Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 07, 2018

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-01

We covered the protests in Iran and the foreign attempts to hijack them for their purpose.

Dec 29 - Iran - Regime Change Agents Hijack Economic Protests

Dec 31 - Iran - Early U.S. Support For Rioters Hints At A Larger Plan

Jan 2 - Iran - Few Protests - Some Riots - U.S. Prepares The Next Phase

Jan 4 - Iran - Europe Rejects U.S. Drive To War

Protests against the fallout of neoliberal policies by the Rouhani government are surely justified. Even Supreme Leader Khamenei supports them. But in late December people chanting "regime change" slogans started to take part. They were obviously pushed from abroad by the MEK, the monarchist and other CIA front groups. The situation changed. Directed through Telegram channels, groups of young rioters tried to take over police stations and to gain access to weapons. The Iranian people saw the dangers therein and did not support such behavior. The original protesters disappeared, their important voice was no longer heard. But for lack of local backing the riots soon died down.

The riots exposed the anti-Iran propagandists and imperial dreamers who believe that there is some significant internal movement in Iran against the Islamic Republic. But a few ten-thousand total protesters are absolutely insignificant when they have no backing from the masses. Still, the U.S. tried to use the riots to expand sanctions against Iran. It was slapped down when it brought the issue up at the UN Security Council.

Jan 1 - NYT Writes Epic Cover For Comey's FBI - Its Sole Source: "Officials Said"

The full Clinton conspiracy against Trump, which was supported by the intelligence services,  has not yet been exposed. But bit by bit more details are coming out. The main stream media are heavily invested in the anti-Trump/anti-Russia narrative and therefore continue to throw smoke bombs.

Jan 6 - Trump Offloads Foreign Policy Problems - Lets EU Grow A Spine

Results of Trump's foreign policy seem to be consistent with his generally isolationist views. Is he playing more clever than it seems?


  • An update on the military situation in Syria. The Syrian army continues to make significant progress despite the efforts by the U.S., Israel and Turkey to each strengthen their particular variant of Jihadist "rebels".
  • The simmering water war between Egypt and Ethiopia. The issue is existential for both sides. They and their respective allies are currently positioning their troops. There is a high chance that the conflict will suddenly explode.

Please use the comments as open thread ...

Posted by b on January 7, 2018 at 15:54 UTC | Permalink

next page »

truly great article i highly recommend.. - PLA Strategist: The U.S. Uses Its Dollar to Dominate the World

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 16:38 utc | 1

The USA’s nightmare is Europe (EU, or geographical Europe, incl. for ex. Norway) finally getting together its geo-proximal, cultural ties, economic dependency / energy input, massive trade exports and imports, with Russia, and affirming, protecting these exchanges.

Previous, the existence of the USSR, the specter of ‘communism’ served to keep dominant economic players in Europe on board with the US aggression / control.

The USA will do *xxx* to prevent any agreements between Russia and Europe, as the US would then lose its status as decider, broker, even wielding military might and threat might be no use, doomed to failure even before implementation.

All US moves, even now in Iran, are pointed to desperately blocking new alliances, nobody can join anyone, an exercise in fragmentation, divide-to-rule.

The EU-Russ continent, heh right to China (another story..) energy-rich, powerful, peaceful, as hopefully imagined! would send the USA into a pathetic backwater of bandits, oligarchs, urban guerrilla warfare, starving exploited children, etc. - all of which are already visible.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 7 2018 17:02 utc | 2

This interesting piece from NEO argues against yesterday's thread celebrating Trump.

Theme: Trump is dividing allies and working to replace US world leadership with new (different) leadership.

(its conclusion)

If Trump causes conflicts and makes others pay to sort them out he really does disentangle the US from costly foreign wars. He also makes the US relatively stronger financially, and can run back to his business empire at any time if his own people want him gone. China will gradually take over the US leadership role, but why should Trump care? He will have paid for that in office, and his supporters want the jobs the Chinese can provide, and the infrastructure the Chinese love building, rather than this airy-fairy liberal nonsense of elite diplomacy and pussyfooting around with foreigners and spineless “doublespeak” in terms of human rights and the rule of law.

Trump may destroy America, and a lot of its allies with it, but he will escape more or less intact. As his business record shows, he will think the suffering of others is worth it. People wondered when he was elected what difference it would make to have a businessman with no political experience in the most powerful job on earth. 2018 will be the year when we all come to terms with what that difference is, if we live long enough to do so.

Posted by: Sid2 | Jan 7 2018 17:22 utc | 3


As you know, there has been much discussion regarding dollar as global reserve currency and implications. I take issue with a number of points made in the article that you link to such as the reasons underlying the Asian financial crisis and second Iraq War. If the article has value it is that it provides insight into how some Chinese are thinking about the adversarial relationship that has developed between US and China.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 7 2018 18:02 utc | 4

@5 jackrabbit.. thanks for taking the time to look at it.. i have never read an article so insightful on the relationship with wars that usa has been responsible for and the connection to the us$ money supply... the observations on the importance of de-linking the us$ from gold and all that it has implied to my mind is very accurate and relevant to where we are now.

on the comments where you take issue, i am curious if you can explain why.. i share the authors view on the asian crisis and iraq war as well.. and yes - it does give insight into how some in the world, in particular some chinese - are seeing where we are now and how it dovetails with chinese ambitions on the world stage..

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 18:13 utc | 5

@2 james
Yes a nice Eastern perspective modern economic article which rightly includes the delinkage of the USD to Gold in 1971, ushering in the petrodollar and financialisation of the US economy... unleashing military adventure on the back of cheap money. It will take a lot of that good old Yankee innovative spirit to resurrect a hollowed-out-make-believe war economy. There is little else left.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 7 2018 18:17 utc | 6

@4 sid2... my problem with that article is it wants to give all the baggage that has been going on in the usa's exceptional attitude about itself on the doorstep of trump only.. in fact, as the article itself says - "The US has had a succession of presidents who seem incapable of understanding that the rest of the world doesn’t see the US that way." indeed, but it seems many prefer bullshit given with eloquent talk and posturing, as was the case with obama.. and on the topic of trump angered by pakistan, the article misses the point why - "Pakistan’s central bank on January 2 notified that it has taken “comprehensive policy related measures to ensure that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in CNY (Chinese Yuan).” see M K Bhadrakumar's article here.
the usa has been on a path to destroy itself for some time.. blaming trump for all of that seems misplaced..

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 18:26 utc | 7


These are cases where the author is over-reaching to make a case for US using its currency in a war-like manner.

The Asian financial crisis wasn’t “harvesting”, it was contagion arising from incompetence of various actors

Likewise, Saddam’s was expected to fall after the first Iraq War but managed to remain in power. His antagonism toward the US included changing how he was paid for his oil but the second Gulf was was not based on that payments change alone. The fact is Saddam became a thorn in the side of US and US allies and they would use any convenient excuse to remove that thorn.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 7 2018 18:33 utc | 8

Interview with Iran's working people over #Iranprotests

CIA/Mossad/MEK/Saudi agents in central Tehran espousing propaganda!?

Message from the uploader: "Any suggestion to claim these poor people are faking all of this will similarly be deleted. There's real pain in those voices. It's time everyone listened. Be mature and respectful in your replies."

Posted by: ninel | Jan 7 2018 19:00 utc | 9

@9 jr... thanks.. we are going to have to agree to disagree then. i think the article is much more specific in how these different events connect to the money supply.. regarding the asian crisis, i agree with this overview given in the article.. i am going to quote it so the broader context can be read by others who are interested.. i think it is much the same with regard to iraq and saddam.. bottom line on iraq - the war was an unnecessary one and a destructive one for iraq.. they are still working at recovering from it.

"During the second ten-year weak U.S. dollar cycle, U.S. dollars went mainly to Asia. What was the hottest investment concept in 1980s? It was the “Asian Tigers.” Many people thought it was due to Asians’ hard work and how smart they were. Actually the big reason was the ample investment of U.S. dollars.

When the Asian economy started to prosper, the Americans felt it was time to harvest. Thus, in 1997, after ten years of a weak dollar, the Americans reduced the money supply to Asia and created a strong dollar. Many Asian companies and industries faced an insufficient money supply. The area showed signs of being on the verge of a recession and a financial crisis.

A last straw was needed to break the camel’s back. What was that straw? It was a regional crisis. Should there be a war like the Argentines had? Not necessarily. War is not the only way to create a regional crisis.

Thus we saw that a financial investor called “Soros” took his Quantum Fund, as well as over one hundred other hedge funds in the world, and started a wolf attack on Asia’s weakest economy, Thailand. They attacked Thailand’s currency Thai Baht for a week. This created the Baht crisis. Then it spread south to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Then it moved north to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and even Russia. Thus the East Asia financial crisis fully exploded.

The camel fell to the ground. The world’s investors concluded that the Asian investment environment had gone south and withdrew their money. The U.S. Federal Reserve promptly blew the horn and increased the dollar’s interest rate. The capital coming out of Asia flew to the U.S.’s three big markets, creating the second big bull market in the U.S.

When the Americans made ample money, they followed the same approach they did in Latin America: they took the money that they made from the Asian financial crisis back to Asia to buy Asia’s good assets which, by then, were at their bottom price. The Asian economy had no capacity to fight back."

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 19:04 utc | 10

James 2

Had read a section of the speech a few days ago somewhere else but you're link contained more. Very interesting.
One of Trump's main themes is to bring manufacturing back to the US. I think it was a commenter at SST listed the manufacturing that had moved back to the US since Trump took office and it was quite impressive. So, to date, no empty promise there.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 19:05 utc | 11

There are a few that claim that Trump is playing multi-dimensional chess. I don't think so. What he's doing is plain and straightforward. He's slowly getting the US out of the international hegemonic game. He's doing it the way he knows, with a lot of bluster and contradictions. What many people fail to recognize is that he is not a professional politician that is glib and talks out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. He is a deal maker turned Reality TV star who has used celebrity and its publicity to achieve his goals.

The amazing thing is that he won the presidency as a non-politician on his first attempt, defeating the anointed Queen backed by over $1.5 billion as well as the entire media and the establishment of both parties. He gets no credit for that accomplishment. Ever since his election he has been fighting a battle with the establishment who have used all the powers of law enforcement and intelligence as well as the media to try and take him down. Now they get a tabloid writer to pen a book slamming him, not very different than MI6 Christopher Steele's dossier with all those scurrilous charges.

When he won the election he had no background in government. He had no knowledge of how DC works. He had to get people from the establishment to man his administration. He is doing what he can do within the circumstances and as he slowly gets to grips with what he can and cannot do as President he will do more. There is no doubt he is unconventional and his non-PC style drives many in the media and establishment crazy. The more he can make them crazy, the more they'll focus on taking him out, and the more he can do that achieves his goal of taking the US out of the hegemony business. Precisely because that would be considered crazy by the establishment.

He has already achieved so much. He did not go after the Russian alliance in Syria and has allowed them to roll-up the jihadis and consolidate Assad's power. He shown with his Jerusalem decision that the 2-state fiction is over and the majority of Arab states don't really care about the Palestinians. With his tax package he is screwing the liberals on both coasts who would never vote for him and most importantly making US businesses more competitive, particularly smaller businesses who don't have the armies of tax attorneys. The use of law enforcement and intelligence to take him down is slowly backfiring as it is now showing how partisan these agencies were under the Obama administration, actually meddling in the election and attempting to delegitimize him after the election - all seditious acts. And of course how they let Hillary Clinton off the hook for mishandling classified information.

If he continues on this path, driving the establishment crazy and getting the US out of the hegemony business in his own crazy way, America will be better off and he will win a second term that will make the establishment even more crazy. What do you expect when a Reality TV star becomes POTUS - More entertainment! But in a good way for both America and the rest of the world.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 7 2018 19:28 utc | 12


Your assessment that the Iraq War was “unnecessary” is both a truism and irrelevant. The article asserts that it occurred because USA wanted to defend pricing of oil in dollars.

I’m not saying that didn’t play some part. I’m just pointing out that the rift between Saddam and US was much greater than that one aspect. The second Iraq War wasn’t due solely to Saddam decision to accept alternative payment methods. Pretending that it was is over-reaching - fitting facts to a narrative.

I’ll address the Asian financial crisis in another comment.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 7 2018 19:36 utc | 13

james @11. What you quote and what is written in the article you linked to are classic conspiracy theories spun for those financially illiterate.

The USD no longer being a reserve a currency would be the best thing for middle America.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 7 2018 19:46 utc | 14

@12 peter.. thanks.. it would be good if it was true about bringing manufacturing jobs and etc. back to the usa.. teh idea of so much of usa gdp being generated from financials seems accurate to me.. i can't see how that is sustainable..

@14 jr.. i realize it is complicated and i do believe the justification as given for war in iraq and the real reasons are different.

@15 ab initio.. i don't agree with your first sentence, but i agree fully with your last!

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 19:51 utc | 15

Some people have been paying attention.

Posted by: LongShot | Jan 7 2018 20:02 utc | 16

B why dont you move your blog to steemit so we can upvote you for real money ?

Look how much this guy make per post

Posted by: JeanPaul | Jan 7 2018 20:13 utc | 17

james @ 2: Thanks for the article. Good read. An excerpt:

"People all say that the strength of the U.S. is based on three pillars: currency, technology, and military force. Actually today we can see that the real backbone of the U.S. is its currency and military force. The backing of its currency is its military force."

"Every country in the world spends a large amount of money when it has a war. The U.S., however, is unique. It can also make money while spending money on a war. No other country can do that."

IMO, dollar hegemony is a problem. Maybe this article from RT has relevance..

The dollar paradigm must change to increase the emergence of a multi-polar world..

Posted by: ben | Jan 7 2018 20:18 utc | 18

To leave the Orange Dotard for a while....and for you to see that the word is changing... but there we go....

The image of the day, tortured by Krassnoff, he faces the criminal and rebukes him in the courts of Concepción

Miguel Krassnoff, Pinochet's torturer, is the grandson of Piotr Krasnov, a white general in the Civil War and a Nazi collaborator in World War II.

Krasnov, Piotr

Cossack Czarist Russian General. After making a career in the Tsarist Army, he led several battalions of Cossack riders in the First World War with the title of General. He took part in Kornilov's Coup d'Etat at the time of the Provisional Government and at the outbreak of the October Revolution Kerensky appointed him supreme commander of the army to crush the nascent Revolution and restore power to Kerensky ("Kerensky-Krasnov revolt") . Although the Bolsheviks seized him, they released him after Krasnov gave his word not to fight against the Revolution. In spite of everything, he broke his word. In 1918 he was named head of the Cossack Horde of the Don Region and started an anti-Soviet Cossack revolt in the Don Region. In 1919 he put his Cossack army under the hierarchy of the White Army led by General Denikin in the Ukraine and Southern Russia; however, he would have deep political disagreements with the White Army (apparently Krasnov defended the "Cossack nationalism" and that was not well seen by the Russian imperialists of the White Army) and in that same year he would exile to Germany. There he got involved in various anti-Soviet propaganda activities until the Second World War. In that war he betrayed his country and put him at the service of the German fascists who attacked the Soviet People; created divisions formed by anti-communist Cossacks for the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS. After the USSR defeated Germany in World War II, the Soviets tried, condemned to death and executed Krasnov for his betrayal.

Anecdote: Krasnov wrote in exile the novel Two-headed eagle to the red flag, which earned him nomination as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 20:20 utc | 19

ab initio 15

The reason China's economy is growing larger than the hegemons, is that China understands how the hegemon operates, and counters with asymmetrical moves. The section of the speech by the PLA strategist Major-General Qiao Liang, is far more than classic conspiracy theory.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 7 2018 20:22 utc | 20


The aticle’s analysis wrt Asian financial crisis is simplistic and an exercise in blame-shifting.

Thailand could not defend the bhat fix. It was a mistake for them to attempt to do so. They should’ve coordinated with other countries much sooner and other countries should’be seen what was developing sooner. But the origins of the crisis occurred BEFORE the speculative attacks on the currency as described well here: UNCTAD: Causes and Sources of the Asian Financial Crisis

Market panics happen sometimes. They usually stem from policy incompetence of some form or another. The 1987 US stock market crash is a good example. “Portfolio insurance” meant forced sales of great magnitude as the stock market declined. Thus, a downturn would “feed on itself.”

The 2008 Global Financial Crisis is another one. Banks stopped doing proper credit risk analysis because loans were no longer being held by the Bank but sold to the market (via bundles known as CDOs).

The result of the AFC was that western money was precipitously pulled out of Asia. Some asians view that darkly. But I see no grand game plan to disadvantage Asian countries. Just a big F-up caused by incompetence and nervous investors who all went to the exists at the same time.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 7 2018 20:27 utc | 21

For those who wonder why so many suspect U$A involvement in the latest Iranian developments.

Posted by: ben | Jan 7 2018 20:29 utc | 22

Demonstrators in Iran waving with the Syrian Revolution flag and burn a picture of Bashar Al Asad

The Free Syrian Army (ELS) has published on its social networks a statement expressing its support for the protesters in Iran.

Today's demonstration next to the embassy of #Iran in Paris of supporters of the #MEK (Organization of the Mujahideen of the People of #Iran) in solidarity with the Syrian rebels under the slogan #StandWithAleppo.

Islamic State supports the protests in Iran. We're all already here.

#IS shows support for #IranProtests telling Iranians to continue calls against wilayat al-Faqih; says development v important, according to editorial in IS weekly paper #alNaba

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 20:39 utc | 23

Estimated number of US troops in ME countries (Via @ Forbes) 🇯🇴 Jordan - 1,500 🇮🇶 Iraq - 5,165 🇰🇼 Kuwait - 15,000 🇧🇭 Bahrain - 7,000 🇶🇦 Qatar - 10,000 🇦🇪 UAE - 5,000 🇴🇲 Oman - 200

Well, to this we must add those currently illegally in Syria, and those in Afghanistán...not to mention the mercenary armies of Prince and the likes in the far-East, Africa, South Asia, and so this not too much for to be offloading foreign policy?

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 20:48 utc | 24

Detailed Israeli map of Daraa. The logical thing is to think that someone provides them with intelligence from the ground.

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 20:50 utc | 25

A casual call for a 'military intervention by a coalition of regional forces' in #Venezuela
The plan: impeach Maduro and invite a foreign military force. Sounds very feasible. What can go wrong?

Thus, almost all the countries supporting China in its launching of the petro-yuan targetted by regime-change intends...except Russia....for now....
I insist, too much for offloading foreign policy, doesn´t it?

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 21:12 utc | 26

I think people from the last post didn't get it, so I'll repeat my argument.

This thesis (that Trump is some sort of political genious) is pure first-world dellusion. I know it's hard to accept, when you're on top, that your hegemon is ending, that the dream is over -- but it is necessary, for the wellbeing of humanity.

The USA is using the big stick for the simple reason it doesn't have the carrot anymore, as it did in 1946. Nowadays, the USA is strictly a financial/military power, China being the industrial power.

Finance is closely connected to military power nowadays because we live in the era of fiat currency: fiat currency is imaginary, it can be printed at will; its only manifestation in the real world is the control of the main commercial routes (today, it is the seas). The USA is the modern Poseidon, the contemporary King of Seas, the World Pirate: thanks to its inequalled Navy -- by far the most powerful branch of its Armed Forces -- it can enforce the Dollar to rest of the world must, both by keeping its capacity of maintaining the passive flow of merchandise and by active enforcing it (e.g. forcing the oil extraction and export by invading and regime changing Iraq). Military strength has another essential aspect in a fiat currency world: the USA can indebt infinitely because everybody knows that, ultimately, nobody can knock on the American door (i.e. has the imperium) and ask its debt to be paid.

In other words, in modern capitalism, in order to be the financial power, you automatically have to be the military power. That's why China's recent projection of financial power is accompanied by its growing projection of power in the seas, both by expanding and modernizing its Navy (e.g. it is about to complete its third aircraft carrier). But China has an advantage in relation to the USA: it is in Eurasia, the World Island, the cradle and center of human civilization: it can also project its imperial power by land (new Silk Road). The USA can't do that: instead it must spend trillions of dollars by maintaining lots of bases overseas.

You, first-worlders, must decide if Trump is a political genious or if b's theory about a military junta de facto governing is correct. Both cannot be true at the same time.

Posted by: VK | Jan 7 2018 21:14 utc | 27

#Trump is a liar. #Pentagon is a liar. #NikkiHaley is a liar. #USA is not fighting the terrorists in #Syria. Look at the terrorists inside the #American #Tanf military base in Syria #FromSyria

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 21:14 utc | 28

There are rumors that the real reason the US pulled military aid from Pakistan was their refusal to allow the basing of CIA-controlled jihadist groups for staging attacks inside Iran. The money was just going to go to fund the operation and Pakistan's role. They're not going to allow any terrorist groups that ISI doesn't control (cue Raymond Davis).

Posted by: Les | Jan 7 2018 21:17 utc | 29

On how there is a continuum in US foreign policy, independently of who seats its butts on the WH, and how nobody is draining any swamp, but making it more thick... if possible:

14 de abril de 2017, Maryam Radjavi, líder del #MEK grupo terrorista e instrumento de la #CIA en #Irán para agitar las protestas y desestabilizar el país, con John McCain.

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 21:19 utc | 30

It´s me, or Mike Pompeo looks like he could not believe a word coming from The Donald´s mouth...He looks really worried....and even nauseated....

'From successful businessman to US President': Trump slams 'Fire & Fury' book as 'art of fiction'

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 21:41 utc | 31

30 likely. Balochistan is part of Pakistan and Iran.

Anyway, it has come to the logical conclusion now - Iranian nationalism.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 7 2018 21:53 utc | 32

@ninel | Jan 7, 2018 2:00:34 PM | 10

Of course, these people´s grievances are legitimate, but you also notice how they all agree in that turning protests into politics and those claims like "death to Suprem Leader" or for the "Shah to return" are from people trying to hijack the protests, and see also how they condemn those using volence.... They declare themselves the makers and heirs of the revolution....
Thus, yes, there was CIA/Mossad/MEK/Saudi agents infiltrated all the way in the protests

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 22:17 utc | 33

@19 ben.. thanks.. yes - that article on the topic of china and russia exchanging oil in yuan is very relevant to this conversation of us hegemony..

@21 peter.. thanks for saying that.. most people don't read articles, myself included! however i thought that one was the best summary i have read on the importance of the us$ being un-pegged from gold and all the implications that have been set in motion since..

@22 jackrabbit.. i am unable to get to the page you would like me to look at @ - it just takes me to the home page and nothing else.. market panics do happen, but in a situation where their is more opportunity to park your money in a currency that is offering interest rates that are better then keeping it in a currency that seems unstable - most go with the former.. and, in this case - soros and friends had a specific game plan in mind which seems to have coincidentally lining up with the agenda of the federal reserve to again raise interest rates for the us$.. this precipitates a move to the us$ for a few different reasons.. i don't dispute markets get overheated and need to sell off, but i do believe the us$ has played a pivotal role in shaping a number of situations to favour the us$, including helping to create and take advantage of weaknesses that they might be partly or fully responsible for.. that's all..

bottom line, i acknowledge what you are saying and not wanting to get caught up in dark theories.. however,after reading the article in full, i was surprised at the number of coincidences in a number of world events and the timing and numbers connected to the us$ supply... i thought it was fascinating to only analyze it from this angle as most folks who are looking into the cause for war and etc, are not considering this in the same depth that this author does... and, i do believe the issue of us$ coming unglued from gold aug 15, 1971 is a central pivotal point to where we are now with regard to the us$..

@23 ben.. good quick overview! thanks..

@24 elsi.. regarding more fsa bullshit, you might want to read pat langs latest.

also, a few of us replied to your comments on the previous post.. you might want to check that out.

@28 vk.. well, as i said before - trump is no genius and he is only looking out for himself with his various r/e deals and etc. etc. but their may be some bigger benefit from someone who isn't willing to serve the interests the military junta automatically.. so, aside from agreeing with your comments on the financial/military connection and relevance, i would say there are more then just 2 options in your last line about - either trump is a genius, or the usa is run by a military junta.. the 3rd option is trump is not saying what he is doing and he is messing up things for that same military junta that want another war in iran or where-ever they can get one.. whether trump is successful in his not saying what his actual intent is, or whether it is just an accident based on his personality - either way - he is messing things up to the status quo big time here.. the verdict is still out on his agenda, other then him being totally self serving..

@30 les... i had read that too, so perhaps it is a combo of both.. either way, pakistan is operating differently to the usa here...

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 22:52 utc | 34

Peter AU1 @21

GDP is a poor metric for vitality of an economy. But that is the metric du jour for all economic analysis. China has grown it's GDP on the back of fixed asset investment. Initially it was FDI with capital and technology flowing into it as the West offshored its industrial base. Next it used the growth in banking assets to continue, in particular after the GFC when it increased the size of its banking system four fold. This is leverage. Look at the fixed asset investment/GDP ratio of China vs Germany and the US and even Japan. China has huge idle capacity in real estate and many industries that don't provide a return on the debt deployed. OBOR is partially to utilize this excess capacity. The reality is no one knows the extent of financial leverage in China. The size of their banking system relative to GDP is larger than Japan's at their peak before their financial system deflated.

On the flipside the US has the opposite problem. Not enough fixed asset investment, too much consumption and far too much financialization of their economy.

For a rebalancing to occur both sides need to emphasize the opposite of what they've been doing. The US needs to spend more on infrastructure and industrial capacity and less on consumption whereas China needs more domestic consumer demand and less investment in capacity. Neither can easily change their current trajectory without some dislocation. Trump it seems gets the big picture but can he execute considering the constraints he is under remains to be seen.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 7 2018 22:54 utc | 35

The "Trump Offloads" trope, like his "7D Chess" joke, or his "Populist President" meme, is all patently absurd, right on the face of it. He's a serial bunko artist and lifelong fraudster, a money launderer and human trafficker through his ex-Soviet Mafiya funded hotel:casino empire. He has no political expertise or finesse. He's just a side-show.

Even a cursory examination of 2016 confirms this was the 'Deep State' playbook:

RNC ran an 'American Idol' charade. After all, their operatives had captured the alt Right, the Right and the Cracker Middle, under Obama. The election was theirs to LOSE! DNC ran a Clinton and Sanders campaign. Sanders was the bagman to capture the Left. He sewed them all up. This left Clinton free to drift Right, hence her militarist braggado against Russia, (even at the same time, when BOTH parties were using Russia to obtain 'classified and highly sensitive data' on each other.) She had to pander to the Right!

So what the People got was: NeoLiberal ZioWarPigA v. ZioWarPigB 2016. Bernie dropped out at the appointed time, delivering the Left to Clinton. The Republican candidates dropped out one by one, delivering the alt Right and Right to Trump, WHO IS A CRYPTO-LIBERAL.
TPTB (aka 'Deep State') didn't care one way or the other who 'won'. Just like Karzai 2009, the Executive, whomever the People 'chose', was there to sign the final bust out:

1999 Gramm-Leich-Bliley Bankster Coup (aka 'Survival of Banking')
2001 Pentagon-DHS-CIA-NSA Deep State Coup (aka 'Survival of Government')
2008 TBTF TARP Bailout Coup (aka 'Survival of Wall Street')
2012 Citizens United Coup (aka 'Survival of Oligarchists')
2016 Trump-Rodham Bust Out Coup (aka 'Tax Abeyance for the Ricos')

Trump has 'opted out' of his duties as Commander in Chief. He lets Pentagon and CIA run that half of his Administration. Trump has 'opted out' of his duties as Leader of the Free World. He lets CIA-State run that half of his Administration, just like Obama did, or for that matter, just like Bush Lite and Clinton before him, and Reagan 2. And he's totally 'toadied' up to Wall Street, bringing the greatest Tax Cuts to Corporate since Reagan 1, (and at that point at which Reagan realized he was committing capital crimes.)

Democracy in USA ended with Carter and Reagan 1. Brezinzski, Rumsfeld, Cheney, you can trace the lines down through the End of History to the Surrender of the American Dream.
Now we're left with Team Spirit, and $21,500,000,000,000 black hole in SS and MC Trust, and All Future Generations will be debt slaves to the Rentiers and Mil.Gov Deep State.

It's over. Smell it! This is the point in the movie where the Titanic breaks in half. There is only one quintile left on Earth with unencumbered wealth, the USA Boomers. The inheritance they might have passed down to the next generation will be stripped out by ZIRP, by >30% per year R/E asset inflation, runaway stock market inflation, Crypto, all the usual suspects. Then the Boomers will be schlepped off into MIC elder concentration camps, their 401ks and reverse-mortgages locked into auto-deduction, and whatever hope the Next Generation held to inherit their Boomer wealth will have been stripped away by Corporate, while the Next Generation are made Debt Paupers in the interim.

Can't you feel the heat on your skin? It's a CROWN FIRE! Nothing but ashes will be left.
A mouthful of ashes, and dust. An American Pompeii. Use whatever meme gives you comfort.

Posted by: Chipnik | Jan 7 2018 23:03 utc | 36

Just "The Magicians" brought to me "The Porompompero" Arabic...Because I have been a good girl....and have fought a lot....

Here you have....Enjoy!

Posted by: elsi | Jan 7 2018 23:06 utc | 37

James @16, jackrabbit @22

I had a ringside seat to the AFC as I worked at a major financial institution in Singapore at that time, who had large exposure across the region. I agree with Jackrabbit "The aticle’s analysis wrt Asian financial crisis is simplistic and an exercise in blame-shifting."

Jackrabbit's point that, "Market panics happen sometimes" is axiomatic. From the South Sea bubble to Tulipmania and beyond, manias occur and they correct in panics.

A lot of capital flowed into Asia. There was an economic boom. Financial leverage grew and many uneconomic projects were funded along with financial speculation. At some point speculative gains became losses. The smart money started exiting and then when it became obvious everyone hit the exit gates at the same time. There was nothing nefarious. Just another credit boom that busted.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 7 2018 23:12 utc | 38

Pakistan’s central bank on January 2 reported that it has taken “comprehensive policy related measures to ensure that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in CNY (Chinese Yuan).”
“Considering the recent local and global economic developments, particularly with the growing size of trade and investment with China under CPEC, SBP (central bank) foresees that CNY denominated trade with China will increase significantly, going forward; and will yield long term benefits for both the countries.”
The $60 billion collection of land and sea projects known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a centerpiece of China's Belt and Road Iniative BRI). Beijing has announced that i intends to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
M K Bhadrakumar --
Why businessman Trump is upset with Pakistan

The big question is how far this joint Pakistani-Chinese move to dump dollar – alongside their announcement on December 26 in Beijing to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan and Central Asia – explains Trump’s New Year Day outburst on tweeter and the incipient signs of an aggressive policy by the Trump administration toward Pakistan (as is borne out by an exclusive interview by NSA HR McMaster to the Voice of America on January 3).
To my mind, it explains a great deal, as much if not more than the so-called counterterrorist operations in Afghanistan. It is useful to remember that Trump is quintessentially a businessman. He understands perfectly well the gathering storms on the horizon that threaten the dollar’s status as the world currency. What seemed “a cloud, a small one, about the size of a man’s hand… coming up out of the sea” – as Elijah said in the Old Testament – cannot be taken lightly any longer.
And the threat is spearheaded by countries such as China, Russia and Iran principally – “revisionist powers”. Put differently, the preservation of the dollar’s global reserve currency status is vital to the US economy as otherwise there will be and explosion of further debt and this is turning into an existential struggle for the superpower. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 7 2018 23:28 utc | 39


Sorry, it’s a .org.

Here is the link: UNCTAD: Causes and Sources of the Asian Financial Crisis

Your reservations are coming from what was stated in the article. You do realize that the article is based on a speech by a Chinese military officer, right?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 7 2018 23:33 utc | 40

@39 ab initio.. i am curious if you read the article i posted @2... i doesn't dispute much of what you say, although i take your comment on blame shifting.. as with anything, the complexities get simplified to project a one size fits all.. i think you would find the article fascinating, but that is just my view on it..

@41 jr.. thanks.. yes, i am aware of that.. i think the importance of the role of the us$ becoming unhinged from gold and all the dynamics that have happened with regard to wars on the planet from around that time and since are very well laid out in that article.. of course, others may choose to skip or read only parts of it, or even read it all and disagree with it!

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 23:40 utc | 42

i - it... ignore the typos..

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 23:40 utc | 43

B's pointing to a military junta being in control
is not only plausible, but only logical when one
considers where the junta receives it funding from.
It's tax payers' money funneled into the military
Who is controlling where tax payers' monies end up?
Trump? Congress? Senate? Try "none of the above".

The graphic at "Tom Dispatch: Seeing the cost of war'
for the first time" should pop the bubble about an
imminent end of U.S./allies hegemony immediately.
This occupation of 39% of Earth's countries will
not go away. It took over 18 years to get there.

At this point I like to emphasize that the present
affairs are not any one's individual result. What
we are witnessing is the playing out of long term
plans and strategies for global dominance.

If those who pursue this goal will fail in achieving
it, they will lay this planet to waste.

Here a collection of articles in regards to the
annexation of Iran by all means necessary. Mind
you though that the site has not been updated since
early 2017:

One must ponder about the fact that daily, weekly,
monthly or even year long events will not reveal
the deeper plans in place for decades. It will also
render moot the assumptions that individual 'failures'
could mean the failure of the grand plan.

We've ain't seen the big rollout, yet

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 7 2018 23:40 utc | 44

@42 jr.. from the article "Our analysis seeks to explain the Asian financial crisis in the context of the increase in systemic
global financial instability that has become visible after the collapse of the Bretton Woods arrangements and the increased liberalization and mobility of international capital flows." and what does the collapse of the bretton woods arrangements mean exactly? to me the big collapse is the us$ no longer hinged to gold in 1971..

"Paradoxically, the most important factor in triggering the crisis seems to have been the sudden reversal of the dollar relative to the yen in early May 1997: the dollar fell from around 127 yen at the beginning of May to 114 yen at the end of June – an over 10 per cent depreciation. This was accompanied by widespread expectations of a rise in Japanese interest rates, and caused the short-term arbitrage funds from East Asia to flow back to Japan, thereby generating strong selling pressure on the baht."

having a currency pegged to the us$ is problematic as i see it.. the article discusses the peg and the role of capital inflow/outflow, but does not focus on the changes in us$ money supply in any of it... what i maintain is the us$ has harvested profit around the globe thanks this unique change from august 1971.. and, importantly i am not blaming the us, so much as those financial forces that work in alignment with the us financial system to bring us the various sanctions agendas and etc. that we continue to witness today as expressed towards iran, russia, north korea and etc. etc. the system is rigged, and while it doesn't explain everything - i think this article acknowledges this at the very beginning!

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2018 23:57 utc | 45

Aljazeera special

'Iran: Economic reasons contributing to the unrest | Counting the Cost'

Posted by: ninel | Jan 7 2018 23:58 utc | 46

China bringing Erik Prince in for anti-terrorism work on the BRI is all the proof you need them and Russia are part of the NWO. Perhaps not fully on board in public to appease their populations and perhaps the powers that be also see some merit in their being adversaries with the West for a gullible public to keep funding for the military strong. Kind of like 1984 when War is Peace. Terrorism is losing its luster w/o another 9/11 event so need to recreate a more credible enemy.

Cant help but note that both China and Russia voted for increased sanctions on NK and the Soviet Union did not veto the first UN resolution on Korea over 60 years ago that gave the UN its first war. Yup, we are being played. Hollywood probably scripting this stuff since we know the Deep State works closely with them for propaganda

Who need TV shows and movies when we have reality

Posted by: Pft | Jan 8 2018 0:00 utc | 47

Don Bacon @40

It makes perfect sense for the Chinese and Pakistanis to conduct their bilateral trade in CNY. Pakistan receives CNY for their lease of their ports and other facilities as well as Chinese FDI and those CNY flow back for consumer and industrial goods. It eliminates the unnecessary step of forex exchange. Less friction.

This idea that this somehow impacts the US makes no sense from a financial perspective as there is no US activity that is being displaced. The petrodollar and USD not going to be a reserve currency will somehow collapse the US economy is not grounded in any legitimate economic and financial analysis. If the Chinese want the CNY to become the reserve currency then they must be willing to run a negative trade account and be able to have deep bond markets for the returning CNY. I say great. Let them do that. The US can then become mercantilistic.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 8 2018 0:10 utc | 48


I think you should read the full paper.

I also think you should do research about what the actual advantages are of having the global reserve currency. Here’s a start: Forbes: Reserve Currency Status - A Mixed Blessing

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2018 0:12 utc | 49


The Forbes article makes it clear that if the dollar is replaced as global currency, US will be burdened by a very high debt overhang that will be a drag on its economy. This accumulated debt will be a far greater ‘hit’ to US than any immediate gain by China. In fact McTeer refers to it as a “sword of Damocles.

Perhaps this is why a PLA officer is exaggerating US financial abuse?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2018 0:26 utc | 50

The Agenda with Steve Paikin

'Iran: Budget Leaks, Unemployment and Unrest'

Saeed Rahnema is an Iranian left-wing professor (now retired), very well informed about Iran and the working class movement there

Posted by: ninel | Jan 8 2018 0:46 utc | 51

jackrabbit @51

Total credit market debt/GDP in the US is less than China and of course much less than Japan. Of course no one has the foggiest idea the extent of shadow banking assets in China which could imply Total Debt/GDP could be significantly larger there. Their banking system is sitting on some large NPAs.

When I worked at a major financial institution we did an analysis on the impacts to the US financial system and economy if USD were no longer the reserve currency. Over a 10 year period it was hugely beneficial. Of course the models developed could have been inadequate. But conceptually it makes sense. These conspiracy theories floating on the innertubes of a collapse in the US economy if there are no longer any petrodollars or USD loses reserve status is just that.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 8 2018 0:52 utc | 52

@jr 50.. is that in reference to the 14 or 15 page pdf you posted? i did! i am curious if you read the full article @2?

what the article @50 fails to take into account are all sorts of details connected with the bretton woods agreement that are still in place, such as the imf and world bank where certain countries have more voting rights, or are classified as developed, verses developing countries and all the restrictions and etc that go with that.. the forbes article is very superficial as i read it..

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2018 0:55 utc | 53

james @46

"the big collapse is the us$ no longer hinged to gold in 1971."

Actually the dollar getting off the gold standard happened in the 1930s under FDR. Nixon's move was the final step.

I don't see any collapse in Bretton Woods since 1971 as we still have the major currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, JPY) freely exchangeable into each other at market prices at scale. We can however see debt growth worldwide accelerate since then. ( We are now in a world where every currency is fiat. Meaning they can all be printed at will and cannot be exchanged into some tangible asset. History however shows that fiat currencies inevitably reach their intrinsic value which is zero. We now have the longest period with fiat in history and maybe the prior historical endpoint of fiat will be changed.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 8 2018 1:17 utc | 54

james @54

"...such as the imf and world bank..."

These supra-national financial institutions are becoming more irrelevant each day. Global capital flows are so much larger and central banks act and intervene so much more directly and in such scale than in the past. The idea that the Swiss National Bank would just conjure up SFR and convert into USD and buy $80 billion of shares in US companies including Apple & Google would have been considered ludicrous some decades ago. The fact that the BoJ is the Top 10 holder of all the 100 companies in the Nikkei Index would have been unthinkable some moons ago.

But...this is the Brave New Financial World we are in! And all this precisely because we have fiat. There is no limit to creation of currency except investor psychology.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 8 2018 1:29 utc | 55

@ 55 ab initio.. that quote of mine from @46 was in reference from the article of jrs @42.. i quote from the article again from @42
"Our analysis seeks to explain the Asian financial crisis in the context of the increase in systemic
global financial instability that has become visible after the collapse of the Bretton Woods arrangements and the increased liberalization and mobility of international capital flows."

so for you - what is the word collapse in reference to in the above quote? thanks..

i think what you are overlooking or not mentioning is how the us$ has been used as a reserve currency by a number of countries after the us$ went off the gold standard...

what do you think people in turkey do with their currency that continues to go down? maybe many ordinary people don't care, but i would venture to guess that many of the business people have put their money in us$! you see, the us$ has always benefited from the instability that is created thru war and the prospect of war.. it isn't as simple as saying 'every currency is fiat' which is true btw, although a funny thing is happening in some countries where some are amassing a good amount of gold - russia, china, india and not sure where else... the day is coming the us$ will not be the safe haven it has been treated as in this fiat currency world we presently live in..

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2018 1:35 utc | 56

@56 ab initio.. well, i do hope the imf and world bank do become more irrelevant by the day too! the imf/world bank have been piggy banks for usa financial institutions and for the us$ which typically all the imf loans have been set in.. the day can't happen soon enough, so that this financial pyramid scheme is replaced with something hopefully better...

those are interesting comments you make! i agree the financial world looks insane at this point and indeed believing in fiat currency is just a part of it.

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2018 1:38 utc | 57

@ab initio 49

I'm certainly no economist, but I think the point is that the yuan will become "a" reserve currency, not "the" reserve currency, thus weakening the dollar and the dollar's position not necessarily re: Pakistan only but if it slides over to Russia, Saudi, Iran, Venezuela, etc.-- the "petrodollar" thing.
There was no claim that this "will somehow collapse the US economy." There was a claim that there would be an affect on debt, presumably from higher interest rates, which I am no authority on (and probably Bhadrakumar isn't either). Perhaps you are?
And let's not forget, the point here is that this issue is motivating Trump in his anti-Pakistan strategy ("Why businessman Trump is upset with Pakistan"). Bhadrakumar's point is that this strategy has nothing to do with anti-terrorism and everything to do with the threat to the dollar.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 8 2018 1:54 utc | 58

@Don Bacon: Yes, it’s a drag not a collapse. But that drag could be significant.

@james: “collapse” refers to the end of Bretton Woods in 1971.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2018 2:07 utc | 59

Regarding reserve currency, perhaps the most important thing is to take away the US dollars power to sanction. China, Russia, Iran are doing this now.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 8 2018 2:14 utc | 60

ZH is doing a multi-part posting on the history of Western intervention in Iran

From Shahs To The CIA: The History Of Western Intervention In Iran - Part 1

The quote of the ending
Part II will chronicle the CIA's covert intervention and Iran's path to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 8 2018 2:22 utc | 61


Your ignoring the part of the paper that describes the policy failures prior to the AFC. You seem to desperately want to confirm the PLA’s assertions. I’m not saying the US hasn’t taken liberties from time to time but the PLA officer is exaggerating in several respects.

ab initio has confirmed what I’ve said about the AFC. The Saddam assertions are false just by application of logic. Do you think the US is the only one that colors the truth?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2018 2:27 utc | 62

Peter AU1

I think it was the threat to cut SWIFT access (about 2 years ago) that really got the ball moving.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2018 2:30 utc | 63

How to shoot yourself in the foot (x2)... DC Whitehouse risks copyright claim from 'Dumb and Dumber' scriptwriters.

Had it not been for the American President’s zero-tolerance towards immigration from what his administration labels as “terrorist”-prone countries, which crucially includes Afghanistan for substantial and not political reasons (as the latter relates to Iran’s inclusion and Saudi Arabia’s exclusion), then Pakistan would have risked drawing heavy pressure from the State Department on exaggerated claims that it’s “violating the human rights” of the refugees.

Trump, however, said that Pakistan was “giving safe haven to terrorists”, and since the US formally regards Afghan refugees as being too much of a potential security hazard to allow into its own country, it’s forced to accept Pakistan’s expulsion of 1,5 million of them on the implicit basis that they also constitute a serious terrorist threat to the state such as the one that the President just tweeted about.


Posted by: x | Jan 8 2018 2:31 utc | 64

The US dollar, after moving away from gold, is backed only by faith/confidence. if a country tries to move away from the dollar, faith and confidence are bombed back into them by the US military. The US cannot bomb faith and confidence into Russia and China.
US sanctions, and the fines imposed on banks that US decides have committed offenses - German banks have been hit hard over the last few years, paying many billions in fines.
The yuan/RMB will look attractive to many. I would guess the move to replace some US$ with RMB, to trade in both currencies, will grow. China is the largest trade partner for many countries. Where will the US$'s that are off-loaded to replace with RMB go to? Means less trade in US$, less US$'s in circulation or same amount in circulation, but their value dropped accordingly.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 8 2018 2:40 utc | 65

On another topic, the last Mercouris article is interesting.
"Republican Senators – Senator Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham, have written to the US Justice Department requesting that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the Trump Dossier, be investigated because of “significant inconsistencies” in the statements he has made to the authorities."

Looks like the tide has turned in the Trump/Russia collusion bullshit. Be interesting to see who gets exposed/washed away as the tide goes out.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 8 2018 2:54 utc | 66

@60 jr quote "@james: “collapse” refers to the end of Bretton Woods in 1971." take this up with ab intio @55.. i was responding to him and saying the same this as you in my post @46! also, of note although the us$ was unhinged from gold in 71, there were a number of other features of bretton woods that continued, like the way the imf, world bank and bank of international settlements are set up.. they continued on in the same structure in spite of us$ going off gold.. and still no answer from you on my question to you @54! but now you are asking me more questions.. fair is fair.. answer a few of mine, if you want more answers to yours!

@63 jr.. i don't want to desperately hang on to every word in the article @2, but i think it is a healthy alternative to the way world finances are typically presented.. recall how the topic of syria is presented from the msm, verses the more nuanced viewpoint here at moa? it is the same sort of thing... i am not all into a particular viewpoint, but i think anyone who reads that article in full will come away with a more informed idea of how things may get played out on in the financial world.. after listening to many apparent authorities on the monetary system and reasons for the various bubbles, wars and etc, i find it a refreshing approach that made a lot of sense to me. and no, the usa is not the only one to colour the truth.. - i answered yet another of your questions! and for the record - it is not about being right or wrong, so much as it is about learning something new, or getting a different perspective.. so ab antio agrees with you in some context.. many agreed with the white helmets too.. it means nothing to me! please tell me you actually read the article @2.. you haven't said and i did ask!

@66 peter.. that is indeed how i see it.. no amount of war making will alter the present course we are on where the us$ will continue indefinitely to hold this special world currency status that it has had for however many years.. we are moving into a multipolar world on the financial level as well, in spite of the special perks that the usa has benefited from the set up after the bretton woods agreement and in particular after they removed the gold peg.. getting other currencies pegged to the us$, as opposed to gold - worked for a time, but that world is falling apart and continues to fall apart..

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2018 3:08 utc | 67

pakistan is only the latest example of a country moving away from settling everything in us$.. shit continues to fall apart for the usa on this level..

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2018 3:10 utc | 68

Mis-heard news: not only Trump himself is a genius, but his Administration has an entire stable of geniuses.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 8 2018 3:21 utc | 69

Egypt raises concern over Ethiopia's move to start filling dam
By Arab News
Nov 13, 2017

Ethiopia’s Communication and Information Technology Minister Debretsion Gebremichael announced that the construction of the dam had reached 62 percent and generating power would start this Ethiopian year and before construction is complete. The new Ethiopian year started on Sept. 11 and ends in October 2018.

“The remaining 38 percent of the construction will be done while the dam is generating hydroelectric power,” Gebremichael had told the Ethiopian News Agency.

Considering the slow pace at which the French consulting firms BRL and Artelia are preparing technical studies, it is speculated that before Ethiopia begins storing the Nile’s water in the dam, studies necessary for reaching a final agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on the rules of filling and operating the dam will be completed.

If no agreement takes place between the three countries, Ethiopia’s next step would be considered a clear violation of the tripartite Declaration of Principles on Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam signed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Khartoum on March 23, 2015.

Posted by: Stryker | Jan 8 2018 3:39 utc | 70

Don Bacon @59

Although I did graduate with degrees in economics, finance/accounting and math, I don't consider myself an economist, who in my opinion live in ivory towers and have limited to no experience of the real world. I worked on the front lines of finance and in its plumbing and lived its reality. My opinions are based on what I actually saw happening day-to-day in forex markets, credit & trade finance and banking operations.

CNY becoming "a" reserve currency and used more in bilateral trade with China will naturally reduce the need for USD. Which means the US will emit less USD by reducing its trade deficit. That is axiomatic in trade/current accounting. But for CNY to become "a" reserve currency, China will have to export more CNY by importing more goods & services. And this CNY has to return to China which means they have to have deep bond markets. But first China will have to make CNY fully convertible to any other major currency, meaning their capital account must be free and there can be no capital controls like they have now. Currently they have capital controls because every time they relax these controls there is capital flight out of China.

Domestic interest rates in the US is a function of supply/demand for credit and of course Fed policy. We have seen how central banks can pin short term rates to the floor. Negative rates in Europe & Japan. The Italian and Spanish government can borrow at lower rates than the US Treasury today because the ECB is willing to buy it at that low price.

As far as the issue with Pakistan, I have no insight. But if I had to speculate, the deals between China & Pakistan have been in the works for some time. Gwadar and related OBOR infrastructure projects have been going on for a long time. Trump is putting a spoke in the wheel everywhere he can. I interpret all his actions as causing the situation for the US to get out. This may be how he gets out of Afghanistan.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 8 2018 3:40 utc | 71

If the US loses Pakistan as an ally, which seems to be happening, with China-Pakistan ties becoming stronger, as they are, and then Pakistan refuses to provide land and air access for US forces for the war on land-locked Afghanistan, then the Afghan War is finally over after sixteen years. Might this be Trump's strategy? Let's hope so. It mostly depends upon what China wants. Beijing may be reluctant to end the US misfortunes in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 8 2018 3:44 utc | 72

Peter AU1 @66

All major currencies including CNY are backed only by faith & confidence. That is a feature not a bug of fiat. If there is less need for USD, there will be less USD emitted, which would be good for middle America. Not so much for Wall St.

Posted by: ab initio | Jan 8 2018 3:45 utc | 73


I’ve never seen you use so many exclaimation marks. : )

I did read the article @2. I thought that was clear.

I don’t want to spend a great deal of time analyzing it. I’ve described some of the flaws I see. I think you have to be more cautious about what sources you trust.

I think the PLA wants to hasten a transition so they are willing to exaggerate. Maybe they think a quick transition would reduce the risk of a shooting war.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2018 3:47 utc | 74

Don Bacon 73

I wondered about that myself. I feel that Iran is where we will finally be sure of which way Trump is going, for good or bad. It is the place where he can throw the Saudi's under the bus - prior to the election and release of the 29 pages he pretty much said KSA was responsible for 9/11 - and then send the bus load of neo-cons over the cliff. If that is what he has in mind.. but then it could, and may well do, go the other way. Iran and China are his focus.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 8 2018 3:59 utc | 75


Responding tour comment @54

Yes I was referring to the 15 page paper.

Yes I read the whole article @2 (rather long)

The paper describing AFC was not meant to be a survey of how the financial system works. So IMF and WB are not covered.

I pointed you to the paper to support my view that the PLA article was exaggerating US abuse and shifting blame. But I think you were looking for reinforcements of the PLA assertions. The paper describes the speculative bubble that proceeded the crisis and the failure to address the dangers that bubble presented.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2018 4:02 utc | 76

@70 -- " a genius, but his Administration has an entire stable of geniuses."

In these times words like "democracy" and "genius" should only be used safely with a suitable qualifying prefix -- e.g. "American ...".

"Exceptionalism" is another such word, but I see that it is now beginning to apply with some degree of accuracy -- albeit, not in accord with the general direction normally applied by the self-defining US punditry, but rather more towards the 'idiot' end of the spectrum.

While the 'Trump vs Clinton' Reality Show continues its mission of mass distraction there appears to be a new emerging meaning to the traditional autism TLA "ASD" -- aka, "American Spectrum Disorder" (apologies to the autism cohort).

[* btw, ...AU 1, it unfortunately could also be confused with "Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)" ]

Posted by: x | Jan 8 2018 4:07 utc | 77

Peter AU1 @66

Not “faith and confidence” but the productive capacity of the nation.

Taxes must be paid in dollars. And taxes are levied on the productive (profit-generating) entitles in the country.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 8 2018 4:07 utc | 78

Jackrabbit 79

Perhaps why Trump is trying to bring back the off-shored manufacturing? To pay taxes, workers must have income.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 8 2018 4:14 utc | 79

Trump prbably canceled TPP because it would result in more offshoring.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 8 2018 4:26 utc | 80

In Reply To Don Bacon | Jan 7, 2018 10:44:06 PM | 73

Well said. Straight to the point, we shit or get off the pot. Enough of the infinite wars. I think it is Trump's strategy, you know they say the US cannot be trusted, but there is an exception where money can be made. There's no money from these 'US investments', or there is but not for Trump and his cohorts.

Let others take the lead while the US gets to make money by taking the back seat. This whole 'leadership prize' is overrated, I mean everyone loves the US until the money runs out.

Posted by: Stryker | Jan 8 2018 4:34 utc | 81

The conservatives have said: The truth is you don't have to go way back to find that Trump always has been, and remains to this day, a typical New York City liberal. Ted Cruz questioned rival Donald Trump's conservative credentials and compared him with Democrat, Hillary Clinton.
Barack Obama had a policy of supporting and allying with Pakistan, when he was aware of the fact that Pakistan was supporting anti-American forces in Afghanistan, people that were killing US troops. That's treasonous. And Trump has moved to end it. Good for him.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 8 2018 4:47 utc | 82

I think what Obama neglected is peace can be bought. Trump knows better, and the question now is at what price. And that includes paying off the MIC.

Posted by: Stryker | Jan 8 2018 4:55 utc | 83

X 78 "AU 1, it unfortunately could also be confused with "Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)"

Not sure what to make of this. A work colleague of milomilo perhaps? Not sure I have said anything damaging to the Au government or Downer in this thread.

Just in case... go fuck yourself.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 8 2018 4:56 utc | 84

Don Bacon | Jan 7, 2018 11:26:56 PM | 81
Good chance you are correct.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 8 2018 5:15 utc | 85

@ X
AU 1 can be confused with ASD? AS the saying goes - pay peanuts, get monkeys.
Before you pricks broke into my home, my wife thought I was nuts, as she went with MSM. After that, you had a convert. Not much perhaps, but you cunts are going down.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 8 2018 5:54 utc | 86

@ 75 jackrabbit.. yes - i agree with you in all of that and i am an exclamation type of mood today!

@ 77 jr.. fair enough.. i agree with you in all that too! i would like to see the present system that focuses on financial productivity disconnected from actual productivity - severed.. too much of our world is being driven by an obsession with money.. most people - healthy living people - have enough to get by and are not thinking of ripping off others.. i get the opposite impression with a lot of people that are fixated on money.. anyway - i thought that article @2 was especially interesting how it presented the idea of the many wars and etc that the usa has been involved in from a financial angle.. obviously the article could be considered skewed towards a more chinese viewpoint, but i thought it was very interesting either way.. no one says those kinds of things anywhere that i have read.. i feel that implies i have been given more westernized views on the financial world then i might recognize... i certainly feel that way with regard to the way wars are presented in the west.. nice talking with you!

Posted by: james | Jan 8 2018 6:00 utc | 87

propaganda speaks (spews):

Iran's Revolutionary Guard: People, Security Forces 'Have Broken the Chain' of Unrest

Iran's Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) said in a statement Sunday that the Iranian people and the country's security forces played a role in ending the recent wave of unrest that the IRGC says was fomented by foreign enemies.

The group said in a statement, "The new epic of the proud, conscious, pious, and revolutionary Iranian people, along with the distinguished presence of tens of thousands of loyal Basij volunteer forces in calming the riots and the sincere endeavors of the brethren of the Law Enforcement Force and the Intelligence Ministry have broken the chain woven by America, Britain, the Zionist regime [Israel], the Saudi royal family, the Hypocrites [the banned Mojahedin-e-Karl Organization] and monarchists and eliminated the witchery of a new sedition."

Iran's parliament holds a special session Sunday to discuss the anti-government protests that began December 28 and continued into the following week.

Posted by: Stryker | Jan 8 2018 6:29 utc | 88

Yes, I'm sure (multiple generations on both sides) ... and the phrasing derives from the "The Big Lebowski" (1998).

Btw, the "I work for no man..." comes from "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen 2000)

Posted by: x | Jan 8 2018 6:34 utc | 89

The bizarre and insidious organisation that the MEK is today:

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Jan 8 2018 9:12 utc | 90

Oops, the coding didn't work too well. No matter how carefully I try, Wordpress stuffs up my efforts here and at other blog forums. Here are the links to the relevant articles:

PMOI Leadership Council's Women SALVATION DANCE

Elizabeth Rubin, "The Cult of Rajavi", New York Times magazine / July 13, 2003

Posted by: Jen | Jan 8 2018 10:54 utc | 92

I don't think many are buying what the U.S.'s Harpy in the UN is selling.
Like Rip Van Winkle; the world is waking to a new reality and acting accordingly.
The U.S. is demoted on the world stage; leaving it confused and angry.
RIP U.S. hegemon...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 8 2018 11:42 utc | 93

History however shows that fiat currencies inevitably reach their intrinsic value which is zero. We now have the longest period with fiat in history and maybe the prior historical endpoint of fiat will be changed.
Posted by: ab initio | Jan 7, 2018 8:17:41 PM | 55

I was lambasted in here two years ago for stating that all fiat fails, given a long enough timeline. Fair i thought as I was just stating an historical fact. And indeed they will for maybe the transformation of fiat into a new form of fiat (eg Franc -> Euro---> probly still fail at this rate)...

...or in this age, perhaps a global bonding agent can maintain a fiat's longevity.

There is little wonder why China fought so hard for the Renmimbi to win a seat at the table with the big boys 15 months ago. The Chinese currency did not even have to satisfy all criteria of a joining currency either.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 8 2018 12:58 utc | 94

@madmax2 95
^^ ffs, I'm not shouting in bold, just a shitty editing effort on smartphone.

FWIW: On this timeline, the average age of a fiat is 37 years.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 8 2018 13:12 utc | 95

MadMax2 | Jan 8, 2018 8:12:00 AM | 96
Yes, fiat sucks; it allows all manner of ilegal currancy theft.
It is the primary reason the US hegemon, is the leading international outlaw.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 8 2018 13:27 utc | 96

On the subject of fake news, we can all agree that the past year has brought the subject it smack dab into the lap of most consumers in the western world. I am happy to see more skeptics, though disappointed that firmly entrenched reactionaries have double-downed and continue to recruit the young and impressionable of which is most vital to gather to one's side.

With that being said...I am about to possibly elicit an emotional response from many here when I bring up the subject of climate change. I don't want to appear like an anti-scientifical troll, so let me preface the introduction of this topic by asking for forgiveness from those that are ready to dismiss any skepticism of the impending doom with regards to climate change. But perhaps you might be able to start to see the overlap of our mistrust in the MSM with that of climate change theories that have been adopted, lock, stock, and barrel and parroted by every media outlet in the western world. Agree with it or not, the skeptic in this matter is the little guy who is often shown the same sense of disrespect with regards to his intelligence as those that aren't ready to fully condemn, say, a Trump presidency.

An article I read lays out a thoughtful rebuttal to the forces that wish to silence skeptics. And at that blog, there are many posts which comment and show that the crux of the climate change propaganda, the polar ice extant, has, despite what emotionally-charged images of starving polar bears would like you to think, has increased! 40% from five years ago and is no doubt seeing even more growth with the punishing winter the US has been given, thanks to the Noreaster, arctic blasts. The blog author's poltical rants sounds a lot like neocon-drivel, so just stick to his graphs, charts, and analysis which he believes is pointing to the start of a great cooling trend.

Or can we not yet question the Holy Church of Climate Change?

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 8 2018 19:45 utc | 97

@VK 28, don't you understand that Trump is playing 10 dimensional chess?

My only disagreement with you is that our lack of 'carrot' does not have to do with our lack of monetary power, it has to do with a lack of graciousness. The more you use the stick the more you like using the stick. Take the JCPOA, there is literally no cost to us in letting Iran trade with the EU but now that we are deluded into thinking that we don't need it anymore, we are inclined to break it. Rules? We don't need to stinkin' rules, we will have our cake and eat it too.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 8 2018 23:06 utc | 98

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 8, 2018 2:45:47 PM | 98

Thanks! I love a good cherry pick. You like the author's (cherry picked) graphs but detest his drivel? Did I get that right?
You appear not to understand that focusing on a local shift in Arctic wind streams adjacent to North America means nothing unless you've scoured the world seeking supporting or contrary factors elsewhere.

Take a look at the 'debate' about sea-level rise at Port Arthur since 1841. Here's a morsel...

Observations of sea level at Port Arthur, Tasmania, southeastern Australia, based on a two-year record made in. 1841–1842, a three-year record made in 1999–2002, and intermediate observations made in 1875–1905, 1888 and. 1972 , indicate an average rate of sea level rise, relative to the land, of 0.8 ± 0.2 mm/ year.

There's a variety of sources (and opinions) on the www.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 9 2018 4:21 utc | 99

@ hoarsewhisperer

Hey, horse, I don't think that showing a five-year trend of ice growth in the Arctic, when the msm has been blitzing a no-ice doomsday scenario for the past twenty years+, would constitute a cherry-pick.

Do you know anything about plate tectonics? Here in the Pacific NW, our local continental plate is pushing the coast upwards which would translate to sea-level falling, versus the Atlantic coast which is stretching and raising the coast line there. So, yeah...that's science.

DUe to the fact that we are inundated with climatology on a regular basis from all sides, whether from public education, to msm media, or just our well-meaning, world-saving concerned-citizen-friends, I suppose that the rare dissenter we do come across might be construed as "cherry picking."

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 9 2018 5:12 utc | 100

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