By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog
The US is desperate to sustain its hegemony and supremacy. It is taking extreme measures and can go to any extent to keep its hegemony and supremacy. Its Petrodollars policy has been playing a significant role, but, facing challenges recently and the US is getting nervous and crazy.
The petrodollar is any U.S. dollar paid to oil-exporting countries in exchange for oil. The dollar is the preeminent global currency. As a result, most international transactions, including oil, are priced in dollars. Oil-exporting nations receive dollars for their exports, not their own currency.
In addition, most oil-exporting nations own their oil industries. That makes their national income depends on the dollar’s value. If it falls, so does their government’s revenue. As a result, most of these oil exporters also peg their currencies to the dollar. That way, if the dollar’s value falls, so does the price of all their domestic goods and services. That helps these countries avoid wide swings in inflation or deflation.
The petrodollar system is tied to the history of the gold standard. After World War II, the United States held most of the world’s supply of gold. It agreed to redeem any U.S. dollar for its value in gold if the other countries pegged their currencies to the dollar. Other countries signed this deal at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. It established the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
On February 14, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the alliance with Saudi Arabia.1 He met with Saudi King Abd al-Aziz. The United States built an airfield at Dhahran in return for military and business training. This alliance was so critical that it survived subsequent years of differences of opinion over the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The 1945 agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia cemented the relationship between the dollar and oil. The petrodollar was born. In 1971, U.S. stagflation prompted runs on the dollar. Many countries asked to redeem their U.S. dollars for gold. To protect the remaining U.S. gold reserves, President Richard Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard. As a result, the value of the dollar plummeted. That helped the U.S. economy as its export values also decreased, making them more competitive. A falling dollar hurt oil-exporting countries because contracts were priced in U.S. dollars. Their oil revenue dropped along with the dollar. The cost of imports, denominated in other currencies, increased.
In 1973, Nixon asked Congress for military aid to Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The newly-formed Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries halted oil exports to the United States and other Israeli allies. The OPEC oil embargo quadrupled the price of oil in six months. Prices remained high even after the embargo ended. In 1979, the United States and Saudi Arabia negotiated the United States-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation. They agreed to use U.S. dollars for oil contracts. The U.S. dollars would be recycled back to America through contracts with U.S. companies. These companies improve Saudi infrastructure through technology transfer.
The United States uses the power of petrodollars to enforce its foreign policy. But many countries don’t fight back. They are afraid it would mean the collapse of the petrodollar system.
However, there was strong thinking against the Petrodollar concept and few Arab leaders declared to trade oil; in local currencies or any other currency, de-linking from dollars. The leading role was played by President Sadden Hussain, Col. Qaddafi of Libya, and the Syrian President. The US has punished them and changed the regimes in such countries.
China called for a replacement of the U.S. dollar as a global currency. Although, it is one of the largest foreign holders of the dollar. China influences the U.S. dollar by pegging its currency, the yuan, to it. China has signed a currency swap agreement with more than twenty countries and already trading with them in Yuan or local currencies. China is importing oil and gas from a few Arab nations in Yuan.
Russia has demanded to settle Gas bills in Rubles and a few European countries are already agreed to pay in Rubles. EU has also no objections if any member state pays in Rubles instead of Dollars. Russia is trading with few other nations in Rubles or local currencies instead of Dollars.
Russia has slashed the value of the dollar and the euro by 30% in a jiffy by linking the Russian Ruble to the value of gold and declaring to supply oil only against the Russian Ruble. Russia’s move means that now the entire world, especially Western Europe and Japan will buy the Russian Ruble by selling dollars in huge quantities, as the Russian Ruble has become the world’s most stable currency overnight after being linked to gold.
America, which does not mass-produce anything other than weapons and ammunition, is caught in a terrible economic crisis. In the event of a shrinking dollar, the US cannot cover its 306 billion budget deficit. This will cause severe unemployment and adversely affect the social safety net. This is the economic atom bomb that Joe Biden was aware of when he was talking about the removal of Putin in Poland.
Putin orders European countries to make payments of Gas and Oil in terms of Rubble and open the account in Russian banks. It will weaken the American sanctions on Russia. Although Russia has not retaliated against the American sanctions so aggressively, introduced its policies to counter the sanctions successfully.
The rapid decline of the US has made its leadership nervous and crazy. They are taking all possible measures to sustain their hegemony and supremacy. Even, though the Ukraine war is only a phenomenon, the objective is to maintain status-co. unfortunately, the US is not interested in global peace, stability, or saving human lives. The only priority is to maintain its hegemony and supremacy. To achieve this goal, the US can sacrifice Ukraine, Europe, or any heavy price. The US policy in the Ukraine war is to add fuel to fire, there is no will to stop the war, ceasefire, or save human lives. They are providing weapons, and arming civilians to lead toward a prolonged civil war, to bleed Russian and keep many countries over-engaged and let the US maintain its monopoly and the upper hand.
Russia was reluctant to attack Ukraine and has been observing restrains for quite along. Showing its genuine security concerns and alarming the US with serious consequences, but, the US kept its policy to encircle Russia.
The haphazard joining of NATO by Finland and the defense agreement with the UK is also equally a genuine threat to Russia. Russia and Finland share a long common border. Joining NATO, means, the deployment of NATO forces along the Russian border, which is a direct threat. Joining NATO by other Scandinavian nations is also a serious and matter of deep concern for Russia.
It seems the US has only one priority which is to sustain its position in the geopolitics, it ignores the genuine concerns of other nations. We are scared of the future of geopolitics and afraid the days to come may be harsh for humankind.
In history, many nations rose to the status of superpowers and ruled the world for a certain period of time, then, meltdown and passed the status of superpower to other rising nations. Like Roman Empire, Ottoman Empire, Greek Empire, British, and French empires, etc. But, The US is not willing to accept the natural cycle of superpowers and can go to any extent to keep its status of superpower forever, which is not rational nor natural, it might cause irrecoverable loss to humankind. Unfortunate!
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: email@example.com).