The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds

June 09, 2020

The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

“‘(The German economist Kestner wrote:) The greatest success no longer goes to the merchant whose technical and commercial experience enables him best of all to understand the needs of the buyer, and who is able to discover and effectively awake a latent demand; it goes to the speculative genius [?!] who knows how to estimate, or even only to sense in advance the organisational development and the possibilities of connections between individual enterprises and the banks.’

Translated into ordinary human language this means the development of capitalism has arrived at a stage when, although commodity production still ‘reigns’ and continues to be regarded as the basis of economic life, it has in reality been undermined and the big profits go to the ‘geniuses’ of financial manipulation. At the basis of these swindles and manipulations lies socialised production; but the immense progress of humanity, which achieved this socialisation, goes to benefit the speculators. We shall see later how ‘on these grounds’ reactionary, petty-bourgeois critics of capitalist imperialism dream of going back to ‘free’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘honest’ competition.” (emphasis his)

  • V.I. Lenin

The rather ideology-defining question of connecting banks and businesses; socialising the production and creating massive human progress, but then privatising the gains; (Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA because corona exposed how in order to beat the USSR the US turned to) the constant swindles and manipulations of hyperfinancialisation, like Quantitative Easing… Lenin could have easily also unmasked the “Fiat is all the problem” critics of neoliberal capitalism in 2020 – like this article will – but Lenin lays in Red Square (because he is still so important today).

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During the corona overreaction into Great Lockdown into US rebellions era many of the most dynamic commentators are those who feel dominated, insulted, financially cheated and unfairly bested by the almighty US greenback, which they insist is about to become less valuable than used toilet paper (as the value of unused toilet paper has infamously skyrocketed during the Great Lockdown).

A whole range of political, economic and moral ideas are represented by these who insist that the primary problem in non-socialist-inspired nations is paper (fiat) money and its alleged overprinting:

Goldbugs, bitcoin evangelists, and silver miners; crooked Austrian economic policemen and their sons and daughters who follow “the (University of) Chicago Way: Get them before they get you”; Trotskyists who kind of understand economics but interpret every stock market dip as a sign that capitalism is finally collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions; anti-imperialists who are getting ready all the yuan they have been hoarding under their mattress – all these groups have insisted since the start of QE5 (i.e., QE 2.1) that the very next sheet of printed dollars will be the one which breaks the greenback’s back.

I accurately related what happens to the US dollar in times of economic crisis in No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all, but this article seeks to correct another incorrect view related to and often shared by these ardent “dollar demisers”:

The problem is not the dollar, nor the fact that it is issued on paper, nor the fact that QE issues money via a keyboard tap – the problem is not even the nature of money itself but the capitalist-imperialist culture which surrounds that money. Thus, the problem with the “Fiat is all the problem” (FIATP) crowds is that they obsessively see only a financial system instead of a moral-political system.

Translated into ordinary human language: The “dollar demisers” have no conception that the problem is not paper money, nor is it all money – it is the capitalist ideals regarding money.

Goldbugs: Old Testament fire and brimstone in monetary policy

Of the FIATPs the most resistant to modern political ideas – and the ones who are the most vocal and the most certain about the immediate collapse of the dollar – are the proponents of gold, but also many bitcoiners.

I understand their frustration: I, too, would be upset if I believed that overprinting should lead to a drop in the greenback… but then if I believed that it would mean that I foolishly believed that economics followed mathematical laws, and it would also indicate that I had little understanding about the political-social-moral role money plays in the absolute non-science of economics.

This group, which believes that the physical asset they have invested in should be worth more than it currently is, has two major flaws: 1) They view economics as investors, not as real people/workers. The former are competing at least partially as carnival barker salesmen: they want THEIR product to win so they can profit. 2) Unlike normal people/workers, they do not realise that it doesn’t matter at all if nothing is “backing” fiat in the 21st century – the real-world necessity of needing to get something in return for your labor makes paper as good as gold, or as good as cowrie shells, or as good as increasingly scarce toilet paper, or as good as whatever a government-backed-by-guns says that it is. If the government says we go back to cowrie shells then we all go back to cowrie shells, and this could absolutely be a positive thing because money is merely a tool, duh!

The gold proponents sound the most Old Testament – they act as if it is a God-given law that gold and only gold or gold-backed tools must be used as a medium of exchange and that it is just a matter of time before God’s wrath smites us for going fiat. I am unaware of this verse in Scripture.

Goldbuggers especially feel entitled to some sort of moral supremacy over the “early adopters” of digital fiat money (i.e. QE) when the average person knows they deserve nothing of the sort.

Gold and silver, after all, only became poplar because monarchs and aristocrats thought that wearing shiny stuff would give them an air of divinity to us plebes. That Lenin quote doesn’t apply to this crowd, for whom there is no “development of capitalism” – no changes or progress – merely the eternal value of gold (their God), which always was and always will be.

Austrians/Chicagoans/Bitcoiners – ‘moral hazard is when I don’t profit’

Bitcoiners can be placed along with the goldbugs because they both share an intense moral rage. However, libertarian/radical-individualist bitcoiners don’t have an old-fashioned sense of collective morality, thus their critiques of 21st century Western capitalism lack Biblical depth. This is why many of them really belong with the Chicago/Austrian crowd, which is ruled by competition, cruelty and greed-is-good.

(However, I am an open supporter of bitcoin, and we’ll see that those who would use bitcoin for personal and not social gain actually fall into all three camps.)

The Austrian/Chicagoan crowd… wow. It’s not really sure what they want – other than that they want money for themselves, and for the exciting law of the jungle to rule unchecked.

This group is defined by one primary characteristic: anti-socialism. The proof of their opposition to the ideology of political modernity is their Salafistic, fundamentalist insistence that all would be well if we could only just return to the roots of classic English liberalism. Oho! How they pine for the sweet days of Adam Smith & David Ricardo up until the Third World holocausts of the late Victorian era – what sweet days unmarred by problems they were!

These sentimental and thus ultimately right-wing critics of QE merely “dream of going back to ‘free’, peaceful’ and ‘honest competition” – Lenin had to deal with these types in his day as well.

We can certainly include many MMT-ers (Modern Monetary Theory) here, as they believe that capitalism is a way to control rentier exploitation, not expand it.

This entire group truly acts as if capitalism only started with the invention of the cotton gin or steam engine, and their primary fear mongering reflects that limited historical view: a warning that we are headed towards to “neo-feudalism”. But feudalism was certainly capitalist – there is ultimately no significant difference between the two in either their means nor their ends (simply change “king” for “banker” and “church” for “corporation”; certainly, nobody has ever confused feudalism with socialism.

This group insists that QE is a perverted degradation of sweet, sweet capitalism from the Salafist era of Smith and Ricardo. Oho! If only we could return to that angelic era unmarred by economic inequality when those mild and holy saints of competition spread the ideals – the TRUE ideals, not the false ones of this QE-corrupted era! – of the true capitalist gospel!

People like the MMT-ers because they are capitalists but at least they are not heartless hypocrites bent on ruining their country in order to show their personal greatness. However, they essentially claim to have found the elusive “Third Way” – I just don’t understand why they don’t openly push socialism, because after over a century of trying humans have found that there is no Third Way.

However, absolutely nobody likes Austrians/Chicagoans, and Austrians/Chicagoans are made quite content by that: they view it as proof that they are winning the competition over losers who are just jealous of their success.

The ‘QE feeds imperialism’ crowd – but then why did imperialism exist before digital fiat?

Bitcoin evangelists can often declare how fiat money feeds American imperialism. Surely, if everyone would buy some of their bitcoin and use it in everyday purchases, then Western militarism would collapse.

The obvious problem here is that these laudable anti-imperialists correctly perceive how imperialism is wrong and predatory as an economic system, but they fail to see how neo-imperialism is equally undergirded by a political-cultural-moral system. The Pentagon’s “war on ____” is not solely about the greenback – that is an outdated nation-state analysis and not a class-based view.

Their inevitable solution of isolationism (towards non-bitcoining nations) is the same flaw of the libertarians: as long as the extent of my individual rights/society are not curtailed, then I am content to not become involved in the problems of others. This “just wait for fiat to implode” leads to the same flaw as the Trotskyists “just wait for the capitalist system to implode” – what does Palestine, for example, do in the meantime? The moral aspect of this question should be obvious, but have you ever heard a bitcoiner discussing Palestine?

They discuss Palestine about as often as they discuss bitcoin’s moral Achilles heel: the fact that 40 percent of bitcoin is held by perhaps 1,000 owners (known as “whales”). If the moral philosophy of that tiny vanguard party is libertarianism, radical individualism and Anglo-American liberal Salafism (which it sadly is), then I for one say that we should confiscate their bitcoin immediately because how is their political-cultural-moral system they any different than American banksters? Aspiring to be an all-controlling bankster but with bitcoins is still banksterism.

Inevitability has laziness inherently inscribed in it, as well as selfish individualism, because YOU do not need to do anything, take a moral stand, resist, sacrifice, etc., only wait. Thus, of course comfortable bitcoin investors do nothing but play defense around their own little yard and digital wallets, waiting for the fiat-based economy to implode and then the price of bitcoin to explode: They feel they are all set – Palestinians deserve what they get because they haven’t gone fully bitcoin quickly enough.

Even Kestner had to write “[?!]” at these “speculative genius(es) who are indeed at the crest of the wave: Lenin, however, would surely say that many of them are actually just “reactionary, petty-bourgeois critics of capitalist imperialism”.

Conclusion: The world actually had major problems before QE-fiat

These groups lack coherence, modernity and popular appeal because when they look at the QE economy they see a financial system and not its concomitant political system.

When they do perceive a moral system they look with the isolated eyes of a Western individualist instead of with the united, consensus-respecting socialist outlook provided by billions of pairs of eyes. Therefore, FIATPs answer comes down to the same old Western answer post 1989: technology and technocratism. The FIATPs could have become epidemiologists, had they been biologically and not monetarily inclined.

FIATPs often deserve credit for seeing the internationalist aspects of Western war, but their lack of modern political ideology causes them to fail to see the domestic & historical aspects such as the Yellow Vests, Black Power Movement, the jailing of Eugene V. Debs, etc. They seem to think that because they have invented a new tool they have discovered a new morality – they have not, and this is another example of their often blatant arrogance and overweening pride.

The FIATPs hostility to socialism is based entirely on the outdated and always-inaccurate Western capitalist-imperialist propaganda that socialism is totalitarian (when it is instead all about the empowerment of the individual in order to reach his or her full potential), of course, but it is especially unfortunate with many of the bitcoiners because the social morality they are demanding in public policy is fundamentally socialist democratic, not liberal democratic – 99.9% of bitcoin holders are not whales, after all.

Money in any form – fiat, bitcoin, gold, beads, whatever – is not the key to happiness for anyone with a compass whose pointer extends to heaven even only occasionally. Money is the root of all evil – its pointer only drops towards earth, thus it will always carry the potential of carrying disastrous imbalances.

Goldbugs, bitcoin whales and Austrian/Chicagoan gangsters may be speculative geniuses and merchants talented at finding profits, but they are not a vanguard political party which can lead society to a healthy balance of broad prosperity and stability – they aren’t even right about money.

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021

Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA – May 30, 2021

Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do – June 2, 2021

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos – June 3, 2021

Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Get Ready for the Next Game-Changer: the Digital Yuan

Source

May 06, 2020

Get Ready for the Next Game-Changer: the Digital Yuan

by Pepe Escobar – cross.posted with Strategic Culture Foundation

A new, radical paradigm shift is in progress. The U.S. economy may shrink as much as 40% in the first semester of 2020. China, already the world’s largest economy by PPP for a few years now, may soon become the world’s largest economy even in exchange rate terms.

The post-Planet Lockdown world – still a hazy mirage – may well need a post-Planet Lockdown currency. And that’s where a serious candidate steps into the fray: the fiat digital yuan.

Last month, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) confirmed that a group of top banks started trials in electronic payment in four different Chinese regions using the new digital yuan. Yet there’s no timetable yet for the official launch of what is called the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP).

The man with the plan is PBOC governor Yi Gang. He has confirmed that apart from the trials in Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu and Shenzhen, the PBOC is also testing hypothetical scenarios for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

While DCEP, according to Yi, “has made very good progress,” he insists the PBOC will be “cautious in terms of risk control, especially to study anti money-laundering and ‘know your customer’ requirements to incorporate in the design and system of DCEP.”

DCEP should be interpreted as the road map for China leading to an eventual, even more groundbreaking replacement of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. China is already ahead in the digital currency sweepstakes: the sooner DCEP is launched the better to convince the world, especially the Global South, to tag along.

The PBOC is developing the system with four top state-owned banks as well as payment behemoths Tencent and Ant Financial.

mobile app developed by the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) is already circulating on WeChat. This is in effect an interface linked to DCEP. Moreover, 19 restaurants and retail establishments including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway are part of the pilot testing.

China is advancing fast on the whole digital spectrum. A Blockchain Service Network (BSN) was launched not only for domestic but also for global trade purposes. A large committee is supervising BSN, including executives from the PBOC, Baidu and Tencent, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Backed by gold

So what does this all mean?

Well connected banking sources in Hong Kong have told me Beijing is not interested for the yuan to replace the U.S. dollar – for all the interest across the Global South in bypassing it, especially now that the petrodollar is in a coma.

The official Beijing position is that the U.S. dollar should be replaced by an IMF-approved Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket of currencies (dollar, euro, yuan, yen). That would eliminate the heavy burden of the yuan as the sole reserve currency.

But that may be just a diversionist tactic in an environment of all-out information war. A basket of currencies under the IMF still implies U.S. control – not exactly what China wants.

The meat of the matter is that a digital, sovereign yuan may be backed by gold. That’s not confirmed – yet. Gold could serve as a direct back up; to back bonds; or just lay there as collateral. What’s certain is that once Beijing announces a digital currency backed by gold, it will be like the U.S. dollar being struck by lightning.

Under this new framework, nations won’t need to export more to China than they import so they have enough yuan to trade. And Beijing won’t have to keep printing yuan electronically – and artificially, as in the case of the U.S. dollar – to meet trade demands.

The digital yuan will be effectively backed up by the massive amount of Made in China goods and services – and not by a transoceanic Empire of 800 Bases. And the value of the digital yuan will be decided by the market – as it happens with bitcoin.

This whole process has been years in the making, part of serious discussions started already in the late 2000s inside BRICS summit meetings, especially by Russia and China – the core strategic partnership inside the BRICS.

Considering multiple strategies to progressively bypass the U.S. dollar, starting with bilateral trade in their own currencies, Russia and China, for instance, set up a Russia-Chian RMB Cooperation Fund three years ago.

Beijing’s strategy is carefully calibrated, like playing go long-term. Apart from methodically stockpiling gold in massive quantities (just like Russia) for seven years now, Beijing has been campaigning for a wider use of SDR while making sure to not position the yuan as a strategic competitor.

But now the post-Planet Lockdown environment is shaping up as ideal for Beijing to make a move. Even before the onset of the Covid-19 crisis the predominant feeling among the leadership was that China is under a full spectrum attack by the United States government. Hybrid War already reaching fever pitch implies bilateral relations will only get worse, not better.

So when we have China as the world’s largest economy by both PPP and exchange rate; still the strongest growing major economy, barring the first semester of 2020; productive, innovative, efficient and on track to reach a higher technological level with the Made in China 2025 program; and capable of winning the “people’s war” against Covid-19 in record time, all the necessary elements seem to be in place.

But then, there’s soft power. Beijing needs to have the Global South on its side. The United States government knows it very well; no wonder the current hysteria is all about demonizing China as “guilty” on all – unproved – counts of fostering and lying about Covid-19.

An “impeding arrival”

A key advantage of a sovereign digital yuan is that Beijing does not need to float a paper yuan – which by the way is being sidelined all across China itself, as virtually everyone is switching to electronic payment.

The digital yuan, using blockchain technology, will automatically float – thus bypassing the U.S.-controlled global financialized casino.

The amount of sovereign digital currency is fixed. That in itself eliminates a plague: quantitative easing (QE), as in helicopter money. And that leaves the sovereign digital currency as the preferred medium for trade, with currency transfers unimpeded by geography and, the icing on the cake, without banks charging outrageous fees as intermediaries.

Of course there will be pushback. As in non-stop demonization of neo-Orwellian China for straying away from the whole purpose of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies – which is to have freedom from a centralized structure via decentralized ownership. There will be howls of horror at the PBOC potentially capable of seizing anyone’s digital funds or turning off a wallet if the owner displeases the CCP.

China is on it, but the U.S., UK, Russia and India are also on their way to launch their own crypto-currencies. For obvious reasons, the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the Central Bank of Central Banks, is very much aware that the future is now. Their research with over 50 Central Banks is unmistakable: we are facing an “impeding arrival”. But who will take the Biggest Prize?

Time is Running Out to Oust Maduro

Time is Running Out to Oust Maduro

TOM LUONGO | 02.02.2019 | FEATURED STORY

Time is Running Out to Oust Maduro

The most welcome news for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in the past month came from Russian President Vladimir Putin in December. Maduro and Putin reaffirmed the relationship between the two countries with more than just words.

More than $5 billion in new oil exploration and production deals were signed when the two met in December which will assist Venezuela in establishing its ambitious (or foolhardy) plan to only sell its oil in its oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro.

Maduro has insisted that the Venezuelan state oil company PVDSA will only accept Petro for its oil starting this year. By all accounts the Petro looks like a scam and until he can make good on promises to his benefactors, Russia and China, there is no way they will use it.

But, in theory, the Petro is a fine idea. Is it one that Maduro can pull off? It’s a good question. I doubt it.

But if it, or something like it were to succeed, it represents a tectonic shift for the world economy. Not today or tomorrow, mind you, but over time. Why? Because it provides a blueprint for countries which are not on The Davos Crowd’s Christmas card list to extricate themselves from the IMF/World Bank/SWIFT hamster wheel of currency collapse, debt slavery, economic privation and regime change.

Because cryptocurrencies exist outside of the traditional banking system it allows them to skirt sanctions (which are acts of war) and continue engaging in peaceful commerce on their terms, not those set on Wall St. or K Street.

But that said, there’s no real need for the Petro per se. Maduro could simply take Bitcoin.

The other day I wrote an article tying US policy towards Venezuela to Iran, saying Trump’s plans for Energy Dominance are what is driving his foreign policy. Venezuela looks like a dry run for what’s on tap for Iran later this year or early 2020.

And its John Bolton who is the architect of this horrific policy.

This is the John Bolton blueprint for regime change. Demonize the leader of a country that opposes our imperial rule, cut them off from the rest of the world through sanctions and political/military pressure and wait for the society to collapse. Then back a regime change by a US groomed puppet, in this case the nobody who is Juan Guaidó.

Sell it all the entire time as a failure of the other guy in charge. For Chavez and Maduro the spectre of Socialism is all it takes, especially now with the Democrats and the media championing our own female Che, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as the bogeyfem.

If that fails and it looks like it has then threaten to invade on humanitarian grounds. The only way this works with a US population weary of two straight decades of war is for things to get so bad our intervention makes us look like the savior of a blighted people.

Once you make the big move, like Bolton and Pompeo did earlier this week, you have to get the kill shot quickly or things stabilize against you. I told you this last summer when it was Turkey’s lira that was the big story.

And before that it was the Saudis’ attempt to overthrow the government of Qatar through financial and military blockade.

And in late 2014 it was the collapse in oil prices which was supposed to spark a revolt against Putin in Russia which also failed, despite rumors of an internal coup within the Kremlin suppressed by Putin in March 2015.

Every day past the big news day, the crisis day, that the target of that crisis survives raises the odds of the situation improving as the panic subsides, information is disseminated, markets calmed over and allies respond.

The coming days will be key for Maduro. Because once the US makes its big move if it doesn’t get what it wants then it never will. Opposition to our meddling in Caracas will harden, Maduro’s position will strengthen and things will calm down.

It will be up to Maduro then to get serious about making things right in his country. Again, I’m not sure he’s capable of it but once the cat’s out of the bag about how much the West wants him removed from power, the easier it will be to sell the Venezuelans left there that their plight is Washington’s fault, not his.

The only silver lining to all of this is that Trump can then blame Bolton and Pompeo for this sad state of affairs, fire them for incompetence and begin dismantling the policy towards Iran. But, I’m probably just engaging in a bit of wishful thinking here.

Over the past two years Venezuelan oil production has collapsed by nearly 30% from over 2.1 million barrels per day to under 1.5 million late last year. Production numbers have recovered slightly and were back above 1.5 million in December.

But the reality is that those lost barrels are the difference between a stable government and one on the brink of collapse. The focus for Putin and China’s Xi Jinping now should be on getting those numbers back up to 2017 levels quickly and bringing some semblance of normalcy to the situation there.

Collapsing Venezuela’s oil production was the US’s plan all along. And this is, frankly, heartless treatment of the very Venezuelan people the lesser lights of the Trump administration profess to care so much about. Our policy towards them has been nothing more than a variation on the old adage, “the beatings will continue until morale improves.”

In this case, substitute removing Maduro from power for ‘morale’ and regaining access to the global banking system the ‘beatings.’

But it is absolutely no different than the rhetoric used by both Pompeo and Bolton over Iran. Remember Pompeo’s list of 12 demands on Iran last year? This is a clear statement to the Iranian government, “Step aside or we will starve your people to death.”

Then he followed that up by saying exactly that.

Humans would rather starve to death than be saved by megalomaniacs like Bolton, Pompeo and Trump. Our dignity demands more from us than that. What is the saddest part of this is that the Trump base has been sold this policy as some kind of humanitarian mission to save the Venezuelans from Maduro.

That groundwork has already been laid about Iran.

When the reality is that it’s the US’s needs to starve the world of oil to maintain the petrodollar system that they need to be saved from.

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