Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Revisiting the Ukraine - Anything new to report?

With the news this week that the West is adding on some new sanctions against Russia, it is time to review and see if anything happening there might speed up monetary system changes.

There are plenty of articles suggesting that the tension is ramping up between the US, the EU, and Russia over the Ukraine. Here are just a few examples:

US imposes more sanctions

Pro Russian forces seize TV station

Moscow calls US/NATO buildup "Unprecedented"

Russian - Ukraine forces heading for military clash?

Moscow: US to face "payback" for sanctions

I think you get the idea. The US and the EU have announced some new additional sanctions. Russia has reacted by calling for "painful payback".

Here are a couple of other articles from the BRIC's post:

Kremlin:  US Sanctions help Russia Unite

and this one which may be the most significant of all:

China criticizes US Sanctions against Russia

Here are some important segments from this last article as China has tried to sit quietly on the sidelines until now:

"Beijing announced its support for a beleaguered Moscow after the US and Canada announced fresh sanctions against Russia for it’s alleged “inaction” in easing tensions in Ukraine.

In a public signal of increasing Sino-Russian cooperation, China called on all parties to resolve the Ukrainian crisis through dialogue rather than sanctions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Monday.

“We believe that sanctions are inconducive to the solution of problems. On the contrary, they will escalate tensions,” he said."

This article goes on to point out that Putin will be in China in May on a "strategic visit."
So, it is becoming clearer that if the tension keeps ramping up and a real conflict unfolds, China is going to come down beside Russia. We can assume the other BRIC nations likely will too.

How does all this impact the prospects for montary system change? For now, not much really. So far nothing all that significant has actually happened. These additional sanctions are still nothing that would trigger major global changes. Russia is talking about "payback", but has not done anything significant so far.

It does look like however that the prospects for these major powers coming together within the IMF to move forward with some kind of new monetary system and currency seem dimmer right now. If the Ukraine continues to escalate into a major economic battle (or even an actual military conflict), it seems impossible that these countries will be working together on anything at the IMF or other existing global institutions.

More likely would be a speeding up of the alternatives the BRIC nations are already working on. If things stay as they are, it appears that it might be 2015 before we see some major triggers for change. That is the pace that has been announced. But a crisis can always change the timing of events. If lots of people start really getting impacted (hurt), pressure will emerge to solve "the crisis".

If the Ukraine were to explode into a real major crisis involving the major world powers, that could change the timing for monetary system changes. We will continue to keep an eye on it.

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