Part 8 - The U.S. Dollar and BRICS (Putin and Tucker Carlson)
Tucker Carlson interviews President Vladimir Putin.
THE FOOLISH DOLLAR
“As soon as the political leadership decided to use the US dollar as a tool of political struggle, a blow was dealt to this American power. I would not like to use any strong language, but it is a stupid thing to do, and a grave mistake.”
Tucker Carlson: Well, let’s just give one example — the US dollar, which has, kind of, united the world in a lot of ways, maybe not to your advantage, but certainly to ours. Is that going away as the reserve currency, the universally accepted currency? How have sanctions, do you think, changed the dollar’s place in the world?
Vladimir Putin: You know, to use the dollar as a tool of foreign policy struggle is one of the biggest strategic mistakes made by the US political leadership. The dollar is the cornerstone of the United States' power. I think everyone understands very well that, no matter how many dollars are printed, they are quickly dispersed all over the world. Inflation in the United States is minimal. It is about 3 or 3.4 per cent, which is, I think, totally acceptable for the US. But they won't stop printing. What does the debt of 33 trillion dollars tell us about? It is about the emission.
Nevertheless, it is the main weapon used by the United States to preserve its power across the world. As soon as the political leadership decided to use the US dollar as a tool of political struggle, a blow was dealt to this American power. I would not like to use any strong language, but it is a stupid thing to do, and a grave mistake.
Look at what is going on in the world. Even the United States' allies are now downsizing their dollar reserves. Seeing this, everyone starts looking for ways to protect themselves. But the fact that the United States applies restrictive measures to certain countries, such as placing restrictions on transactions, freezing assets, etc., causes grave concern and sends a signal to the whole world.
What did we have here? Until 2022, about 80 per cent of Russia's foreign trade transactions were made in US dollars and euros. US dollars accounted for approximately 50 per cent of our transactions with third countries, while currently it is down to 13 per cent. It was not us who banned the use of the US dollar, we had no such intention. It was the decision of the United States to restrict our transactions in US dollars. I think it is a complete foolishness from the point of view of the interests of the United States itself and its tax payers, as it damages the US economy, undermines the power of the United States across the world.
By the way, our transactions in Yuan accounted for about 3 per cent. Today, 34 per cent of our transactions are made in Rubles, and a little over 34 per cent in Yuan.
Why did the United States do this? My only guess is self-conceit. They probably thought it would lead to a full collapse, but nothing collapsed. Moreover, other countries, including oil producers, are thinking of and already accepting payments for oil in yuan. Do you even realize what is going on or not? Does anyone in the United States realize this? What are you doing? You are cutting yourself off… all experts say this.
Ask any intelligent and thinking person in the United States what the dollar means for the US? You are killing it with your own hands.
THE CHINESE BOOGEYMAN
“China's foreign policy philosophy is not aggressive, its idea is to always look for compromise, and we can see that.”
Tucker Carlson: I think that is a fair assessment. The question is what comes next? And maybe you trade one colonial power for another, much less sentimental and forgiving colonial power? Is the BRICS, for example, in danger of being completely dominated by the Chinese economy? In a way that is not good for their sovereignty. Do you worry about that?
Vladimir Putin: We have heard those boogeyman stories before. It is a boogeyman story. We are neighbours with China. You cannot choose neighbours, just as you cannot choose close relatives. We share a border of 1000 kilometers with them. This is number one.
Second, we have a centuries-long history of coexistence, we are used to it.
Third, China's foreign policy philosophy is not aggressive, its idea is to always look for compromise, and we can see that.
The next point is as follows. We are always told the same boogeyman story, and here it goes again, though in a euphemistic form, but it is still the same bogeyman story: the cooperation with China keeps increasing. The pace at which China's cooperation with Europe is growing is higher and greater than that of the growth of Chinese-Russian cooperation. Ask Europeans: aren’t they afraid? They might be, I do not know, but they are still trying to access China's market at all costs, especially now that they are facing economic problems. Chinese businesses are also exploring the European market.
Do Chinese businesses have small presence in the United States? Yes, the political decisions are such that they are trying to limit their cooperation with China.
It is to your own detriment, Mr Tucker, that you are limiting cooperation with China, you are hurting yourself. It is a delicate matter, and there are no silver bullet solutions, just as it is with the dollar.
So, before introducing any illegitimate sanctions — illegitimate in terms of the Charter of the United Nations — one should think very carefully. For decision-makers, this appears to be a problem.
Tucker Carlson: So, you said a moment ago that the world would be a lot better if it were not broken into competing alliances, if there was cooperation globally. One of the reasons you don’t have that is because the current American administration is dead set against you. Do you think if there was a new administration after Joe Biden that you would be able to re-establish communication with the US government? Or does it not matter who the President is?
Vladimir Putin: I will tell you. But let me finish the previous thought. We, together with my colleague and friend President Xi Jinping, set a goal to reach 200 billion dollars of mutual trade with China this year. We have exceeded this level. According to our figures, our bilateral trade with China totals already 230 billion, and the Chinese statistics says it is 240 billion dollars.
One more important thing: our trade is well-balanced, mutually complementary in high-tech, energy, scientific research and development. It is very balanced.
As for BRICS, where Russia took over the presidency this year, the BRICS countries are, by and large, developing very rapidly.
Look, if memory serves me right, back in 1992, the share of the G7 countries in the world economy amounted to 47 per cent, whereas in 2022 it was down to, I think, a little over 30 per cent. The BRICS countries accounted for only 16 per cent in 1992, but now their share is greater than that of the G7.
It has nothing to do with the events in Ukraine. This is due to the trends of global development and world economy that I mentioned just now, and this is inevitable.
This will keep happening, it is like the rise of the sun — you cannot prevent the sun from rising, you have to adapt to it.
How do the United States adapt? With the help of force: sanctions, pressure, bombings, and use of armed forces.
This is about self-conceit. Your political establishment does not understand that the world is changing (under objective circumstances), and in order to preserve your level — even if someone aspires, pardon me, to the level of dominance — you have to make the right decisions in a competent and timely manner.
Such brutal actions, including with regard to Russia and, say, other countries, are counterproductive. This is an obvious fact; it has already become evident.
THE ELITE RUNNING THE USA
“It is not about the personality of the leader, it is about the elites’ mindset. If the idea of domination at any cost, based also on forceful actions, dominates the American society, nothing will change, it will only get worse.” - Putin
You just asked me if another leader comes and changes something. It is not about the leader, it is not about the personality of a particular person.
I had a very good relationship with, say, Bush. I know that in the United States he was portrayed as some kind of a country boy who does not understand much. I assure you that is not the case.
I think he made a lot of mistakes with regard to Russia, too. I told you about 2008 and the decision in Bucharest to open the NATO’s doors to for Ukraine and so on. That happened during his presidency. He actually exercised pressure on the Europeans.
But in general, on a personal human level, I had a very good relationship with him. He was no worse than any other American, or Russian, or European politician. I assure you, he understood what he was doing as well as others. I had such personal relationships with Trump as well.
It is not about the personality of the leader, it is about the elites’ mindset. If the idea of domination at any cost, based also on forceful actions, dominates the American society, nothing will change, it will only get worse.
But if, in the end, one comes to the awareness that the world has been changing due to objective circumstances, and that one should be able to adapt to them in time, using the advantages that the U.S. still has today, then, perhaps, something may change.
Look, China's economy has become the first economy in the world in purchasing power parity; in terms of volume it overtook the US a long time ago. The USA comes second, then India (one and a half billion people), and then Japan, with Russia in the fifth place. Russia was the first economy in Europe last year, despite all the sanctions and restrictions. Is this normal, from your point of view: sanctions, restrictions, impossibility of payments in dollars, being cut off from SWIFT services, sanctions against our ships carrying oil, sanctions against airplanes, sanctions in everything, everywhere? The largest number of sanctions in the world which are applied – are applied against Russia. And we have become Europe's first economy during this time.
The tools that the US uses don't work. Well, one has to think about what to do. If this realization comes to the ruling elites, then yes, then the first person of the state will act in anticipation of what the voters and the people who make decisions at various levels expect from this person. Then maybe something will change.
Tucker Carlson: But you are describing two different systems. You say that the leader acts in the interests of the voters, but you also say that these decisions are not made by the leader – they are made by the ruling classes. You have run this country for so long, you have known all these American presidents. What are those power centers in the United States, do you think? And who actually makes the decisions?
Vladimir Putin: I don't know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It's not easy for us to sort it all out.
Who makes decisions in the elections – is it possible to understand this, when each state has its own legislation, each state regulates itself, someone can be excluded from the elections at the state level. It is a two-stage electoral system, it is very difficult for us to understand it.
Certainly there are two parties that are dominant, the Republicans and the Democrats, and within this party system, the centers that make decisions, that prepare decisions.
Then, look, why, in my opinion, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, such an erroneous, crude, completely unjustified policy of pressure was pursued against Russia? After all, this is a policy of pressure. NATO expansion, support for the separatists in the Caucasus, creation of a missile defense system – these are all elements of pressure. Pressure, pressure, pressure. Then, dragging Ukraine into NATO is all about pressure, pressure, pressure.
Why? I think, among other things, because excessive production capacities were created. During the confrontation with the Soviet Union, there were many centers created and specialists on the Soviet Union, who could not do anything else. It seemed to them, they convinced the political leadership: it is necessary to continue ”chiseling“ Russia, to try to break it up, to create on this territory several quasi-state entities and to subdue them in a divided form, to use their combined potential for the future struggle with China.
This is a mistake, including the excessive potential of those who worked for the confrontation with the Soviet Union. It is necessary to get rid of this, there should be new, fresh forces, people who look into the future and understand what is happening in the world.
Look at how Indonesia is developing? 600 million people [Correction: 278 million]. Where can we get away from that? Nowhere, we just have to assume that Indonesia will enter (it is already in) the club of the world's leading economies, no matter who likes or dislikes it.
Yes, we understand and are aware that in the United States, despite all the economic problems, the situation is still normal with the economy growing decently, the GDP is growing by 2.5 percent, if I am not mistaken.
But if we want to ensure the future, then we need to change our approach to what is changing. As I already said, the world would nevertheless change regardless of how the developments in Ukraine end. The world is changing. In the United States themselves, experts write that the United States are nonetheless gradually changing their position in the world, it is your experts who write that, I just read them.
The only question is how this would happen – painfully and quickly or gently and gradually. And this is written by people who are not anti-American; they simply follow global development trends. That's it.
And in order to assess them and change policies, we need people who think, look forward, can analyze and recommend certain decisions at the level of political leaders.
TUCKER CARLSON INTERVIEWS PUTIN (2024)
Watch the full video interview
Header image Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke.