Communist China’s Digital Currency Orwellian Assault



What’s in Your Wallet?

The US dollar as the world’s reserve currency and the “SWIFT” system for global money transfer represent the twin pillars of a transparent international financial system capable of policing criminal activities and deterring rogue nations from conduct outside international norms.    Today, both pillars are crumbling as Communist China strategically pushes adoption of its new digital currency, the “digital yuan.”

Since the 1944 Bretton Woods Accord, the US dollar has served as the world’s primary reserve currency, with central banks around the world holding about 60% of their foreign reserves in greenbacks compared to about 20% for the Euro and around 5% for the Japanese Yen and British Pound.  This global dollar demand has, in turn, artificially increased its value as measured in its exchange rate.

For US citizens, the big advantage of this stronger dollar is that it pushes interest rates and mortgage rates lower than they would otherwise be.  On the other hand, and this was a point I often made in the Trump White House, a strong dollar also spikes the US trade deficit as imports are cheaper and our exports less competitive – effectively exporting American jobs and factories.

These pros and cons notwithstanding, the geopolitical advantage of King Dollar is this:  With so much of foreign transactions and trade in dollars, the US is able to impose financial sanctions on countries that engage in behavior outside international norms, e.g., Communist China’s crushing of Hong Kong, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Iran’s development of weapons of mass destruction to attack Israel.

It is in America’s fulfillment of this geopolitical policing function where the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication comes in.  With SWIFT representing the go-to system to transfer money around the world, its financial institution members can serve as “cops on the beat” not just to police criminal activities such as money laundering but to also enforce US financial sanctions on rogue nations – the US only wields such power because of its reserve currency status.

As I likewise warned in the Trump White House, the repeated use of sanctions has spurred Communist China to develop the yuan as a substitute reserve currency capable of insulating China from US sanctions.  This process officially began in October of 2016 when the International Monetary Fund added the yuan to its Special Drawing Rights basket as an international reserve asset.   Since that time the yuan has steadily gained ground against the greenback.

Here, what matters is not aggregate global statistics where the dollar remains quite dominant.  Rather, China’s strategy is to concentrate yuan usage in a bloc of countries seeking to escape the long arm of US sanctions.  The poster child here is Putin’s Russia, which holds nearly a third of all of its reserves in yuan; but the growing list also includes Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh, France, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Thailand, Brazil, and India.

Yet, its not just sanctions that Communist China, with it growing “yuan bloc,” is seeking to avoid.  China’s authoritarian leaders all the way up to Xi Jinping have realized that a digital form of the yuan provides yet another tool of social control both within and outside of China’s bamboo curtain borders. 

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