The Biggest Threat To Dollar Dominance

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Russian oil exporters are pressuring Western commodity traders to pay for Russian crude in euros and not dollars as Washington prepares more sanctions for the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Moscow, Reuters reported last week, citing as many as seven industry sources.

While it may have come as a surprise to the traders, who, Reuters said, were not too happy about it, the Russian companies’ move was to be expected as the Trump administration pursues a foreign policy where sanctions feature prominently. This approach, however, could undermine the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the global oil trade currency. Continue reading

It Is Like A Western Movie: A Showdown Is In The Making

It has taken the US military/security complex 31 years to get rid of President Reagan’s last nuclear disarmament achievement—the INF Treaty that President Reagan and Soviet President Gorbachev achieved in 1987.

The Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was ratified by the US Senate on May 27, 1988 and became effective a few days later on June 1. Behind the scenes, I had some role in this, and as I remember what the treaty achieved was to make Europe safe from nuclear attack by Soviet short and intermediate range missiles, and to make the Soviet Union safe from US attack from short and intermediate range US nuclear missiles in Europe. By restricting nuclear weapons to ICBMs, which allowed some warning time, thus guaranteeing retaliation and non-use of nuculear weapons, the INF Treaty was regarded as reducing the risk of an American first-strike on Russia and a Russian first-strike on Europe, strikes that could be delivered by low-flying cruise missiles with next to zero warning time. Continue reading

Russia And China Prepare To Ditch Dollar In Bilateral Trade

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In a time when many nations have gone public with their intention to ditch the dollar in part or in whole, in bilateral trade with non-US counterparts, either to prevent the US from having “veto power” of commerce courtesy of SWIFT or simply in response to Trump’s “America First” doctrine, attention has long focused on Russia and China – the two natural adversaries to the US – to see if and when they would accelerate plans for de-dollarization. Continue reading

Venezuela Ditches US Dollar, Will Use Euros For International Trade

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Venezuela has just taken the next step in its quest to “free” itself from the tyranny of US dollar hegemony. One year after the country said it would stop accepting US dollars as payment for its (ever shrinking) oil exports (saying the country’s state-run oil company would accept payment in yuan instead), Venezuelan Vice President for Economy Tareck El Aissami said Tuesday that Venezuela will officially purge the dollar from its exchange market in favor of euros. Continue reading

FBI Chief Says Threats From Drones to U.S. ‘Steadily Escalating’

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FBI Director Christopher Wray, testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on “Threats to the Homeland” at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Oct. 10, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

 

WASHINGTON—FBI director Christopher Wray told a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday that the threat from drones “is steadily escalating” even as Congress gives agencies new tools to address threats.

Wray told the Senate Homeland Security committee that the FBI assesses that “given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, (drones) will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering.” Continue reading

‘Man-made crisis’: Venezuelan hell destabilizes region

Venezuelan refugees line up for food donations at Simon Bolivar Square in Boa Vista, Brazil. / Andre Coelho / Bloomberg

 

UNITED NATIONS — It didn’t have to be this way. An oil rich, economically prosperous middle class country, once a stable Latin American democracy, is disintegrating into a socialist dystopia plagued by hunger, corruption, hyper-inflation and churning political unrest.

While petroleum remains Venezuela’s major export, now tragically it’s the people too who are fleeing this twice California sized country. Continue reading

A New Era Of Geopolitical Risk In Global Oil Markets

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Amid never ending talk and speculation over how many more barrels of Iranian oil will be removed from global markets once sanctions slated to hit Iran’s oil production on November 6 take effect, some are claiming that geopolitical factors have driven the market just as much as supply fundamentals.

At Russia Energy Week in Moscow last week, both Saudi and Russian energy ministers said they see rising geopolitical risk as driving the recent oil price increase at a time when there is sufficient supply in the market. Of course, the notion of sufficient supply will be tested soon, as will both Saudi Arabia’s and OPEC’s spare production capacity will be called on to maintain this supply. Continue reading

President: ‘We’re Going to Take Care of Venezuela’

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(Photo Credit: TruNews)

 

His comments at the United Nations come after reports the U.S. has devised several plans to unseat the government of Nicholas Maduro.

Following his speech at the United Nations General Debate on Tuesday, President Donald Trump was asked about his comments regarding Venezuela and the recent levying of new sanctions against members of President Nicholas Maduro’s government and family. Continue reading

Iran Sanctions Are Damaging The Dollar

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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

The Tectonic Plates of Geopolitics Are Starting to Shift

The United States is currently waging economic warfare against one tenth of the world’s countries with cumulative population of nearly 2 billion people and combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $15 trillion.

These include Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and others on which Washington has imposed sanctions over the years, but also countries like China, Pakistan and Turkey which are not under full sanctions but rather targets of other punitive economic measures.

In addition, thousands of individuals from scores of countries are included in the Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals who are effectively blocked from the U.S.-dominated global financial system. Many of those designated are either part of or closely linked to their countries’ leadership…

But in recent months it seems that America’s unwavering commitment to fight all of the world’s scourges has brought all those governments and the wealthy individuals who support them to a critical mass, joining forces to create a parallel financial system which would be out of reach of America’s long arm. Should they succeed, the impact on America’s global posture would be transformational.

– From the recent article: The Anti-Dollar Awakening Could Be Ruder and Sooner Than Most Economists Predict

The peak of American empire has already come and gone, a reality not yet widely appreciated due to the continued dominance of the global financial system by the U.S. dollar, still the world’s preeminent reserve currency. U.S. leaders have always used the USD as a weapon, but it’s only in recent years that geopolitical rivals and long-standing allies alike have started to come to an increasingly vocal understanding that the unipolar role played by the U.S. in the world’s centralized financial system is well past its expiration date. Continue reading

‘Ring of Fire’ Sees 144 Major Earthquakes in a Week

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(Photo Credit: Astroskiandhike via Creative Commons 4.0)

 

Attention is turning to the potential for a West Coast ‘big one’ hitting California, Oregon, or Washington.

The Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” has seen 144 major earthquakes—those in excess of magnitude-4.5 intensity—in the past week as concern grows that another “big one” could be coming soon. Continue reading

America Is Not Ready for Exploding Drones

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Venezolana de Television via AP

 

An apparent assassination attempt in Venezuela shows how technology is moving faster than governments can counter it.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was intoning something about economic renewal, flanked by his wife and a handful of high officials, in a country gripped by poverty, starvation, and shortages. Then, in a moment broadcast live on television that has since gone viral, his wife’s face changed. For an instant she seemed to duck as she reached for the official next to her; Maduro glanced up with apparent concern. The camera panned to the National Guardsmen in formation on the street before him as dozens suddenly started running. According to the government and witnesses, they had seen explosions in the sky. Continue reading

Questions surround claims of drone assassination attempt on Venezuela’s Maduro

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Screen grab from video shows security detail shielding President Nicolas Maduro after what was reported by the Venezuelan government as a drone attack assassination attempt.

 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is likely to use what he said was an attempt on his life to purge his socialist government of disloyal officials and further restrict liberties, an analyst said.

Maduro’s government said the president survived an assassination attempt on Aug. 4, claiming explosions heard during a military event that was broadcast on live TV were drone attacks.

Three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity say the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside a nearby apartment building, The Associated Press reported. Continue reading

Maduro admits failure: ‘No more whining . . . We need to make Venezuela’ (great again)

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During a speech in which the power went out while he was on live television, Venezuela’s socialist president admitted his economic model has “failed.”

“The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours,” President Nicolas Maduro told his ruling PSUV party congress on July 30. Continue reading

IMF: Venezuela’s inflation could top 1 million percent by end of 2018

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One million Venezuelan bolivar is today worth just over $8.

 

Inflation in Venezuela could top 1 million percent by the end of this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Shortages in food, water, medicine and electricity, as well as high crime, plague millions of Venezuelans, said Alejandro Werner, head of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere department. Continue reading