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by  Pino Arlacchi
UN Undersecretary General 1997-2002
March 10, 2019

The clash between the Government of the United States and Venezuela has almost reached the threshold of armed intervention, and if this will not occurr it will be only because the ongoing barbaric siege to the country's economy is able to achieve the same result.   

But there are still grey areas, in my view, about the reasons of the American fury. It cannot be taken for granted that this is only the compulsive action of an aggressive great power, which from 1945 onwards intervened 67 times abroad to overthrow unwelcomed regimes.

Right in their own backyards, Latin America, and since a couple of decades, the United States have tolerated leftist governments without sending the marines or ordering the CIA to assassinate political leaders, ministers and presidents. The Brazil of Lula, Kirchner’s Argentina, Bachelet’s Chile, and even Morales’s Bolivia have repeatedly arrived at loggerheads with the Big Brother without suffering violations of their sovereignty and without suffering the attempted economic murder being currently carried out against Venezuela.

Sure, the "socialcommunist threath" had its weight in setting off the assault on Chavez's and Maduro’s Venezuela. But this is not enough to explain a degree of animosity against a country in the region not seen since the days of Allende's Chile, to which is frequently compared.

We need further explanations. And the additional factor may well be the desire of the American elites  to finally grab in Venezuela the coveted prey that slipped out in Russia in the 90’, and Iraq and Libya afterwards: the hydrocarbon reserves of a great producer to add up to their own in order to face more comfortably the vicissitudes of the post-American world.

This is an idea that has been present for some time in the mind of Trump. According to former FBI Director, McCabe, Trump declared in 2017 that the time had come to wage war on Venezuela. And not to rescue his people starving under communist tyranny, but because the same people “had all that oil and thay are right on our back door”.

The same Trump had criticized Obama in 2011 because he let himself get “ripped off” by not claiming half of Libyan oil in exchange for the cooperation of the USA in overthrowing Gaddafi. 

The “oil factor” is more convincing than the “communist” one to explain the anti-Venezuelan drive of Uncle Sam. Oil greed would have unleashed against a government of any political color, if this government had shown a determination to exercise its full sovereignty over its natural resources. It happened already in 1953, when the nationalist government of Mossadegh was overthrown by the CIA in Iran because of its decision to nationalise the oil production.

To complete the picture, however, another, crucial albeit little known motive of hostility should be high lighted: the challenge to the hegemony of the dollar launched by Chavez-Maduro right at the dawn of a process of de-dollarization of the world economy. Venezuela's decision to avoid the use of the dollar in oil trading, and to create a system of foreign trade, the Sucre, based on a criptocurrency, the Petro, guaranteed by its oil and other resources, has hit the nerve of the USA finance.

The dollar is the last pillar of the American power as the other, the military, the possession of the most formidable armed force on the planet, turned out to be a fiasco almost anywhere from Vietnam onwards and has become a source of indebtedness and discord with allies and clients.

The hypersensitivity of the financial elite currently at the helm of the American power towards any threat, even potential, to his central nervous system composed of greenbacks, is understandable. This is because the dollar  -although seemingly enjoying excellent health, as the world’s currency reserve and store of value - is being undermined by a challenge which started to animate international relations since a couple od decades.

The attack on the greenback centrality is blatant from the Iranian and Russian side. It is partially veiled from the Chinese and the BRICS’s countries side, and is implicit in the case of the European Union, owner of the only mature alternative to the dollar, the euro. And because of that, EU is guarded at sight from the United States.

The Wall Street-Treasury-Government nexus is aware that the timing of the sunset of their empire depends from the decline of the dollar hegemony, and are ready to use any weapon to impede the latter.

No matter, therefore, how far would have gone the decision by Saddam Hussein to use the euro instead of the dollar for the Iraqi oil transactions. Or how solid were Gadhafi’s projects to create an African currency for the same purpose. Nor does matter the modest size of the current volume of non-dollarized trade between Russia, India, Iran, Cina, Turkey and the European Union.

The de-dollarization is a vital threat. Its signals must be strangled in their cradle. How?

    In the case of relatively marginal and not nuclear-armed countries – not nuclear because previously disarmed by the UN as Iraq or convinced to abandon nuclear programs as Libya – it is not necessary to waste time in niceties. Iraq was invaded because it did not have the atomic bomb.

In the case of Iran – a middle-power promoting de-dollarization, titular of a significant non-oil economy  and capable of a quick nuclearization– more caution is needed. The ideal thing to do here is to push the country towards atomic disarmament and then hit and re-dollarize it. As the USA is trying to do now, in spite of the disagreement of the rest of the world.

Against Russia and China there is little that can be done. Especially now, after the two countries have developed a commercial, political and military agreement that makes the sum of their "capabilities" (territory, population, industry, armaments and technology) bigger than that of the US. But both are still weak on the financial side, and haven't yet decided to launch a joint challenge to the dollar across the board.

The strategy here is to isolate them as much as possible, delaying the birth of a multicurrency world order, where the U.S. money can no longer be used as a weapon of global domination.

As for the European Union, the threat to the dollar supremacy represented by the creation of the single currency deflated shortly after its birth in 1999. Euro’s weight in global transactions fell from 30% to the  current 20%. For the masters of global finance, in order to keep the euro where it is now, it is sufficient to maintain the current political and economic distance between EU and Russia.  

This scenario helps explain why the United States moved toward the final solution against a country that had the courage to challenge them on everything, including the currency. 

Currency that is wrapped around the neck of Venezuela today in order that everyone understands that after Libya, Iraq and Iran, to hurt the dollar means to be at risk of death.


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Pino ArlacchiNon sono una persona complicata. La mia vita pubblica ruota intorno a due cose: il tentativo di capire ciò che mi circonda, da sociologo, e il tentativo di costruire un mondo più decente, da intellettuale e militante politico.

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