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“The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates a record 18.5 million barrels per day of sea-borne oil that passed through the Strait in 2016, a 9 percent increase on flows in 2015, which accounted for 30p percent of all sea-borne traded crude oil and other liquids during the year. Sea-borne crude and condensate flows transiting the Strait are estimated at around 17.2 million bpd in 2017 and around 17.4 million bpd in the first half of 2018, according to the oil analytics firm Vortexa. Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq passes through it. It is also the route for nearly all the liquefied natural gas (LNG) from lead exporter Qatar. Japan, China, India and South Korea are the biggest buyers of
the energy trade passing through this chokepoint.”
~ Jawad Falak
By Catherine Austin Fitts
I am enjoying the European heat wave here in Italy as the power struggles along the Silk Road grow ever more fascinating.
The Silk Road connects a rising Asia with the European Union—the largest, wealthiest consumer market in the world. As China builds roads and railroad connections that dramatically shorten the distance between East and West, a rising land empire and Chinese naval investment in the South China Sea are supplanting the naval power that the Anglo-American Alliance has used to lead and dominate global trade for centuries.
These changes have challenged the future of Europe—and its relationship to the United States and United Kingdom. The shock of the Brexit vote in 2016 was followed by the Trump election and the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris Agreement, the Iran agreement, and efforts to renegotiate NATO.
Now, new EU leadership has emerged. This includes Ursula von der Leyen (former German Defense Minister) as the new EU President and Christine Lagarde (former head of the IMF and former French Minister of three ministries—Economy, Finance and Industry; Agriculture and Fishing; and Commerce) as the new President of the European Central Bank.
Can European leadership play an important role in reasserting a rules-based system to support open markets and trade globally? Clearly von der Leyen and Lagarde have the experience and reputation as “adults in the room” to make a contribution going forward. You can watch von der Leyen’s acceptance speech here.
Further south, the rules-based system has flown out the window as Israel pushes aggressively for war (and, with its allies, control of the U.S. Congress and U.S. elections) and the U.S. and British navies play a dangerous game of drone and oil tanker chicken in the Straits of Hormuz.
Take a look at a map of Eurasia—Iran is smack in the middle of the rising land empire. It is not surprising that it is important to the flow of oil and resources, not to mention the equity positions along the Silk Road. This is why all eyes are on the shipping lanes through the Straits of Hormuz.
This coming week, the Saker returns for our quarterly report on the emerging multipolar world. We continue our discussion of whether or not the neocons can engineer a war with Iran. How do we get rid of the psychopathic elements in U.S. and global governance? We will touch on the hot spots that Saker and his community at the Vineyard of the Saker have been tracking around the world. We will also talk about his new book—The Essential Saker III—don’t miss it here.
In Let’s Go to the Movies, I will comment on the Netflix series Pine Gap, a fictional show about the “Five Eyes” earth station Pine Gap in the Australian Outback run jointly by the U.S. (CIA, NSA, NRO) and Australia. It is a window into the world of satellite technology and intelligence as well as the balance that Australia manages between the Anglo-American alliance and the growth of its trade relations with China.
After two marvelous weeks in Umbria, Italy, I will head to Zurich on Tuesday and will speak with you in Money & Markets on Thursday from there. Please e-mail your questions for Ask Catherine or post them at the Money & Markets commentary here.
Talk to you Thursday!