Reserve Currency Cold War: Dollar vs. Yuan

by Odilim Enwegbara

With the USSR out, the US shifted to stifling China’s rise.

For months, details of the meeting between US President Richard Nixon and his Chinese counterpart Chairman Mao Zedong were kept top secret. And so was their meeting in Beijing on February 21, 1972. At this secret meeting, it was agreed that China should ally with the US in defeating USSR in the Cold War. In exchange, China was promised the most favored nation status, including unlimited access to both Western capital and markets.

With hyped prosperous Westward-looking China, Mikhail Gorbachev rushed in with ‘Perestroika and Glasnost’ — political and economic restructuring reforms and openness policy all at the same time. The abruptness of these reforms in 1985 not only prematurely opened up the Soviet Union to the West, but also making events uncontrollable led to the sudden dissolution of USSR and the end of the Cold War by 1991.

The marriage with Beijing, as far as Washington was concerned, should end the same day the USSR ended. So for Washington, Beijing was serving as the Cold War pawn. Pretending not knowing the game Washington was playing Beijing too concealed its own game. But how come these Americans forgot that the deception game they’re playing was actually a Chinese invention? Or wasn’t it Sun Tzu (the military tactician and strategist), who some 2,500 years ago turned deception game into a science?

Discovering how unstoppable Chinese economy became, organizing the Tiananmen Square youth protest, like ”swarming adolescents” youth unrest used to bring down Charles de Gaulle Presidency, CIA thought with that Beijing could be brought to its knees. But by blocking all funding channels for the uprising, particularly money from the Open Society Institute of George Soros, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, and International Democratic Institute, Beijing not only quenched this 1989 uprising, but showed China would never succumb to western human rights and democracy blackmails. Even the use of Tibet as a potential lever to destabilizing and blackmailing China was also firmly neutralized.

Protecting Chinese political establishment from US infiltration, the communist party made it extremely difficult for US puppets to get close to China’s corridors of power. But why such daydream of infiltrating such opaque and secretive process of electing Chinese leaders, which only allows top party members? It’s based on Chinese experience that Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev have been rotating the Russian presidency between themselves, in making sure potential US puppets such as billionaire oil oligarchs like Mikhail Khodorkovsky are distanced from the Kremlin.

Here’s a teenage Pax Americana trying to obstruct Pax Sinica’s inevitable rise; here’s a nation with 250 years of history and 315 million people, engaging in impeding the reemergence of the oldest nation-state in the world with over 5,000 years of history and over 1.3 billion people; here’s the Dragon Napoleon Bonaparte of France in 1802 warned Europe to be ready to get to their knees should it wake up from its slumber; here’s the celestial empire once feared by great kings and emperors like Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) and Julius Caesar (100-44 BC).

With democratic coups unable to topple China, Washington turned into staging economic coups against China. Because oil is the very artery system of modern economy, and that halting oil supply to China invariably means halting Chinese economic growth, Washington has worked interminably to ensure China is denied access to global oil supply. And collaborating with Riyadh since 1998, it has been manipulating global oil prices upward; just the same way with Riyadh it manipulated oil prices downward in the 1980s to have caused irreparable damage to Soviet economy and the eventual collapse.

How is the manipulation conducted? First, Western oil majors tighten oil production. Second, Saudi Arabia oil production, including its surplus capacity and perceived reserves, got tightened too. Third, New York Mercantile Exchange futures trading became passive investors into commodity index. Fourth, global excess crude supply became mopped up. Fifth, peak oil scare now used to create a public panic. Sixth, environmental constraints, imposition of tough sulfur limits on petrol and diesel as well as tough regulations against new refineries became hyped. Seventh, besides outright military occupation of strategic oil nations such as Iraq, their oilfields were blocked from pumping full capacity, to drastically reduce oil supply from important oil regions like Niger Delta, conflicts were orchestrated in such region by CIA.

After years of downward manipulations of global oil supply and its prices upward pushes, rather than the trap catching the sky-rocketing Chinese economy, it was Western economies that got caught. Boomeranged in 2008 into financial crisis Western economies were decimated. But why shouldn’t it happen given that with the collapse of USSR, rather than focusing on rebuilding its rundown economy, the US has been expanding its military-industrial-complex? Why shouldn’t happen given how while the ”Project for the New American Century” working hand-in-hand with Pentagon with the goal of controlling global oil supply to bring down China, failed to recognize America was like a one-legged man in a marathon — ruthless global military dominance with corresponding economic power.

Understandably, the architects of the post-Cold War national security pursued aggressive installation of military bases in strategic oil regions such as the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Done with the pretext of fighting terrorists around the world, this step-by-step military strategy became source of penetrating nations’ security, particularly those with strategic oil reserves. It’s this strategy of controlling oil from sources that led the US trying stationing military base in São Tomé and Principe, some 250 kilometers off the Gulf of Guinea, aimed at controlling oil fields in Angola, Nigeria, DRC, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon, it is also designed to keep China out of African oil.

Reducing global oil supply prompted higher oil prices which not only externalized America’s huge public debts but also reduced threatens to dollar’s reserve currency power. So, keeping global oil prices high forces nations scramble for the petrodollar, especially done unleashing fear of the earth’s crust soon running out of hydrocarbon.

Besides weakening Chinese economy, saving petrodollar which meant not to allow Saddam Hussein to carry out his threats of switching from dollar to the-would be petroeuro was why Iraq was invaded in 2003. If it’s not, what else would have been the explanation for such high oil prices while Iraqi oilfields which would have been pumping as high as 6 million barrels per day remained locked up? Why should a nation with Iraq’s 100 billion barrels of proven oil reserves (second only to Saudi’s 250 billion barrels) was forced to leave its oilfields lying fallow? Settling the Bush family’s unfinished business wouldn’t have been why hundreds of thousands of US soldiers were sent to die in Iraq. The CIA would have successfully assassinated Saddam without having to invade Iraq. Nor should the interests of giant US oil companies and their giant service counterparts like Halliburton have been the reason. If that was the reason, then, how come since the end of the war, no major US oil company or service company has been allowed to take over operation, revitalization or exploration of Iraqi oil assets?

Sponsoring the color revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, the grand plan too was cutting China’s access to Caspian Sea, a region with vast oil and gas reserves. Afghanistan’s invasion too was in response to the U.S. Congress Silk Road Strategy Act in March 1999, which demanded the militarization of the Eurasia corridor, simply t

o secure vast oil and gas reserves as well as to control its strategic pipeline routes that would have delivered energy to China. Also the geographic control of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan was done aiming at controlling potential pipeline routes between China and Central Asia.

Cutting China’s global oil supply also led to trying to control strategic sea lanes, such as the Malacca Strait, which would have amounted to declaration of war against China. Why so? Controlling such a narrow ship passage between Malaysia and Indonesia, the key chokepoint in Asia, would have meant blocking the shortest sea route between the Persian Gulf and China, which would have forced over 50,000 vessels transiting the Strait every year to now sail thousands of kilometers farther. This would have automatically raised freight costs worldwide. So was the US successful in blocking this strategic chokepoint between Myanmar and Indonesia’s Banda Aceh, it would have blocked over 80 per cent source of China’s energy supply, and invariably amounting to shutting down the entire Chinese economy.

If blocking Japanese access to oil by Franklin Roosevelt during the WWII forced Japan to preemptively attack the Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, why shouldn’t blocking the Malacca Strait force the People’s Republic of China to abandon their peaceful rise diplomacy? The good news remains that past military engagements with the US were to the Chinese favor, including humiliating the US-backed reactionary Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai-shek during the Chinese Civil War that ended in 1949, as well as disgracing the US at both the Korean War (1950-1953) and the Vietnam War (1954-195). America knows these very well, and for that reason Washington is always cautious not to cross the red line, including in its efforts to cause conflicts between China and its neighbors.

Blame not Washington for its endless aggression against China! China today stands out as the potential challenger of the American primacy. And history allows every reigning great empire to go offensive trying to disrupt its potential rival. It’s America’s entitlement to fight it out with China until it’s overwhelmed. And Zbigniew Brzezinski already saw it coming when he feared, ”…should Russia and China ever cooperate militarily and economically, that would be a deadly blow to America’s global power.” Today, China and Russia are already cooperating under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. But, should India be added to this powerful group, not only should America be kicked out of Asia, also regions around the world too would muster the courage of sending Washington packing.

Besides focusing on the economic and financial side of the reserve currency supremacy, next week will also answer the very important question: It’s military or economic power that determines who wins this reserve currency supremacy race? In this contest, we shall see how long Beijing will stick to the noble Sun Tzu’s advice that ”The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

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