The rather repulsive sight of US puppet-in-chief Obama grovelling before Saudi royals last week, while US media sounds off on the shocking (not) ‘revelation’ that the House of Saud was instrumental in carrying out 9/11, point to interesting developments in the Western oil war against Russia.
Pepe Escobar has proposed that US intervention was the reason for the recent last-minute failure by the world’s leading oil producers to cut oil production, a deal that would have led to a rise in oil prices and given the Russians more room to maneuver by decreasing pressure on their state budget.
This came at a time when increased oil prices would benefit both Russia and Saudi Arabia – the Saudis are now more dependent on oil revenue than at any time in the past 40 years. But the Saudis, apparently with Washington’s gun to their heads in the form of a threat to expose the Saudi role in 9/11, announced that the oil war was back on by announcing that they would instead flood the market.
Bearing in mind that the House of Saud is, essentially, the West’s original Islamic State, their reneging on the oil cut deal is unsurprising. The very purpose of the Royal Head-chopping Kingdom has been to police the region and be a ‘proxy force’ that the West can use to do its dirty work. They’ve fulfilled that role brilliantly for decades, arming and inspiring thousands of terrorists, while turning the wealth of the Middle East into monopoly money for the West.
After the deal fell through, the Russian energy minister Alexander Novak essentially said ‘We’re sick of the games – bring it on’, calling the Saudis’ bluff by declaring that if they followed through on their threat to pump even more oil onto the markets, thus driving prices down further, and stating that Russia would respond by vastly increasing its own production.
Effects of the oil war on Russia
Indeed everyone is sick of Washington’s games. For two years now the Saudis have been pawns in an oil war directed at Russia, and the result has been a 70% drop in prices – a drop that is crushing their economy, but is first and foremost intended to crush Russia and hamper Iranian effortsto take their rightful place on the world stage.
When all this began, Western pundits predicted that it would lead to Russia’s demise. Obama told NPR “it was a part of our rationale that the only thing keeping the Russian economy afloat was the price of oil“, and that, therefore, suppressing oil prices was the best way to ‘contain’ the country, in part to keep it from interfering in America’s on-going Muslim holocaust, and in whole to keep it from thwarting US hegemony.
Russia responded to this economic attack by devaluing the ruble, a move that was framed as being a ‘sign of Russian collapse’ by the ‘we-create-our-own-reality-and-call-it-news’ media. More clear-eyed analysts predicted that it would contribute vastly to the restructuring of the Russian economy by making imports more expensive and domestic production more profitable. And this is exactly what happened:
The economy continues to adapt to lower global prices for raw materials, and the further development of Russian manufacturing to replace imports and increase exports of goods other than raw materials will enable a gradual recovery of economic activity, the [Russian Central] bank said.
“The weaker ruble has led to a growth in the competitiveness of Russian goods and enabled economic growth in particular sectors, including the agricultural, food, chemical and mining industries. Indicators from the labor market and production capacity have shown recent stability.”
Russia also paid off $53 billion in foreign debt. And all this while conducting a large-scale military intervention in Syria to clean up another US mess. So much for ‘containing’ Russia.
That said, the economic attack has done damage to the Russian economy. Oil prices are now hovering in the mid-40s, whereas the Russian budget for 2015-2017 was made on the basis of prices remaining near $100.
As analyst Eric Draitser writes:
Russia has for decades been overly reliant, if not entirely dependent, on revenues from the energy sector to maintain its economic growth and fund its budget. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and Russia’s Federal Customs Service, oil and gas sales accounted for 68 percent of Russia’s total export revenues in 2013. With more than two-thirds of total export revenues and roughly 50 percent of the federal budget, not to mention 25 percent of total GDP, coming from oil and gas revenue, Russia’s very economic survival has been as dependent on energy as almost any country in the world.
In light of this, it’s no surprise that the drop in oil prices over the 18-month period from April 2014 to January 2016, which saw prices dive from $105 per barrel to under $30 per barrel, has caused tremendous economic instability in Russia. Even many leading Russian officials have conceded that the negative impact to Russia’s economy is substantial, to say the least.
At the World Economic Forum in January, former Russian Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin explained that not only has the drop in oil prices badly hurt the Russian economy, but the worst may be yet to come. Kudrin noted the potential for prices to drop even further, possibly even below $20 per barrel, and he warned that the impact to the economy will be significant.
From the coup in Ukraine, to the proxy regime change operation in Syria, to the sanctions, to the oil war, Russia has capitalized on everything thrown at her, and has profited in some way from each. The stand-off between the US and Russia seems to be one of ‘who can hold their breath longest?’ And the answer to that is ‘Russia’, simply because it’s not drowning.
Russia and China have been purchasing gold at break-neck pace. In March this year, the Russian Central Bank officially became the world’s top gold purchaser. The following chart reveals the massive increase in Russian reserves since 2006:
At this point in time, the ruble is fully backed by gold. So what’s the plan?
BRICS vs Empire of Chaos – It’s a natural cycle
After WW2 the US emerged as the primary creditor nation and used its new-found clout to rebuild the world in its image by establishing international financial institutions it would control. The US dollar today is a global fiat currency, with nothing backing it except its monopoly ‘petrodollar’ status, and thus its broader ‘exceptional’ status as ‘world reserve currency’ – a status that is implicitly, and often explicitly, enforced via the threat and use of military force. With US credit long since spent, that system is rapidly dying, and the recent massive over-supply of crude via Saudi Arabia, in order to hurt Russia, has ultimately helped the dollar dig its own grave:
As Reuters reports, for the first time in almost two decades, energy-exporting countries are set to pull their “petrodollars” out of world markets this year,citing a study by BNP Paribas (more details below). Basically, the Petrodollar, long serving as the US leverage to encourage and facilitate USD recycling, and a steady reinvestment in US-denominated assets by the oil-exporting nations, and thus a means to steadily increase the nominal price of all USD-priced assets, just drove itself into irrelevance.
A consequence of this year’s dramatic drop in oil prices, the shift is likely to cause global market liquidity to fall, the study showed.
Observers’ jaws have hit the floor as the US and its vassals repeatedly shoot themselves in both feet; but such is the extent of the Exceptionalists’ drive to ‘contain’ Russia. They are blinded by hubris; sincerely believing that they will remain ‘top of the heap’ forever, they do not see that they are digging their own graves.
This development comes at a time when Russia and China are moving towards conducting all bilateral trade in their own currencies. Russia recently eclipsed Saudi Arabia as the main supplier of oil to China and, in January, Gazprom began settling all gas sales to China in yuan. A serious dent in global demand for the US dollar will come when Russia prices its oil exports (which are second largest in the world) in rubles.
A world where the life-blood of nations is not traded in dollars is a world where the US lacks the leverage to force other nations to pay for its domination. It would be a huge blow to its hegemonic status and, as the psychopathic elites lose their ability to intimidate the world financially, and continue to fight, threaten and back-stab one another, international trade conducted in anything other than dollars represents a fatal blow to the Empire of Chaos.
Suppose then that the rest of the world begins selling off their dollars, the result being that the world economy is pumped full of a currency that rapidly loses value as it comes back ‘home’ to the US. The ‘indispensable’ entity that exists as a parasite on the world economy would quickly find itself very ‘dispensable’.
Whether or not this trend continues and the scenario fully plays out, the fact is that the old financial system is dead. The world’s banks have been consumed by toxic debt; global demand has fallen and cannot be resurrected – at least, not in or by the West; China, on the other hand, has a massive array of investment projects lined up. From CEOs to Average Joes, awareness is growing that the future of the current system is bleak. US demand continues dropping (down a whopping 23.7% between 2008 and 2011), thus ending the US’ role as the engine for consuming global surpluses. In order for the rest of the world to move forward, the old system must be replaced, one way or another. It’s time for an actual New Order to supplant the globalists’ diabolical ‘New World Order’.
It’s at this point that gold becomes all-important. Irrespective of their currencies’ nominal values against the US dollar, the Russian and Chinese currencies are essentially backed by gold. In a series of interrelated moves that facilitate countries’ ‘de-dollarization’, the BRICS nations have created the outline of a new economic system with new institutions: the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, along with many long-term trade agreements being inked between BRICS members. This system could actually function as the integrated global economic system that the post-WW2 ‘Bretton Woods system’ was ostensibly designed for.
It is for this over-arching reason that we constantly hear about ‘provocations in the South China Sea’, about fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia, about the massive decline in the price of oil, and about ‘Russian hybrid warfare’. The old system is clinging desperately to power, and, as we’ve seen with the recent Saudi OPEC about-turn, they are going to desperate lengths to save their psychopathic pipe dreams.
And while they flounder to stave off the inevitable end of this hegemonic era, on-going freak weather, increased earthquakes and volcanic activity, increased meteor fireballs, and much more, apparently signal the end of a much larger natural cycle.
If Russia could work out a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a move that would land influence over 73% of the world’s oil supply, they would find themselves in their rightful role as ‘co-managers’ of the global oil spigot. But that’s still quite a big ‘if‘. With the Saudis’ head held underwater by Washington – in large part because the utterly debauched House of Saud has hitherto rather enjoyed having its head held there – it’s probable, unless some among them can grow the cojones required to act in their best national interest, that they, Israel, the US, and Turkey will remain locked in their Faustian embrace until the (very) bitter end. As Putin remarked recently, “You can’t save someone who wants to drown.”
In the long-run, it’s only a matter of time before all these terrorist regimes, created by and for empires past and present, will crumble. Cast your eyes over Sott.net’s Earth Changes news category and consider that something BIG is in the air. The Götterdämmerung1 facing humanity is not just political, or financial, and it’s not even just global. It’s potentially catastrophic in the fullest sense of that term. If and when Mother Nature decides the criminal elites’ games are over, the psychopaths-in-power will have a lot more to worry about than manipulating the price of oil in order to maintain their power.
Corey Schink (Sott.net)