It’s all about the Benjamin’s

 

Ever wonder why the US regime-changes this country but not that country?

Wonder no more.

It’s all about the Benjamin’s.

The US maintains its hegemony thanks to the power of the US dollar—the worlds reserve currency–and the reality of the petrodollar, where countries that wish to purchase oil must purchase dollars first. The essence of the 1970’s deal following the oil-shock was that the US would agree to the defense of Saudi Arabia as well as arms sales in return for all oil trades being denominated in US dollars. 
“As a result of this agreement, the dollar then became the only medium in which energy exchange could be transacted. This underpinned its reserve currency status through the need for foreign governments to hold dollars; recirculated the dollar costs of oil back into the U.S. financial system and — crucially — made the dollar effectively convertible into barrels of oil. The dollar was moved from a gold standard onto a crude oil standard.”

 

The petrodollar has lasted for over 41 years, and has been the driving force behind America’s economic, political and military power.

Presently this arrangement is threatened by the move by Russia and China to create an alternative to the dollar.

This would subsequently allow Russia and Iran to both effectively mitigate US and UN sanctions by facilitating the establishment of an energy market completely apart from the US.

Understanding this reality puts the protests that have erupted in Iran, and the sudden US concern for human rights there in a completely different light.

Going further, the idea that the US is concerned about human rights is laughable.

I believe that America’s renewed desire to escalate military tensions – this time directed at Iran – is a front for America’s continual financial war against countries that fail to conform to the Washington Consensus.

Commentator Alastair Crooke lays out what’s at stake in a must read article.

“China, Russia and Iran share a common strategic interest to establish a currency zone, with the depth of markets and infrastructure, to operate independently of the dollar sphere.  These states have made it very clear that they are committed to a long-term strategy to stop using the US dollar, as their primary currency, in global trade.  

Trump’s Security Strategy – if prosecuted seriously – precisely risks an upset to the precarious balance to this ongoing, (and until now) slowly unfolding, financial war.  Pursuing aggressive financial sanctions against any of these three states risks now precipitating a premature triggering of substantive monetary change in retaliation (and, a concomitant risk of financial chaos).  It is possibly this latter outcome to which Herman Gref was hinting when he told the Financial Times that blocking international clearing for Russian banks would have such a devastating effect, that it would “make the Cold War look like child’s play”.

Crooked also explains how the US domestic economy became financialized along the way.

“The U.S. avoided high inflation by letting the dollar circulate globally. It also needs to restrain the printing of dollars to avoid a dollar devaluation. Then what should it do when it runs out of dollars? 

The Americans came up with a solution: issuing debt to bring the dollar back to the U.S. The Americans started to play a game of printing money with one hand and borrowing money with the other hand. Printing money can make money. Borrowing money can also make money. This financial economy (using money to make money) is much easier than the real (industry-based) economy. Why will it bother with manufacturing industries that have only low value-adding capabilities?

Since August 15, 1971, the U.S. has gradually stopped its real economy and moved into a virtual economy. It has become an “empty” economy state. Today’s U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has reached US$18 trillion, but only $5 trillion is from the real economy.

U.S. brings a large amount of dollars from overseas, back to the U.S.’s three big markets: the commodity market, the Treasury Bills market, and the stock market. The U.S. repeats this cycle to make money: printing money, exporting money overseas, and bringing money back. The U.S. has thus become a financial empire.”

However, the financial arrangement that undergirds US hegemony is precarious, as Crooke makes clear.

“The operational launch of the Chinese Yuan denominated oil futures option in time — depending how quickly contracts can be adjusted – holds the prospect for displacing the petro-dollar system, especially if Saudi Arabia agrees to sell crude to China in Yuan (perhaps as part of China buying a stake in the Aramco offering).” 

This article goes a long way towards explaining why our elite are freaking out about Russia and China, and why the US military is deployed world-wide in a never ending series of wars.

The financialization that the US elite have used to maintain worldwide hegemony has had disastrous consequences for the average American.

If one quarter of the American working population in the 1960s was in manufacturing and one tenth is now, and the lost employment went into low-paying services while the income went into finance, then no wonder there has been an increase in inequality. The part of the economy that was producing material wealth, and that supported the middle class, was ripped out and thrown away. The society became poorer, and with it most of its people, except the top 1%.

Once again, the surest way to understand policy is to follow the money.

Remember–It’s all about the Benjamin’s

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