arrested on charges of disrupting the economy and corruption. With tougher sanctions in store, the outlook is bleak. Continue reading