Below is our translation from rueconomics.ru of an article showing how US heavy-handed policies are driving Germany away from the US sphere of influence.
In this article, I showed how the policy of bullying countries into economic submission to the US is like a guard dog that, instead of defending against the wolf, attacks other shepherds and their sheep. In the long run, this policy ends up weakening and impoverishing that dog’s master.
Quote from the translated article:
“Aggressive attempts by the United States to promote the interests of its liquefied gas producers in Germany will have the opposite effect, experts say. The threat of US sanctions against German companies involved in the implementation of Nord Stream-2 leads to the gradual formation of a unified consensus of big business and political forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, which in turn brings together the positions of Berlin and Moscow.”
When the first US sanctions were imposed on Russia due to supposed “Russian aggression”, ie, the accession of Crimea to the RF as a result of a legally held referendum (nothing aggressive about it), Russia immediately slapped tariffs on products imported from the West and within a short time, Russia was food-independent. And after that, Russia became one of the biggest grain exporters in the world. Russians thanked the US for the sanctions that led them to do what they should have done before.
The sanctions on companies participating in the construction of Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 had a similar effect, but in that case, they were rejected even more vigorously, particularly by German politicians and investors. The reason for this rejection was that Europeans with half a brain knew that the main reason for the sanctions was not so much to punish Russia but to sell extravagantly priced American LNG to Europe. The European politicians rebuked the US for this ham handed attempt to force them to buy a white elephant, and the US was forced to back down, although they are still harassing, using ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as their bag man.
US provocations against Nord Stream 2 drive Germany and Russia closer together
January 14, 2019, Berlin, Germany
Aggressive attempts by the United States to promote the interests of its liquefied gas producers in Germany will have the opposite effect, experts say. The threat of US sanctions against German companies involved in the implementation of Nord Stream-2 leads to the gradual formation of a unified consensus of big business and political forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, which in turn brings together the positions of Berlin and Moscow.
US provocations against German companies
The United States continues to attempt to influence the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The threats of imposing sanctions against German companies for participating in the project the day before were made by the US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. According to German media, BASF and Uniper even turned to the Foreign Ministry to find out how to better respond to such threats from the US ambassador.
According to the press, the diplomatic department was advised not to respond to the messages, and called the actions of the American ambassador in the German Foreign Ministry a provocation. Grenell was sharply criticized by all political forces in the country. For example, the deputy head of the Left Party faction in the Bundestag, Fabio De Mazi, called the American ambassador "the viceroy of the emperor from Washington in Germany", and said the sanctions against companies from the Federal Republic of Germany are "contradictory to international law."
“Grenell is compared to Trump in the manner of conducting diplomacy, which is extremely aggressive, and unreceptive to any alternative opinion that differs from the American one. The current sanctions pressure is based on the logic of the US actions to aggressively promote its LNG producers on the European market. According to the general line, Nord Stream 2 should be stopped so that the United States can increase the export of liquefied gas to Europe.
Plus, the actions of Americans should be considered in the framework of a single multi-vectorial strategy aimed at isolating Russia. The “Gas war” is only one of the links in this chain, which also manifests in other projects in the economy, politics and cultural sphere. The gradual formation of a unified consensus of German big business and political forces can seriously disrupt these plans of the United States,” said Alexander Kamkin, a leading researcher at the Centre for German Studies at the Institute of Europe, RAS.
Declarative nature of threats
As the interlocutor of FBA Ekonomika Segodnya adds, a couple of years ago certain contradictions were observed here. When the German business was knocking at the offices of political parties and parliament in order to convey their views on economic cooperation with Russia, it heard appeals to separate politics and economics, but now we are seeing a convergence of positions. According to the expert, the blackmail of the Americans on the "Nord Stream 2" today is so annoying to the German political class that it is given a tacit instruction not to take seriously the statement of the American ambassador.
It is worth noting that the implementation of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project has reached the final stage, so any serious impact of US sanctions on the construction process seems unlikely. Moreover, world practice does not know precedents when such projects were frozen at the final stage.
All threats from the US ambassador to Germany are absolutely declarative in nature, since so far there are no bans on working with Nord Stream 2 in the US legislation, said Igor Yushkov, a lecturer at the Financial University under the Russian government. According to the expert, the project is beneficial to Germany and the entire European Union, because it strengthens the reliability of gas supplies to the European energy market, and this is a strategically important point for the entire continent.
“We cannot rule out the possibility that German politicians now want to score political points on the confrontation with the United States in this matter. They have elections for the European Parliament on their nose, and the main political forces in Germany approach them with poor results.
Their sharp criticism of Washington can be viewed, in part as a kind of attempt to win the favour of voters. As a result, a kind of layer cake is formed from opportunistic considerations of political parties, real business interests, political contradictions between the EU and the US, and features of the energy policy,” summarizes Alexander Kamkin.
In the good old days, states used to hire and train spies to uncover high-level plans to subvert their countries. But things have been turned on their heads since then.
While the entire West declares, without proof but with conclusions of "highly likely" handed down by intel agencies that have lost the knack of gathering intel, that Russia and China have been guilty of numerous misdemeanours and crimes punishable by sanctions, the two countries have been literally broadcasting their intentions to bring down the US Empire since no later than 2009 and the Empire has simply refused to believe this open secret is useful intel. They have not only ceased to be intel gatherers and analysts, they have in fact ceased to be normal human beings with ordinary common sense. The name of the pathology is normalcy bias and Western think tanks have a terminal case of it. Now, nine years later, nothing has changed. Russia and China are working openly to challenge dollar hegemony and still, no one in the West is taking them seriously. After all, with Western intelligence agencies now being focused squarely on promulgating anti-Russia propaganda, ie, creatingly theories proving that Russia is indeed a dangerous adversary, they can hardly be expected to actually gather intelligence to find out what real intentions their real adversaries have for them.
In its latest discussion, the Centre for the National Interest seems to have arrived on the scene several – perhaps as many as 9 – years too late to a serious discussion of Sino-Russian ties and their implications for the US and its allies. The Centre’s Graham Allison and Dimitri Simes (the Centre’s president and CEO) concluded that the growing cooperation between China and Russia could “if left unchecked, have profoundly negative consequences.” The question of how the US might “check” this cooperation was left untouched.
As early as 2009, Global Research had reported on a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Yekaterinburg whose organizers plainly stated their intention:
“The attendees have assured American diplomats that dismantling the US financial and military empire is not their aim. They simply want to discuss mutual aid – but in a way that has no role for the United States, NATO or the US dollar as a vehicle for trade. US diplomats may well ask what this really means, if not a move to make US hegemony obsolete. That is what a multipolar world means, after all.”
“A Council on Foreign Relations spokesman has said he hardly can imagine that Russia and China can overcome their geopolitical rivalry, suggesting that America can use the divide-and-conquer that Britain used so deftly for many centuries in fragmenting foreign opposition to its own empire.”
They simply assumed that China and Russia were bluffing, trying to scare Washington, the Fed, the Pentagon, Wall Street, US intel agencies.
Well, gee, duh, it was, of course, a move to make US hegemony obsolete, and as several NSS translations-cum-commentaries have shown, the Empire is teetering on the brink, with the CFR president brashly stating that the US “cannot defeat Russia” and with financial/economic experts predicting a drastic devaluation of the US dollar in the not-so-distant future. It is US analysts anxious to be able to say in the aftermath, “we tried to warn you” even though they had waited until it was too late.
More recently, in 2014, there was further open discussion of de-dollarization, in Russia and China and the organizations they founded, which excluded Western states. The facts included in the discussion made it clear that Russia intended at that time, to press on with de-dollarization. Yet, the author concludes that Putin will eventually back down and nothing will come of these efforts:
“Of course, even in the case of Russia’s Putin, it is premature to read much into his current defiance of the U.S. The Russian elite typically sends its fortune to be deposited in the vaults of the Western banks in currencies of the advanced capitalist world, notably the U.S. dollar. Putin’s “de-dollarization” therefore would sooner or later run into class opposition by the Russian corporate-financial oligarchy. How Putin copes with such opposition remains to be seen. But Putin’s Russia, for all its anti-American rhetoric, is no Soviet Union. And it would not surprise one in the least if Putin soon capitulates before the West, and calls a halt to the “de-dollarization” drive.”
Well, of course, Putin did no such thing over the next 4 years. The very next year, he was entering the war in Syria, and very shortly, had turned around the fortunes of the Syrians, whose armed forces had, by that very moment, faced annihilation by the “moderate” terrorists that the US had supported. And since then, the US has imposed countless sanctions on Russia and its allies for infractions of one kind or another, ie, “Russian aggression” that was nothing but a reaction to US aggression at the Maidan, consisting of a violent illegal coup that now in its advanced stages, threatens to destroy Ukraine economically if not militarily. Putin knows the difference between justice and injustice, and is adapted for self-preservation, and, in tandem with allies such as China, Europe, India and Iran, as well as part-time partners such as Turkey, has taken further steps to de-dollarize the world and create money transfer systems that bypass SWIFT.
Since then, China has persuaded numerous states to join it in its programs promoting and implementing currency swaps and trade settlement in yuan and other local currencies. It is now abundantly clear that, from the outset, since the meeting of the SCO in Yekaterinburg in 2009, Russia and China will persevere unperturbed toward the goal of dethroning King Dollar as The World Reserve currency and an end to the rivers of blood poured out by the Pentagon throughout the world.
Even Europe is on board with de-dollarization, as I had forecast in an analysis of July 2017.
The National Interest reports on the above mentioned discussion of the Centre for the National Interest at which participants Graham Allison and NI founder/CEO Dimitri Simes warn that “growing cooperation between China and Russia poses a major strategic challenge to the United States, which if left unchecked could have profoundly negative consequences.”
As in the past, and as expected, Simes, the intellectual leader of the group, concludes that not to worry because:
1—“…despite growing cooperation, the relationship still does not rise to the level of a de facto alliance, and an official alliance between the two powers is improbable.”
2--Beijing has rebuffed Moscow’s entreaties to take specific measures that would bolster the Russian economy against Western pressure, such as conducting financial transactions in local currency (so as to avoid the U.S. dollar).
Regarding no. 1 above, note the eerie similarity to the earlier predictions – all proven wrong – that Russia and allies would fail and the US and its entourage of vassals would prevail.
As for no. 2 above, Dimitry Simes, who made this statement, is not only wrong today, he has, like so many of his fellow Western think-tank colleagues, kept his head in the sand for all of these 9 years, overlooking the plainest, most unmistakable signs that there was no such thing as a significant China-Russia spat and that the Sino-Russian partnership was gradually materializing into a full-fledged de facto alliance of the kind he had said did not exist.
As one of many examples, a Chinese language article at finance.sina.com.cn plainly states
Gazprom Neft, a petroleum subsidiary of state-owned giant Gazprom, said recently that it has been using renminbi to settle oil exports to China delivered via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific oil pipeline since the beginning of 2015.
This is all the sadder since Dimitry was raised and educated in Russia and can – if he so chooses – read the Russian press including news reports and in-depth analyses of the kind we have shared with our readers in translation with keen commentaries. But like almost every US analyst, he perceives it as his mission to reassure his audience that all is well and that the Russians and Chinese will never get on well enough to make a dent in the US economy. But they have already dented it and are getting on famously. Xi Jinping famously called Putin his “best friend.”
And they are showing no signs of leaving off in their pursuit of a multipolar world.
If you’re going to use a guard dog to protect your sheep, you had better choose and train the dog wisely. There is nothing sadder than a guard dog that bites the sheep and the shepherd while the wolf dines on rack of lamb. Every nation is a shepherd trying to protect its flock. America is such a shepherd. However, Iran, China and India are shepherds too, and the American guard dog was charged with fending off the wolf. Instead it attacked the other shepherds and their flocks, bringing down their wrath on its own master. And now America is reaping the consequences of this thoughtless action.
Our translation of a Russian-language article posted yesterday showed that profligate US spending policies are threatening the dollar by scaring away investors in Treasuries.
Today’s translation, from Ria Novosti, with commentary by Vince Dhimos, indicates that India is also planning to bolt away from the US dollar in international trade settlements, and the reason for this is, of course, US sanctions and trade tariffs. You’d think US politicians and policy makers had never heard of unintended consequences. It is really pathetic to watch.
Now we see how the anti-Russian and anti-Iran sanctions on third parties are boomeranging, ie, not only inducing India to trade with Russia and Iran in local currencies, bypassing the USD, but also driving India and China, initially strategic adversaries, together, to the detriment of the US.
Let’s also not forget that Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Malaysia, Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq and others are using non-dollar currencies, mostly yuan (renminbi) in at least some of their international trade settlements.
And according to yicaiglobal.com, 14 African countries are weighing the use of the yuan in trade settlements. According to Zambia’s Mail & Guardian, a branch of the Bank of China in Zambia is offering renminbi banking services.
Reuters reports that China and Australia are establishing a direct currency trading source.
In addition, since the US has unofficially declared war on Syria, it is unlikely that that country will ever trade in USD again.
Further, Hong Kong based law firm King & Wood Mallesons reports, surprisingly, that even Saudi Arabia is expected to yield to Chinese pressure and start trading in yuan. If this happens, it has the potential to trigger an economic plate shift. (NSS has posted numerous analyses of the enormous influence that Saudi Arabia has had on US policies, eg, here, here, here, here and here). The direct and hard-hitting accusations of US politicians against MBS in the wake of the Kashoggi affair (intended, of course, to smear Trump) may trigger a retaliatory action that could include a switch from dollars to yuan by the Saudis that would spook investors and further discourage them from purchasing Treasuries.
At any rate, the fact that Trump and his allies in Congress keep wantonly using the dollar as a weapon suggests they have little idea of what is just around the corner.
Elephant move: India has dealt an unexpected blow to the American economy
MOSCOW, January 10 - RIA Novosti, Alexander Lesnykh.
Since January 31, the Government of India has imposed 30 percent duties on American agricultural products. We are talking about goods worth 857 million dollars - more than a third of food imports from the United States. RIA Novosti reports on why Delhi is retaliating against Washington and why experts see a "Chinese footprint" in this.
Year of grey hair
Although China was and still is the front line of the trade war for Washington, President Donald Trump managed to pretty much strike a nerve with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It all started back in March, when Trump announced duties on steel and aluminium of 25% and ten percent, respectively. Along with their colleagues in Russia, China, Europe, Japan and other countries, Indian metallurgists were also hit.
But India also suffered because of its military-technical cooperation with Russia. In April, the White House included Rosoboronexport in the sanctions list in accordance under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), and Indian banks had to freeze the $2 billion tranche intended to pay for repairs to the Chakra nuclear submarine leased from Russia (Project 971 Shchuka-B). Otherwise, there was a risk of losing the ability to conduct operations in US dollars.
In early May, Trump announced his withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran, promising to restore sanctions against Tehran and all those who cooperate with the Iranian authorities. Obviously, this was also directed against China and India, the two main buyers of Iranian oil.
True, the US president gave Beijing and Delhi a 180-day grace period to search for new suppliers. But at the same time, as reported by RIA Novosti, in the US Department of State, the account had to be settled from a special escrow account. It is opened by the purchasing country, and the money transferred to it can be spent by Iran only on humanitarian goods, which Washington grants permission to buy.
It is worth noting that Trump agreed to a postponement not at all out of the goodness of his heart, but as a result of tough negotiations that lasted for six months. A source in the Indian Foreign Ministry informed RIA Novosti of this in early November.
The size its the economy does not allow India to respond symmetrically to US duties and enter into an open confrontation with Washington the way China does (according to the World Bank, India’s GDP in 2017 was 2.6 trillion dollars, China’s was 2.2 trillion).
Due to Washington’s aggressiveness, Beijing and Delhi shifted for the first time in a long time from economic confrontation to coordinated measures against US pressure. Even though India and China are, in fact, strategic rivals in the Asia-Pacific region.
Keep your eye on the hand
Meanwhile, Delhi and Tehran agreed to abandon the dollar in payments for oil and in January switched to paying for supplies in rupees. This was reported to Reuters by the executive director of the Indian state UCO bank Charan Singh.
Earlier, the same agreement had been reached with Russia. In early November, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov announced that India would pay for the S-400 Triumph anti-missile systems in roubles. In the future, it is planned to expand mutual trade in national currencies and in civilian production.
In practice, this means that for key foreign trade positions India is no longer dependent on the US currency. On December 21st, Sushma Swaraj and Wang Yi, the foreign ministers of India and China, met in New Delhi. The media gave it short shrift, but it can hardly be considered a coincidence that two weeks later, India announced duties on overseas apples, almonds, hazelnuts, lentils and chickpeas. Moreover, Delhi warned that in the future the restrictions would affect some products made of iron and steel, boric acid, parts for pipes and motorcycles.
Recall that last fall, Beijing also introduced duties on American agricultural products - at the rate of 25%. It hurt farmers who supplied wheat, corn, dairy products and pork. The soybean market suffered the most - exports to the PRC collapsed by 98%, which led to an overproduction crisis (soybeans accounted for about 60% of all agricultural supplies to China).
There was simply nowhere to store the. Even after the rental price of granaries rose 40% compared to last year, they all were crammed with soy that no one needed. The only thing left for the farmers was to destroy the crop by burying it in the ground.
Now the same sad prospect looms because of the Indian duties. Note that the farm states were Donald Trump’s electoral mainstay in the 2016 presidential election. In 2020, apparently, he will have to forget about support from farmers.
To remedy the situation, the White House organized a $15 billion aid program for farmers. However, due to disputes with Trump over the construction of the wall on the Mexican border, lawmakers refused to approve the budget for 2019, and all government spending is now frozen indefinitely. Including the money for the program to support farmers.
Obviously, it was no coincidence that India and China came closer together last year, having held a series of meetings (the one that took place on 21 December in Delhi was not the only one) after many years of hostility and territorial disputes.
So, from now on, in the Asia-Pacific region, the two largest economies, accounting for about 20% of US imports and 12% of exports, are acting as one against Washington. It is unlikely that in the new year Trump will find it easier to fight for an improvement in the trade balance.
The following is a translation from Ria Novosti of an article by Natalia Dembinskaya on the US and world debt crisis, with commentary by Vince Dhimos.
“One of the leading American financiers, founder of the world's largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, billionaire Ray Dalio believes that a recession in the US economy cannot be avoided due to the triple deficit: budget, trade balance and current account. As Dalio explains, this will scare away foreign buyers of treasury bonds, which will provoke an explosive growth in their profitability and a dramatic drop in the dollar exchange rate by 30 percent.”
Point of no return: Trump has brought the US debt to a critical level
December 18, 2018
MOSCOW, December 18 - RIA Novosti, Natalia Dembinskaya. Huge global debt can cause another economic catastrophe. According to estimates of the International Monetary Fund, the world owes $184 trillion - about 225 percent of global GDP, or more than 86 thousand dollars per person. Who has the most huge debts, what does such a high debt load entail and who should worry about it now?
The current estimate of global debt from the IMF is almost two trillion dollars more than that published in October. The new indicator takes into account data for the end of 2017 on the basis of information provided by 190 countries since 1950.
About a third of the total debt falls on non-financial companies, and about 60 trillion - on financial ones. Governments around the world have accrued about 70 trillion dollars of debt.
The largest borrowers in the world are the USA, China and Japan. According to the IMF report, they have accumulated more than half of the global debt, which exceeds their share in world production.
Russia's external debt is one of the lowest in the world - $ 525 billion, 18.7 percent of GDP. According to the IMF, by 2023 this figure will reach 20.4 percent of GDP - a very moderate debt burden. In addition, Russia has eliminated the budget deficit. Last year, expenditures exceeded revenues by 1.5 percent of GDP, this is a surplus [sic].
Economists state: the total amount of world debt in the public and private sectors has soared by 60 percent over the past decade. And this is very dangerous.
Back in October, the IMF warned that the total debt of the countries of the world risks becoming the trigger of a new crisis.
By 2008, the average ratio of global debt to GDP was 36 percent, and now it is more than 50 percent. The fund is confident that the world economy is in this position because of political decisions that followed the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.
Collapse may be avoided if the financial system is reformed. But so far things are not going well with this.
"In most countries, the authorities have failed to make almost all the reforms required to protect the banking system - first of all, from the risky and rash actions of financiers, which caused a powerful chain reaction of the collapse a decade ago," the experts stated.
The IMF recognizes that some lessons over the past decade have been learned by regulators — this applies, in particular, to increasing bank reserves and tightening supervision over the financial sector. But this is clearly not enough.
One of the sources of the new crisis may be China, where the shadow lending sector has grown to alarming proportions. Chinese banks are increasingly willing to finance non-banking institutions - brokerage houses and usurers, intermediaries between banks and businesses.
The volume of the shadow sector lending in China has reached almost seven trillion dollars. The IMF believes that this bubble is capable of collapsing the country's economy and launching a new Asian crisis, similar to the 1997 collapse.
Assets grow in value
However, along with the increase in global debt, the value of state assets is also growing.
Thirty-one countries, accounting for 61 percent of global production, have significant capital of their own. The total value of assets is estimated at 110 trillion dollars, which is two times more than the aggregate GDP of these states. Another thing is that these assets are often managed inefficiently.
"Revenues from non-financial and state-owned corporations and state financial assets alone, can reach three percent of GDP per year, which is equivalent to the annual collection of corporate taxes in developed countries," the IMF said.
Thus, experts of the Institute of International Finance believe it is premature to draw conclusions about the impending economic catastrophe based on aggregate global debt data. It is more appropriate to consider the specific foci of debt in the world. The main focus is the United States, where, as American congressmen have already recognized, the likelihood of a debt crisis is greatest.
The already exorbitant debt load of the United States (more than 21.5 trillion dollars) due to the growing budget deficit risks becoming uncontrollable. Last summer, Republican Congressman Andy Biggs pointed this out, calling disproportionately high budget expenditures fuel for a “debt fire” that was growing. He recalled that budget allocations should not exceed 700 billion dollars, and in 2018 they have already reached 1.3 trillion.
“The country spends more than it takes in, and is forced to borrow money. The structural deficit creates a “path dependence.” I think we are moving towards the abyss,” said the parliamentarian.
According to the senator, the US authorities have no more than ten years to solve the problem.
- By 2026, the Medicare health insurance fund will be exhausted.
"It will be possible to depreciate money, declare a default or try to raise taxes and kill our economy. These are our prospects in eight to ten years,” the congressman stated.
Record growth rates
It does not seem that any improvement in the US budget situation can be expected.
Under the Trump administration, national debt has been growing at the highest rates in the past six years: by $1.9 trillion in two years. In the next couple of years, according to estimates by Bloomberg analysts, another 4.4 trillion will be added.
The IMF especially emphasizes that the assets of the American public sector are largely concentrated in state pension funds, mortgage and student loans. Under the scenario that assumes higher interest rates in the long run and a rapid fall in the prices of shares and real estate, the public capital of the United States by 2020 will be reduced to 26 percent of GDP.
One of the leading American financiers, founder of the world's largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, billionaire Ray Dalio believes that a recession in the US economy cannot be avoided due to the triple deficit: budget, trade balance and current account. As Dalio explains, this will scare away foreign buyers of treasury bonds, which will provoke an explosive growth in their profitability and a dramatic drop in the dollar exchange rate by 30 percent.
Following is our translation from Ria Novosti of a keen analysis of the state of the US economy with commentary by Vince Dhimos. Almost invariably, Russian analyses of the US economy are drawn almost exclusively from reports and statements by Western experts and renowned agencies (the IMF and CFR in this case). This is a little-known fact that Western journalists and politicians will, of course, not tell you. And it is a good reason for Western news consumers to read the Russian press. When I say Russian press, I am not referring so much to Sputnik, RT or the like news agencies that publish in English. Unfortunately, the kind of analysis you will find below is rare in these news sources for popular consumption. I hasten to add that they are nonetheless valuable and deserve your time and attention. I guess what I am trying to say is that readers of our translations in New Silk Strategies are a bit better informed than readers of exclusively Western sources, or of Western and/or Russian sources written in English only. Of course, being well informed about the down side of US policies and the merits of Russian policies can have its drawbacks in an age when hatred and scorn of Russia is all the rage. But just remember, this is a manifestation of temporary collective insanity and I solemnly promise you it will pass.
It looks like CFR chairman Richard Haass has recently gotten religion. We had presented a translation featuring Haass’ remarkable confession that the US “cannot defeat Russia.” Now we find him in deep contrition regarding the US economy, predicting an imminent crisis made in USA.
“… the chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haas, in his testimony given as an expert before the United States Senate, stated: "Increasing public debt will accelerate the demise of the dollar as a world currency. This will happen as a result of the loss of confidence in American financial policies, but also because of the associated fear that the actions that the US would need to take to finance its public debt would be in conflict with what the States would need to do to manage American and, indirectly, the world economy."
So why the sudden brutal honesty on the part of US experts – who are normally expected to present a rosy view of US policy -- regarding the soundness of the state of the Union?
Author Ivan Danilov may have nailed it when he said:
It looks like every financial market player or official from a supranational financial organization is trying to stake out the right in advance to say he warned everyone, but no one listened.
The IMF and the Bond King predict a new global crisis: there’s not much time left
Every Russian who remembers the “roaring 90s” at least a little is familiar with the activities and ideology of one of the most influential international financial organizations, that is, the International Monetary Fund, on whose enslaving loans the entire Russian economy depended at one time. The terribly humiliating negotiations of the Russian authorities and the then head of the IMF, the French economist Michel Camdessus, at that time riveted the attention of Russian television viewers and occupied the place of honour in Russian newspapers, because salaries and pensions depended on the decisions of Camdessus. Decades have passed, and Russia has changed a lot, but the IMF has remained one of the main strongholds of the global financial system, its leaders and experts being something like the high priests of the economic cult of the Washington Consensus. Waiting for them to criticize the existing global financial system or present a negative outlook on the Western or specifically the American economy is about the same as waiting for sleet in the Sahara. That is, theoretically everything is possible, but such situations clearly fall in the category of natural anomalies.
And yet. The First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, David Lipton, speaking at the annual conference of the American Economic Association, made some tough statements, pointing out that the world is not ready for a new crisis, and readiness should be dramatically strengthened: "A new recession (i.e. an economic contraction. - Ed.) is somewhere beyond the horizon, and we are less ready for it than we should, be <...> and are ready even less ready than during the last crisis in 2008” (as quoted in the Financial Times).
Bad omens. The global crisis could begin this year
He also complained that under these conditions "countries should pay attention to keeping their economies on a stable trajectory, creating reserves of strength, rather than engaging in struggles with each other."
The British edition of The Guardian quotes several more interesting statements from Mr. Lipton: “As we have said, the roof of the house needs to be repaired while the sun shines. But, like many of you, I can see storm clouds gathering, and I’m afraid that work on preventing the crisis has not been completed. <...> We need to be worried about the potentials of monetary policy."
Note: the high-ranking IMF leader proceeds from the fact that “many” from his circle of contacts already know that the world is not ready for the next crisis and that storm clouds are already “gathering.” But his phrase regarding doubts about the "potentials of monetary policy" needs to be translated from the American bureaucratic to spoken Russian, and it looks something like this: "Last time we, that is, the economic and administrative elite, saved the US from a crisis by massive printing of money and giving the US government and business the opportunity to borrow money at near zero interest. But this time I have serious doubts that this trick will work." Moreover, Lipton stressed that the already achieved high levels of debt burden in various countries limit their ability to use fiscal measures to stimulate the economy.
Strikingly, the same thesis, only in much more blunt form, was expressed in the annual presentation of the head of the large investment fund Double Line Capital, Jeffrey Gundlach, better known by his professional nickname the Bond King, conferred upon him by American journalists for his inexplicable ability to predict price fluctuations of various debt instruments. Gundlach described the US government debt as follows: "The ratio of federal debt to the US gross domestic product is an absolutely horrible situation." As an illustration of his assessment, he cited a graph of the growth of government debt relative to GDP and asked a rhetorical question: "Do we (that is, the American economy. Ed. note) are we growing at all or is everything just debt-based?"
That is, top US experts from the international financial structure and the private sector indicate that the current state of the American and the global economy as a whole is what is called a "catastrophe waiting to happen." That is, they are much more pessimistic than many Russian enthusiastic supporters of the theory of the "unsinkable American economy." One of the most influential American think tanks, the Council on Foreign Relations (Council on Foreign Relations) issued a special report on the state of American public debt, which says: "There is a growing risk that Washington's creditors, many of whom are foreign creditors (this is a fat hint at China – Ed. note), may suddenly lose faith, demand greater profitability (for American debts. - Ed. note) and provoke a budget crisis. "
Moreover, the chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haas, in his testimony given as an expert before the United States Senate, stated: "Increasing public debt will accelerate the demise of the dollar as a world currency. This will happen as a result of the loss of confidence in American financial policies, but also because of the associated fear that the actions that the US would need to take to finance its public debt would be in conflict with what the States would need to do to manage American and, indirectly, the world economy. "
It is starting to sound like panic - especially since in recent months, representatives of various private and supranational financial structures, from billionaire Ray Dalio to the Bank for International Settlements, have managed to speak in the same vein about the American government debt or about the unpreparedness of the world system.
There are reasonable doubts that they all can accurately predict the exact moment of onset of the crisis, but it is already hard to suppress the notion that they consider it to be inevitable. And every financial market player or official from a supranational financial organization is trying to stake out the right in advance to say that "he warned everyone, but no one listened." It would be strange to believe in a bright future of the Western (and global) economy, when those who were supposed to be optimists no longer believe in it. Every time another American politician threatens the world, as if relying on American economic power, we must remember that this is, by and large, a performance on the captain's bridge of the Titanic, which will face a financial iceberg.
Answer to a question on Quora:
So considering the recent arrest in Canada of a Huawei CFO it appears the real question is, is Canada with the USA or is Canada with China? If you're a Canadian, what do you think?
Perspectives: What Huawei case says about America's growing impatience with China
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered just now
That is not the relevant question, and the fact that the inquirer focused on whether Canada was supporting US policy is evidence that Westerners are willing to let the US -- not international legal bodies -- be the final arbiter in international disputes. What the US did was illegal. They had no legal right to demand the arrest of a person who had not committed a crime, regardless of the allegation that her company had misused patented methods. In other words, the question is not whether a country is “with” the US or China. The properly framed question is whether the country is acting within the limits of international law governing fair trade. When Canada detained the Huawei CEO without probable cause, it was acting illegally on illegal orders. This was practically unprecedented. A patent infringement or other trade related matter does not fall under criminal law and such an arrest is unwarranted. The proper legal channel is a suit filed with the WTO, which decides the matter in consideration of international commercial law, not criminal law (only a suspected crime would merit such an arrest).
Let us remember that it is essentially the WTO that writes the rules for international trade. One cardinal WTO rule is that subsidizing merchandise intended for export is unfair practice and is essentially forbidden. Therefore, the US is in gross violation because autos are subsidized in the US and they are then exported. Oil and gas are also factually subsidized under the 2017 tax reform that grants tax credits to energy firms (this tax reform was the only thing propping up US energy firms practicing fracking, which were all under water until then). And exportation of gas and oil is one of the main platforms of US economic policy. In view of this, the arrest of that poor girl was not only illegal and a violation of human rights but also grossly hypocritical. Not to mention an act of war with a nuclear power.
That makes it very stupid and irresponsible. The US people and the world deserve better.
IS THE US TAXPAYER PAYING POLAND TO BUY US GAS?
I answered a question on Quora. https://www.quora.com/Should-elected-officials-have-more-influence-over-the-United-States-Federal-Reserve/answer/Vince-Dhimos?__nsrc__=4&__snid3__=3637363909
Quora: Should elected officials have more influence over the United States Federal Reserve?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 says: The Congress shall have Power … To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin…
In 1913, the US Congress violated this part of the Constitution by creating a “Federal Reserve Board” constituted of bankers who arrogated to themselves this Constititutional power rightfully belonging to Congress.
Not only was this unlawful but it also created a dangerous conflict of interests because bankers have an interest in earning money from the public and the government and could not possibly be expected to protect the interests of the people.
But Congress didn’t even bother abolishing Article 1, Section 8 because by that time – over 100 years ago – the people had already been lulled into letting their public officials do their thinking for them. Thus by then there was not even a semblance of the “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
So, to answer your question, elected officials not only need to have more influence over the Fed, but in fact, the Federal Reserve Board needs to be abolished.
The only president to challenge the power of the bankers was Andrew Jackson. He set an example for others to follow, but no one since that time has had to courage to challenge the bankers, who are now an immovable pillar in what can be called Corporate America -- the acting government of the US.
Hence, the Great Depression, the $21 trillion debt, incessant wars, the 2008 financial crisis, quantitative easing (wanton money printing), the current stock market bubble, and the prospect of a meltdown of the US dollar.
Nothing will ever be done within the US because the government is ruled by interest groups who act as predators on the interests of the people, and the msm has Americans convinced that everything these predators do is for the good of the people. The change must and will come from the outside as Russia, China, the EU and their allies press on with their de-dollarization program and as Russian weapons and diplomacy continue to neutralize the Pentagon.
Have you ordered your Putin calendar yet? Amazon has them:
Our translation from ria.ru follows.
Ivan Danilov, author of the blog Crimson Alter
Few people know of it, but among financial professionals there is an analogue of the well-known story of the bon mot by Sergei Lavrov "who are you to lecture me?," which, according to legend, was addressed to British colleague David Miliband. In 2012, when the US Ministry of Finance was going to smash the British Standard Chartered Bank with a multi-billion dollar fine for deals with Iran, bypassing US sanctions, the irritated London banker wrote his American counterpart an email with the text "You [foul language] Americans! Who are you to tell us, the whole world, that we cannot do business with Iran?" Six years ago, this outburst seemed to be a sign of the whole world’s impotence vs the omnipotence of the American financial system and those sanctions that the US leadership can use as an incredibly effective foreign policy tool.
But now what is happening is happening: the rest of the world has shifted from irritation and outrage to active opposition. In this context, the contrast between the way many Russian political analysts and economic commentators see the situation and the way the respectable Western media look at this situation looks quite odd. Many people in Russia still think that the status of the dollar is something like a physical constant that cannot be changed, and the thesis "he who prints the dollar owns the world, and so it will always" seems to them as self-evident as the postulate "the sun rises in the east." At the same time, experts and journalists of Western financial media are sounding alarm, panic, and sometimes just fallinto into hysterics, urging the US leadership to stop before it's too late, and not accelerate the already universally obvious process of de-dollarization in the world economy and trade.
The respectable London-based Financial Times, the mouthpiece of the City [of London – NSS], published a report entitled "Beware America: Dollar Dominance is not Forever," and adds: "The logic of using the dollar for pricing of almost all contracts for oil and other commodities is weakening."
The London edition points out that "during the Trump era, the US began to be perceived as an increasingly unreliable partner in trade, military and other arrangements, which has damaged international confidence in the United States and created the fear that Trump could use the dollar as a weapon to control other countries. Because of this, China, Russia and others are creating their own payment systems and channels that bypass the United States. "
The Economist, owned by several very influential oligarchic families, including the well-known house of Rothschild, also writes about the negative consequences of US sanctions and Trump's disregard for diplomatic agreements: "The dollar is unlikely to dominate forever. America has an ever smaller share of world production, the transition (from one reserve currency, to the Editorial Note) to a combination of reserve currencies remains possible. The way this transition is organized will depend on the including ## how America is perceived by its allies and opponents. <...> The dollar dominates in part because foreigners trust the American system, partly because the interests of our friends coincide with the interests of America .If the alliances pass on the transactional scheme, the efforts of other countries to reduce dollar dependence will become more intense and then necessarily have an impact on military and intelligence relations with the United States. "
[It may go deeper than this. The Rothschilds have announced that they are “moving away from” the dollar. The Rothschilds’ writing critically of the dollar may be motivated not only by their antipathy toward Trump but by a desire to induce other investors to drop the dollar and thereby enhance the value of their non-dollar holdings. If this is so, then the Chinese, Russians, Iranians and others with a stake in weakening the dollar have a powerful ally—NSS]
It is worth noting that The Economist sees at the root: the dollar is that element of the American-centric world system that makes the American allies (and even the opponents) "bound by one chain linked by one goal." If this linkage disappears, the demise of NATO and other international structures that provide US influence on international politics is only a matter of time.
It is significant that European efforts to circumvent anti-Iranian sanctions are perceived by London journalists with the utmost seriousness, since they are looking at the situation not from the point of view of the coming months, but from the perspective of the long-term prospects of American hegemony. It is also worth noting that it seems almost self-evident that the dollar has no chance to retain its dominant position in the future, and the question is just how specifically will the transition from the dollar's dominance system to the "multipolar currency world" take place.
By the way, the transition process is much faster than it may seem at first glance. For example, the most important news of recent days, not noticed by the mainstream media, is that the London Metal Exchange (LME) plans to launch futures for metals with calculations in yuan. Now the yuan can be not only a "petroyuan," but also a currency used for payments for aluminium, zinc, copper and other metals.
The London Stock Exchange is the main world market for the pricing of these metals and one of the most influential sites in the gold market.
The American business news agency Bloomberg also points to the negative consequences of Trump's sanctions policy with regard to Iran and Russia. In the article entitled "The Power of US Sanctions may be approaching its limits," Bloomberg columnist Ben Holland writes that "the response to a decision on Iranian sanctions shows that the world economy will not be forced indefinitely" and stresses that the US ability to apply sanctions now depends on the readiness of the European Union and China to obey them and that this readiness is waning.
"непропорционально большой ущерб от санкций против России — 44 миллиарда долларов или 40 процентов от общего ущерба — понесла не Россия, а Германия" в то время как на долю США пришлось лишь 0,6 процента от общих убытков.
Moreover, an American journalist reports that German economists have unexpectedly discovered that "disproportionately severe damage from sanctions against Russia - $ 44 billion or 40 percent of total damage – was incurred not by Russia but by Germany" while the US only incurred 0.6 percent of total losses. As one can easy to guess, this discovery will influence the further attitude of Germany towards American foreign policy.
[NSS note: EC Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said just a few days ago that Europe cannot go on taunting Russia and needs to move closer to it. Bundestag representatives have also recently expressed unprecedented interest in normalizing relations with Russia. Germany has just been shocked into this new Realpolitik by the spectre of Trump’s very high tariffs on German autos and by the realization that the country – so far the second biggest exporter in the world – relies heavily on the cheap pipeline gas from Russia that the US has tried with all its might to cut off with indirect sanctions on investors in Nord Stream II. It is hard to believe that Trump imagines he can compromise Europe so rudely with impunity.]
Bloomberg identified the two main "hot spots" of the world sanction war: the SWIFT system and Nord Stream II. The US is demanding that SWIFT, in fact a European organization, cut off Iran from its system of international payments, and there is a risk that otherwise SWIFT itself will be subject to US restrictions. The question of the construction of the Nord Stream II, like the situation around SWIFT, are the EU’s sore spots, and the way the EU responds to American pressure will determine the speed of the world's dedollarization. However, Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, who commented on the situation for the US agency, is not particularly optimistic: "One day the US with its statements will simply knock the dollar out of its international role," he said. We can’t help but agree with the professor, but Brussels, Beijing and Moscow should work to ensure that this day comes as soon as possible.
[NSS had already shown here, based on its own research, that Russia is prepared to make cross-border payments in non-dollar currencies.]
Commentary and translation by New Silk Strategies. Original Russian-language article from Ridus.
Are things really this bad with Russia? Can a country legally destroy a business in a country with which it is not at war based on the shoddy pretext that the CEO is a friend of the president of that country – and on an unproven assumption of wrongdoing? If there was wrongdoing, shouldn’t the US take the case before the UN? Oh, wait. The accused might be treated fairly, mightn’t he?
If Rusal CEO Oleg Deripaska took this case of blatantly unfair sanctions before the WTO, what would happen if the judges ruled fairly? Clearly, the sanctions are based on utter nonsense. One of the Russian oligarchs targeted by Congress is being sanctioned because he is a friend of a friend of Putin. Are we in the Twilight Zone yet? The sanctions are based on the hypothesis that Russia meddled in the last presidential election. But this in turn is based on the accusation that a privately owned Russian company had “trolled” in a way that favoured Trump’s candidacy.
None of this would hold up in a court of law, of course. If the WTO wound up trying this case, then, assuming the judges were fair, these oligarchs could not be subjected to sanctions. The company was not tied to the Russian government and therefore, even if it could be proved that it “meddled” in the elections, this would be tantamount to a foreign country charging the US government with a misdeed allegedly committed by Mark Zuckerberg (not a public official). Trump has said he wants to defy the WTO. If he does so, he had better not try to use that body to file a complaint against another state. Legal experts say you can’t have it both ways. But even if Trump decides to use the Wild West method, he could still be sued by Deripaska in a US court, where Russophobia is not grounds for anything.
We commented here and here on the unsavoury methods of giving the US an unfair economic advantage over other countries, notably Russia. Trump was accused of being too Russia-friendly. To shake this reputation and show how “tough” he is on Russia, he is going absolutely overboard and simply abusing that country, actually harming its economy and its people.
Trump seems to be doing state business the same way he has been repeatedly accused of doing business privately. USA Today interviewed hundreds of past employees and contractors who swear and declare he stiffed them – many of them small businesses, ie, the little people who voted for him thinking he was on their side. The court records of their lawsuits are on the books. It looks as if Trump made himself great by cheating. If these allegations hold water, then it looks as though he wants to make America great using the same methods. A lot depends on how you define “great.”
But things may not be as bad as they seem. Even if worse comes to worst, Deripaska is not the only competent business person who could take the reins of Rusal.
Did the United States manage to strike Russia in the heart?
The sanctions against Rusal have a second bottom, something that even many Western analysts do not realize, but which experts at Ridus see as though on an x-ray picture.
How quickly and unquestioningly Oleg Deripaska agreed to the ultimatum of the US Treasury shows that American sanctions have finally come to a close, says the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung in an article entitled "Die Sanktionen Gegen Russland sind ein voller Erfolg für die Amerikaner" (The sanctions are a complete success for the Americans ).
Thus, the US clearly showed who is the real owner in Russia: the Russian government has not yet stirred a finger to help the owner of Rusal out of trouble. The proposed anti-sanctions in the form of a ban on the export of titanium and rocket engines, as well as the import of American medicines, are tantamount to a mosquito bite for the United States, which cannot be said about the Russians themselves.
"The signal of the Americans is unequivocal. Anyone could wind up on their next list, and official Moscow would not be able to help them," states NZZ.
How Deripaska Accelerates Trump’s Impeachment
The Swiss edition is guilty of wishful thinking, because the fate of Deripaska personally cannot be an indicator that the Americans control the Russian economy, said Leonid Geraskin, president of the Eurasian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
"The Americans would certainly like to take over the management of the block of enterprises owned by Oleg Deripaska, because they are of strategic importance for us and for them," he told Ridus.
Obviously, we are talking about rare earth metals and other unique materials, whose imports from Russia the United States prefers not to advertise.
According to Geraskin, the sanctions of the US Treasury for this reason has struck the American entrepreneurs themselves much more than the Russian company.
"Generally, there is a feeling that some forces in the American establishment are purposefully surrogating for President Trump, so that a noble rage boils against him in the American business community. Now half of the business community is dissatisfied with him. After clumsy sanctions against Deripaska, when aluminum soared to exorbitant prices in a few hours, the second half joined the disgruntled. That is, until impeachment is at hand,” believes Geraskin.
Similarly, the allegations of NZZ that the Russian government has left Deripaska at the mercy of fate, are incorrect, adds Geraskin in his interview with Ridus.
"No one can get out without help. I can assure you with all confidence : Deripaska will not leave Rusal. But the Americans have once again gotten into trouble, creating big problems for themselves,” concludes Geraskin optimistically.
Previously, the president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remezov, told Ridus that the only way to save these and other companies under the sanctions is if the state produces the products they produce, at least in strategic reserves.
Rusal is the best example of what it can mean for a company to have its oxygen, in the form of access to foreign markets, primarily the American market, cut off. Although Oleg Deripaska still does not ask for charity on the panel, his example is a lesson to the rest of the "teammates."
The Swiss paper cannot see the forest for the trees: Economist Anton Lubich member of the political council of the Growth Party, faults the analytical abilities of NZZ, saying it is unable to see the mechanism between the attack on Rusal and the real reasons behind it.
"Oleg Deripaska in all this intrigue is just a lever with which the US presses one end against the Russian leadership, and the other against companies from third countries that cooperate with Russia. The United States is killing two birds with one stone, both of which are competitors of American metallurgists, including the European Union. It's like in billiards: they hit one ball to ricochet and hit several others that cannot be reached directly by the cue,” he offered his own analysis in a conversation with Ridus.
The ultimate intentions - which balls the US is trying to drive into the pocket, and which ones serve only as an "pusher mechanism" for this purpose – protrude like a stick from a bag, out out the extraterritorial nature of American sanctions, explains Lyubich.
"This is a direct warning to all countries of the world: you either work with sub-investment companies in Russia, or you conduct business with the United States and use the dollar as a settlement. In this way, Washington forces the whole world to join the anti-Russian sanctions - because if any company is faced with a choice on whose market to work, Russian or American, the choice is clear in most cases,” says the economist.
It is enough to view the statistics of the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation to see without any analytical skill that the products of the metallurgical industry constitute the second line in Russian exports after oil, the expert notes. And the United States attacks Russia at these most vital spots.
"The attack on Deripaska is not a point bombing of a particular company. Now the Americans have gotten to the second largest group of Russian exports. If Moscow "does not take the hint,” the United States will also strike the first group - the oil and gas sector. This will squeeze Russia out of all the points at which it creates added value in the world available to it, "Lyubich predicts.
All accusations that Oleg Deripaska bears personal responsibility for the political actions of the Russian authorities are fairy tales for the layman, the expert believes.
"For example, an oligarch like Viktor Vekselberg, generally never dabbles in politics. He is far removed from politics and completely focused on investments, including in the US. Yet nevertheless, the Americans have also added his Renova to the sanctions list, not because he did anything wrong, but purely on the "class principle" - for the very fact of belonging to the club of Russian billionaires,” Lubich recalls.
Original article here:
Translation by NSS
Following is our translation from Nation News. The US government has done everything in its power to prevent Russia from developing and progressing. So far, the US' attempted sanctions on the Russian gas industry were thwarted by Europe, which cannot do without cheap piped gas, a fuel that cannot be replaced by extravagantly priced US LNG, despite Trump’s crude attempt to muscle in on that market by dint of sanctions. This would spell death to European industry, as reported here, and Europe said a resounding no to this attempted extortion.
But not all is a bed of roses for the Russian economy. Donald Trump has managed to land a painful blow in the field of metallurgy, as we shall see in our next commentary. This blow, however, boomeranged, just as all punitive tariffs eventually do. 93% of economicsts trained in macroeconomic theory and practice, said these tariffs will never work. But casino builders know best.
Trump reminds us of the story of Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel. He was his own worst enemy.
By Kristina Oleneva
Russia and China are constructing a new passenger aircraft CR929, which will become a serious competitor for the European Airbus and the American Boeing.
In Shanghai, on April 27, an event was held to set the stage for working with suppliers of the main systems of the overall concept of the fuselage and tail unit. The meeting was attended by the deputy general director of the Chinese Corporation of Civil Aviation (COMAC), and Guo Bozhi, the general director of the Russian-Chinese enterprise CRAIC, which is the operator of the CR929 program.
As the head of CRAIC noted, work on the concept of hull and tail of the aircraft will focus on the requirements of the project and on the implementation of technical solutions.
The company notes that the construction of the fuselage will use composite materials - multi-level materials, which consist of a plastic base, followed by reinforcing fillers with high strength and rigidity.
Guo Bozhi also hopes that potential suppliers can become a real part of the CR929 team, which will allow the project to find the best technologists and construction methods.
At the moment, the Russian-Chinese team is intimately involved in the integrated technical solution of the liner.
Threat to Boeing
The implementation of the project is scheduled for 2025-2027. It is noted that the aircraft will be able to accommodate from 250 to 300 passengers, depending on the model, which will allow the CR929 to compete with major players in the aircraft building market such as the European Airbus and American Boeing.
It is also planned that the liner will occupy its own niche in the markets and in other countries, for example, in India. Currently, the project price is estimated at 13-20 billion dollars. According to the plans of Russia and China the first finished aircraft, is expected in 2025.