Monday, September 01, 2014
Could America Break Its Own Bank on a Russian Anvil?
The sanctions being plastered on Russia by the US and her allies are already having a rebound effect, especially in Europe. Russia is not only the major supplier of the natural gas the Europeans will need to get through this winter, it's also a key market for their exports. In these matters the EU and US are in different boats. Another key difference is that American sanctions are more heavily weighted on depriving Russia of access to credit - loans.
Here's the rub. International finance is generally conducted in US dollars, the global reserve currency. Throughout the post-WWII era that's been a huge advantage to the United States. US monetary policy can be adjusted to suit America's international interests - think "quantitative easing".
If Russia finds its Western credit facilities cut off the question becomes if there's anyone else willing to meet Russia's loan needs. China, perhaps? This is the same China, Peoples Republic whereof, that has, from time to time, groused about the burden of having the US dollar as the world's reserve currency.
Asia Times' columnist, Pepe Escobar, thinks the US may be pushing its luck:
"Moscow, allied with the BRICS, is actively working to bypass the US dollar - which is the anchor of a parallel US war economy based on printing worthless pieces of green paper. Progress is slow, but tangible' not only the BRICS but BRICS aspirants, the G-77, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the whole Global South is absolutely fed up with the Empire of Chaos' non-stop bullying and want another paradigm in international relations. The US counts on NATO - which it manipulates at will - and mad dog Israel; and perhaps the GCC, the Sunni petro-monarchies partners in the Gaza carnage, which can be bought/silenced with a slap on the wrist.
With just over $400-billion in Euro-Russian trade at stake, the Euros, already enduring economic and political crisis, have more to lose than the US from an overplayed hand. As for Ukraine, its gas reserves are running on empty and winter is coming. If Moscow and Beijing choose to work in concert we could be looking at a new world order not to America's liking.