By Jeff J. Brown
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Here’s the original show on Press TV. I check out their website every day, because they represent the broad interests of the humanity’s 1.8 billion Muslims (www.presstv.ir).
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Behrooz Nadjafi (Host): You’re watching Press TV live from Tehran. Time now for the News Review. Russia says that the BRICS group of nations is planning to introduce a new trading currency backed by gold amid ongoing de-dollarization trends across the world. According to Russian media, the official announcement is expected to be made during the BRICS summit in August. The economic bloc had earlier announced that it shifting away from the US dollar in transactions as Washington continues to weaponize it. BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. It has 42% of the world’s population.
Many countries have accelerated efforts to reduce dependence on the dollar in recent months. I get to explore the reasons for this and take a look at the prospect. Let me invite a couple of guests Thembisa Fakude, a senior research fellow and director with Africa-Asia Dialog joining me from Johannesburg. Also with me, we have Jeff Brown. He is a geopolitical analyst in Normandy. Good to see you both, gentlemen. Now, let’s begin with the Thembisa. Let’s have your initial thoughts on this plan on the parts of BRICs. It’s not only BRICs, it’s some other countries as well, they are trying to ditch the dollar or replace it with their own currency, or BRICS in this case is talking about maybe some shared and common currency.
Thembisa Fakude (Guest): I think they’re talking about some shared current currency. I don’t think any of these countries, particularly South Africa, can totally and absolutely at the moment afford to ditch the U.S. dollar in favor of any new currency. I think the process of establishing a new currency is going to take quite some time and we are by and large still dependent largely on American imports and exports.
So, we will still need a dollar. So, it’s a long-term plan and it’s not a bad idea, by the way, because of what the dollar has been associated with. As you correctly said, in some instances it’s been weaponized, but it’s going to take a bit of time for any currency in the world to replace the dollar, at least in South Africa. I think what the South Africans will be looking at doing is we’re looking at parallelism of some sort where you have this new currency proposed by BRICS. At the same time, they’ll continue utilizing the dollar.
Behrooz: Okay. Now Jeff, let’s see what you think about this. Thembisa saying that this may take time, but it doesn’t seem that these countries and the BRICS group in particular care about timing. They just want this to happen. Let’s begin with a question as to why on earth they want to ditch the dollar in the first place.
Jeff J Brown (Guest): Well, first off, I would like to concur with Mr. Fakude that this is a long-term project. This is not something that’s going to happen overnight. I think the reason that they are announcing it in Jo’burg in August is more of a psychological impact on the world and global markets that this is the definitive step towards the de-dollarization with a gold-backed currency by the southern countries of the world. Of course, they want to ditch the dollar. The dollar has had its run since the end of World War Two.
The US debt is tens of trillions of dollars. It will never be paid back. Everybody knows it. Even the euro, tens of trillions of dollars in debt. None of those countries. Japan is in massive debt. England is in massive debt. China is not, I don’t know about South Africa, Russia is not. So, abandoning the dollar as much as possible is a way to anticipate the eventual crash of the US dollar, because of the rate that they’re borrowing money and paying interest. And again, this takes time, but eventually, the birds are going to come home to roost and the dollar is going to crash.
Behrooz: Okay. Thembisa, your reaction to this and also, I want you to tell us about the prospect of global trade, not other countries for whatever reason, they are moving toward this. And this De-dollarization drive has already started. We have the BRICS countries. We have Turkey. We have India paying in rupees. We have Iran and some other countries also pitching in. So, what kind of a change do you see happening over time in global trade?
Thembisa: Well, I think it’s going to have an impact on global trade. But, I mean, the United States is the biggest economy in the world and remains one of the most export and import. And it’s got individual partnerships with many of these countries that are pushing for De-dollarization. But it’s also important to note that, of course, the call for De-dollarization came after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. So, it’s very reactionary in a way that people are now talking about this simply because it’s meant somehow to save Russia and to punish the United States for siding with Ukraine. That’s the first point.
The other point is I don’t think the Americans will wait for the dollar to collapse. I think it will be foolhardy for the world to think so, no BRICS members. I mean, they’ve seen what happened with Janet Yellen, who just came back from China not long ago. Prime Minister Modi was in the United States. So, you see those charm offensive from the United States courting two of the most powerful nations on earth. And I think what will happen is there are talks, of course, parallel to what’s happening within BRICS with these two very powerful nations to save one, the United States economy, but at the same time to counter the talks and the pushback that the dollar is currently facing.
Behrooz: Okay. And, Jeff, your thoughts on that? And also, do you agree with what Thembisa said regarding actually the main push behind this being the Russia-Ukraine War?
Jeff: Well, the fact that the West sanctioned everything, including Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy. But seizing $300 billion of Russian assets outside of the country was a wake-up call to everybody and this goes back thousands of years, the West practices piracy and theft, and by holding dollars, the risk of losing their money and losing their gold, et cetera, if it’s overseas, is extremely high. If they can do it to Russia, they can do it to anybody. So, everybody, it was a stupid move on the part of the West to seize Russia’s assets. And now, no one trusts Washington, Paris, and London anymore. And who can blame them?
Behrooz: Okay. That’s all the time we have for this. Thank you so much, Thembisa Fakude, in Johannesburg, and Jeff Brown in Normandy. That’s the end of this edition of the News Review.
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44 Days Backpacking in China: The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=YBKHEAAAQBAJ
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BIG Red Book on China: Chinese History, Culture and Revolution
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BIG Red Book on China: Chinese History, Culture and Revolution
Praise for The China Trilogy:
Why and How China works: With a Mirror to Our Own History
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