Why does the United States continue to be "tough" by violating the ruble and criticizing Putin?
Why does the ruble depreciate? There are two main reasons: one is the economic sanctions imposed by the United States, and the other is the recent weakening of oil prices (the Russian economy largely relies on exports of oil and natural gas). Of course, the weakening of oil prices is closely related to the increasing strength of the US dollar. Therefore, we can also combine the above two factors into one factor: the United States.
The United States is "arguing" with Russia, something that everyone on earth knows. The direct cause is of course the Ukrainian problem. If you forget, let’s review briefly:
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the "Warsaw Treaty" ceased to exist, but the opponent "NATO" was still there. To make themselves safer, the EU and NATO have joined forces to expand eastward. From the perspective of Russia, one's own space is getting smaller and smaller. It is about to change from "caged tiger" to "caged cat". Against this background, Russia formed the "Eurasian Alliance" to resist the eastward expansion of the European Union and NATO, but only a few countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan are willing to join in, while Ukraine is the target of Russia's wooing.
At the beginning of this year, Ukraine’s political situation changed, pro-Russian forces stepped down, and the possibility of Ukraine joining the European Union and even NATO has greatly increased. If Ukraine joins NATO, Russia will lose its barrier to the southwest, and the future NATO defense zone will be only a few hundred kilometers away from Moscow. Worse still, Crimea will also become a NATO territory, and this peninsula will be the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Without this base, the Black Sea Fleet will basically become a tramp. Crimea was historically the land of Russia. In 1954, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the alliance between Ukraine and Russia, this land was allocated to Ukraine. After Ukraine became independent in 1991, Crimea was naturally taken away by the "new mother".
With the support of Russian armed forces, Crimea declared independence and joined Russia through a "referendum." Then there was a new wave of separation in eastern Ukraine. To this day, armed conflict is still ongoing. Western countries represented by the United States began to impose economic sanctions on Russia after the Crimea incident.
In response to sanctions imposed by Western countries, Russia has tightened foreign exchange controls and launched a "de-dollarization" campaign. However, the force is too weak, the US dollar is getting stronger in anticipation of interest rate hikes, and the ruble is constantly depreciating under the double blow of sanctions and falling oil prices.
As I said in the previous article, the United States did two things after 2008. First, through a thorough crisis, the "deleveraging" (reducing the debt ratio) of the whole society was quickly realized. Second, through technological progress, a new round of industrial revolution (new energy revolution represented by shale gas, information technology revolution represented by mobile Internet, and manufacturing revolution represented by 3D printing) has been initiated. For example, the maturity of shale gas technology has quickly transformed the United States from a gas importing country to an exporting country. The current gas price in the United States is only one-eighth of China's. In addition, the exploitation of shale oil and the transformation of economic development methods have continuously reduced U.S. oil imports, and it is very possible to achieve zero oil imports in the next 8 to 10 years.
The new round of industrial revolution has strengthened the leading position of the United States and allowed the US economy to recover strongly. In this context, the quantitative easing policy will inevitably come to an end, the era of low interest rates in the US dollar has also come to an end, and the US dollar is definitely getting stronger and stronger. The dollar is strong, and the prices of gold and oil will inevitably fall. Even more frightening is that the shale oil, shale gas revolution, and new energy revolution initiated by the United States will greatly reduce the status of traditional oil exporting countries such as the Middle East, Russia, and North Africa. In addition, China has also begun to change its growth pattern. Although the dependence on oil imports will rise for another stage in the future, it is also expected that it will start to decline after 10 years.
Therefore, whether from the perspective of the United States or China; whether it is from a short-term perspective or a long-term perspective, the golden age of oil-producing countries is coming to an end.
For Russia, the saddest thing happened: after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, although Russia also worked hard to move towards a market economy, due to the restraint of interest groups, the economy has not achieved transformation and it is still highly dependent on selling resources, except for oil and natural gas. , Also sells timber, minerals, etc. Russia's food, light industry, and electronic products have always been largely dependent on imports. Therefore, after the bull market in the commodity market ended in 2008, Russia's life has not been easy.
At present, Russia's economic aggregate is roughly equivalent to "Guangdong + Jiangsu", one-fifth of China's and one-eighth of the United States. Military expenditure is only half that of China and one-eighth that of the United States. Obviously, if there is no fundamental change in the economy, 5 to 8 years later, Russia will be reduced from a world power to a "weak second-rate country," and its original military advantage will gradually disappear.
Therefore, although the devaluation of the ruble can be described as an "American conspiracy" to some extent, it is still created by the unsatisfactory Russian economy in the final analysis.
Faced with the continuous decline of the ruble, the Central Bank of Russia has recently taken frequent actions to defend the ruble exchange rate. In the past 10 days, the Central Bank of Russia has invested nearly US$60 billion to support the ruble. The governor of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, admitted on Monday that if the currency market continues to fight the ruble, the Bank of Russia “will not be able to stop them”. People in Russia are also doing everything possible to change their rubles into dollars or euros.
In fact, the time to really test the ruble has not yet arrived. The first quarter to the second quarter of next year will be the most thrilling time, because the US dollar will usher in a rate hike. Until then, will Putin still remain tough and calm today? Let us wait and see.
Behind the weakness of the ruble, there is a deeper meaning: the golden age of oil is about to end, and the world's geopolitics will undergo major changes as a result. Countries backed by oil will gradually decline. The new era will usher in new rules of the game. China, are you ready?