You may have missed this story, which appeared the day after Christmas last year, but as predicted, Russia has now officially launched its own domestic financial clearing system independent of the SWIFT clearing system of the West, in response to Western sanctions and economic pressures on that country:
Here's the meat of the article:
"The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has launched a new SWIFT-style payment service aimed at moving away from Western financial dominance. The system is already operating, and will be fully functional within six months.
"'The new service was launched in order to ensure smooth and safe transmission of financial messaging within the country, and is another step towards improving the system of services provided by the Bank of Russia,' said the bank statement Friday.
"The regulator said the new service will allow credit institutions to transmit messages in a SWIFT format through CBR to all Russia’s regions without restrictions."
As RT notes, the system will be fully functional by May of this year.
But I hope you caught something very significant in this article, one that prompts our usual high octane speculation:
"The calls to disconnect Russian banks from the global interbank SWIFT system came amid the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West and the introduction of sanctions.
"However, SWIFT itself does not intend to switch Russia off from the system, saying a number of countries put pressure on it, and insists it is not joining the anti-Russian sanctions."(Emphasis added)
This link is then provided in the article:
Now this is significant, in my opinion, for the amount of waffling occurring within the international clearing agency, for it is claiming it has "no authority" to withdraw Russia from access to its international financial clearing services:
"'SWIFT regrets the pressure, as well as the surrounding media speculation, both of which risk undermining the systemic character of the services that SWIFT provides its customers around the world. As a utility with a systemic global character, it has no authority to make sanctions decisions,' the group said in a statement released on Monday.
"The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, is currently one of Russia’s main connections to the international banking system, and if turned off, could hurt Russia's economy, in the short-term.
"'SWIFT services are designed to facilitate its customers’ compliance with sanctions and other regulations, however SWIFT will not make unilateral decisions to disconnect institutions from its network as a result of political pressure,' the communique said." (All emphases in the original)
Now these are highly revealing statements, for first of all, it is tacitly admitted that SWIFT was (1)subjected to "political pressure" to suspend Russian access to its international financial clearing, (2) refused to bow to that pressure.
It does not take a German rocket scientist to figure out that this pressure doubtlessly came from Washington and London; one need only recall British Prime Minister Cameron's ludicrous and laughable statements to the effect that Russia was not fit to participate in the West's "highly ethical" financial system. But what SWIFT's statements imply is that London and Washington have lost a considerable degree of their influence within the institution, based in Brussels, and that raises the question of just who provided the political moxy and backbone to SWIFT for it to be able to resist such pressures, and to do so under the guise of "not having the authority" to make such a suspension.
Again, it does not take much to figure out where the counter-pressure to London and Washington might be coming from. Paris, with its own financial woes, Madrid, with spiraling unemployment, Rome, with increasing Italian popular revolt against the whole EU experiment, and as always, Berlin, with perhaps the longest litany of problems with Washington, from the NSA's spying on the German Chancellor's cell phone, to more recent pronouncements from the German Defense Minister that Germany's military was oddly unprepared to meet any NATO emergency (should war break out in the Balkans, you'll recall), to Foreign Minister Steinmeir calling, paradoxically, for a much more militarily muscled German foreign policy, which included, you'll recall, calls for the "Europeanization" of Russia and the "multilateralization" of the USA.
In other words, quietly, SWIFT would seem, for the moment anyway, to be slowly pried away from London's and Washington's influence, and that heralds perhaps a quietly growing, though very real revolt in Europe against American unipolarism and heavy-handedness in the wake of the Washington-generated fiasco in the Ukraine.
And meanwhile, Russia is playing it safe anyway, by instituting a completely independent system of domestic clearing by-passing SWIFT anyway... and that, as I argued throughout the last year, would be but the first step toward a rival system to SWIFT for international financial clearing on the part of the BRICSA bloc...
So 2015 is already shaping up to be an interesting year...
See you on the flip side...
See you on the flip side...
(Our thanks to Mr. J.T. for providing this article.)