US has largest debt in world history, dollar to lose status as No.1 currency – Jim Rogers
The US dollar is becoming less appealing for investors as American debt continues to soar and the greenback is printed to cover it, investor Jim Rogers said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

The American currency will lose the status of main reserve currency much sooner than 2030, Rogers said at the Valdai Club’s discussion session, held as part of SPIEF.

“Dollar is going to be higher than now because the turmoil is coming. Then, it is going to be overpriced and people will look around and say, ‘America’s got the largest debt in the history of the world. It’s printing money as fast as it can,’” the investor said.

People will look at what Brazil, Russia, China, India, Iran and other developing countries are doing, Rogers said. “They are forming a competing currency right now,” he added. So, the dollar alternative will come from the countries that “have been bossed by the US, and they don’t like it, but have enough power to do something about it.”

Rogers went on to say that organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank “have never been right about anything” and should be abolished, since they have been politically dependent on the United States for decades.

Speaking separately to RT, the businessman said that sanctions and trade wars are the biggest threat to the world’s economic stability. “The world has learned throughout history that closing off is not good, opening up is good,” Rogers said.

Russia ready to ditch dollar in favor of euro in foreign trade – finance minister

Settlements in US currency could be dropped by Russia in favor of the euro if the EU takes a stand against the latest US sanctions on Moscow, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“As we see, restrictions imposed by the American partners are of an extraterritorial nature. The possibility of switching from the US dollar to the euro in settlements depends on Europe’s stance toward Washington’s position,” said Siluanov, who is also Russia’s first deputy prime minister.

The EU initially supported Washington’s sanctions against Moscow, but has recently criticized US President Donald Trump’s policy of imposing trade restrictions on other countries. The EU was also hit by the introduction of US import duties on steel and aluminum. The situation escalated even more after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran.

“If our European partners declare their position unequivocally, we could definitely see a way to use the European common currency for financial settlements, such as payments for goods and services, which today are often subject to restrictions,” Siluanov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Siluanov added that Russia is already developing settlements in national currencies with its trading partners.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 02:32| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

‘Our military is ready, so are Japan’s and S. Korea’s’ – Trump on N. Korea situation

‘Our military is ready, so are Japan’s and S. Korea’s’ – Trump on N. Korea situation
After cancelling a long-awaited summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump reverted to his earlier rhetoric, saying that the US military is “more ready than...ever before,” Kim does something 'foolish.'

Delivering remarks on the cancellation Thursday, Trump chose to spend much of his time touting his military strength.

“Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world,” he said, “is ready if necessary,” should Kim react badly to the cancellation. Trump also announced that South Korea and Japan were onboard and ready to shoulder some of the cost of military operations, should the need arise.

Trump called the latest development "setback," yet he expressed hope for the positive outcome.

“If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialog, I am waiting,” said Trump. Failing that, he warned Kim against “foolish and reckless” acts.

The cancellation came hours after Pyongyang dismantled its nuclear test site as promised.

Trump cancels June summit with Kim, says 'You talk about nukes, but ours are massive'
US President Donald Trump has canceled a much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility” from Kim, who threatened the US with a “nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.”

“I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” read the letter, sent a few hours after North Korea blew up its nuke testing site at Punggye-ri. The demolition was witnessed by a small pool of foreign journalists, and was considered a goodwill gesture from Kim ahead of the planned summit.

Sadly, I was forced to cancel the Summit Meeting in Singapore with Kim Jung Un. pic.twitter.com/qEoi9ymUEz
− Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018

In his letter, Trump lamented the loss of a historic opportunity, but thanked Kim for releasing three American hostages, which he said was a “beautiful gesture.”

North Korean Vice Minister Choe Son-hui said earlier on Thursday that his country would walk away from the summit, which had been due to take place in Singapore on June 12, if Washington continued to carry out its "unlawful and outrageous acts."

"Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe said.

The "unlawful acts" mentioned by Choe refer to joint military exercises carried out by the US and South Korea earlier this month. The North viewed these annual drills as intentional provocation and practice for an invasion.

Choe also singled out Vice President Mike Pence, who said earlier this week that North Korea could end up like Libya if Kim didn’t make a deal. The Libya comparison had been first made by Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, who suggested that the denuclearization of North Korea could follow “the Libya model.”

After surrendering his weapons in 2003, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and executed in a NATO-backed coup in 2011.

Following these statements, North Korea canceled talks with the South early in May, yet not the Singapore meeting with Trump. Since then the fate of the summit had been discussed almost daily in the media, with the US president being vague about its prospects.

Now Trump, who used to call Kim 'little rocket man,' and the North Korean leader seem to be back to threats.

“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump said in the letter.

Finally, Trump suggested that maybe one day, the two leaders could be friends.

“If you change your mind... please do not hesitate to call me or write,” the letter reads.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 01:17| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


'Idea that Saudis, who don't practice democracy, want democratic Iran is laughable'
Saudi Arabia and Israel don't want regime change in Iran, but would prefer to have an incompetent regime that mismanages the economy, and not allow it to truly live up to its full potential, author Trita Parsi told RT.

RT America's Ed Schultz discussed the latest developments on the Iranian deal with Trita Parsi, the author of 'Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy' and President of the National Iranian-American Council.

RT: Secretary Mike Pompeo laid down a 12-point list of demands for Iran. Meanwhile, most of the American people aren't really sure about getting out of the Iran nuclear deal. How do you think the Iranian people feel about what's unfolding?

Trita Parsi: I think what they're seeing right now is an effort by the Trump administration to escalate matters towards war. And one of the things that will have an effect on them, first of all, new sanctions are going to make their lives miserable. Even when Obama was putting all of these very crippling sanctions on the Iranians, it didn't cripple Iranian nuclear program. But it made life for ordinary Iranians very bad, including a medicine shortage. Now they're going to go back to that. But perhaps even more. Because at least, Obama was using this as a pressure method in order to be able to get a deal. I don't think we can say that John Bolton's idea is to use pressure in order to get a deal. This guy doesn't strike deals, this guy starts wars.

RT: Pompeo talked about economically squeezing the Iranian people. They want regime change. What does this mean? Does this mean this is going to be Iraq all over again?

TP: Here's a very fascinating thing. You have to remember that a lot of the reason why the Trump administration is doing this right now, beyond Trump's own animosity towards the deal because it has Obama's name on it, comes from the fact that the Saudis and the Israelis have been pushing Trump to do this. And if you're looking at this from Riyadh, you don't want regime change in Iran.

You actually prefer to have a regime that is pretty incompetent, that mismanages the economy and doesn't allow Iran to truly live up to its full potential. What you want is to start some form of a civil war inside of Iran that essentially eliminates to a large extent Iran's power and then shifts the balance of power back to the favor of Saudi Arabia and Israel. That's what I think they're looking for - the idea that the Saudis, who don't practice democracy themselves, want to see a democratic Iran, is quite laughable.

RT: Do you think this will strengthen the resolve of the Iranian people?

TP: We've seen in the past that when under attack, they are as capable, if not more capable, than almost any other nation to rally around the flag. And here's one reason as to why I think that might be even more true in this case. Even earlier on, when Obama imposed the sanctions, that was during a period in which Ahmadinejad, a highly unpopular presidential figure was running this show, under those circumstances they still rally around flag. This time around, the blame for collapsing the deal is squarely at the feet of Donald Trump. The Iranians have lived up to the agreement. The IAEA has confirmed that 10 times. I think that's going to make it much more difficult for the Trump administration to get some internal upheaval.

RT: The United Nations Security Council supported this. There are superpowers on board with this. And there have been some economic commitments to deal with Iran, as well, to help their economy. Where does that stand, now that the US is pulling out of this? Will these other countries live up to the commitment? And will the Iranians stay in the deal?

TP: The Iranians likely will stay in the deal, granted that the other countries continue to uphold their end of the bargain, but beyond that fill in where the US left. Because for the Iranians to agree to continue to restrict their program, they need to be given the economic benefits they were promised. But how can Europe force its companies to continue, or actually expand their investments in Iran, if those companies are going to be risking sanctions from the US government, if they do so? It needs a really strong political will on the European side to make sure that this happens.

RT: And yet Pompeo says the position of the US is that they want full diplomatic ties. Is that a possibility? Could that be a reality?

TP: There could be a reality if there actually was a genuine negotiation, there was a genuine effort to be able to bring about some sort of resolution to this long-standing conflict between the two countries. The JCPOA was an excellent start. The most imminent problem was resolved. And now they had conversations with each other and they could start to address many of these other issues. And the Iranians have a whole set of issues as well that they would like to address with the US. But Trump has actually taken a triumph of diplomacy and turned it into a crisis of choice.

RT: Let's talk about your book 'Triumph of diplomacy.' What's the main message here?

TP: The main message was that everyone thought it would be impossible to get the US and Iran to come to an agreement. People said that the Iranians will never come to the table; if they did, they would never agree to an agreement; if they did, they would never live up to that agreement. Look, what happened: they came to the table, they negotiated, they lived up to their agreement. And now it is actually Donald Trump that is pulling out of it.

RT: And you mentioned that maybe one of the reasons why Trump is getting out of this deal is because it has got Obama's name on it.

TP: The same deal, but with his name on it, he will do it in a split second… In his mind any deal done by him by definition is a better deal.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 01:12| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Who Is the Biggest Threat to the Middle East?

Who Is the Biggest Threat to the Middle East?
TEHRAN (FNA)- The United States, whose Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has just asked Iran to dismantle its missile defence program, is the biggest spender of arms in the world, that’s according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The latest report says, in total, countries around the world spent $ 1.739 billion on arms in 2017. The five biggest spenders in 2017 were the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India, which together accounted for 60 percent of global military spending. The US alone accounted for more than a third of the world total in 2017 ($695 billion) and it spent more than the next seven highest spenders combined.

Saudi Arabia, which is still busy bombing the poorest country in the Arab world - Yemen - is also the biggest spender in the Middle East, the same regime which would like us to believe that Iran and its missile defence program is a threat. SIPRI reports that military expenditure of countries in this region has increased by 41 percent, although it then decreased in some by 16 percent because of the fall in oil prices. However, the spending increased again in 2017 by 6.2 percent with Saudi Arabia being the largest military spender in the region and the third largest in the world.

Last but not the least, Israel’s military spending increased by 4.9 percent to $16.5 billion in 2017 as well (excluding about $3.1 billion in military aid from the US). Today Israel is one of the 10 countries with the highest “military burden” in the world (4.7 percent of GDP).

These data, combined with other key information on budget spending from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), show that the portion of GDP that Iran spent every year for the military, is much lower than the ones dedicated to the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it is nonsense when these regimes claim that Iran is a threat to the region.

Strange enough, no one at the United Nations ever bothers to criticize this allocation of resources. Regardless of the freedom of each country to spend its budget in the way it prefers in order to guarantee security for its citizens, there is an important aspect to note. The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel spend a lot of money on armaments because they are using them - more specifically firing them. Otherwise no country in its right mind would ever want to waste money on something it knows it won’t use - in this case arms.

Put differently, Saudi Arabia has just purchased arms from the US worth over $100 billion. This is more than what the regime could ever need for self-defence. All these armaments will have to be fired someday, and that someday is now. As we speak, Saudi Arabia and its allies are busy using those arms to destroy Yemen and even fuel a new conflict in post-ISIL Syria. They target Syrian army positions and build illegal military bases there because they want a new war. They are even leading their allies to a war with Iran!

This should be a wakeup call for the international civil society. The United Nations Security Council should never play along the destabilising policies of these warmongers, which are lobbying for American sanctions and military interventions all over the Middle East. The official line pursued by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia is almost one that would lead the world to war. This shouldn’t be the official line of the UN. IN these difficult times, the region’s peace and stability may depend upon the UN’s diplomatic capabilities and willingness to forge strong ties with China, Russia, the European Union and other members.

There is a massive deception campaign in the US and in its global propaganda, which seeks to portray the United States as a poor set-upon nation that would like regional peace, but just has to keep a military stationed around the Middle East to police its allies against so-called “Iranian threat.”

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. That truth is that the US is the biggest warmonger the world has ever known, followed by Israel and Saudi Arabia, two of the biggest recipients of US military aid and weapons sales. The US is also the world’s biggest arms merchant and a promoter of instability within the Middle East. Mind you, the US-led wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen serve as further proof that none of these weapons the US is selling makes either the US or the world any safer.

In summation, the threat of Iran is a media hype absent in reality and overblown on a daily basis. With so much American armaments around, Iran sees itself not as a threat but as threatened by America’s hostile allies. It is sad reality that if one wants to get accurate information about this, one must mostly bypass Pompeo’s anti-Iran rhetoric and baseless allegations, and look to sources outside the US government unaffected by the US administration's disinformation campaign.

Whatever the reality, the threat from Iran has been overblown for various reasons including by Israel and the Military-Industrial Complex to relieve Persian Gulf Arab States of their money in return for expensive American armaments and by those in Tel Aviv and Riyadh who want to construct a scary enemy to prolong their despotic regimes and attract diplomatic support.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 00:00| Comment(0) | 国際・政治