Putin Vows To Destroy West's Financial Dominance Over World
September 4, 2017
President Putin has hit back at the Western elite's financial dominance over the world by vowing to destroy the US-led global financial and trade hegemony.
Speaking on the eve of the BRICS Summit in China, Putin said that now is the time for a truly 'free economy' to rise up and obliterate the unfair global financial and economic architecture.
Russia-insider.com reports: Putin's strategy aims first at consolidating the political unity of the new emerging world powers and with that to attack the existing institutions of the failing West, in particular their currency hegemonies and their financial power structures, the IMF and the World Bank.
(Russia aims at promoting global) "financial regulation reforms" and at overcoming "the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies" (that is, the currency monopolies of Western countries) coupled with working "towards a more balanced distribution of quotas and voting shares within the IMF and the World Bank."
Putin wants to break the Western hegemonic dominance of world trade by building a genuine global free trade system as opposed to the present sham-liberal system marked by a de-facto US protectionism of its own narrow interests. He continues:
Russia advocates "the foundations of an open, equal and mutually beneficial multilateral trade system and the strengthening of the role of the WTO."
It is especially noteworthy and welcome that Putin has in his analysis arrived to identifying the monopolistic dominance of world trade by the Western transnational corporations as a major structural problem. Putin wants to unleash the collective power of the antimonopoly agencies of the BRICS countries against those predatory corporations:
"The goal is to create a package of cooperation measures to work against the restrictive business practices of large multinational corporations and trans-border violations of competition rules,"
We said so
I am personally very pleased to note that Putin has so lucidly identified the present hegemonic barriers in world finances and trade and that he has so succinctly defined the strategy to combat the existing unfair system.
In a recent report by our firm on how Russia has coped with the sanctions and the dramatic plunge of the oil price, we wrote in the same line, but rather less diplomatically than the way Putin formulated it, to quote:
"We want to stress that there are sanctions of two types, officially enacted sanctions and unofficial sanctions. The latter have not been officially announced by any Western government but are deliberately pursued under the agenda of economic containment, itself part of the grand geopolitical strategy of Russia containment.
By these measures Russian investors and exporters are actively by way of unannounced (i.e. illegal) rules hindered from entering Western markets and other global markets were those powers hold sway, and conversely Western (and other) investors are being discouraged (coerced) from certain investments into Russia.
The economic containment takes many other forms, too, for example, it affects Russia's participation in global financial operations and the rubles role among global currencies.
We assess that the unofficial sanctions are even more cumbersome and harmful than the official one."
"As a matter of fact, there are some very real and concrete constraints, which have prevented, and will continue to prevent Russia from increasing its exports of manufactured goods as long as these real constraints are not identified.
The reasons are both of historical nature and related to the present realities of global trade, the already high level of saturation and entrenched positions of globally dominating, mostly Western based, transnational corporations, and the whole world trade order based on institutionalized hegemony of the Western countries, as well as, their seemingly unlimited access to virtually interest-free financing.
Russia can begin to tackle these problems only through similar geopolitical maneuvers (fortunately, initial progress has been made in this regards) and a very well thought out strategic marketing plan on the level of both the national economy and corporations."
Here is a link to the full report titled What Does Not Kill You Will Make You Stronger - The Russian Economy 2014 - 2016, the Years of Sanctions Warfare.
The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.
By David Armstrong
Harper's Magazine, 0017789X, Oct 2002, Vol. 305, Issue 1829
Few writers are more ambitious than the writers of government policy papers, and few policy papers are more ambitious than Dick Cheney's masterwork. It has taken several forms over the last decade and is in fact the product of several ghostwriters (notably Paul Wolfowitz and Colin Powell), but Cheney has been consistent in his dedication to the ideas in the documents that bear his name, and he has maintained a close association with the ideologues behind them. Let us, therefore, call Cheney the author, and this series of documents the Plan.
The Plan was published in unclassified form most recently under the title of Defense Strategy for the 1990s, (pdf) as Cheney ended his term as secretary of defense under the elder George Bush in early 1993, but it is, like "Leaves of Grass," a perpetually evolving work. It was the controversial Defense Planning Guidance draft of 1992 - from which Cheney, unconvincingly, tried to distance himself - and it was the somewhat less aggressive revised draft of that same year. This June it was a presidential lecture in the form of a commencement address at West Point, and in July it was leaked to the press as yet another Defense Planning Guidance (this time under the pen name of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld). It will take its ultimate form, though, as America's new national security strategy - and Cheney et al. will experience what few writers have even dared dream: their words will become our reality.
The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.
The Plan is disturbing in many ways, and ultimately unworkable. Yet it is being sold now as an answer to the "new realities" of the post-September 11 world, even as it was sold previously as the answer to the new realities of the post-Cold War world. For Cheney, the Plan has always been the right answer, no matter how different the questions.
Cheney's unwavering adherence to the Plan would be amusing, and maybe a little sad, except that it is now our plan. In its pages are the ideas that we now act upon every day with the full might of the United States military. Strangely, few critics have noted that Cheney's work has a long history, or that it was once quite unpopular, or that it was created in reaction to circumstances that are far removed from the ones we now face. But Cheney is a well-known action man. One has to admire, in a way, the Babe Ruth-like sureness of his political work. He pointed to center field ten years ago, and now the ball is sailing over the fence.
Before the Plan was about domination it was about money. It took shape in late 1989, when the Soviet threat was clearly on the decline, and, with it, public support for a large military establishment. Cheney seemed unable to come to terms with either new reality. He remained deeply suspicious of the Soviets and strongly resisted all efforts to reduce military spending. Democrats in Congress jeered his lack of strategic vision, and a few within the Bush Administration were whispering that Cheney had become an irrelevant factor in structuring a response to the revolutionary changes taking place in the world.
More adaptable was the up-and-coming General Colin Powell, the newly appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Ronald Reagan's national security adviser, Powell had seen the changes taking place in the Soviet Union firsthand and was convinced that the ongoing transformation was irreversible. Like Cheney, he wanted to avoid military cuts, but he knew they were inevitable. The best he could do was minimize them, and the best way to do that would be to offer a new security structure that would preserve American military capabilities despite reduced resources.
Powell and his staff believed that a weakened Soviet Union would result in shifting alliances and regional conflict. The United States was the only nation capable of managing the forces at play in the world; it would have to remain the preeminent military power in order to ensure the peace and shape the emerging order in accordance with American interests. U.S. military strategy, therefore, would have to shift from global containment to managing less-well-defined regional struggles and unforeseen contingencies. To do this, the United States would have to project a military "forward presence" around the world; there would be fewer troops but in more places. This plan still would not be cheap, but through careful restructuring and superior technology, the job could be done with 25 percent fewer troops. Powell insisted that maintaining superpower status must be the first priority of the U.S. military. "We have to put a shingle outside our door saying, 'Superpower Lives Here,' no matter what the Soviets do," he said at the time. He also insisted that the troop levels be proposed were the bare minimum necessary to do so. This concept would come to be known as the "Base Force."
Powell's work on the subject proved timely. The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, and five days later Powell had his new strategy ready to present to Cheney. Even as decades of repression were ending in Eastern Europe, however, Cheney still could not abide even the force and budget reductions Powell proposed. Yet he knew that cuts were unavoidable. Having no alternative of his own to offer, therefore, he reluctantly encouraged Powell to present his ideas to the president. Powell did so the next day; Bush made no promises but encouraged him to keep at it.
Less encouraging was the reaction of Paul Wolfowitz, the undersecretary of defense for policy. A lifelong proponent of the unilateralist, maximum-force approach, he shared Cheney's skepticism about the Eastern Bloc and so put his own staff to work on a competing plan that would somehow accommodate the possibility of Soviet backsliding.
As Powell and Wolfowitz worked out their strategies, Congress was losing patience. New calls went up for large cuts in defense spending in light of the new global environment. The harshest critique of Pentagon planning came from a usually dependable ally of the military establishment, Georgia Democrat Sam Nunn, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee. Nunn told fellow senators in March 1990 that there was a "threat blank" in the administration's proposed $295 billion defense budget and that the Pentagon's "basic assessment of the overall threat to our national security" was "rooted in the past." The world had changed and yet the "development of a new military strategy that responds to the changes in the threat has not yet occurred." Without that response, no dollars would be forthcoming.
Nunn's message was clear. Powell and Wolfowitz began filling in the blanks. Powell started promoting a Zen-like new rationale for his Base Force approach. With the Soviets rapidly becoming irrelevant, Powell argued, the United States could no longer assess its military needs on the basis of known threats. Instead, the Pentagon should focus on maintaining the ability to address a wide variety of new and unknown challenges. This shift from a "threat based" assessment of military requirements to a "capability based" assessment would become a key theme of the Plan. The United States would move from countering Soviet attempts at dominance to ensuring its own dominance. Again, this project would not be cheap.
Powell's argument, circular though it may have been, proved sufficient to hold off Congress. Winning support among his own colleagues, however, proved more difficult. Cheney remained deeply skeptical about the Soviets, and Wolfowitz was only slowly coming around. To account for future uncertainties, Wolfowitz recommended drawing down U.S. forces to roughly the levels proposed by Powell, but doing so at a much slower pace; seven years as opposed to the four Powell suggested. He also built in a "crisis response/reconstitution" clause that would allow for reversing the process if events in the Soviet Union, or elsewhere, turned ugly.
With these now elements in place, Cheney saw something that might work. By combining Powell's concepts with those of Wolfowitz, he could counter congressional criticism that his proposed defense budget was out of line with the new strategic reality, while leaving the door open for future force increases. In late June, Wolfowitz, Powell, and Cheney presented their plan to the president, and within as few weeks Bush was unveiling the new strategy.
Bush laid out the rationale for the Plan in a speech in Aspen, Colorado, on August 2, 1990. He explained that since the danger of global war had substantially receded, the principal threats to American security would emerge in unexpected quarters. To counter those threats, he said, the United States would increasingly base the size and structure of its forces on the need to respond to "regional contingencies" and maintain a peacetime military presence overseas. Meeting that need would require maintaining the capability to quickly deliver American forces to any "corner of the globe," and that would mean retaining many major weapons systems then under attack in Congress as overly costly and unnecessary, including the "Star Wars" missile-defense program. Despite those massive outlays, Bush insisted that the proposed restructuring would allow the United States to draw down its active forces by 25 percent in the years ahead, the same figure Powell had projected ten months earlier.
The Plan's debut was well timed. By a remarkable coincidence, Bush revealed it the very day Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait.
The Gulf War temporarily reduced the pressure to cut military spending. It also diverted attention from some of the Plan's less appealing aspects. In addition, it inspired what would become one of the Plan's key features: the use of "overwhelming force" to quickly defeat enemies, a concept since dubbed the Powell Doctrine.
Once the Iraqi threat was "contained," Wolfowitz returned to his obsession with the Soviets, planning various scenarios involved possible Soviet intervention in regional conflicts. The failure of the hard-liner coup against Gorbachev in August 1991, however, made it apparent that such planning might be unnecessary. Then, in late December, just as the Pentagon was preparing to put the Plan in place, the Soviet Union collapsed.
With the Soviet Union gone, the United States had a choice. It could capitalize on the euphoria of the moment by nurturing cooperative relations and developing multilateral structures to help guide the global realignment then taking place; or it could consolidate its power and pursue a strategy of unilateralism and global dominance. It chose the latter course.
In early 1992, as Powell and Cheney campaigned to win congressional support for their augmented Base Force plan, a new logic entered into their appeals. The United States, Powell told members of the House Armed Services Committee, required "sufficient power" to "deter any challenger from ever dreaming of challenging us on the world stage." To emphasize the point, he cast the United States in the role of street thug. "I want to be the bully on the block," he said, implanting in the mind of potential opponents that "there is no future in trying to challenge the armed forces of the United States."
As Powell and Cheney were making this new argument in their congressional rounds, Wolfowitz was busy expanding the concept and working to have it incorporated into U.S. policy. During the early months of 1992, Wolfowitz supervised the preparation of an internal Pentagon policy statement used to guide military officials in the preparation of their forces, budgets, and strategies. The classified document, known as the Defense Planning Guidance, depicted a world dominated by the United States, which would maintain its superpower status through a combination of positive guidance and overwhelming military might. the image was one of a heavily armed City on a Hill.
The DPG stated that the "first objective" of U.S. defense strategy was "to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival." Achieving this objective required that the United States "prevent any hostile power from dominating a region" of strategic significance. America's new mission would be to convince allies and enemies alike "that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests."
Another new theme was the use of preemptive military force. The options, the DPG noted, ranged from taking preemptive military action to head off a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack to "punishing" or "threatening punishment of" aggressors "through a variety of means," including strikes against weapons-manufacturing facilities.
The DPG also envisioned maintaining a substantial U.S. nuclear arsenal while discouraging the development of nuclear programs in other countries. It depicted a "U.S.-led system of collective security" that implicitly precluded the need for rearmament of any king by countries such as Germany and Japan. And it called for the "early introduction" of a global missile-defense system that would presumably render all missile-launched weapons, including those of the United States, obsolete. (The United States would, of course, remain the world's dominant military power on the strength of its other weapons systems.)
The story, in short, was dominance by way of unilateral action and military superiority. While coalitions - such as the one formed during the Gulf War - held "considerable promise for promoting collective action," the draft DPG stated, the United States should expect future alliances to be "ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished." It was essential to create "the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S." and essential that America position itself "to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated" or in crisis situation requiring immediate action. "While the U.S. cannot become the world's policeman," the document said, "we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends." Among the interests the draft indicated the United States would defend in this manner were "access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, [and] threats to U.S. citizens from terrorism."
The DPC was leaked to the New York Times in March 1992. Critics on both the left and the right attacked it immediately. Then-presidential candidate Pat Buchanan portrayed candidate a "blank check" to America's allies by suggesting the United States would "go to war to defend their interests." Bill Clinton's deputy campaign manager, George Stephanopoulos, characterized it as an attempt by Pentagon officials to "find an excuse for big defense budgets instead of downsizing." Delaware Senator Joseph Biden criticized the Plan's vision of a "Pax Americana, a global security system where threats to stability are suppressed or destroyed by U.S. military power." Even those who found the document's stated goals commendable feared that its chauvinistic tone could alienate many allies. Cheney responded by attempting to distance himself from the Plan. The Pentagon's spokesman dismissed the leaked document as a "low-level draft" and claimed that Cheney had not seen it. Yet a fifteen-page section opened by proclaiming that it constituted "definitive guidance from the Secretary of Defense."
Powell took a more forthright approach to dealing with the flap: he publicly embraced the DPG's core concept. In a TV interview, he said he believed it was "just fine" that the United States reign as the world's dominant military power. "I don't think we should apologize for that," he said. Despite bad reviews in the foreign press, Powell insisted that America's European allies were "not afraid" of U.S. military might because it was "power that could be trusted" and "will not be misused."
Mindful that the draft DPG's overt expression of U.S. dominance might not fly, Powell in the same interview also trotted out a new rationale for the original Base Force plan. He argued that in a post-Soviet world, filled with new dangers, the United States needed the ability to fight on more than one front at a time. "One of the most destabilizing things we could do," he said, "is to cut our forces so much that if we're tied up in one area of the world ..... and we are not seen to have the ability to influence another area of the world, we might invite just the sort of crisis we're trying to deter." This two-war strategy provided a possible answer to Nunn's "threat blank." One unknown enemy wasn't enough to justify lavish defense budgets, but two unknown enemies might do the trick.
Within a few weeks the Pentagon had come up with a more comprehensive response to the DPG furor. A revised version was leaked to the press that was significantly less strident in tone, though only slightly less strident in fact. While calling for the United States to prevent "any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests," the new draft stressed that America would act in concert with its allies - when possible. It also suggested the United Nations might take an expanded role in future political, economic, and security matters, a concept conspicuously absent from the original draft.
The controversy died down, and, with a presidential campaign under way, the Pentagon did nothing to stir it up again. Following Bush's defeat, however, the Plan reemerged. In January 1993, in his very last days in office. Cheney released a final version. The newly titled Defense Strategy for the 1990s retained the soft touch of the revised draft DPG as well as its darker themes. The goal remained to preclude "hostile competitors from challenging our critical interests" and preventing the rise of a new super-power. Although it expressed a "preference" for collective responses in meeting such challenges, it made clear that the United States would play the lead role in any alliance. Moreover, it noted that collective action would "not always be timely." Therefore, the United States needed to retain the ability to "act independently, if necessary." To do so would require that the United States maintain its massive military superiority. Others were not encouraged to follow suit. It was kinder, gentler dominance, but it was dominance all the same. And it was this thesis that Cheney and company nailed to the door on their way out.
The new administration tacitly rejected the heavy-handed, unilateral approach to U.S. primacy favored by Powell, Cheney, and Wolfowitz. Taking office in the relative calm of the early post - Cold War era, Clinton sought to maximize America's existing position of strength and promote its interests through economic diplomacy, multilateral institutions (dominated by the United States), greater international free trade, and the development of allied coalitions, including American-led collective military action. American policy, in short, shifted from global dominance to globalism.
Clinton also failed to prosecute military campaigns with sufficient vigor to satisfy the defense strategists of the previous administration. Wolfowitz found Clinton's Iraq policy especially infuriating. During the Gulf War, Wolfowitz harshly criticized the decision - endorsed by Powell and Cheney - to end the war once the U.N. mandate of driving Saddam's forces from Kuwait had been fulfilled, leaving the Iraqi dictator in office. He called on the Clinton Administration to finish the job by arming Iraqi opposition forces and sending U.S. ground troops to defense a base of operation for them in the southern region of the country. In a 1996 editorial, Wolfowitz raised the prospect of launching a preemptive attack against Iraq. "Should we sit idly by," he wrote, "with our passive containment policy and our inept cover operations, and wait until a tyrant possessing large quantities of weapons of mass destruction and sophisticated delivery systems strikes out at us?" Wolfowitz suggested it was "necessary" to "go beyond the containment strategy."
Wolfowitz's objections to Clinton's military tactics were not limited to Iraq. Wolfowitz had endorsed President Bush's decision in late 1992 to intervene in Somalia on a limited humanitarian basis. Clinton later expanded the mission into a broader peacekeeping effort, a move that ended in disaster. With perfect twenty-twenty hindsight, Wolfowitz decried Clinton's decision to send U.S. troops into combat "where there is no significant U.S. national interest." He took a similar stance on Clinton's ill-fated democracy-building effort in Haiti, chastising the president for engaging "American military prestige" on an issue" of the little or no importance" to U.S. interests. Bosnia presented a more complicated mix of posturing and ideologics. While running for president, Clinton had scolded the Bush Administration for failing to take action to stem the flow of blood in the Balkans. Once in office, however, and chastened by their early misadventures in Somalia and Haiti, Clinton and his advisers struggled to articulate a coherent Bosnia policy. Wolfowitz complained in 1994 of the administration's failure to "develop an effective course of action.' He personally advocated arming the Bosnian Muslims in their fight against the Serbs. Powell, on the other hand, publicly cautioned against intervention. In 1995 a U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign, combined with a Croat-Muslim ground offensive, forced the Serbs into negotiations, leading to the Dayton Peace Accords. In 1999, as Clinton rounded up support for joint U.S.-NATO action in Kosovo, Wolfowitz hectored the president for failing to act quickly enough.
After eight years of what Cheney et al. regarded as wrong-headed military adventures and pinprick retaliatory strikes, the Clinton Administration - mercifully, in their view - came to an end. With the ascension of George W. Bush to the presidency, the authors of the Plan returned to government, ready to pick up where they had left off. Cheney of course, became vice president, Powell became secretary of state, and Wolfowitz moved into the number two slot at the Pentagon, as Donald Rumsfeld's deputy. Other contributors also returned: Two prominent members of the Wolfowitz team that crafted the original DPG took up posts on Cheney's staff. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who served as Wolfowitz's deputy during Bush I, became the vice president's chief of staff and national security adviser. And Eric Edelman, an assistant deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush Administration, became a top foreign policy adviser to Cheney.
Cheney and company had not changed their minds during the Clinton interlude about the correct course for U.S. policy, but they did not initially appear bent on resurrecting the Plan. Rather than present a unified vision of foreign policy to the world, in the early going the administration focused on promoting a series of seemingly unrelated initiatives. Notable among these were missile defense and space-based weaponry, long-standing conservative causes. In addition, a distinct tone of unilateralism emerged as the new administration announced its intent to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia in order to pursue missile defense; its opposition to U.S. ratification of an international nuclear-test-ban pact; and its refusal to become a party to an International Criminal Court. It also raised the prospect of ending the self-imposed U.S. moratorium on nuclear testing initiated by the President's father during the 1992 presidential campaign. Moreover, the administration adopted a much tougher diplomatic posture, as evidenced, most notably, by a distinct hardening of relations with both China and North Korea. While none of this was inconsistent with the concept of U.S. dominance, these early actions did not, at the time, seem to add up to a coherent strategy.
It was only after September 11 that the Plan emerged in full. Within days of the attacks, Wolfowitz and Libby began calling for unilateral military action against Iraq, on the shaky premise that Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network could not have pulled off the assaults without Saddam Hussein's assistance. At the time, Bush rejected such appeals, but Wolfowitz kept pushing and the President soon came around. In his State of the Union address in January, Bush labeled Iraq, Iran, and North Korea an "axis of evil," and warned that he would "not wait on events" to prevent them from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States. He reiterated his commitment to preemption in his West Point speech in June. "If we wait for threats to fully materialize we will have waited too long," he said. "We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge." Although it was less noted, Bush in that same speech also reintroduced the Plan's central theme. He declared that the United States would prevent the emergence of a rival power by maintaining "military strengths beyond the challenge." With that, the President effectively adopted a strategy his father's administration had developed ten years earlier to ensure that the United States would remain the world's preeminent power. While the headlines screamed "preemption," no one noticed the declaration of the dominance strategy.
In case there was any doubt about the administration's intentions, the Pentagon's new DPG lays them out. Signed by Wolfowitz's new boss, Donald Rumsfeld, in May and leaked to the Los Angeles Times in July, it contains all the key elements of the original Plan and adds several complementary features. The preemptive strikes envisioned in the original draft DPG are now "unwarned attacks." The old Powell-Cheney notion of military "forward presence" is now "forwarded deterrence." The use of overwhelming force to defeat an enemy called for in the Powell Doctrine is now labeled an "effects based" approach.
Some of the names have stayed the same. Missile defense is back, stronger than ever, and the call goes up again for a shift from a "threat based" structure to a "capabilities based" approach. The new DPG also emphasizes the need to replace the so-called Cold War strategy of preparing to fight two major conflicts simultaneously with what the Los Angeles Times refers to as "a more complex approach aimed at dominating air and space on several fronts." This, despite the fact that Powell had originally conceived - and the first Bush Administration had adopted - the two-war strategy as a means of filling the "threat blank" left by the end of the Cold War.
Rumsfeld's version adds a few new ideas, most impressively the concept of preemptive strikes with nuclear weapons. These would be earth-penetrating nuclear weapons used for attacking "hardened and deeply buried targets," such as command-and-control bunkers, missile silos, and heavily fortified underground facilities used to build and store weapons of mass destruction. The concept emerged earlier this year when the administration's Nuclear Posture Review leaked out. At the time, arms-control experts warned that adopting the NPR's recommendations would undercut existing arms-control treaties, do serious harm to nonproliferation efforts, set off new rounds of testing, and dramatically increase the prospectus of nuclear weapons being used in combat. Despite these concerns, the administration appears intent on developing the weapons. In a final flourish, the DPG also directs the military to develop cyber-, laser-, and electronic-warfare capabilities to ensure U.S. dominion over the heavens.
Rumsfeld spelled out these strategies in Foreign affairs earlier this year, and it is there that he articulated the remaining elements of the Plan; unilateralism and global dominance. Like the revised DPG of 1992, Rumsfeld feigns interest in collective action but ultimately rejects it as impractical. "Wars can benefit from coalitions," he writes, "but they should not be fought by committee." And coalitions, he adds, "must not determine the mission." The implication is the United States will determine the missions and lead the fights. Finally, Rumsfeld expresses the key concept of the Plan: preventing the emergence of rival powers. Like the original draft DPG of 1992, he states that America's goal is to develop and maintain the military strength necessary to "dissuade" rivals or adversaries from "competing." with no challengers, and a proposed defense budget of $379 billion for next year, the United States would reign over all its surveys.
Reaction to the latest edition of the Plan has, thus far, focused on preemption. Commentators parrot the administration's line, portraying the concept of preemptory strikes as a "new" strategy aimed at combating terrorism. In an op-ed piece for the Washington Post following Bush's West Point address, former Clinton adviser William Galston described preemption as part of a "brand-new security doctrine," and warned of possible negative diplomatic consequences. Others found the concept more appealing. Loren Thompson of the conservative Lexington Institute hailed the "Bush Doctrine" as "a necessary response to the new dangers that America faces" and declared it "the biggest shift in strategic thinking in two generations." Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley echoed that sentiment, writing that "no talk of this ilk has been heard from American leaders since John Foster Dulles talked of rolling back the Iron Curtain."
Preemption, of course, is just part of the Plan, and the Plan is hardly new. It is a warmed-over version of the strategy Cheney and his coauthors rolled out in 1992 as the answer to the end of the Cold War. Then the goal was global dominance, and it met with bad reviews. Now it is the answer to terrorism. The emphasis is on preemption, and the reviews are generally enthusiastic. Through all of this, the dominance motif remains, though largely undetected.
This country once rejected "unwarned" attacks such as Pearl Harbor as barbarous and unworthy of a civilized nation. Today many cheer the prospect of conducting sneak attacks - potentially with nuclear weapons - on piddling powers run by tin-pot despots.
We also once denounced those who tried to rule the world. Our primary objection (at least officially) to the Soviet Union as its quest for global domination. Through the successful employment of the tools of containment, deterrence, collective security, and diplomacy - the very methods we now reject - we rid ourselves and the world of the Evil Empire. Having done so, we now pursue the very thing for which we opposed it. And now that the Soviet Union is gone, there appears to be no one left to stop us.
Perhaps, however, there is. The Bush Administration and its loyal opposition seem not to grasp that the quests for dominance generate backlash. Those threatened with preemption may themselves launch preemptory strikes. And even those who are successfully "preempted" or dominated may object and find means to strike back. Pursuing such strategies may, paradoxically, result in greater factionalism and rivalry, precisely the things we seek to end.
Not all Americans share Colin Powell's desire to be "the bully on the block." In fact, some believe that by following a different path the United States has an opportunity to establish a more lasting security environment. As Dartmouth professors Stephen Brooks and William Woblforth wrote recently in Foreign Affairs, "Unipolarity makes it possible to be the global bully - but it also offers the United States the luxury of being able to look beyond its immediate needs to its own, and the world's, long-term interests. ..... Magnanimity and restraint in the face of temptation are tenets of successful statecraft that have proved their worth." Perhaps, in short, we can achieve our desired ends by means other than global domination.
In December, Grant Williams, author of "Things That Make You Go Hmm..." offered the most comprehensive analysis yet of the rise and inevitable fall of the petrodollar (and implicitly US hegemony). In the following presentation, from Mines & Money Conference in London in December 2016, Williams focuses on gold's performance in 2016, the reaction to Donald Trump's election and joins a series of dots that may lead to the end of the petrodollar system and a new place for gold in the global monetary system.
Grab a glass fo wine - turn off Trump's twitter feed for 30 minutes and enjoy. Here is the full presentation - "Get It. Got It. Good"
This presentation follows on from his "Nobody Cares" analysis.
* * *
The story begins in the 1970s when Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon struck a deal with the House of Saud - a deal which gave birth to the petrodollar system.
The terms were simple The Saudis agreed to ONLY accept U.S. Dollars in return for their oil and that they would reinvest their surplus dollars into U.S. treasuries.
In return, the U.S. would provide arms and a security guarantee to the Saudis who, it has to be said, were living in a pretty rough neighbourhood. As you can see, things went swimmingly (chart below)
Saudi purchases of treasuries grew along with the oil price and everyone was happy. (We'll come back to that blue box on the right shortly)
The inverse correlation between the dollar and crude is just about as perfect as one could expect (until recently that is... but again, we'll be back to that).
And, as you can see here, beginning when Nixon slammed the gold window shut on French fingers and picking up speed once the petrodollar system was ensconced, foreign buyers of U.S. debt grew exponentially.
Having the world's most vital commodity exclusively priced in U.S. dollars meant everybody needed to hold large dollar reserves to pay for it and that meant a yuuuge bid for treasuries. It's good to be the king.
By 2015, as the chart on the next page shows quite clearly, there were treasuries to the value of around 6 years of total global oil supply in the hands of foreigners (if we assume a constant 97 million bpd supply which I think is a pretty reasonable estimate).
Now... with that brief background on the petrodollar system, here's where I need you to stick with me. I promise you it'll be worth the mental effort
Ready? Here we go.
Now, back in 2010, then-World Bank President Robert Zoellick caused something of a commotion when he suggested that an entirely new global monetary system maybe wasn't such a bad idea.
The system he had in mind involved a freely-convertible Yuan and, controversially was constructed around gold as its central reference point:
(Robert Zoellick, November 8, 2010): …the G20 should complement this growth recovery programme with a plan to build a co-operative monetary system that reflects emerging economic conditions. This new system is likely to need to involve the dollar, the euro, the yen, the pound and a renminbi that moves towards internationalisation and then an open capital account.
The system should also consider employing gold as an international reference point of market expectations about inflation, deflation and future currency values. Although textbooks may view gold as the old money, markets are using gold as an alternative monetary asset today.
In seemingly unrelated news, two years later, Iran began accepting Yuan in payment for its oil amid US sanctions. The transactions were conducted through Russian banks:
(Financial Times, May 2012): Iran is accepting renminbi for some of the crude oil it supplies to China…
…Tehran is spending the currency, which is not freely convertible, on goods and services imported from China…
The trade is worth as much as $20bn-$30bn annually according to industry estimates…
The renminbi purchases began some months ago…much of the money is transferred to Tehran through Russian banks, which take large commissions on the transactions…
Beijing has been trying to get its trading partners to use the renminbi, in effect transferring the exchange rate risk to its counterparties, since the price of crude is set in US dollars. It also frees Beijing of the need to hold as many dollars in its reserves.
The crucial part of this deal was that, by diversifying their purchases in this way, the Chinese had found a path towards not only needing to hold fewer U.S. dollar reserves, but to circumventing the petrodollar system altogether.
By 2013, the penny had clearly dropped at the PBoC who declared an end to the era of their accumulation of U.S. treasuries:
(Bloomberg, November 2013): The People's Bank of China said the country does not benefit any more from increases in its foreign-currency holdings, adding to signs policy makers will rein in dollar purchases that limit the yuan's appreciation.
"It's no longer in China's favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves," Yi Gang, a deputy governor at the central bank, said in a speech organized by China Economists 50 Forum at Tsinghua University yesterday. The monetary authority will "basically" end normal intervention in the currency market and broaden the yuan's daily trading range
Yes, it was, apparently "no longer in China's interest" to accumulate foreign exchange reserves.
Sure enough, in 2014, global FX reserves began to decline at the fastest rate in 80 years as you can see from this chart:
That same year, another piece of the puzzle was laid in place when Xu Luode, the Chairman of the newly-founded Shanghai Gold Exchange, explained that gold would be priced and sold in Yuan as a step towards what he called the "internationalization of the renminbi" (for those of you confused by Yuan and Renminbi, just think of them as the Chinese equivalent of 'Pound' and 'Sterling'):
(Xu Luode, Speech to LBMA, May 2014): Foreign investors can directly use offshore yuan to trade gold on the SGE international board, which is promoting the internationalization of the renminbi…
Shanghai Gold will change the current gold market "consumption in the East priced in the West" situation.
When China will have a right to speak in the international gold market, pricing will get revealed…
Interestingly, Luode acknowledged what he accurately described as the "consumption in the East, priced in the West" situation and assured the world that the 'real' price of gold would become apparent once China took its rightful place at the centre of the gold market.
We can but hope he is correct. When that day comes, the change on the world's gold markets will be unprecedented.
In 2015, another announcement slipped by the world when it was revealed that Russia's Gazprom would also begin selling oil to the Chinese in exchange for yuan and that they were negotiating further agreements to use rubles and yuan to settle natural gas trading directly, without the need for dollars:
(Moscow Times, June 2015): "Two state energy companies, gas producer Gazprom and its oil arm Gazprom Neft, said they would use more Chinese currency in trade, while Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, has also promoted the use of the yuan…
Gazprom Neft announced that it began settling shipments of oil to China in yuan. And previously, the head of Gazprom, Alexey Miller, said in a TV interview that the company was negotiating with China to use yuan and rubles for gas deliveries via a planned pipeline in Western Siberia.
OK... hands up if you're still with me... great!
Oh... you're reading this so I can't see you but hopefully you're following the dots...
For those of you who aren't, here's a little recap of where we are so far to help you get things into the right order before we push on to the end:
Get it? Got it? Good.
So... here we are, in 2016 and, as it turned out, April was a hell of a month if you were paying attention.
Firstly, the Saudis threatened to sell almost a trillion dollars of U.S. assets-including over $300 billion of treasury bonds-should a bill be passed by the congress allowing the Saudis to be held responsible for the 9/11 attacks:
NY Times, April 16, 2016): Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the 9/11 attacks.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom's message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi would be forced to sell up to $750B in treasury securities & other assets in the US before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, the bill was subsequently passed before being vetoed by President Obama who then had to watch in ignominy as he suffered the first veto override of his presidency.
Just days later, the Saudis were the cause of a seemingly surprise failure by OPEC to agree a production cut as the oil price languished in the low-$30s:
(Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2016): DOHA, Qatar-Oil producers that supply almost half the world's crude failed Sunday to negotiate a production freeze intended to strengthen prices.
The talks collapsed after Saudi Arabia surprised the group by reasserting a demand that Iran also agree to cap its oil production.
Oil prices had rallied in recent weeks on speculation that Saudi Arabia might successfully lead an initiative between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, which joined the talks.
A deal would have marked a new level of cooperation between non-OPEC countries and OPEC members that producers hoped would keep prices above January lows of $26 a barrel.
Just 48 hours after that surprise, the Chinese finally launched their twice daily gold fixing, setting the price at 256.92 yuan per gram:
(Bloomberg, April 19, 2016): China, the world's biggest producer and consumer of gold, started a twice-daily price fixing on Tuesday in an attempt to establish a regional benchmark and bolster its influence in the global market.
The Shanghai Gold Exchange set the price at 256.92 yuan a gram ($1,233.85 an ounce) at the 10:30 a.m. session after members of the exchange submitted buy and sell orders for metal of 99.99 percent purity.
"This is a very important development and will obviously be very
closely watched," said Robin Bhar, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in London. "But as long as it exists inside a closed monetary system it will have limited global repercussions. It could be a very important development if the new benchmark is a precursor to greater use of gold in the Chinese monetary system, Kenneth Hoffman…said by e-mail on Monday. It may also boost interest in the Shanghai free-trade zone, he said.
As Soc Gen's Robin Bhar correctly identified, if the ability to trade gold for yuan exists within a closed monetary system, its importance will be limited BUT, as Bloomberg's Ken Hoffman also correctly pointed out, if this was the thin end of the wedge, things could get very interesting indeed. Now, this chart shows the oil price going back to before the U.S. Civil War:
Between 1865 and 1973, the price of oil was incredibly stable against a backdrop of perhaps the greatest simultaneous economic, demographic and technological expansion in human history.
How was that possible?
Well simply put, because oil was effectively priced in gold.
Once the gold window closed and the petrodollar system was implemented, the price of oil soared 50-fold in just 35 years.
The move on the right? With the question mark against it? We're getting there, I promise.
Now, you remember this next chart and the yuuuuuge supply of treasuries which exists compared to oil now? Well, when we add in the roughly $100 trillion in boomer entitlements that will need to be paid for by issuing-you guessed it, more treasuries-the chart changes somewhat:
That red circle down at the bottom of the second chart is the spike you see on the first chart.
It's safe to say that, relative to even oil, and without any infrastructure spending by Donald Trump, treasuries are going to be.... abundant in the coming years.
Conversely, if we look at the value of gold relative to foreign-held treasuries, we see an altogether different story unfold.
During Reagan's presidency, US treasuries were backed 132% by the market value of the country's gold reserves.
Today, that number has fallen to just 4.7%
If we do the same thing and account for the $100 trillion in entitlement promises, as you can see from the chart on the next page, the number falls to 0.3% in 2025.
So the second chart (below, right) should come as no surprise to anybody.
Yes, the Chinese have started to do what they promised to start doing, when they promised to start doing it.
Now, this next part of the presentation was a rattle through a whole bunch of charts showing the recent activity in the U.S. treasury, corporate bond, agency bond and securities markets so you'll have to brace yourself.
The charts will appear on the next page.
Chinese sales of US treasuries (1) have been consistent for the last three years...
...as have their sales of US securities (2) since 2015 after plateauing in 2013 when treasury divestiture began Concurrently, Chinese sales of corporate bonds (3) have accelerated over the same period...
...though agency sales (4)-despite a few periods of consistent selling-have yet to follow suit.
But now, as tensions rise and the cross-currents get harder to discern, guess who else has showed up as a seller?
That's right, the Saudis are now steady sellers of US treasuries (5)...
...and even more aggressive sellers of U.S. securities (6)...
Meanwhile, taking a broader view, net foreign purchases of treasuries, according to the TIC data, have been in a clear downtrend since 2009 (7) and have been largely outflows for the last three years.
If we look at the 12-month sum of sales (8), we see an even sharper decline...
...and if we take the trailing net official demand chart for treasuries back to 1979, the scale and extent of the change is evident-as are the catalysts for the acceleration (and we're back on this page once again):
Take a long, hard look at that last chart folks-particularly within the context of the bond bull market and the 'bid' for treasuries we've seen throughout 2015 and 2016...
Meanwhile, the Russians-who, as we've seen are now selling oil for yuan to the Chinese, remember?- have been picking up the pace of their accumulation of gold reserves yet again, with the most recent monthly data setting yet another record...
...and the pick up in pace is evident when we look at average monthly purchases prior to 2013 and post the agreements put in place around that time between the various parties. Now, the next chart (top of the following page) is crucial to understand because a look at the market value of Russia's gold reserves shows just how crucial their ongoing accumulation of bullion has been for the country's finances over the last two years...
...and that increase in value has cushioned the effects of, amongst other things, the bailing out of the ruble.
As you can see from the green line, Russia's gold reserves in Ruble terms have soared as the country's currency has weakened-something which confounded all the doommongers who called Game Over for Russia amidst sharply declining oil revenues:
(Bloomberg, April3, 2015): Here's why Governor Elvira Nabiullina is in no haste to resume foreign-currency purchases after an eight-month pause: gold's biggest quarterly surge since 1986 has all but erased losses the Bank of Russia suffered by mounting a rescue of the ruble more than a year ago.
While the ruble's 9 percent rally this year has raised the prospects that the central bank will start buying currency again, policy makers have instead used 13 months of gold purchases to take reserves over $380 billion for the first time since January 2015.
Now, crucially, being given the ability to sell oil to the Chinese for yuan and buy gold with that same yuan directly through the Shanghai Exchange has completely changed the game for the Russians and those changes are being reflected where they matter most-in the energy markets, the supply/ demand dynamics of which are quietly morphing in plain sight.
By August of this year, Russia had overtaken Saudi Arabia as the largest exporter of oil into China...:
(Al Awsat, August 3, 2016): During the first seven months of this year, China imported about 30.5 million metric tons of Saudi oil, a 0.4% decrease than that of last year. Whereas, China imported about 29.5 million metric tons of Russian oil with 27% increase than last year.
...and that wasn't something the Saudis could take lying down:
Amid this fierce competition, it is important for Saudi Arabia to fortify its oil position in China with more political and strategic support
On the contrary, they rededicated their efforts to increase what they call "political and strategic support" for China.
Now, I hope you're all still with me because here's where we get to the final piece of this glorious puzzle-the piece that ties all these seemingly unrelated threads together: China's own crude oil futures contract, to be priced in Yuan and traded at the Shanghai International Energy Exchange-a yuan contract which will be made fully-convertible:
(Bloomberg, November 5, 2015): By the end of 2015, China, the world's No. 1 oil importer as of April, may start its own crude futures contract.
The idea is to establish a Chinese rival to the world's two most traded oil contracts: West Texas Intermediate, housed on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Brent Crude Futures, owned by ICE Futures Europe in London.
The yuan-based contract will trade on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange and will be among the first Chinese commodity contracts available to foreign investors as China promotes global use of its currency…
Participation will be open to all foreign investors and the yuan will be fully convertible under the contract, according to Song Anping, the chairman of the Shanghai Futures Exchange.
As you can see from the date of the article, this contract has been postponed several times- ostensibly for reasons such as stock market volatility in China, but perhaps there is more going on behind the scenes that is causing the delay because, once this contract is in place, things change.
In the interim, China has supplanted the U.S to become the world's biggest importer of oil, which serves to increase both its importance in the oil markets and the likelihood of it launching its own yuan-denominated contract at some point in time:
(Bloomberg, October 13, 2016): China is now the world's biggest oil importer, unseating the U.S. The country's crude imports climbed to a record 8.08 million barrels a day in September, a year-on-year increase of 18 percent, customs data released Thursday showed.
So, the world's largest exporter of oil is now dealing with the largest importer directly in yuan and it has the ability to convert those yuan proceeds into physical gold through the Shanghai exchange- which the data suggest it is doing as fast as possible.
Currently, the bilateral oil for gold trade is only available to what the U.S. would no doubt consider a 'basket of deplorables' in Iran and Russia...but just think what happens once that fully convertible oil contract is up and running...?
Suddenly, the availability to price oil in gold is available to everybody and, given rising Saudi/U.S. tensions and the Middle East nation's recent rededication to providing "political and strategic support" to China it's easy to see why this would be attractive to the Saudis, for example.
Whatever happens, opening that contract creates a market-wide arbitrage opportunity which affords anybody with oil to sell the ability to exchange said oil for gold and anybody wanting oil to acquire it cheaply by buying cheap gold in the West and shipping it to Shanghai or HK where it can be sold for yuan.
Already, places like Tokyo, Seoul and Dubai are opening physical gold markets and discussing linking their nascent markets for bullion to the Shanghai exchange which has rapidly become the largest physical delivery market in the world.
Now, were this arbitrage to begin happening in any meaningful size, with the market for oil far bigger than that for gold, it would immediately be evident in the ratio between the two commodities...
...which, interestingly, is precisely what has happened since the peak of global reserves in 2014 and the Sino-Russian agreement to essentially transact oil for gold. With those conditions in place, the gold/oil ratio has broken out to its highest level in 80 years (chart, next page):
...which brings us right back to the question mark on the second chart which we left hanging like a matzah ball earlier in this presentation
The recent move in the oil price looks to me suspiciously like a sign that a move has started to return to pricing oil in gold.
That move, if indeed it is happening beneath the surface, allied with the endless possibilities enabled by the potential full convertibility of the yuan under the Shanghai-based oil contract leaves oil producing nations with a rather obvious choice for the first time in almost half a century-a choice made perfectly clear by the two charts on the next page:
If you are an oil producing country, do you...:
MINIMIZE your production in order to MAXIMIZE your holdings of one of the most abundant and easily-produced commodities in the world-U.S. treasuries-as has been the case for the last 40 years... knowing full well that, with the level of entitlements due in the next decade, more will need to be printed like crazy?
Do you MAXIMIZE production in order to gain the largest possible market share in the biggest oil market in the world and, through the ability to buy gold for yuan, thereby maximize your reserves of a scarce, physical commodity which is impossible to produce from thin air and which happens to be not only the most undervalued asset on the planet, but is trading at its most undervalued relative to U.S. treasuries in living memory?
With an annual production of $170bn, gold is by far the largest metal market by value.
However, that figure is dwarfed by the oil market which is 10x the size of the gold market on an annual production basis.
If we throw in the average annual foreign holdings of U.S. treasuries over the last 2 years, we see that the 'other' commodity is at a different magnitude altogether.
So, which one of these commodities has any scarcity value? Given the choice, which one would you seek to maximize your holdings of?
U.S. treasuries which can be conjured out of thin air by the U.S. government and which, are described thus by The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association:
Because these debt obligations are backed by the "full faith and credit" of the government, and thus by its ability to raise tax revenues and print currency, U.S. Treasury securities - or "Treasuries" - are generally considered the safest of all investments. They are viewed in the market as having virtually no "credit risk," meaning that it is highly probable your interest and principal will be paid fully and on time.
Or how about oil? Which the Saudis, for example, can simply print pull out of the ground at will at a cost of a little under $10/barrel?
Or gold? A commodity which is limited in availability, trading at its all-time low relative to U.S. treasury supply and is not only getting harder and more expensive to produce, but which is also catching the eye not only of the central banks of the world's two largest producers, but of the largest importer and largest exporter of oil?
India must connect with pan-Asian communication networks to prepare for the future
Many expert observers are convinced that the global economic situation is unsustainable and heading towards a debacle.
The USA is mired in ever rising public debt, soon to reach 100% of its GDP and compounded with even larger private debt.
Worldwide, the debt level is above 250 trillion and the amounts of derivatives and other hazardous financial products misleadingly called "securities" far exceeds the quadrillion figure (a thousand trillion).
Most of that virtual money is denominated in US dollars which are backed by the full faith and credit of the American Treasury, and nothing else.
Yet, Washington is unable to balance its budgets and recurrently steps on the brink of government shutdown which can only be averted each time by a new rise of the debt ceiling, while on the other hand major American companies are stockpiling colossal reserves in offshore jurisdictions in order to evade domestic taxes on corporate earnings.
The pyramid of debt rests on near zero interest rates.
The Fed's alchemy has been able so far to avoid the runaway inflation that should result from the constant and vertiginous increase in the monetary mass, but analysts concur in saying that sooner or later, the Federal Reserve will have to raise rates at the risk of creating a financial storm which could well topple over the virtual greenback house of cards.
A recent interview of British economist Alasdair McLeod (Geopolitics and Empire Podcast, 5 May 2017) featured his comments on the analysis conducted by Chinese military strategist General Zhao Liang in a 1999 book Unrestricted Warfare.
The General expressed the tacit Chinese official view that the US has so far been able to ride a tsunami of debt by using its fiat dollars backed by political/military clout to suck out real wealth from many other countries.
Those assets, such as oil, minerals, real estate and consumer goods are paid for in freely created dollars and when need be, political and military crises are engineered or pumped up to generate a climate of uncertainty which in turn increases the demand for dollars as a refuge currency.
According to McLeod, the present ratcheting of tension with North Korea was triggered by the Trump administration to create fear in Japan, China and South Korea, major purchasers of US securities while pressuring Congress to pass the new debt ceiling increase.
The same purpose is served for the Middle Eastern oil and dollar-rich US client states by perpetuating the Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Yemeni civil wars and leaving the door open for a future confrontation with Iran.
Among other effects, this policy keeps up a brisk business in arms, notably for Saudi Arabia which is about to sign yet another multi-billion dollar contract with US military contractors, even though the Kingdom now has to borrow from abroad and sell state assets to cover its burgeoning debt.
Another well known analyst and operative, Frenchman Thierry Meyssan, provides a convergent perspective from a different angle in his latest book Sous Nos Yeux (Right Before Our Eyes, Réseau Voltaire 2017).
He exposes, citing public and leaked documents the long-term British and American strategy of using the Muslim Brotherhood, at least since the 1950s, and its diverse affiliates and offshoots, from North Africa to South East and Central Asia as part of the strategy of tension directed against "problematic" states and also against the European Union, now confronted with an acute and long-term refugee and terror crisis.
The primary alliance is with Saudi Arabia, the mother lode of Wahhabism and one of the largest holders of US dollars, but in other countries, Islamist radical movements have been weaponised, since the days of the Soviet intrusion into Afghanistan, against a variety of strategic rivals and enemies.
This state of affairs affects India directly in Kashmir where Meyssan forecasts rising turmoil due to the predictable migration of Jihadi fighters from Syria, Chechnya, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan towards the subcontinent.
Meyssan's account of the Libyan civil war which he saw from inside-as he was an adviser to Gaddafi's government at the time-is particularly enlightening.
He describes the secret diplomatic games between the US, European states and other nations, aimed at taking over the 150 billion dollars in reserves held by the Libyan regime and points out that this treasury has now disappeared.
He accuses NATO of having seized up to one third of that booty.
During the western (and Qatar) backed rebellion in Libya, some EU governments tried to come to a deal with the beleaguered Gaddafi, alleged to have partly funded the 2008 French presidential campaigns of both candidates, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal; only to be blocked by the Americans who were, as Obama intended, "leading from behind" the European states to unseat the Libyan "Supreme Guide" and put in his place their Muslim Brotherhood allies.
Meyssan is now in Syria and he records that many of the Islamic fighters and weapons were subsequently sent from Libya to Syria with the agreement of the US government in order to expand the uprising over there.
The plan was to help set up a Muslim Brotherhood controlled government in Damascus as in Cairo even though Saudi Arabia did not agree and, adding to the confusion and divisions, had her own Salafist candidates to take power in both countries.
The Libyan drama, rooted in Gaddafi's plan to launch a gold based pan-African currency, meant to replace both the dollar and the CFA franc, was an object lesson for China and Russia, but did not change their intention to establish a new international currency backed by gold for the Euro-Asian economic space in which Beijing's One Belt One Road and Moscow's RAZVITIE Corridor of Development are to be major arteries.
This area already boasts a 50 trillion GDP in dollars compared to the US's 18 trillion and new fast rail and road links between China and western Europe are redrawing the maps of world trade.
The tendency towards regional cooperation is made manifest by the ongoing rapprochement between Russia and Japan, Tokyo's decision to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the growing convergence between most ASEAN states and China and the election on 9 May of a new South Korean President committed to détente and perhaps reunification with the North and to better coordination of policies with Beijing in a clear sign of distrust of the United States.
In the Middle East, the agreements being hammered out between Russia, Iran and Turkey for ending the war in Syria and crushing ISIS and NATO-backed Islamist militias with Iraq's concurrence and despite Saudi reluctance evinces the gradual marginalisation of the United States and European NATO member-states in the region.
The old American tactics of threatening military attacks, from Ukraine to the South China Sea, in order to maintain the politico-financial status quo are showing their limits.
It is anybody's guess if President Trump will be able to carry out the fundamental reforms he promised during his campaign given wide ranging institutional opposition, but he is still trying to reach out to Russia and dissolve the NATO-related "Deep State".
However, his attempts to cajole or force companies to "make in America" while trying to tighten borders and build walls appear wishful and even churlish.
The Sino-Russian plan to usher in a new gold based currency for strategic commodities has been delayed to avoid an all-out international conflict but the Shanghai Gold Exchange, now the world's largest, shows the way.
Both Russian and Chinese analysts see the end of the US financial regime coming between 2020 and 2025 if not earlier and prepare to bring about the new system by then.
India must take advantage of the emerging global economic and commercial architecture and connect with the pan-Asian communication and transport networks.
The Indian Ocean Regional Forum is a logical counterpart of ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Union.
In the days of yore, the Silk Routes were linked with the Cotton Highways. The past presents India with its future.