In an article by Robert Fisk published in THE INDEPENDENT, the crisis of the American dollar in oil dealings is explained a little deeper than was known the last time we visited this topic. More former allies have agreed to leave the dollar, thus hastening its demise.
IN THE MOST PROFOUND financial shift in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planningalong with China, Russia, Japan and Franceto end all dollar purchases for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar. Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.
The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken placealthough they have not discovered the detailsare sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China's former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. "Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable," he told the Asia and Africa Review. "We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security."
This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oilyet again turning the region's conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.
The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations," he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China's extraordinary new financial poweralong with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America's power to interfere in the international financial systemwhich has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states. After a while, familiarity breeds contempt, and thus allegiances tend to change. And we are seeing that sort of thing here.
But here is a more sober take from a poster whose handle is Solomon2, posting on Debbie Schussel's blog covering the same story within the context of a book review. This leveled advice smiles upon the survival of dollar, but cautions that all is not well. Read on...
It is possible for these parties to destroy the dollar, but by doing so they would sacrifice a great deal of their own wealth (in dollar-denominated assets) and future income (because of the worldwide depression caused by such a crash.)
After WWII the U.S. accounted for 50% of the world’s GNP. Thus there was really little alternative to using the dollarthat the British pound held its own for two more decades can be attributed to the economic influence of its fading Empire. Now the U.S. represents under 30% of world GNP and is no longer the world leader in providing capital, so it makes sense to revive the 1970s mechanism of the SDR for capital growth. Eventually the dollar will come down and manufacturing revive compared to the financial and services sector. It’s all quite naturalthough we will have to get used to the fact that we cannot enjoy the benefits of great seignorage much longer.