China’s Growing Power Like Tentacles of an Octopus, Enveloping the World: James Fanell

In this special episode, we sat down with Captain Jim Fanell, former director of Intelligence and Information Operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He talks about the rising trade deals and cooperation between China and Brazil, how that impacts America, and where things are headed going forward.

Fanell pointed out China’s Belt and Road initiative and how “we saw China expand its economic and military interest through the South China Sea and out through the Indian Ocean and into the Mediterranean and into Europe via sea lanes. They’ve done the same thing, essentially, through rail lines across Central Asia and into Eastern Europe, and now Central Europe and Western Europe. And they’ve also now been making pushes out into the South Pacific. But what we haven’t really focused on, I think the Americans, ourselves, is looking at what China has been doing in Latin America.”

He added: “China’s growing their power across all these, it’s like tentacles of an octopus. It’s enveloping the world right now. And so when Americans say, ‘it doesn’t matter to me because it’s far away,’ well, it’s far away today, but it won’t be far away in the future.”

And in the second half, we sat down with Brent Johnson, CEO of Santiago Capital. He talked about whether the United States is at risk of losing its status as the world’s reserve currency, and how things might play out going forward.

Johnson said, “The freezing of the reserves is obviously a big deal. Nobody should take it lightly. And I think it does, in fact, underscore the fact that there’s many entities, countries, however you want to describe that, out there in the world who don’t like the current system, don’t like the fact that they’re beholden to the U.S. dollar and the whims of the U.S. government. But I think, to be very honest, it’s going to be very hard for them to get away from it. The reason the system has persisted so long is because the system is very strong. There’s a lot of demand for dollars for trade. But it’s not just that. Countries all over the world, corporations all over the world, have borrowed in dollars. So they have great demand for dollars just to pay back the dollars that they owe or service the debt that they have. If they walk away from those dollars, it hurts their credit rating, and it makes it harder for them to get new funds in the future.”

“The question,” he added, “will be whether the United States can keep a coalition of other countries with the pressure against Russia, or whether countries will start to break away from the coalition that the United States has put together and start trading independently with Russia. I think what’s really interesting in this is that there’s no question in my mind, there’s a desire for de-dollarization. I just have a very hard time seeing how it can actually be done.”

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