The embattled Euro has gotten a surprise boost from an unexpected quarter―China. The country with the world’s largest foreign exchange currency reserves, China, has pledged to support Greek debt as well as the Euro in what is clearly a geopolitical decision. In doing so, China has signaled it seeks to prevent the US financial warfare attack on Europe and to play the EU off against the USA in a geopolitical chess game of a fascinating dimension.
- China’s Premier Wen Jiabao is congratulated by his Greek counterpart George Papandreou, left, and President of Greek Parliament Philippos Petsalnikos, right, after receiving the gold medal of the Parliament in Athens on Sunday, 3 October 2010.
- Photo: AFP
Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, on an unusual visit to tiny Greece, a country which normally would never warrant such a high-level visit from the world’s fastest growing economic giant, has pledged support for Greece and for the Euro. According to the official Chinese Xinhua News Agency, “China supports Greece in firmly carrying out structural reforms and cutting its fiscal deficits to improve competitiveness. China welcomes the EU and the IMF’s rescue package for Greece and stands ready to help Greece out of recession.”
What it means concretely was made clear by Wen Jiabao at a press conference early October in Athens when he stated, “‘China is holding Greek bonds and will keep buying bonds that Greece issues. We will undertake to support Eurozone countries and Greece to overcome the crisis.”
The last statement is far the most significant. It indicates that China has made a strategic decision to counter any future attempt by US-based hedge funds and banks to attack the weak countries of the Eurozone, including Ireland, Spain, Portugal or Greece. Early this year, as we noted at the time, Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs, working in tandem with the US-based credit rating agencies, Standard & Poors and Moodys and Fitch, exploded the Greece financial crisis at the precise time China and other major investors were beginning to have serious doubts about the fiscal stability of the United States and of the dollar.
Let me be clear. The Euro as it stands, the supranational European Central Bank and the EU approach to international financial stability is not merely a flawed construct. It is inherently programmed to crises. It was born as the product of flawed rotten political compromises in the 1990’s through the Treaty of Maastricht as an attempt by France and Italy and Britain to control an emerging German economic colossus after German unification.
However, the concerted attack by a group of New York hedge funds such as George Soros’ and others earlier this year, and the precisely timed credit downgrade of Greece to “junk” status were in my view clearly part of a concerted US strategy of financial warfare against that Eurozone, the only potential alternative to the dollar as world reserve currency. Should the US dollar lose its status as the world leading reserve currency—today it still counts for some 65% of central bank currency reserves—the United States would be ultimately doomed as world sole Superpower.
Now the surprise announcement by China of plans to support Greece and the euro give an unexpected boost to the embattled country and to the euro and expose the dollar even more to possible selloff.
Greece desperately needs foreign investment to help it meet terms of a €110 billion bailout from eurozone members and the international monetary Fund that saved it this spring from state debt default. “I am convinced that with my visit to Greece our bilateral relations and cooperation in all spheres will be further developed,” Wen said on his way to Brussels for an EU-China Summit.
Like most things that China does these days, it is part of a shrewd political calculation. Greece has agreed to support EU recognition of full market economy status for China within the EU, while China agrees to back Greece’s call for UN mediation over Cyprus. The two countries will cooperate on development as well of Piraeus Pier, upgrading it to a distributing and transfer center for Asian exports to Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea.
As if specially timed, US hedge fund speculator, George Soros, who is currently appealing a French court conviction for insider trading,  has come out publicly blaming the German government of Angela Merkel for austerity measures he says will lead the Euro Zone into a “deflation spiral,” demanding instead more of a US-style fiscal stimulus. Given the respect accorded to words from Soros in financial markets, the effect of his comments is likely to have a negative impact on the Euro-dollar trade.
US financial warfare against euroland?
Notably, Soros has been one of the strongest voices against the Euro at a time when the world, at the end of 2009 was losing confidence in not the euro but the US dollar. On February 26, the Wall Street Journal reported details of a secret New York meeting involving billionaire hedge fund speculator George Soros of the $27 billion Soros Fund Management, along with SAC Capital Advisors LP, Greenlight Capital and undisclosed others.
According to the Journal report, the hedge fund managers appeared to discuss a concerted attack on the Euro, using the Greek financial crisis as the lever to make the attack credible. Earlier this year, speaking at the Davos World Economic Forum, the same Soros boosted the potential of the planned attack against the Euro when he told press there was “no attractive alternative” to the dollar, a signal for a de facto attack on the Euro which was regarded six months ago as an alternative to the dollar as world reserve currency. He added that the Euro’s “problems” made it an unviable substitute reserve currency.
Soros’ anti-Euro remarks were followed by prominent New York economist Nouriel Roubini, who said that Europe’s fiscal woes were creating “a rising risk” that its single-currency alliance will splinter: “Down the line, not this year or two years from now, we could have a breakup of the monetary union,”
Both Roubini and Soros are close to the Obama Administration. Soros was one of the first financial backers of Obama and Roubini is reported very close to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Following his hedge fund “chat” about the future of the euro, on February 22, Soros wrote an OpEd article in London’s Financial Times, the world’s most prominent financial daily, in which he stated, “The survival of Greece would still leave the future of the euro in question."
The attack on Greece and the euro early this year also involved the most powerful players on Wall Street, the “Gods of Money” as I term them in my new book. The politically powerful Wall Street bank, Goldman Sachs, has been in the middle of the Greek financial manipulations since Greece entered the Euro in 2001. They were also involved in the January 2010 Greek crisis attack. On January 29, Goldman Sachs went with a number of top Wall Street firms to Greece where they met the Greek deputy finance minister and the National Bank of Greece. The hedge fund attacks began several days after that.
According to the Wall Street Journal report, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and London’s Barclays Bank joined Soros and the other hedge funds, making bets against the Euro at the same time Goldman Sachs was acting as an advisor to the Papandreou government, which would appear to be a rather clear conflict of interest.
The US-based credit rating agencies, Moodys and Standard & Poors also played a critical role in weakening the Euro earlier this year. At the time the EU governments announced agreement in principle on a Greek bailout package in order to stabilize the speculative attacks on the euro, on April 27, Standard & Poors announced an unprecedented rating downgrade of Greek government debt by three-levels to “junk grade.” That move insured that pension funds and other investors would be forced to panic sell Greek bonds, a move that greatly exacerbated the pressures on the Euro.
Asia Crisis and British Pound EMU crisis
The pattern of the hedge fund attacks on the Euro follows the financial warfare strategy carried out by select US hedge funds previously. In 1992, on what some informed market professionals believed at the time might have been insider information, Soros claimed to have made $1 billion speculating against the British Pound Sterling, forcing the British government to abandon plans to bring Britain into the emerging Eurozone.
Had Britain and the powerful financial resources of the City of London come into the new Eurozone, many in Wall Street and Washington privately feared that could spell the death knell for the dollar as world reserve currency. The fact that the dollar is world reserve currency has been one of two strategic props for American power in the world, the other being the Pentagon. Were the dollar to lose that, the future of the American Century, the sole superpower would be mortally in doubt.
Similarly, in May 1997, it was a concerted hedge fund attack again led by George Soros’s Quantum Fund, then joined by Moore Capital Management and Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management Group and his Jaguar and Tiger funds, against the currencies of the Asian “Tiger” economies that turned Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia. The wrecking of the Tiger economies in 1997-1998 turned those economies from self-sustaining dynamic economic growth, largely financially independent of US or IMF control, into de facto buyers of US Government debt as Asia tried to defend against future attacks. Like the Sterling crisis of 1992 the 1997-1998 Asia Crisis also served to give a few more years of life support to the fragile dollar.
Now, as the US depression deepens and the dimension of the banking problems worsens by the Day; the dollar’s future is threatened as never before. To counter this, clearly the most powerful circles of Wall Street and the Treasury and Federal Reserve are magnifying the small Greek crisis into an exaggerated picture of “collapse of the EU” in hopes of ruining the Euro as a potential alternative to the dollar for foreign central banks.
This is not to say that the Euro and the Maastricht Treaty are a model for a healthy alternative to the problems of the dollar region. Far from it. It is merely to identify the geopolitical power battle going on behind the scenes to keep the dollar Titanic from sinking. China has evidently decided to weigh in on that battle on the side of the euro.
The attack on the Euro and the dismantling of the European Union, by Jean-Claude Paye, Voltaire Network, 23 July 2010;
€uro: the worst case scenario, by Jean-Michel Vernochet, Voltaire Network, 11 June 2010.