Articles and papers from authors concerning Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) trade partnership.
* the preservation of ethnicity
* equitable treatment, including gender equity
* protection against corruption and the military
* earn a fair living, have shelter and provide for their own welfare and that of their family
* peace and stability
* universal value systems
* participation in governance at all levels
* access the Earth Court of Justice for redress of gross injustices
* equal access to information
Pepe Escobar (3), Peter Koenig, (2), Federico Pieraccini, RI Staff.
Pepe Escobar, China Widens its Silk Road to the World.
Pepe Escobar, Why Washington is Terrified of Russia, China.
Pepe Escobar, The Real BRICS Bombshell.
Peter Koenig, BRICS – Potential and Future in an Emerging New World Economy.
Peter Koenig, Beijing’s “Belt and Road” Initiative, Towards an Economy of Peace?
Federico Pieraccini, Challenging the Dollar: China and Russia's Plan from Petroyuan to Gold.
RI Staff, Putin Tells Beijing Forum: The Future Belongs to Eurasia.
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|May 16, 2017||
Putin Tells Beijing Forum: The Future Belongs to Eurasia.
by RI Staff, Information Clearing House
Putin: "Greater Eurasia is not an abstract geopolitical arrangement but, without exaggeration, a truly civilisation-wide project looking toward the future"
By RI Staff
May 16, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Russia's President Vladimir Putin spoke at the opening of the One Belt, One Road international forum in Beijing on Sunday. The two-day summit will focus on China's Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
In his address, Putin welcomed China’s One Belt, One Road initiative and stressed that Russia is committed to working with its regional partners to forge a new "political and economic landscape of the continent and bring peace, stability, prosperity and a new quality of life to Eurasia ... Greater Eurasia is not an abstract geopolitical arrangement but, without exaggeration, a truly civilisation-wide project looking toward the future".
Highlights from his speech:
This article was first published by RI
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
|May 15, 2017||
China Widens its Silk Road to the World
by Pepe Escobar, Information ClearingHouse
Beijing hopes its top-level two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, starting this Sunday, will be a game-changer for globalization
Let’s cut to the chase. China’s new ‘Silk Road’ initiative is the only large-scale, multilateral development project that the 21st century has seen so far.
There is no counter-offer from the West.
Which is why the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, starting this Sunday in Beijing, is being set up as a game-changer for the global economy. Here the initiative looks likely to switch to Mark II mode, accelerating into what President Xi Jinping dubbed, at Davos in January, “inclusive globalization.”
The big ideas behind this grand Chinese plan, however, are still getting lost in translation. At first this trans-Asian trade expressway was billed as One Belt, One Road (OBOR), a literal translation from the Chinese yi dai yi lu. Now it’s the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but that still does not really fly in the West, even when China has tried adding a piece of soft power spin, as in its attempts to sell the Belt and Road to English-speaking children:
I have been covering the New Silk Roads since they were first announced in 2013. The idea started at the Commerce Ministry and then developed as a natural extension of the Go West campaign – focused on developing western Xinjiang Province – launched in 1999. The Commerce Ministry now insists OBOR/BRI is a global plan and not just tied to the Xi Jinping presidency.
The summit will attempt to portray how its ambitious trade concept has become a multilateral “win-win” shared vision that connects all of Eurasia. Or, to put it more simply, Globalization Mark II.
It’s enlightening to examine the pronouncements made by some of China’s top analysts. Wang Huiyao, president of the independent Center for China and Globalization, says this is the “the new engine of globalization.”
Digli, from the Institute of International
Studies at Shanghai’s
Wang Yiwei, from the Center of European Studies at Renmin University, is convinced this could be as important as the creation of the European Union.
And Shin Yinhong, from the Center of American Studies at Renmin University, points out, crucially, that OBOR/BRI would not work if it were merely a geopolitical gamble.
Geopolitics as geo-economics
As much as this will act as a boost to economies from Bangladesh to Egypt and Myanmar to Tajikistan, it is also a far-reaching economic/free trade/investment plan that will open up markets for Chinese technology and merchandise. And with this comes priceless geopolitical reach for China.
In parallel to this connectivity extravaganza, arguably spanning 65 nations, 60% of the world’s population and a third of global economic output, China will accumulate extra capital from Central Asia to the Middle East. It will also polish its status as leader of the developing world, allowing it to once again try and reignite the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Representatives from more than a hundred nations will converge in Beijing and most of them are from NAM. Of course we will have Vladimir Putin, representing the Russia-China strategic partnership (BRICS, SCO) that spans everything from energy to infrastructure projects (including the future Trans-Siberian high-speed rail). But, crucially, we will also have Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leaders of two key hubs of OBOR/BRI.
Most of the West still needs a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing. And a lot of Western media revel in dismissing OBOR/BRI as a conspiracy, a “scheme”, or a Chinese attempt to “encircle” Eurasia. Only one G7 leader will be in Beijing; Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who is very keen to investigate symbiotic links between Italy’s Industry 4.0 program and China’s Made in China 2025 manufacturing initiative.
Angela Merkel might have turned down her invitation but it doesn’t really matter as German industrialists are all for OBOR/BRI.
And the Trump administration is starting to wake up to the action following Trump-Xi at Mar-A-Lago. The US delegation will be led by Matt Pottinger, Special Assistant to the President and senior director for East Asia at the National Security Council.
And India? The US$62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), one of the highlights of OBOR/BRI, and enthusiastically lauded by Pakistani officials, runs partly through Kashmir. Diplomacy, not trade, would better advance Indian interests. But the reality is the Narendra Modi administration – which has accused China of trying to “undermine the sovereignty of other nations” – is obsessed that the real Chinese agenda is to strategically control the Indian Ocean. So no India in Beijing.
Have yuan, will travel
The New Silk Road comes with a crossfire of numbers. No one knows for sure the true value of projects already signed along the overland belt and across the Maritime Silk Road, but numbers are said to already be as high as US$300 billion. Most of these projects will be developed well into the next decade.
Ratings agency Fitch quotes US$900 billion in projects planned or already happening. Speculation is rife that OBOR/BRI may need as much as US$5 trillion up to 2022. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asia will need a mind-boggling US$26 trillion for infrastructure projects up to 2030.
The Silk Road Fund, set up at the end of 2014, for the moment relies on just US$40 billion – a mix of foreign exchange reserves and input from the China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China. It has invested US$6 billion in 15 projects so far, plus US$2 billion to fund projects in Kazakhstan.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with 70 member-nations, went online in January 2016 with capital of US$100 billion, but disbursed less than US$2 billion last year.
The New Development Bank (NDB), the BRICS bank, is bound to step up soon, after it got a AAA rating from Chinese credit agencies.
China has belonged to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) since 2015; that’s the European financing leg for OBOR/BRI. It’s also linked to a fund in Luxembourg and another one in Riga, Latvia.
So the key issue for OBOR/BRI remains how to come up with low-cost funding in global capital markets. That will be a top discussion topic at the summit. Zhou Xiaochun, governor of the People’s Bank of China, has already laid down the law; “governments” – including the Chinese government – simply cannot pay for all that’s needed for OBOR/BRI.
So everyone will have to rush to capital markets; set up their own OBOR/BRI-related financial mechanisms; and, crucially, do business in local currencies. That is shorthand for using, most of all, China’s currency. So if you are hitting the New Silk Roads, don’t forget your yuan.
This article was first published by Asia Times
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
Why Washington is Terrified of Russia, China
by Pepe Escobar, Information ClearingHouse
The Russia-China strategic partnership, uniting the Pentagon's avowed top two "existential" threats to America, does not come with a formal treaty signed with pomp, circumstance - and a military parade.
Enveloped in layers of subtle sophistication, there's no way to know the deeper terms Beijing and Moscow have agreed upon behind those innumerable Putin-Xi Jinping high-level meetings.
Diplomats, off the record, occasionally let it slip there may have been a coded message delivered to NATO to the effect that if one of the strategic members is seriously harassed — be it in Ukraine or in the South China Sea – NATO will have to deal with both.
For now, let's concentrate on two instances of how the partnership works in practice, and why Washington is clueless on how to deal with it.
Exhibit A is the imminent visit to Moscow by the Director of the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Li Zhanshu, invited by the head of the Presidential Administration in the Kremlin, Anton Vaino. Beijing stressed the talks will revolve around – what else — the Russia-China strategic partnership, "as previously agreed on by the countries' leaders."
This happens just after China's First Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, one of the top seven in the Politburo and one of the drivers of China's economic policies, was received in Moscow by President Putin. They discussed Chinese investments in Russia and the key energy angle of the partnership.
But most of all they prepared Putin's next visit to Beijing, which will be particularly momentous, in the cadre of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) summit on May 14-15, steered by Xi Jinping.
The General Office of the CCP – directly subordinated to Xi — only holds this kind of ultra-high-level annual consultations with Moscow, and no other player. Needless to add, Li Zhanshu reports directly to Xi as much as Vaino reports directly to Putin. That is as highly strategic as it gets.
That also happens to tie directly to one of the latest episodes featuring The Hollow (Trump) Men, in this case Trump's bumbling/bombastic National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. HR McMaster.
In a nutshell, McMaster's spin, jolly regurgitated by US corporate media, is that Trump has developed such a "special chemistry" with Xi after their Tomahawks-with-chocolate cake summit in Mar-a-Lago that Trump has managed to split the Russia-China entente on Syria and isolate Russia in the UN Security Council.
It would have taken only a few minutes for McMaster to read the BRICS joint communiqué on Syria for him to learn that the BRICS are behind Russia.
No wonder a vastly experienced Indian geopolitical observer felt compelled to note that, "Trump and McMaster look somewhat like two country bumpkins who lost their way in the metropolis."
Follow the money
Exhibit B centers on Russia and China quietly advancing their agreement to progressively replace the US dollar's reserve status with a gold-backed system.
That also involves the key participation of Kazakhstan – very much interested in using gold as currency along OBOR. Kazakhstan could not be more strategically positioned; a key hub of OBOR; a key member of the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU); member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); and not by accident the smelter of most of Russia's gold.
In parallel, Russia and China are advancing their own payment systems. With the yuan now enjoying the status of a global currency, China has been swiftly promoting their payment system, CIPS, careful not to frontally antagonize the internationally accepted SWIFT, controlled by the US.
Russia, on the other hand, has stressed the creation of "an alternative," in the words of Russian Central Bank's Elvira Nabiullina, in the form of the Mir payment system — a Russian version of Visa/ MasterCard. What's implied is that were Washington feel inclined to somehow exclude Russia from SWIFT, even temporarily, at least 90 percent of ATMs in Russia would be able to operate on Mir.
China's UnionPay cards are already an established fixture all across Asia – enthusiastically adopted by HSBC, among others. Combine "alternative" payment systems with a developing gold-backed system – and "toxic" does not even begin to spell out the reaction of the US Federal Reserve.
And it's not just about Russia and China; it's about the BRICS.
What First Deputy Governor of Russia's Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov has outlined is just the beginning: "BRICS countries are large economies with large reserves of gold and an impressive volume of production and consumption of this precious metal. In China, the gold trade is conducted in Shanghai, in Russia it is in Moscow. Our idea is to create a link between the two cities in order to increase trade between the two markets."
Russia and China already have established systems to do global trade bypassing the US dollar. What Washington did to Iran — cutting their banks off SWIFT – is now unthinkable against Russia and China.
So we're already on our way, slowly but surely, towards a BRICS "gold marketplace." A "new financial architecture" is being built. That will imply the eventual inability of the US Fed to export inflation to other nations – especially those included in BRICS, EEU and SCO.
The Hollow Men
Trump's Generals, led by "Mad Dog" Mattis, may spin all they want about their need to dominate the planet with their sophisticated AirSeaLandSpaceCyber commands. Yet that may be not enough to counter the myriad ways the Russia-China strategic partnership is developing.
So more on than off, we will have Hollow Men like Vice-President Mike Pence, with empurpled solemnity, threatening North Korea; “The shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.” Forget this does not even qualify as a lousy line in a cheap remake of a Hollywood B-movie; what we have here is Aspiring Commander-in-Chief Pence warning Russia and China there may be some nuclear nitty-gritty very close to their borders between the US and North Korea.
Not gonna happen. So here's to the great T. S. Eliot, who saw it all decades in advance: "We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men/ Leaning together / Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! / Our dried voices, when / We whisper together / Are quiet and meaningless / As wind in dry grass / Or rats' feet over broken glass / In our dry cellar."
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.
|October 6, 2017||
Challenging the Dollar: China and Russia's Plan from Petroyuan to Gold.
by Federico Pieraccini, Information Clearing House
As seen in my previous article, US military power is on the decline, and the effects are palpable. In a world full of conflicts brought on by Washington, the economic and financial shifts that are occurring are for many countries a long-awaited and welcome development.
October 06, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - If we were to identify what uniquely fuels American imperialism and its aspirations for global hegemony, the role of the US dollar would figure prominently. An exploration of the depth of the dollar’s effects on the world economy is therefore necessary in order to understand the consequential geopolitical developments that have occurred over the last few decades.
The reason the dollar plays such an important role in the world economy is due to the following three major factors: the petrodollar; the dollar as world reserve currency; and Nixon's decision in 1971 to no longer make the dollar convertible into gold. As is easy to guess, the petrodollar strongly influenced the composition of the SDR basket, making the dollar the world reserve currency, spelling grave implications for the global economy due to Nixon's decision to eliminate the dollar’s convertibility into gold. Most of the problems for the rest of the world began from a combination of these three factors.
The largest geo-economic change in the last fifty years was arguably implemented in 1973 with the agreement between OPEC, Saudi Arabia and the United States to sell oil exclusively in dollars.
Specifically, Nixon arranged with Saudi King Faisal for Saudis to only accept dollars as a payment for oil and related investments, recycling billions of excess dollars into US treasury bills and other dollar-based financial resources. In exchange, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries came under American military protection. It reminds one of a mafia-style arrangement: the Saudis are obliged to conduct business in US dollars according to terms and conditions set by the US with little argument, and in exchange they receive generous protection.
The second factor, perhaps even more consequential for the global economy, is the dollar becoming the world reserve currency and maintaining a predominant role in the basket of international foreign-exchange reserves of the IMF ever since 1981. The role of the dollar, linked obviously to the petrodollar trade, has almost always maintained a share of more than 40% of the Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket, while the euro has maintained a stable share of 29-37% since 2001. In order to understand the economic change in progress, it is sufficient to observe that the yuan is now finally included in the SDR, with an initial 10% share that is immediately higher than the yen (8.3%) and sterling (8.09%) but significantly less than the dollar (41%) and euro (31%). Slowly but significantly Yuan currency is becoming more and more used in global trade.
The reason why the United States has been able to fuel this global demand for dollars is linked to the need for other countries to own dollars in order to be able to buy oil and other goods. For example, if a Bolivian company exports bananas to Norway, the payment method requires the use of dollars. Norway must therefore own US currency to pay and receive the goods purchased. Similarly, the dollars Bolivia receives will be used to buy other necessities like oil from Venezuela. It may seem unbelievable, but practically all countries until a few years ago used US dollars to trade amongst each other, even countries that were anti-American and against US imperialist policies.
This continued use of the dollar has had some devastating effects on the globe. First of all, the intense use of the American currency, coupled with Nixon’s decisions, created an economic standard based on the dollar that soon replaced precious metals like gold, which had been the standard for the global economy for years. This has led to major instability and to economic systems that have in the proceeding years created disastrous financial policies, as seen in 2000 and 2008, for example. The main source of economic reliability transferred from gold to dollars, specifically to US treasury bills. This major shift allowed the Federal Reserve to print dollars practically without limit (as seen in recent years with interests rates for borrowing money from the FED at around 0%), well aware that the demand for dollars would never cease, this also keeping alive huge sectors of private and public enterprises (such as the fracking industry). This set a course for a global economic system based on financial instruments like derivatives and other securities instead of real, tangible goods like gold. In doing this for its own benefit, the US has created the conditions for a new financial bubble that could even bring down the entire world economy when it bursts.
The United States found itself in the enviable position of being able to print pieces of paper (simply IOU’s) without any gold backing and then exchange them for real goods. This economic arrangement has allowed Washington to achieve an unparalleled strategic advantage over its geopolitical opponents (initially the USSR, now Russia and China), namely, a practically unlimited dollar-spending capacity even as it accumulates an astronomical public debt (about 21 trillion dollars). The destabilizing factor for the global economy has been Washington's ability to accumulate enormous amounts of public debt without having to worry about the consequences or even of any possible mistrust international markets may have for the dollar. Countries simply needed dollars for trade and bought US treasures to diversify their financial assets.
The continued use of the dollar as a means of payment for almost everything, coupled with the nearly infinite capacity of the of FED to print money and the Treasury to issue bonds, has led the dollar to become the primary safe refuge for organizations, countries and individuals, legitimizing this perverse financial system that has affected global peace for decades.
Dollars and War: The End?
The problems for the United States began in the late 1990s, at a time of expansion for the US empire following the demise of the Soviet Union. The stated geopolitical goal was the achievement of global hegemony. With unlimited spending capacity and an ideology based on American exceptionalism, this attempt seemed to be within reach for the policymakers at the Pentagon and Wall Street. A key element for achieving global hegemony consisted of stopping China, Russia and Iran from creating a Eurasian area of integration. For many years, and for various reasons, these three countries continued to conduct large-scale trade in US dollars, bowing to the economic dictates of a fraudulent financial system created for the benefit of the United States. China needed to continue in its role of becoming the world's factory, always having accepted dollar payments and buying hundreds of billions of US treasury bills. With Putin, Russia began almost immediately to de-dollarize, repaying foreign debts in dollars, trying to offload this economic pressure. Russia is today one of the countries in the world with the least amount of public and private debt denominated in dollars, and the recent prohibition on the use of US dollars in Russian seaports is the latest example. For Iran, the problem has always been represented by sanctions, creating great incentives to bypass the dollar and find alternative means of payment.
The decisive factor that changed the perception of countries like China and Russia was the 2008 financial crisis, as well as growing US aggression ever since the events in Yugoslavia in 1999. The Iraq war, along with other factors, prevented Saddam from starting an oil trade in euro, which threatened the dollar's financial hegemony in the Middle East. War and the America’s continued presence in Afghanistan stressed Washington’s intentions to continue encircling China, Russia and Iran in order to prevent any Eurasian integration. Naturally, the more the dollar was used in the world, the more Washington had the power to spend on the military. For the US, paying a bill of 6 trillion dollars (this is the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) has been effortless, and this constitutes an unparalleled advantage over countries like China and Russia whose military spending in comparison is a fifth and a tenth respectively.
The repeated failed attempts to conquer, subvert and control countries like Afghanistan, Georgia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Donbass, North Korea, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Venezuela, have had significant effects on the perception of US military power. In military terms, Washington faced numerous tactical and strategic defeats, with the Crimean peninsula returning to Russia without a shot fired and with the West unable to react. In Donbass, the resistance inflicted huge losses on the NATO-supported Ukrainian army. In North Africa, Egypt is now under the control of the army, following an attempt to turn the country into a state under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Libya, after being destroyed, is now divided into three entities, and like Egypt seems to be looking with favorable regard towards Moscow and Beijing. In the Middle East, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq are increasingly cooperating in stabilizing regional conflicts, where needed they are backed by Russian military power and Chinese economic strength. And of course the DPRK continues to ignore US military threats and has fully developed its conventional and nuclear deterrent, effectively making those US threats null and void.
Color revolutions, hybrid warfare, economic terrorism, and proxy attempts to destabilize these countries have had devastating effects on Washington's military credibility and effectiveness. The United States finds itself being considered by many countries to be a massive war apparatus that struggles to get what it wants, struggles to achieve coherent common goals, and even lacks the capability to control countries like Iraq and Afghanistan in spite of its overwhelming military superiority.
No One Fears You!
Until a few decades ago, any idea of straying away from the petrodollar was seen as a direct threat to American global hegemony, requiring of a military response. In 2017, given the decline in US credibility as a result of triggering wars against smaller countries (leaving aside countries like Russia, China, and Iran that have military capabilities the likes of which the US has not faced for more than seventy years), a general recession from the dollar-based system is taking place in many countries.
In recent years, it has become clear to many nations opposing Washington that the only way to adequately contain the fallout from the collapsing US empire is to progressively abandon the dollar. This serves to limit Washington’s capacity for military spending by creating the necessary alternative tools in the financial and economic realms that will eliminate Washington's dominance. This is essential in the Russo-Sino-Iranian strategy to unite Eurasia and thereby render the US irrelevant.
De-dollarization for Beijing, Moscow and Tehran has become a strategic priority. Eliminating the unlimited spending capacity of the FED and the American economy means limiting US imperialist expansion and diminishing global destabilization. Without the usual US military power to strengthen and impose the use of US dollars, China, Russia and Iran have paved the way for important shifts in the global order.
The US shot itself in the foot by accelerating this process through their removal of Iran from the SWIFT system (paving the way for the Chinese alternative, known as CIPS) and imposing sanctions on countries like Russia, Iran and Venezuela. This also accelerated China and Russia’s mining and acquisition of physical gold, which is in direct contrast to the situation in the US, with rumors of the FED no longer possessing any more gold. It is no secret that Beijing and Moscow are aiming for a gold-backed currency if and when the dollar should collapse. This has pushed unyielding countries to start operating in a non-dollar environment and through alternative financial systems.
A perfect example of how this is being achieved can be seen with Saudi Arabia, which has represented the crux of the petrodollar.
Beijing has started putting strong pressure on Riyadh to start accepting yuan payments for oil instead of dollars, as are other countries such as the Russian Federation. For Riyadh, this is an almost existential issue. Riyadh is in a delicate situation, dedicated as it is to keeping the US dollar tied to oil, even though its main ally, the US, has pursued in the Middle East a contradictory strategy, as seen with the JCPOA agreement. Iran, the main regional enemy of Saudi Arabia, was able to have sanctions lifted (especially from Europeans countries) thanks to the JCPOA. In addition, Iran was able to pursue a historic victory with its allies in Syria, gaining a preeminent role in the region and aspiring to become a regional powerhouse. Riyadh is obliged to obey the US, an ally that does not care about its fate in the region (Iran is increasingly influential in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon) and is even competing in the oil market. To make matters worse for Washington, China is Riyadh’s largest customer; and considering the agreements with Nigeria and Russia, Beijing can safely stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia should Riyadh continue to insist on receiving payment only in dollars. This would badly hurt the petrodollar, a perverse system that damages China and Russia most of all.
For China, Iran and Russia, as well as other countries, de-dollarization has become a pressing issue. The number of countries that are beginning to see the benefits of a decentralized system, as opposed to the US dollar system, is increasing. Iran and India, but also Iran and Russia, have often traded hydrocarbons in exchange for primary goods, thereby bypassing American sanctions. Likewise, China's economic power has allowed it to open a 10-billion-euro line of credit to Iran to circumvent recent sanctions. Even the DPRK seems to use cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to buy oil from China and bypass US sanctions. Venezuela (with the largest oil reserves in the world) has just started a historic move to completely renounce selling oil in dollars, and has announced that it will start receiving money in a basket of currencies without US dollars. (This is not to mention the biggest change to have occurred in the last 40 years). Beijing will buy gas and oil from Russia by paying in yuan, with Moscow being able to convert yuan into gold immediately thanks to the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. This gas-yuan-gold mechanism signals a revolutionary economic change through the progressive abandonment of the dollar in trade.
In the next and last article, we will concentrate on how successful Russia, Iran and China have been in forging a multipolar world order with the goal of peacefully containing the fallout from the collapsing American empire, and how this alternative world order is opening up a new geopolitical landscape for America’s allies and other countries.
Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategiesThis article was originally published by SCF -
|September 20, 2017||
BRICS – Potential and Future in an Emerging New World Economy.
by Peter Koenig, Information Clearing House
Based on an interview with Tashreeq Truebody, Radio 786, South Africa
This alone would make them fully independent from the western economy, from the western, what I call, fraudulent dollar-based monetary system. And it will happen – it will happen sooner than the world believes. However, with the current political structure of the BRICS, the relative lack of political and economic coherence, safe for Russia and China, this for the moment is just theory.
If you allow me, let’s backtrack a bit in history, to where the term BRIC came from, and who coined it. At the beginning, South Africa was not yet member of the association. In 2001, shortly after the 9/11, in 2001, the chief economist of Goldman Sachs, Jim O’Neill, invented the term BRIC – as he was forecasting that these emerging economies, spread throughout the world, Brazil, Russia, India and China – would overtake the so-called western economy by 2041. The forecast was later revised several times, all the way to 2032 – and now, there is, I believe no formal forecast, but it could easily happen by 2025, or earlier, especially with the new Oil-for-yuan and gold exchange market soon to be opened in Shanghai. Many predict this to be the end of the petro-dollar, and the end of the dollar hegemony.
Then strangely and formidably the four BRIC countries realized their potential and took things in their own hands. That’s how dynamics work – often totally unpredictably. For sure, Goldman Sachs and their Chief economist had no clue that this would create the western monetary and economic system’s most daunting adversary.
The first BRIC summit was held in Russia in June 2009. That was the formal conference to create the BRICS.
By 2011, the five countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China – plus South Africa were the five fastest growing emerging markets, and in April 2013, South Africa was added to the BRIC group – to make it formally the BRICS.
This just as a little historic introduction – to show that the impetus for the BRIC(S) came actually form a most unlikely western source – Goldman Sachs.
In the meantime, the BRICS are struggling with another reality. For the BRICS to be an effective alternative to the western economy, or the western monetary system, they need a unified political vision, as well as a coherent and unified economic development approach, one that distances itself from the western dollar-euro based system. Unfortunately, today this is not so. But that doesn’t mean it will not happen. Personally, I believe it will. It may just take longer than the majority of the world may have liked.
Both Brazil and India are totally in the hands of Wall Street, the World Bank and the IMF. In the case of India, you will recall last fall’s deadly monetary fiasco, when PM Narendra Modi decided to cancel more than 80% of the countries circulating cash currency, and as an interim step to replace it with other bills and eventually digitalize the Indian economy.
It is not known how many poor Indians perished, those with no access to bank accounts, those who have no alternative means to pay for food. Uncountable small businesses failed – an important impact on the Indian economy. More, much more inhuman was the impact on the poor average Indians. But – Modi followed the dictate of the west, of Wall Street and the IMF – with a program to test digitalization in a large emerging economy, implemented by USAID. – How much trust does India under Modi as a BRICS member deserve?
And Brazil under neoliberal Temer, who is under accusation of corruption; he has literally handed his country’s economy to the sharks of Wall Street, the IMF and the WB. So, when Temer and Modi stood there holding hands with the other three BRICS members in Xiamen, China on 4th and 5th September – it looked to me like a club that was united only by name.
Yet, the theme of this 9th BRICS Conference was “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”. – I truly hope this objective will be achieved. And it very well may – over time. It is important to approach such an event in a positive and forward-looking spirit.
Perhaps it was along the same philosophy, that ahead of the September summit in Xiamen, President Putin said something crucial, but highly political and highly diplomatic: “It is important that our group’s activities are based on the principles of equality, respect for one another’s opinions and consensus. Within BRICS, nothing is ever forced on anyone. When the approaches of its members do not coincide, we work patiently and carefully to coordinate them. This open and trust-based atmosphere is conducive to the successful implementation of our tasks.”
Under the Agreement the BRICS Development Bank, as it was first called – now the NDB, they set up a “reserve currency pool” of US$ 100 billion. Each of the five-member countries was to allocate an equal share of the US$ 50 billion start-up capital, to be expanded later to the US$ 100 billion.
Contributions per country were, Brazil, $18 billion, Russia $18 billion, India $18 billion, China $41 billion and South Africa $5 billion. The problem is that the initial capital and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) of US$ 100 billion was set up in US dollars.
How can they break loose from the western dollar-based monetary system, if their contribution is dollar based?
Also, South Africa and Brazil are heavily indebted – in US dollars. South Africa’s current debt is today above 50% (US$ 153 billion) of GDP which stands just below 300 billion.
with their contribution to the dollar-denominated
CRA, Brazil and SA may have to borrow from where? –
Wall Street, or the IMF, as the CRA is a dollar
reserve fund. This puts these countries even more
into a dollar bondage, in the hands of the FED and
the Bretton Woods Organizations – instead of freeing
them from this predicament.
parenthesis, South Africa’s interest on foreign debt
of $153 billion was about US$ 5 billion (2016).
Foreign debt is almost 52% of SA’s GDP of close to
US$ 300 billion. The US$ 5 billion debt payments are
higher than the country’s spending on tertiary
education (about R60 billion / US$ 4.6 billion
equivalent). This is also a good reason to detach
from a debt-based monetary system – and, as
originally was planned by the BRICS – migrate
towards a BRICS own monetary and international
payment system – similar to the one already
introduced to the world by China – the Chinese
International Payment System (CIPS).
On Industrialization – the NDB will certainly help boost industrialization within each of the BRICS countries, but also among the BRICS countries – and even outside the BRICS nations, as trade will increase.
At present the NDB has approved seven investment projects in the BRICS countries, worth around $1.5 billion. This year, the NDB is to approve a second package of investment projects worth $2.5 to $3 billion in total.
Although it is not clear what precisely these projects entail, the original idea for the NDB was to support infrastructure and energy projects within the BRICS countries. There is a big need for infrastructure and independent energy production. Of course, infrastructure and energy development, means also industrialization and trade.
More important is the diversification of investments, as well as the related trade. There are currently several countries on a – what shall I call it – “wait list” – to become members of the BRICS. For example, South Korea and Mexico (both are OECD members), Indonesia, Turkey, Argentina, have been mentioned.
Trade between emerging and developing markets has already been increasing more rapidly than “globalized average trade” for which WTO imposes the rules. I could imagine that trade – and, thus, diversification – between BRICS countries, or better even, an enlarged BRICS block, could really boom. It would be a sort of ‘globalization’ with most trade barriers removed, of a peace-oriented economy, one that strives for the well-being of the people, rather than an elite – and of course, an economy that does not work for the war industry, as does the western dollar-based economy.
For that reason, it will be important that the BRICS detach themselves from the western dollar-based economy and eventually have their own currency. At the Xiamen summit, this was discussed in some ways.
The five members have agreed to “promote and develop BRICS Local Currency Bond Markets and jointly establish a BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund, as a means of contribution to the capital sustainability of financing in BRICS countries, boosting the development of BRICS domestic and regional bond markets.”
This comes pretty close to what the Euro was before it became Fiat money, i.e. it was the European Currency Unit (ECU) that then converted into the virtual Euro, before in January 2002, the Euro became paper and dollar like Fiat money.
By now we know that the US drove this European currency effort – establishing the euro as the foster child of the US dollar – totally unsustainable as a unitary currency of a group of countries that have no common political interests and goals, that have no common Constitution. Their only common denominator is NATO, their permanent drive for war. It was clear from the beginning that such a project will be doomed to fail.
Hopefully – and I trust, the BRICS will learn a lesson from this failed exercise, and only with a strong bond that includes political, economic and defense long-term goals, a common currency can flourish.
In Xiamen, the BRICS also established the Strategy for “BRICS Economic Partnership and initiatives related to its priority areas such as trade and investment, manufacturing and minerals processing, infrastructure connectivity, financial integration, science, technology and innovation, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) cooperation, among others.” All this for sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth.
This Strategy already is indicative for a different development and monetary approach than was the one that laid the cornerstone for the European Union.
During the recent Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, President Putin and President Xi announced cementing of the fusion between the Eurasian Economic Union (EUAU) and the new ‘Silk Road’, also called “One Belt One Road” (OBOR), or for short “OBI” – the One Belt Initiative.
Since OBI is largely driven by SCO, i.e. by China, this also means that the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union are part of SCO. Imagine, the economic power of the entire group SCO, EAEU and BRICS…. Western supremacy will be a thing of the past.
This means worldwide trading – but without the dollar hegemony, without an economic and monetary systems that allows Washington to impose “sanctions” – outrageous and illegal punishments on countries that refuse to follow their dictate. Its high time that this high crime stops. And that we reinstate international law – which today is completely ‘bought’ by Washington.
Today it is clear to most progressive and forward-looking economists that the future is the east; the west has practically committed suicide with its constant wars for greed and dominance and disrespect for the very peoples that foot the western empire’s war bills.
This is not yet the case.
As mentioned before, the problem is that the BRICS bank’s initial capital and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) of US$ 100 billion was set up in US dollars.
Also, as said before, South Africa and Brazil are heavily indebted – in US dollars, an existing bondage that is difficult to break. But not impossible!
The same is true for the Chinese Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB), whose capital of currently also US$ 100 billion is also dollar denominated, and of which about US$ 18 billion is paid in.
It is very likely that the NDB and the AIIB will work together in the future – and jointly break the stranglehold of the WB and the IMF.
In order to do so, they both need to totally break loose from the dollar economy – which is about to happen, perhaps soon, with the enactment of the Chinese Petrol exchange in Shanghai, where trading will NOT be in US dollars but in gold-convertible Yuan.
A possible solution is an SCO-BRICS currency basket, similar to the IMFs Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket which currently consist of 5 currencies – the US-dollar, British Pound, Euro, Yen and since October 2016 also the Chinese Yuan. This may start out as a virtual currency for external trade, while each country preserves her own monetary system.
It looks like a brighter future is ahead.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
|September 7, 2017||
The Real BRICS Bombshell.
by Pepe Escobar, Information Clearing House,
Putin reveals 'fair multipolar world' concept in which oil contracts could bypass the US dollar and be traded with oil, yuan and gold
By Pepe Escobar
September 07, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - The annual BRICS summit in Xiamen – where President Xi Jinping was once mayor – could not intervene in a more incandescent geopolitical context.
again, it’s essential to keep in mind that the
current core of BRICS is “RC”; the Russia-China
strategic partnership. So in the Korean
peninsula chessboard, RC context – with both
nations sharing borders with the DPRK – is
Gold mining in the Amazon, anyone?
Doklam plateau front, at least New Delhi and
Beijing decided, after two tense months, on
“expeditious disengagement” of their border
troops. This decision was directly linked to the
approaching BRICS summit – where both India and
China were set to lose face big time.
‘BRICS Plus’ or bust
global stage, the BRICS are already a major
nuisance to the unipolar order. Xi politely put
it in Xiamen as “we five countries [should] play
a more active part in global governance”.
|August 31, 2017||
Beijing’s “Belt and Road” Initiative, Towards an Economy of Peace?
by Peter Koenig, Information Clearing House,
Why is the world one huge fireball of hostilities, conflicts, threats of economic sanctions, propaganda of lies and mind manipulations, fearmongering – killing – massive killing – 12-15 million people killed since 9/11? – Why is that? And all provoked and executed by ONE country, and her vassals in the form of NATO, stooges of Brussels and the Middle East, and their prostituted proxies, paid mercenary whores, Islamic State, by the one Rogue Nation the world is subjected to – the United States of America.
All that at the cost of trillions of dollars, tax-payers’ money – really? – More likely privately FED, Wall Street created fiat money, pyramid money, based on usury and debt, subjugating debt to be pillaged from the ordinary citizens; but government debt never to be repaid, as per Alan Greenspan (FED Chairman, 1987-2006) to an exasperated journalist who asks, when will the US ever pay back its huge debt? – “Never – we will just print new money”. – So, is it really ‘tax-payers’ money’? – Would tax-payers’ money be able to pay for these trillions and trillion spent on conflicts, wars and hostilities – hundreds of billions spent on propaganda of deception and lies to promote endless assassinations around the globe? Hardly.
Why is it that we live willingly and knowingly in a fraud and greed-economy? – Is living in deception the illusion that keeps ultra-capitalism alive? – That leads us to ever higher grounds of avarice – ending in all-destructive fascism? – Possibly in a globe-annihilating mushroom?
Why do we worship war, if at least 99.99% of the peoples of this globe want peace?
Why do we tolerate such atrocities imposed by one nation – no longer worthy of the term ‘nation’ – destructions of entire countries, civilizations, the cradle of western history? Obliteration of livelihoods for generations to come? – For nothing else but gluttony, for insane accumulation of material goods and power? For world hegemony of a few? Why do we tolerate Inhumanity as our ‘leadership’?
It is well-understood that such ‘leaders’ are put in place not by elections, but by fraud – why do we not throw them out? – Why do we bend over still believing in the lies of democracy – if in the back of our minds a little spark of conscience tells us exactly that we are being betrayed by our governments, not once, not twice – but ALL THE TIME?
And this refers to WE in the WEST.
We know that we are living a falsehood. Is falsehood tolerable for the comfort of not moving out of our armchairs, out of the cushioned blue-pilled matrix, where we would have to face our own reality – that of having lived a life of lies for most of our existence? – Wouldn’t that recognition be a first step to our freedom – FREEDOM – freedom from want, freedom of mind, like in liberty to love our fellow citizens – freedom to embrace Peace?
Why are we not finishing off this monster – which is itself only a hologram, directed by a deep dark state, invisible to the naked eye of common citizens and a shadow government of tyrants, torturers, killers, psychopaths – that direct our everyday lives? – They, these triangle-framed one-eyed underground beasts have to live in secrecy, in darkness. Why?
Are we afraid? – Why can we not shed that fear for a little bit of courage – and find back to human solidarity against this atrocious abuse – the worst ever since the Roman Empire and probably much longer, ever since our modern times of history, dating back to the ascent of monotheism, some 5000 years ago? When the Akkadians overthrew the Sumerian civilization, where women had their natural initiating roles and were equals to men. Monotheism changed all this.
Let’s be clear – nobody is to be wished death; not the murderers of the Pentagon, or of the CIA, NSA, FBI – not the slaughterers of the Military Industrial Complex – nor the financial assassins of the FED, Wall Street, nor the whores of the mainstream propaganda killer ‘fake news’. No – they will eventually face their own Karma. In the meantime, let them live and drown in their own self-made swamp, or rather their suffocating cesspool of sewer.
But we do have to get rid of them – get them out of our lives, get them isolated from our well-being, human well-being, not greed-well-being, as we live today. They must be marginalized. -How?
There is a new economic paradigm waiting in the wings, offered by China and Russia, an Economy of Peace. An economy backed by labor, by construction, by research, education – by culture – and by gold. No fiat economy – an economy of Equal Rights and equal benefits for all participants; a non-war based economy, totally contrary of the western usury rent-seeking destructive economy. Who would not be attracted by this new model of Peace Economics?
The new Silk Road – also President Xi Jinping’s OBI – One Belt Initiative, formerly known as “The One Belt One Road” (OBOR) – an economic development program spanning the entire super-Continent of Eurasia and North Africa, from Vladivostok to Lisbon, and from Shanghai to Hamburg. Every territory in between is invited to participate, in what is possibly the largest and most wide-ranging economic expansion initiative in modern history. It is a multi-trillion-dollar (equivalent) endeavor that could literally stretch out for centuries, creating infrastructure, work, trade, income, new technologies, education- the palette is almost endless – for many areas still largely deprived of human well-being.
The “Road” encompasses land route development from Central China to Central Asia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Eastern Europe – construction of ports and coastal infrastructure from Southeast Asia to East Africa and the Mediterranean. In fact, OBI was initiated by President Xi in 2013 and is already well under way. China’s modernization of Greece’s Port of Piraeus, arguably the largest in the Mediterranean, is already part of it.
It keeps Brussels nervous. The hot-rock of mud and corruption is afraid it may ‘lose’ Greece – a NATO country – from their control. Greece diplomatically assures them ‘loyalty’ – nevertheless, thanks to Greek pressure – under these new circumstances – Brussels ‘vassalic’ human rights condemnation and new sanctions directed at China, in Washington’s latest efforts to pressure China on North Korea, were stopped thanks to Greek intervention on behalf of China. Quite a feat, for a small country – downtrodden into financial and abject purposeful economic misery by Germany and the nefarious troika. It shows not only the west’s bluff, but their fear from the East – where Brussels and Washington know very well – the world’s future lays.
This revival of the ancient Silk road with 21st Century technology, as China calls it, also comes with financing to promote basic needs, such as urban planning, water supply, sanitation, food production and distribution. The old axiom of comparative production advantages will be applied in an open market of equals among equals, already begun under the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), signed by Presidents Putin and Xi in May 2015, and rapidly expanding westward.
The OBI is sometimes referred to as the Eastern Marshall Plan. But it should rather and more aptly be called the Xi Plan. It comes with the appropriate financial instruments, foremost the Beijing based Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB). The Xi Plan is destined for economic development and peoples’ well-being. Whereas the Marshall Plan was designed for deceit, exploitation and enslavement of Europe with its subservient Bretton Woods Institutions – and it succeeded.
The AIIB is a multilateral development bank. In June 2015, 57 countries signed the Bank’s Articles of Agreement which entered into force on December 25, 2015. The Bank started operations on January 16, 2016. As of March 31, 2017, the Bank’s membership has increased to 70 and new applicants are waiting. AIIB has an authorized capital of US$ 100 billion equivalent with US$ 18.4 billion paid in by 31 March 2017.
Among AIIB’s members are many western countries, conventional allies of the United States, like Germany, the UK, France, many Nordic countries, Australia and others. Despite the objection of Washington, they have decided to join anyway. They realize the future is in Asia, in the East, much of it represented by this gigantic promising New Silk Road. After having lived through a fake and fraudulent privately run monetary economy for most of the last 200 years -even the staunchest ally and Washington vassal is becoming wary and ready for a new start.