Monday, November 01, 2004

From Russia with Love

General Editorial
Dan Norcini - Friday, October 29, 2004, 11:09:00 PM EST

As if the dollar hadn’t enough sand kicked in its face this week, out comes this story about the Russian ruble and - NO - it is not a James Bond fictional story but the grim reality of our modern world.

Does it seem all that long ago when the ruble was collapsing against the dollar and Russian citizens were desperately attempting to convert their rubles into dollars?

Now it seems as if those same dollars are being discarded in favor of the ruble as the dollar takes on "junk" status among Russian citizens. So intense has the selling pressure been against the dollar vis-a-vis the ruble, that Russian finance authorities have been actively intervening in foreign exchange markets in an attempt to slow the dollar's fall.

It is the same old story that the Japanese have been playing - keep one's currency from rising so as to remain export competitive. The problem is that there are so many offers to sell dollars that Central Bankers have been forced to eat powerbars and sleep on cots in their offices. As soon as they close their eyes or pause to unwrap their power bar, the dollar is hit from all sides with offers.

Do you understand the significance of what is taking place here and see the irony in it? We are witnessing a replay of the strategy that former President Reagan and Fed Chairman Volcker used late in 1979 and in the early 1980's to bring down the former Soviet Union. Only this time it's in reverse.

Militarily back then the Soviet Union was a formidable foe with an impressive arsenal. Its Achilles heel, however, was its economy which was completely dependent on rising commodity prices such as oil, gold, platinum, palladium, etc. to attract foreign capital. Booming commodity prices allowed the Soviet Union the luxury of funding its military sector and made it possible for the inefficiencies of communism to somehow be ignored. The Soviet Union, howeve, was deeply in debt and thus in a vulnerable position with its economy susceptible to falling commodity prices.

By systematically raising short term interest rates and forcing the U.S. economy into a slowdown, Volcker managed to bring down the price of commodities across the board starving the Soviet Union of much needed revenue. The result was that they were forced to the peace table and the rest is history.

Fast foward now some 25 years or so into the present time. Today it is the U.S. that has the unenviable position of being the chief "beggar" nation among the industrialized powers. We have no savings pool and are hopelessly addicted to foreign inflows of capital. Rising commodity prices have fattened Russia's reserve position as they reap the benefits of rising oil prices and now it is their currency which is in demand while the dollar is being spurned.

Put yourself in the shoes of foreign governments that view the U.S. as a rival. How do you go about confronting a rival which has the most powerful military the world has ever witnessed? You obviously do not confront it on the battlefield as that would be far too costly and the chances are you would go down to an ignominious defeat. So what weapon can you use?

Enter the dollar into the equation. The dollar is the key in this new and sinister battle which is being waged at a global level. Without the dollar holding the world's reserve currency status, the U.S. would end up on the scrapheap like any nation that has followed the same deliberate debasement of its currency.

Look at what has happened to other nations in history that have gone the route that Greenspan and Bernanke are taking us. Without the artificial demand created for dollars by its role as the world's reserve currency, our modern day alchemists at the Fed would have obliterated any value that the dollar once held long ago and unleashed a torrent of inflation upon us. What would happen to the value of the dollar should it lose its role as the world's reserve currency? For a clue, simply look down for that is the direction the dollar will head.

Those from the East and Middle East realize that the method for challenging U.S. hegemony is to attack the dollar. That is the rationale behind the development of the gold dinar which by the way has its origins in Iran, not Malaysia. Consider if you will that Russia under Putin has close ties with Iran and you will see a definite plan emerging here. It is also no coincidence that the feared Russian SS-N-22 Sunburn anti-ship missile has supposedly found its way to Iran.

Jim will have more to say on this upon his return but suffice it to say for now there is a serious effort to undermine the dollar as a method of challenging U.S. supremacy in the world.

What is so tragic is that neither of the candidates running for the Presidency apparently has the slightest clue what is going on here. I think it is safe to say that many seem to think that it is some sort of God given American right to have the dollar as the world's reserve currency. Why? Someone might ask the Brits about the pound Sterling which lost its role as the reserve currency in favor of the dollar.

The sad truth is that U.S. financial authorities have abused the trust committed to them by the public and have presided over the deliberate and systematic debasement of the dollar. As usual, it will be ordinary citizens who will have to bear the brunt of the lunacy of bureaucrats and career politicians.

Still thinking about hanging on to your paper money, your 401K, your mortgage? How about a nice game of poker? I'd be the dealer, but it would be a waste of valuable time. ;-)

Ron Robinson
From the Outside Looking In

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