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28 April 2012

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Walrus

I think that the Obama Administration is now aware that our financial imperialism is under attack from many quarters. Making a grand bargain with Iran may be in our best interests.

There is a suggestion emerging that sanctions on Iran are counter productive because they drive Iran into the arms of China and perhaps Russia and force the development of trading strategies that do not involve the American dollar nor the traditional trading channels of the City and Wall Street. If successful, this is not to our advantage.

It appears possible that China may sidestep sanctions by barter with Iran.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/michael-krieger-rebirth-barter

The BRIC nations apparently seek to avoid the tender ministrations of the World Bank and IMF by establishing their own international institution, free of American/European control.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2012/03/2012328121225841826.html

These developments are the thin end of the wedge.

There is a price to be paid for slavish devotion to Israel, the demonisation of Islam, financial profligacy, creeping Fascism and loss of civil liberties at home and the assertion of unbridled military authority to fight "terrorism" elsewhere. That price is perhaps becoming apparent.

To put that another way, do we really want to see the concept of America as "The Indespensable Nation" put to the test?

To put that yet another way, could Sharia finance and banking be a viable alternative to the current Judeo - Christian speculative system that has driven us to disaster?

Neil Richardson

Do you honestly believe this proposal has a snowball in hell's chance of gaining any traction let alone success? This could lead to 1) further deterioration of BRIC economies as their "regionalization" attempt reduces the level of exchange of goods and services. 2) Despite all the good will expressed by BRIC nations, the first time somebody decides to either beggar-thy-neighbor or worse reneges by demanding another credible currency, this arrangement will fall apart.

Good luck with this, because I can tell you flat out that there's plenty of money to be made in BRIC countries regardless of whether fix or float their currencies (or basket of currencies)

CTuttle

Walrus, I've been blogging about that very possibility for some time now...! Here's one of my posts on it... Screwing The Petro-Pooch...

CTuttle

1) further deterioration of BRIC economies as their "regionalization" attempt reduces the level of exchange of goods and services.

Why would you argue that, Neil...? Don't you suppose it would have the exact opposite effect, and actually increase their 'regional' trade, since they're not beholdened to the US Buck...?

Walrus

Neil, I'm just reporting the attempt for what it's worth. I defer to your opinion on its prospects. In my opinion this is just one a number of attempts by regional blocs to decouple themselves from the dollar and the hegemony of Wall Street. The recent China/Japan agreement being an example.

We can scoff if we like, but is that the best strategy? Are our capital markets that efficient these days? I would argue that they aren't and people are now starting to look for alternatives.

brenner

Good news or bad news? Good insofar as these prestige figures are not backing off in confronting the government and the country with the implications of an attack. But bad news insofar as they feel it necessary to go public, again - after a few months of silence. That suggests that they are very worried that Bibi still entertains seriously the thought of air strikes.

turcopolier

brenner

"Air strikes?" What? All by himself? pl

dalybean

So it looks like Netanyahu is being forced into early elections. What do you suppose that means?

CTuttle

I would add that, notwithstanding the BRICs, the SCO and EAEC are very functional and very proactive in moving forward...! India and Pakistan are both actively lobbying to upgrade their 'observer status' in the SCO to full members, amongst other Asian nations...! The writing is literally on the Wall...!

Pirate Laddie

Col., Prof. Brenner -- given growing religious fervor and what I perceive as a weakened chain of command in parts of the US military machine, I wonder if Bibi & his ilk are angling for one or two US fighter jets, in a completely ad hoc fashion, kicking in the door in Iran. Such a fait accompli would pretty much put the kaibosh on any US/Iran rapproachment and could lead to an "in for a penny, in for a pound" dynamic.
After all, Dominionists argue that Bible trumps Constitution & their read of the Book compels complete & blind allegiance to the Zionist cause.
I realize this is a wholly off the wall approach to "problem" posed by Iran, but such a scenario could well be gamed in the hope of poisoning the well of US/Iran relations as well as pulling the USG even closer to our Israeli masters.

Neil Richardson

I think this is a rather optimistic view of regionalization and its impact on a variety of issues starting with free trade. Trade happens mostly along proximate routes anyway at least according to Krugman's research. The problem with regionalization is that for it to work, BRIC states would have to make it an exclusive one, i.e., a trading/currency bloc of some sort. Otherwise incentives to free-ride or defect would be too high especially when you have perhaps three major states whose economies would be dependent on the fourth whose export led growth strategy will not change in the foreseeable future (PRC). That means the PRC will continue to maintain massive USD reserves. Limited bartering such as the case of Iran and the PRC is possible on a single commodity or perhaps a couple. However, in terms of broad spectrum of trade, it's not probable. Remember that currency has to be denominated whether through fixed or floating regime. There are massive transaction costs to this outcome.


I've seen how COMECON used to operate and also have observed first hand how bartering worked along the Yalu. What started out as simple barter exchange invariably ended up in using USD in Manchuria. Which currency do you think is the most popular in the black markets of the DPRK? It's not yuan

Neil Richardson

Walrus:

"In my opinion this is just one a number of attempts by regional blocs to decouple themselves from the dollar and the hegemony of Wall Street."

I agree with this notion. We'll just have to see whether they're any more successful than their predecessors in the 1930s. There have been ups and downs in trying to solve this "problem" since the 1950s.


"The recent China/Japan agreement being an example."

That is not how I read it. You might have a different perspective, but from what I have seen it's a limited transactional room for maneuver. (E.g., yuan holdings in Macau for Japanese firms that conduct most of their business in the PRC) In broad strokes, for the "unthinkable" to happen, both Japan and the PRC would have to move away from export-led growth strategy. For Japan that's highly unlikely. Could the PRC become more of a consumer? Yes it's possible. However, there are too many variables in play right now to expect it. Without that dramatic shift, all these suggestions are theoretical meanderings which have little relevance to what is possible.

"We can scoff if we like, but is that the best strategy? Are our capital markets that efficient these days? I would argue that they aren't and people are now starting to look for alternatives."

Our capital markets have never been efficient in terms of "collective good." The only thing I'd submit is that they have determined "winners" and "losers".

E L

I fear that Bibi is the type of individual whose commitment to his goals just hardens in the face of rational criticism.

turcopolier

Pirate Laddie

Have you ever been in the US military? If you had you would know how nutty you sound. pl

turcopolier

EL

I doubt that he could order such an attack in the face of this kind of opposition. I believe I said that before. pl

CTuttle

You're wearing Western blinders, Neil, you really need to look at it from an Asiatic perspective, I would note that the Chinese are currently miffed at the Iranian refusal to 'barter' or peg their oil at a significant markdown from the standard Cushing rates...! I'm sure they'll work it out to their mutual satisfaction, tho...!

CTuttle

Our capital markets have never been efficient in terms of "collective good." The only thing I'd submit is that they have determined "winners" and "losers".

You're dead right in saying they've determined winners and losers, but, you're only arguing from the Western mindset, without looking at the other half of the equation...! The Chinese alone have been Mercantilists long before the Treaty of Westphalia was signed...!

robt willmann

During the White House Correspondent's Dinner tonight (the 28th)--the embarrassingly chummy mutual admiration society of "news reporters" and the president's administration, and a "see and be seen" event--there was in the guest comedian Jimmy Kimmel's boilerplate sequence of jokes a surprisingly direct remark against starting a war with Iran and bombing more people, which included referring to those wanting such a war as "a real bunch of yahoos, and Netanyahus".... (at 0:57:13).

Yes, Kimmel is of the Hollywood television crowd, and of course actor George Clooney and others from that group were in attendance, but it was an unexpected political statement said directly to president Obama. The event was broadcast on the C-Span television network.

http://www.c-span.org/WHCD/

Pirate Laddie

Col.
Yeah, I know it's a "nutty" scenario, but who in the mid-60's foresaw the near-collapse of Army discipline in Nam? More recently, the depressing number of excesses committed by a "professional" Army in Iraq & Affie are less than comforting, rhetoric about "special cases" aside.
I've worked with enough current USAF types to sense a separation from the overall culture; a "moral superiority," if you will, that tracks nicely with the "we're above the law" mentality that informed both the Bush and Obama administrations.
I'm sure that sufficient failsafes are in place & all that, but still & all....

Neil Richardson

And what is an "Asiatic" perspective?

Neil Richardson

"The Chinese alone have been Mercantilists long before the Treaty of Westphalia was signed...!"

I'm not sure what this has to do with the proverbial price of tea in China either in 1648 or today. In fact if China is mercantilist (and I'm inclined to agree), then how will bartering work? Will Russia agree to very favorable terms of trade (I won't even begin to ask about Putin's view yet) with China while supplying raw materials? What would India offer in barter? COMECON was a very difficult system to sustain without the political and military power of the Soviet Union. And I've not even begun to discuss the security dynamics among these countries

turcopolier

Pirate Laddie

"who in the mid-60's foresaw the near-collapse of Army discipline in Nam?"

You have no idea what you are talking about. If you do, tell us about it. pl

CTuttle

What does the COMECON have to do with China, SCO, the BRICs, etc...? Seriously, military power is totally irrelevant these days in the SCO/BRICs theater, btw, why is China having no problem mining in Afghanistan, and not having to fire a shot, either...?

tunde

Col,
Hitchens, before he passed away, advocated for a Nixon-like rapprochment with Iran, of the type conducted with China. I don't know the practicalities of such a visit but why could'nt this work ? Is there too much vested politically in demonizing Iran or is there sufficient evidence within the IC that Iran has sponsored/mentored elements that have killed US service personnel over the years, unlike China (notwithstanding Korea), that such a move would dishonour their memories.
I concur with Walrus re the mood amongst the BRICS chatterati. I think the failure of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the WB has concentrated minds some.

Neil Richardson

"What does the COMECON have to do with China, SCO, the BRICs, etc...?"

A bartering system with currency manipulation would seem to indicate that it is the most recent example in interstate commerce of an exclusive bloc.


"Seriously, military power is totally irrelevant these days in the SCO/BRICs theater, btw, why is China having no problem mining in Afghanistan, and not having to fire a shot, either...?"


Free-riding is common. The United States did it during Pax Britannica. We'll just have to wait to find out if The String of Pearls would have to be protected. As for military power being "irrelevant", doesn't that contradict your earlier position on China being mercantilist?

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