While this sounds like a step that needed to be taken, and it is, it’s too little too late. China (and Russia) have created an alternative to SWIFT. Thus, cutting China off only means it will switch to its own and abandon the U.S. Dollar system — with Russia likely to join. In effect, it will end up hurting the United States more than the intended target(s).
Over the last decade China and Russia have feverishly worked around America’s global influence. Russia and China no longer need GPS, as they have their own indigenous satellite navigation systems — Europe, too. You’ll only do their militaries a favor if you cut that off. Control over the internet has been ceded by America, so there’s also no method or means of punishment there. The IMF has been undermined by the AIIB, so it’s also hard to do anything there as well.
America’s choices are limited and not as effective as they used to be. The joke may be on the U.S. should push come to shove. The alternatives set up only mean America will likely isolate itself should it choose punitive measures.
In an unexpectedly strong diplomatic escalation, one day after China agreed to vote alongside the US (and Russia) during Monday’s United National Security Council vote in passing the watered down North Korea sanctions, the US warned that if China were to violate or fail to comply with the newly imposed sanctions against Kim’s regime, it could cut off Beijing’s access to both the US financial system as well as the “international dollar system.”
Speaking at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference on Tuesday, Steven Mnuchin said that China had agreed to “historic” North Korean sanctions during Monday’s United Nations vote. “We worked very closely with the U.N. I’m very pleased with the resolution that was just passed. This is some of the strongest items. We now have more tools in our toolbox, and we will continue to use them and put additional sanctions on North Korea until they stop this behavior.”