Ex-CIA advisor predicts date when US dollar hegemony will collapse
The collective push to replace the US dollar as the world reserve currency has much to do with Washington's "weaponization of the dollar through the use of sanctions."
In an op-ed posted on The Daily Reckoning on Tuesday, former CIA and Department of Defense advisor and investment banker James Rickards predicted that August 22 will be the day the US dollar's status, as the world reserve currency and medium for exchange will formally collapse.
Many factors are worth considering, including the weaponization of the dollar against Russia's economy amid the conflict in Ukraine, the US' own national debt of $31 trillion, and recent talks on the part of the BRICS+ group to create an alternative trade and reserve currency that would rival the dollar.
"On August 22, about two-and-a-half months from today, the most significant development in international finance since 1971 will be unveiled," Rickards writes in reference to the upcoming BRICS+ Leaders Summit which will unveil plans for substituting the dollar in global trade.
What is interesting to note is that on that same day in 1971, August 22 was also the day the US dropped the gold standard. "It involves the rollout of a major new currency that could weaken the role of the dollar in global payments and ultimately displace the US dollar as the leading payment currency and reserve currency," Rickards added, noting that the shift could span over a period of "just a few years."
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Rickards says the push for a new currency spearheaded by the BRICS+ group will "affect world trade, direct foreign investment and investor portfolios in dramatic and unforeseen ways," and cause an "unprecedented [...] geopolitical shockwave."
He also said that the BRICS+ plans for expansion are "the most important development of the BRICS system," noting that eight countries have so far already applied for membership, along with twelve others expressing an interest in joining the bloc, including Saudi Arabia, which assisted the US in propelling the dollar currency to the status of world hegemon through establishing the petrodollar system.
"There's more to this list than just increasing the headcount at future BRICS meetings," Rickards emphasized, pointing out that "if Saudi Arabia and Russia are both members, you have two of the three largest energy producers under one tent (the US is the other member of the energy Big Three)."
On another note, the BRICS countries make up 30 percent of the world's surface, with 50 percent of global wheat and rice production, and 15 percent of the planet's gold reserves. It accounts for 40 percent of the world population, 28 percent of nominal GDP (pending Saudi Arabia's membership), and 52 percent is measured under the PPP formula.
"By every measure – population, landmass, energy output, GDP, food output, and nuclear weapons – BRICS is not just another multilateral debating society. They are a substantial and credible alternative to Western hegemony," Rickards said.
Accordingly, when the bloc launches its new currency, it will not simply "fall on an empty field," but be integrated "into a sophisticated network of capital and communications," which should "greatly enhance its chances of success," he argued.
Elsewhere in the op-ed, Rickards said that the BRICS currency is expected to be pegged to a basket of trade commodities or gold, and will likely appear in the form of a digital currency instead of paper money.
He also said that chances for success for the BRICS currency to replace the US dollar will depend on the formation of an alternative to the US bonds market which is seen as the safest bet to safeguard assets value.
"The key is to create a BRICS+ currency bond market in 20 or more countries at once, relying on retail investors in each country to buy the bonds. The BRICS+ bonds would be offered through banks and postal offices and other retail outlets. They would be denominated in BRICS+ currency, but investors could purchase them in local currency at market-based exchange rates. Since the currency is gold-backed it would offer an attractive store of value compared with inflation," Rickards writes.
He added that "if the BRICS+ use a kind of Liberty Bond patriotic model, they may well be able to create international reserve assets denominated in the BRICS+ currency even in the absence of developed market support. This entire turn of events – introduction of a new gold-backed currency, rapid adoption as a payment currency, and gradual use as a reserve asset currency – will begin on August 22, 2023, after years of development."
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The collective push to replace the US dollar as the world reserve currency has much to do with Washington's "weaponization of the dollar through the use of sanctions," Rickards writes.
"On numerous occasions from 2007-2014, I warned US officials from the Treasury, Pentagon, and intelligence community that overuse or abuse of dollar sanctions would lead adversaries to abandon the dollar to avoid the impact of sanctions. Such abandonment would lead to the diluted potency of sanctions, unforeseen costs imposed on the US, and eventually to the collapse of confidence in the dollar itself. These warnings were mostly ignored. We have now reached the first and second stages of this forecast and are dangerously close to the third," the observer wrote.
Western sanctions imposed on Russia in 2022 have particularly hastened the process of de-dollarization, causing "many other nations" to realize that "they could be next if they run afoul of the US on certain issues."
In sum, Rickards predicted that the process of de-dollarization could occur at a "much faster" pace than he previously expected, owing to the fact that several countries are opting to carry out trade and financial transactions in local currencies, but also because of the "growing strategic relationship" between Beijing and Moscow "as the two superpowers jointly confront the US."