by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
June 23, 2009
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- What if America is no longer the King of the World? What if the dollar is cast aside as the world's reserve currency? Everybody knows that the American economy is hanging by a thread. What if someone pulls that thread and unravels the whole shebang. What if?
Think back to 1989, the "Freedom Year." The Berlin Wall falls, the Iron Curtain disappears, the Soviet Union soon goes out of business. America is still standing. America is on top of the heap. Oil is $10 a barrel and we can remake the world in our image. Bartender, another round of democracy all around!.
Things go chugging along nicely. We're the buyer of last resort. We're negotiating for peace in the Middle East. We're propping up Mexico and Thailand and a few other troubled countries. Then along comes Junior Bush. He goes all cowboy on the world. Multilateralism is for wimps. We're America. We don't need to listen to anybody.
We start bailing on treaties, intimidating allies and invading countries. By the end of Bush 43, we have $150 a barrel oil, two wars, huge debts, virtually no respect on the world stage, a reputation for profligacy, and a domestic economy financed by credit cards and home equity loans. We've outsourced our manufacturing (except for the military) and put all our eggs in the financial market basket. Then the basket drops and all the eggs break.
We're now at a point of maximum weakness. The countries in whose faces we used to kick sand on the beach are now the "he-men." We're the 97-pound weaklings.
By the way, all these former "wimps" happened to meet in Russia at the beginning of this week. As well as the BRIC countries (Brazil, India, Russia and China), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization met there, too. The SCO consists of Russia, China, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan attend as "observers." Sri Lanka, Belarus and Afghanistan attend as "dialog partners." These are not all friendly countries. And notice who's missing? The United States.
It's not unreasonable to imagine that the state of the American economy, American debt and the dollar's world domination were discussed.
According to a report by Reuters, the talks ended with a call for more power for developing nations in international finance and the United Nations, but fell short of "two key Moscow initiatives - a smaller role for the dollar and a supranational reserve currency... Although a Russian delegation source told Reuters that BRIC finance ministries and central banks were tasked to work on reserve currencies proposals"
Where could that lead?
"It is the first formal step by our major trading partners to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency," writes ace reporter Chris Hedges at TruthDig.com. "If they succeed, the dollar will dramatically plummet in value, the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket, interest rates will climb and jobs will hemorrhage at a rate that will make the last few months look like boom times. State and federal services will be reduced or shut down for lack of funds. The United States will begin to resemble the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe. President Obama, endowed by many with the qualities of a savior, will suddenly look pitiful, inept and weak. And the rage that has kindled a handful of shootings and hate crimes in the past few weeks will engulf vast segments of a disenfranchised and bewildered working and middle class."
This is the "Mad Max" scenario. Plant your vegetables, stockpile gasoline and buy guns now.
But dollar dumping? Surely this couldn't happen? After all, the American Empire may be dying, but the country still has bombs.
That's one reason why these newly empowered countries tread so lightly. Take away the myth of invincibility and the flat screen television set, and America will not go gently into that good night. Instead, like the 800-pound gorilla America so often mimics in world affairs, it will try to take the world down with it. That's the "On the Beach" scenario - where we wait for the nuclear cloud to sweep in and take us all to heaven.
Or - and this is far more likely - BRIC and the SCO nations realize that if they pull the thread that unravels the American economy, the rest of the world unravels, too. That's already started to happen; our economic downfall has had a ripple effect around the world.
The reality is - and we hope Mr. Obama is thinking about it - that America must start acting as one of many equals rather than as top dog. We must quickly develop what Bush promised but never delivered - a more humble foreign policy.
Otherwise, what if?
"America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds," Hedges said. "Those who resist will be silenced, many by force. We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite."
Joyce Marcel is a journalist who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.