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Exorcising the ‘Popular Will’: How Venezuela can reclaim its democracy

Venezuela’s political crisis is rooted in the conciliatory policies its socialist reformist government has followed towards its utterly implacable opponents.

Haneul Na'avi

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“What we have to deal with here is a communist society [which] is thus in every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it comes.” —Karl Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Programme”

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will cast votes on 30 July to determine its fate as President and United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader Nicolás Maduro continues to battle neoliberal opposition party Popular Will (VP), who has received Washington’s blessings.

Since 19 April, spontaneous “uprisings” have erupted in affluent barrios of Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, and Socopó, a small town strategically located in Barinas, where protesters have cut off food and medical supplies, killed over 80 people, and injured hundreds more.

Historically, Venezuelans are no stranger to US-orchestrated coups, which began during the Bush Administration’s 2002 putsch against PSUV founder and former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and subsequent riots in 2014; many carried out by senior officials in the US government.

“[The] crucial figure around the coup was [Elliot] Abrams, [the] senior director of the National Security Council for ‘democracy, human rights and international operations’” and “has a conviction for misleading Congress over the infamous Iran-Contra affair,” the Guardian highlights.

US congressmen have also drafted a bill (S.1018) that “would allocate £7.8m for the Department of State and USAid to provide ‘humanitarian assistance’ — code for funding rightwing activities”, the Morning Star highlighted.

“If this Bill is approved, the Caribbean region would also come under renewed lobbying by the US government to strengthen its ‘energy security initiative’ (CESI) project — a move designed to undermine Venezuela’s support in the region and opening up new markets for the US”, it continued.

Fortunately, the US failed to coerce the Organisation for American States (OAS) to approve a resolution condemning Venezuela’s election during their 20 June meeting in Cancun, Mexico.

“Mexico’s position on Venezuela is a position that will not waver […] representative democracy is the only form of government acceptable in the Western Hemisphere,” Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray exclaimed, remaining completely mum on the 129 Azinoyapa students found dead in over 60 mass graves throughout Iguala several years ago.

Videgaray was not convincing enough to secure a majority vote, Venezuela Analysis noted:

“[It] secured the support of 20 OAS member states, falling short of the required two thirds majority by three votes [where] Bolivia, Nicaragua and a handful of small Caribbean states outright rejected the proposal, while Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, the Dominican Republic and others abstained.”

After lambasting Videgaray, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez reminded him of Venezuela’s departure from the OAS, “which […] began on April 27 [and] will continue since it takes two years for a country to withdraw from the organization,” CaribFlame reported.

Venezuela’s election would secure popularly appointed representatives for a Constituent National Assembly to replace the current parliament now controlled by opposition parties.

It would organise 540 constituent parliamentarians, with 346 from all territorial municipalities and 186 MPs from seven key sectors, into communes, TeleSUR notes.

constitutionnet.org elucidates the reasons for these reforms:

One of [Chavez’s] 1998 campaign promises was that he would [organise] a referendum asking the Venezuelan people if they wish to convene a National Constituent Assembly [in order to] to open up political discourse to independent and third parties by changing the national political process and eliminating political corruption of the past.

However, what Venezuelans need is less, not more dialogue with the opposition, if any at all.

Material Reasons for the US-led Coup

When analysing US imperialism, one must consider that American invests in ‘liberal democracy’ and ‘human rights’ for purely materialistic (resource-based) and geopolitical reasons.

As noted in previous Duran articles, the Trump Doctrine prioritises its economic policy, which combines the vast privatisation of public infrastructure with control of the petrodollar by opening domestic oil production and consumption—both to stave off an economic collapse.

They also criticise the failures of both the Peronist Argentinian government under Christina Fernandez Kirchner and Brazilian Worker’s Party (PT) with Dilma Rousseff, as they were both overthrown by US-led political coups; the very same that Venezuela faces today.

Maduro’s snap elections have not provoked the US; this is a superstructural casus belli. Rather, the PSUV has been moving away from Western financial institutions, selling off USD, nationalising capital, and forming solid partnerships with Iran, China, Russia, and others.

A month before the protests began, The World Bank International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled in Venezuela’s favour after Chavez nationalised the Cero Negro and La Ceiba ExxonMobil refineries in mid-2000 “as part of a strategy to redirect the profits away from Venezuela’s mineral resources, telecoms, and agriculture industries and toward social programs”.

“[…] even at $1.6 billion, the compensation was substantially lower than what Exxon had asked for: $14.7 billion,” Oilprice insinuates. The US—mainly US Secretary of State (and former ExxonMobil CEO) Rex Tillerson—was left fuming by the ruling.

In May 2007, the PSUV government also parted with the IMF and World Bank after paying off all its outstanding debts, in response to the 2002 US-backed coup.

“Venezuela recently repaid its debts to the World Bank five years ahead of schedule. In doing so it saved $8m (£3.99m) and cleared all its debts to the IMF shortly after Mr Chávez was elected,” the Guardian noted.

The gesture empowered Venezuela to seek new fiscal ventures following a period of “high public spending and private consumption, fuelled by high oil prices and historically low interest rates.”

The following December, Chavez inaugurated plans with six South American presidents to create the Bank of the South (BancoSUR), the central bank of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and a rival institution to its former creditors.

“The bank is a political fact and is part of an economic war that is also social and ideological,” Chavez mentioned.

A 2015 Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) article specifies the bank’s nature:

The bank will have an authorized capital of $20 billion USD, with 20,000 trade shares, each with a par value of $1 million USD [and whilst] only UNASUR member states may hold the main shares, every state in the world may be a purchaser of secondary shares.

Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela will provide 20 percent of the subscribed capital one year after the agreement [and become] endorsed for $7 billion USD shares,” it explained.

These three nations are the largest shareholders of the bank and, subsequently, became targets of former US President and counterintelligence laureate Barack Obama. US President Donald Trump continued these attacks by picking Rex Tillerson over Elliot Abrams, as Tillerson’s oil market experience took precedence following the 2015 Saudi oil glut.

As a result, Venezuela has been left at the helm of Bolivarian regional integration with only its secondary shareholders remaining, and was also forced to prioritise UNASUR after its primary shareholders became US vassals and suspended the country’s participation in Mercosur.

However, BancoSUR has yet to find suitable replacements for the gap in primary shareholder capital, and to further expedite regionalisation, needs to fully implement the Regional Compensation Unique System (SUCRE) for Bolivarian Alliance for the People of our Americas (ALBA) members.

The SUCRE, a virtual currency, would help avoid “the dollarization of Latin American economies [and] the ebb and flow of foreign capital that causes economic bubbles [and] volatility,” and move towards a more decisive monetary edifice [for] regional trade requirements,” COHA explained.

However, corruption within Ecuador and Venezuela emerged after white collar criminals used it to launder money via “ghost companies”, where they “over-invoiced for goods received and took advantage of favourable exchange rates” and, by 2014, “up to 5% of Sucre transactions were suspicious in nature,” prompting a thorough joint investigation, FINTRAIL highlighted.

The Saudi oil glut ravaged global oil markets and Venezuela’s petrol revenues, prompting Maduro to discuss matters with Russia, Iran and other Persian Gulf states to stabilise production.

Obama first exploited Venezuela’s fiscal problems by imposing unilateral sanctions, and later, Trump hastily targeted the PDVSA, ultimately damaging American markets as well.

“Some 95 percent of its foreign incomes results from the export of crude oil with 40 percent of sales coming from the United States,” Deutsche Welle reports.

Luckily, banning PDVSA crude will, in the long term, force Venezuela to diversify clientele; something Russia and Iran are wholly familiar with. Obviously, the best way to achieve this is via the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); however, Venezuela requires something more.

Resolving the Crisis of Bolivarian Socialism

Latin American socialism is dying because of its social-democratic nature. Its leaders have prioritised Bolivarian ‘regional integration’ over all other necessities, foregoing a dictatorship of the proletariat (DotP), which has allowed reactionary forces to flourish with impunity.

Consequently, the Latin American bourgeoisie are more aptly trained in the ‘international, violent character’ of revolution than their hosts, and Venezuela is no exception.

For these reasons, VP spokespersons Henrique Capriles and Leopold Lopez openly command Venezuela’s far-right, “[asking] his supporters to keep up the almost daily street mobilizations.”

US-backed death squads can murder innocent Venezuelans, attack supply routes, and enjoy the good graces of the US State Department and its invasive, lickspittle press with few consequences.

The opposition claims that Maduro does not respect ‘constitutional democracy’; yet, Venezuela’s constitution needs to be rewritten, as it is the very obstacle hindering the security of the country.

Constitutional democracy has permitted neoliberal MPs 167 seats in parliament and the Supreme Court to reverse Maduro’s transfer of powers from the National Assembly to the judiciary branch, with spectators clasping hands and rejoicing, “the people have spoken!”

Had the PSUV been more Bolshevik and less Narodnik in its views, it could have achieved the same level of success as its ALBA comrades in Cuba, whose only concession to the bourgeoisie was providing transport for a permanent settlement in Little Havana.

Instead of following Cuba’s example, the PSUV have instead relied on economism, regionalism, and legalism to secure its revolutions. What it has failed to do is utilise the entire state apparatus to eliminate class divisions and wither away the state.

A furious Karl Marx addressed a similar leader, Gottfried Ludolf Camphausen, in the Neue Rheinsiche Zeitung with his essay, “The Bourgeoisie and the Counter-Revolution”.

Hal Draper invokes Marx’s definition of a ‘proper’ dictatorship:

Every provisional state setup after a revolution requires a dictatorship [and] taxed Camphausen […] with not immediately smashing and eliminating the remnants of the old institutions.

Lenin elaborates this in precise detail in State and Revolution:

Only in communist society, when the resistance of the capitalists have disappeared, when there are no classes […] only then “the state… ceases to exist”, […] only then will democracy begin to wither away, owing to the simple fact that, freed from capitalist slavery, from the untold horrors, savagery, absurdities, and infamies of capitalist exploitation, people will gradually become accustomed to observing the elementary rules of social intercourse […] without coercion, without subordination, without the special apparatus for coercion called the state.

This is precisely what Latin America, save for Cuba, has failed to do. They call themselves “socialists” without following socialism’s basic tenants—smashing the state as prescribed by Marx.

Following the 26 July revolution, Republic of Cuba founders Fidel and Raul Castro expropriated the bourgeoisie, nationalised foreign capital, and abolished private property without hesitation.

Venezuela must act just as decisively after the 30 July elections.

Once (if!) the new Constituency Assembly convenes, the government should propose the following resolutions via popular vote, executive orders, and intergovernmental dialogue:

  1. Rewrite Venezuelan constitution to reflect socialist ambitions of the public.
  2. Designate Popular Will as a terrorist organisation for treason and collusion with the US.
  3. Initiate military campaign to root out Popular Will collaborators and saboteurs. Establish a humanitarian corridor and provide timely updates to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
  4. Jail key Popular Will members and fully establish DotP via new constituencies.
  5. Create a 5-year plan with direct consultation from the public. Strengthen international alliances.
  6. Negotiate with the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to denominate national oil in alternative currencies. Float SUCRE on Yuan or Euros.
  7. Work with global partnerships throughout AIIB to oversee construction of refineries, pipelines, and infrastructure. Offer oil security and secondary shares to collaborators in return. Renegotiate relationship to private sector.
  8. Prepare to leave the OAS and MercoSUR. Prioritise and build UNASUR.

Venezuelans must restore democracy after 30 July. No longer can neoliberal elements lie in wait like a chronic illness amongst the people. Maduro must take the steps to learn from the mistakes of Brazil and Argentina, as well as follow Cuba’s example, in order to become a true socialist state.

For the sake of its bright future, it must take action, and whilst its task is daunting, it can prevail.

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Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian missile. Russia blames Israel. Israel blames Syria (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The unthinkable has happened in Syria.

The world now teeters on the brink of all out war in Syria as a Russian Il-20 was downed by Syrian missile after Israeli F-16s used it as cover during attack, according to statements made by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

President Vladimir Putin, answering a reporter’s question during a press conference with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, said the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane looks like “a chain of tragic circumstances.” 

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the tripwire triggered that has the potential to tip the fragile balance in Syria towards conflict between Russia, Iran and Israel.

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The Russian military says an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its Il-20 plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Moscow reserves the right to respond accordingly.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said…

“Israel did not warn the command of the Russian troops in Syria about the planned operation. We received a notification via a hotline less than a minute before the strike, which did not allow the Russian aircraft to be directed to a safe zone.”

The statement by the Russian Defense Ministry said that four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked targets in Syria’s Latakia after approaching from the Mediterranean.

The Israeli warplanes approached at a low altitude and “created a dangerous situation for other aircraft and vessels in the region.”

The statement further said that 15 Russian military service members have died as a result…

“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.”

According to reports from RT, the Russian military said that the French Navy’s frigate ‘Auvergne,’ as well as a Russian Il-20 plane were in the area during the Israeli operation.

Map of the incident on September 17 in Syria provided by the Russian defense ministry.

The Russian ministry said the Israelis must have known that the Russian plane was present in the area, but this did not stop them from executing “the provocation.” Israel also failed to warn Russia about the planned operation in advance. The warning came just a minute before the attack started, which “did not leave time to move the Russian plane to a safe area,”the statement said.

The statement gives a larger death toll than earlier reports by the Russian military, which said there were 14 crew members on board the missing Il-20. It said a search and rescue operation for the shot-down plane is underway.

A later update said debris from the downed plane was found some 27km off the Latakia coast. The search party collected some body parts, personal possessions of the crew, and fragments of the plane.

Meanwhile Israel has come out to blame the Syrian government for the downing of the military plane, according to an IDF statement.

Israel said that it “expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members” of the Russian plane. However, it stated that the government of Bashar Assad “whose military shot down the Russian plane,” is “fully responsible” for the incident.

Israel further blamed Iran and Hezbollah for the incident.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) explained that its jets were targeting a Syrian facility “from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

Israel claimed that the weapons were “meant to attack Israel.”

Via RT

The IDF assumed that the Syrian anti-air batteries “fired indiscriminately” and didn’t “bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.” The Israelis said that when the Syrian military launched the missiles which hit the Russian plane, its own jets were already within Israeli airspace. “During the strike against the target in Latakia, the Russian plane that was then hit was not within the area of the operation.”

According to the Israeli military, both IDF and Russia have “a deconfliction system,” which was agreed upon by the leadership of both states, and “has proven itself many times over recent years.” The system was in use when the incident happened, the IDF stated. The IDF promised to share “all the relevant information” with Russia “to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry.”

The military presented a four-point initial inquiry into events in Latakia. It insisted that “extensive and inaccurate” Syrian anti-aircraft fire caused the Russian jet “to be hit and downed.”

The Russian Il-20 aircraft, with 15 crew on board, went off radar during an attack by four Israeli jets on Syria’s Latakia province late Monday. Later on Tuesday the Russian Defense Ministry said that an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile.

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Trump Orders Immediate Release Of All Text Messages, Carter Page FISA Application From Russia Investigation

Trump has ordered the DOJ to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions.

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Via Zerohedge

President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also released will be specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The statement reads in full:

“At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr

***

As we reported last Monday, Trump had been expected to release the documents any time – with specific attention to the Page documents and the “investigative activities of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr” – who was demoted twice for lying about his extensive relationship  with Christopher Steele – the former MI6 spy who assembled the sham “Steele Dossier” used by the FBI in a FISA surveillance application to spy on Page.

Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the declassification will permanently taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing the investigation was illegitimate to begin with. Trump has been hammering the same theme for months.

  • They allege that Bruce Ohr played an improper intermediary role between the Justice Department, British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS — the opposition research firm that produced the Trump-Russia dossier, funded by Democrats. (Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS on Russia-related matters during the presidential election — a fact that Ohr did not disclose on federal forms.)
  • And they further allege that the Obama administration improperly spied on Carter Page — all to take down Trump. –Axios

Ohr, meanwhile, met with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in 2015 to discuss helping the FBI with organized crime investigations, according to The Hill‘s John Solomon. The meeting with the Putin ally was facilitated by Steele.

Last month Trump called Ohr a disgrace, while also tweeting: “Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions  “Justice” Department? A total joke!”

Trump’s threat came one day after two tweets about Ohr, noting a connection to former FBI agent Peter Strzok, as well as a text sent by Ohr after former FBI Director James Comey was fired in which Ohr says “afraid they will be exposed.”

According to emails turned over to Congressional investigators in August, Christopher Steele was much closer to Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie than previously disclosed.

Steele and the Ohrs would have breakfast together on July 30, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., days after Steele turned in installments of his infamous “dossier” on July 19 and 26. The breakfast also occurred one day before the FBI formally launched operation “Crossfire Hurricane,” the agency’s counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign.

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly following their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”

“After two years of investigations and accusations from both sides of the aisle about what documents indicate, it is past time for documents to be declassified and let the American people decide for themselves if DoJ and FBI acted properly,” Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows told Axios earlier Sunday.

In early August, journalist Paul Sperry tweeted that Trump may use his presidential authority to declassify “20 redacted pages of a June, 2017 FISA renewal, “and possibly” 63 pages of emails and notes between “Ohr & Steele,” and FD-302 summaries of 12 interviews.”

President Trump threatened to declassify documents two weeks ago – one day after the New York Times allegedly published an anonymous Op-Ed claiming to be from a White House official claiming to be part of an unelected “resistance” cabal within the Trump administration.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump tweeted earlier this month, adding: “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”

Trump’s threat comes as calls by frustrated GOP legislators to release the documents have hit a fevered pitch. Spearheading the effort are Republican Reps. Meadows, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Lee Zeldin – who have repeatedly asked Trump to declassify more of the heavily redacted FISA surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in late 2016.

In June, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asked President Trump to declassify key sections of Carter Page’s FISA warrant application, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.

Carter Page, the DOJ/FBI’s person of interest, weighed in on the matter in late August, tweeting: “The Corrupt DOJ, co-conspirators in the DNC and their high-priced consultants correctly believed they had American democracy and the FISA Court over a barrel in 2016.”

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De-Dollarization Tops Agenda at Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) was held in Vladivostok on Sept.11-13. Founded in 2015, the event has become a platform for planning and launching projects to strengthen business ties in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Via Strategic Culture

This year, the EEF brought together delegations from over 60 countries to discuss the topic “The Far East: Expanding the Range of Possibilities”. A total of 100 business events involving over 6,000 participants were held during the three days.

1,357 media personnel worked to cover the forum. Last year, the number of participants was 5,000 with 1,000 media persons involved in reporting and broadcasting. The EEF-18 gathered 340 foreign and 383 Russian CEOs. Nearly 80 start-ups from across South-East Asia joined the meeting.

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This year, a total of 175 agreements worth of 2.9 trillion rubles (some $4.3 billion) were signed. For comparison, the sum was 2.5 trillion rubles (roughly $3.7 billion) in 2017.

They included the development of the Baimsky ore deposits in Chukotka, the construction of a terminal for Novatek LNG at Bechevinskaya Bay in Kamchatka and the investment of Asian countries in Russia’s agricultural projects in the Far East.

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Mail.Ru Group, Megafon and Chinese Alibaba inked an agreement on establishing AliExpress trade joint venture. Rosneft and Chinese CNPC signed an oil exploration agreement.

The Chinese delegation was the largest (1,096 people), followed by the Japanese (570 members). The list of guests included the president of Mongolia and prime ministers of Japan and South Korea.

It was also the first time Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the event to meet his Russian counterpart. The issue of de-dollarization topped the agenda. Russia and China reaffirmed their interest in expanding the use of national currencies in bilateral deals.

During the forum, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of RDIF, said the fund intends to use only national currencies in its transactions with China starting from 2019. It will cooperate with the China Development Bank.

This “yuanification” is making visible progress with Shanghai crude futures increasing their share of oil markets up to 14 percent or even more. China has signed agreements with Canada and Qatar on national currencies exchange.

READ MORE: Eastern Economic Forum opens new chapter in US-Russia dialogue

De-dollarization is a trend that is picking up momentum across the world. A growing number of countries are interested in replacing the dollar. Russia is leading the race to protect itself from fluctuations, storms and US-waged trade wars and sanctions.

Moscow backs non-dollar trade with Ankara amid the ongoing lira crisis. Turkey is switching from the dollar to settlements in national currencies, including its trade with China and other countries. Ditching the US dollar is the issue topping the BRICS agenda. In April, Iran transferred all international payments to the euro.

The voices calling for de-dollarization are getting louder among America’s closest European allies. In August, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the US.

According to him, Europe should not allow the United States to act “over our heads and at our expense.” The official wants to strengthen European autonomy by establishing independent payment channels, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system.

Presenting his annual program, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on Sept. 12 for the European Union to promote the euro as a global currency to challenge the dollar.

According to him, “We must do more to allow our single currency to play its full role on the international scene.” Mr. Juncker believes “it is absurd that Europe pays for 80 percent of its energy import bill – worth 300 billion euros a year – in US dollars when only roughly 2 percent of our energy imports come from the United States.” He wants the raft of proposals made in his state of the union address to start being implemented before the European Parliament elections in May.

70% of all world trade transactions account for the dollar, while 20% are  settled in the euro, and the rest falls on the yuan and other Asian currencies. The dollar value is high to make the prices of consumer goods in the US artificially low. The demand for dollars allows refinancing the huge debt at low interest rates. The US policy of trade wars and sanctions has triggered the global process of de-dollarization.

Using punitive measures as a foreign policy tool is like shooting oneself in the foot. It prompts a backlash to undermine the dollar’s status as the world reserve currency – the basis of the US economic might. The aggressive policy undermines the US world standing to make it weaker, not stronger.

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