RUSSIA INVITES OTHER COUNTRIES TO USE ITS CLEARING SYSTEMOctober 22, 2018
You might recall that German Finance Minister Heiko Maas recently floated a trial balloon to the effect that Europe should build its own alternative financial clearing system to bypass the American-dominated SWIFT system. This came in the wake of American sanctions on Iran and the walk-out from the Obama Administrations negotiated deal with Iran. For Germany, which does a great deal of business with Iran, the sanctions were less than welcome. Then there's the matter of American sanctions on Russia, which once again, have hit German business. Shortly after Herr Maas made his statements, the trial balloon was confirmed as other Eurocrats repeated the call for an independent means of financial clearing, and a European alternative to the American-dominated IMF.
According to this article from RT shared by Ms. M.W., you can now add Russia to the list of countries fed up with the unipolar Anglosphere domination of international financial clearing:
The first two, and last paragraphs say it all:
Foreign banks will soon be able to become part of Russia's money transfer network which serves as an alternative to the traditional SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system.
“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,” said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.
SWIFT is a financial network that provides high-value cross-border transfers for members across the world. It is based in Belgium, but its board includes executives from US banks with US federal law allowing the administration to act against banks and regulators across the globe. It supports most interbank messages, connecting over 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries and territories. The European Union is also working on an alternative to SWIFT. The project, promoted by Germany, will help Brussels to bypass US sanctions against Iran.
But if these paragraphs are "saying it all", what exactly are they saying?
In my (high octane speculative) opinion they're saying two things, one negative, and the other, positive. The negative one is obvious: most countries are just plain fed up with Washington dictating their economic, international trading, and foreign policies, and using the big stick of international financial clearing and the concomitant ability to block financial transactions between American allies, and America's "sanctioned states." As I've pointed out before, and pointed out again in this article, the sanctions regime has hit Germany hard, since some of its largest trading partners are precisely Iran and Russia. Those sanctions, as I also blogged about years ago, forced Russia to take the steps to create its own system of clearing, and to demand that American credit card companies actually physically base their operations in that country. Additionally, the reader might recall that Japan extended to Russia the use of its own widely used system in the western Pacific basin. In other words, you can add Japan quietly to that list of countries fed up with the Anglosphere's "heavy hand."
The psotive side of this is that I suspect these reactions to the sanctions regime have been deliberately used (and perhaps, contrived... we'll get back to that in a moment) to create the "excuse" needed to build out alternative the international clearing systems that will be needed to the effort to build rail and road links between Europe and Asia. While this has been typically associated with the emergence of the Shanghai Accords nations, or BRICS bloc, and with China's "one belt one road" initiative, it should be stressed that this is not a "China only" proposition. Russia fully intends to expand its infrastructure through Siberia, building trunk lines to support growing agriculture and energy demands, and, as the recent Japanese "test run" on the Trans-Siberian demonstrates (at least, demonstrates in my high octane speculation), Russia intends for an eventual high speed rail system to be built along the route, and notably, it is Japan, not China, doing the test runs, and if anyone has experience - long experience - building high speed rail, it's the Japanese. To make all this work, there will have to be a clearing system from Europe to Asia.
Note what we have: calls for a European alternative to SWIFT, an already-in-place Russian system and invitations to join it, and Japanese willingness to allow the Russians to use their existing system in the western Pacific. Prediction? Watch for Europe/Germany to build their system, to integrate it or allow cross-communications with the Russian system, and for tighter Russian - Japanese coordination for clearing systems at the other end.
But there's a third possibility lurking behind all this, and it's one that requires me to walk to the very end of the twig of speculation, and once again, the weight of the speculation far exceeds the evidentiary twig supporting it. As mentioned above, I strongly suspect that the necessity of building out financial clearing systems not under American control to make the Europe-Asia trade-by-rail possible was and is an inevitability, and that thus, the reasons being stated or offered for doing so are merely being seized as "crises of opportunity" to explain what they were going to do anyway.
But what if that necessity itself is another such "false front reason", if I may coin the term? What if there is an entirely different reason for building out so much interlocking financial clearing? Looked at a certain way, what we see is what former Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary Catherine Austin Fitts, in one of our previous interviews, has described as building redundancy into the international financial clearing of the planet. And "redundancy" is what one does to cope with emergencies, or potential threats... And if one is coordinating efforts, as Europe, Russia, and Japan appear to be doing, then their must be a perceived threat that is causing them to do so. The real high octane speculative question then becomes, against whom are they doing it? The USA? Or "someone else"?
Or worse, both?
See you on the flip side...