When I say that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks the end of America’s global hegemony, I am not overreacting.
Some of Wall Street’s largest banks told lawmakers and the Biden administration that kicking Russia off the SWIFT financial-messaging system would have far-reaching fallout that could hurt the global economy and undermine the purpose of the penalties, people familiar with the matter said.
Firms including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. suggested Washington stick with other types of sanctions to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private talks. Other banks with less international exposure were more receptive to the idea, telling officials that it would be a manageable step. Representatives from the banks declined to comment.
Opponents of the idea passed along a warning: Booting Russia from the critical global system — which handles 42 million messages a day and serves as a lifeline to some of the world’s biggest financial institutions — could backfire, sending inflation higher, pushing Russia closer to China and shielding financial transactions from scrutiny by the West. It might also encourage the development of a SWIFT alternative that could eventually damage the supremacy of the U.S. dollar.
And there already is a SWIFT alternative out there: it’s called “CIPS,” and it’s China’s own version of SWIFT. It stands for “Cross-border Interbank Payment System.” However, it’s premature to say that Russia will switch from SWIFT to CIPS, because we haven’t even actually banned Russia from the SWIFT system:
While refusing to rule out even the most drastic financial penalties, Biden administration officials privately concede that they aren’t seriously considering the SWIFT option for now because doing so would choke off all trade with Russia, including energy sales that are allowed under current sanctions. Such a move could also have much wider ramifications, possibly causing an energy crisis in Europe and ruining the livelihoods of ordinary Russians, a scenario officials say they want to avoid.
In other words, we haven’t burned the bridge entirely.
21% of US gasoline imports come from Russia. Europe is heavily reliant on Russia for energy. Completely cutting all economic ties with Russia would devastate both the US and Europe–Europe especially.
This is why I keep saying that Europe is at a crossroads here: they basically just do whatever the US tells them to do. But now it’s coming at a great expense, and Europe is bearing the brunt of it.
America tells Europe to join it in waging economic warfare on Russia. But this hurts Europe way more than it hurts America, because Europe has more economic ties to Russia, particularly in the energy area.
America tells Europe to engage in military escalation and saber rattling, and to continually poke the Russian bear. Who is the most at risk from Russian military retaliation? Europe, of course. They’re right next door to Russia. America is an ocean away.
We may have already reached the point where American and European interests have begun to diverge in a major way.
You can see that outside of Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, it’s really just the NATO alliance that is sanctioning Russia right now.
Obviously the bulk of the world economy in terms of GDP is concentrated in the North Atlantic region of the globe, but the fact remains that America is putting Europe in an increasingly difficult position.
Anyway, the prospect of exclusion from SWIFT could compel the Russians to link up with CIPS, which would deal a tremendous blow to the US dollar as the global reserve currency:
Chinese analysts believe sanctions on Russian banks will be a wake-up call for Beijing.
“As seen from Russia’s Swift exclusion and the China-US trade friction in recent years, it is necessary to reduce reliance on Swift to ensure financial security,” Dongguan Securities analysts Chen Weiguang, Luo Weibin and Liu Menglin wrote on Monday.
Tianfeng Securities analyst Miao Xinjun said on Monday the connection between international financial institutions and CIPS could receive a boost.
Swift sanctions on Iran and Russia – both important oil producing nations – could accelerate the decline of the petrodollar system and facilitate yuan internationalisation, Miao said in a note.
Joe from Heresy Financial on YouTube says that the history books will likely look back on this moment as the beginning of the end of the dollar-dominated global economic system:
There are simply alternatives now. Not perfect alternatives, but alternatives with incentives for nations like China, Russia, Iran and many others that seek to bring about an end to the dollar’s dominance.