Skip to comments.The Game of Thrones in North Africa
Posted on 01/18/2013 1:14:36 PM PST by Eurotwit
It feels strange visiting a country like Morocco and listening to people extol the virtues of a political system my country waged a revolution against. Morocco has a king, and hes a real one too, not some kind of a figurehead. But I went there, I listened, and after almost ten years of visiting Middle Eastern countries wracked by tyranny, terrorism, botched revolutions, and wars, I was perhaps a bit more willing to hear what they had to say than I might have been a decade ago.
A monarchy is a tough sell for Americans. The founders of our country fought against that system of government with force of arms. The very idea of a king is offensive to most of us on some level. Its in our cultural and political DNA.
Yet Morocco has been an American ally and friend since 1786. Our alliance is not a wafer thin transactional one like it is with Saudi Arabia. Its real. Morocco is a major non-NATO ally. So from a strict national interest perspective, theres nothing complicated about our friendship with Morocco.
But what about politically? The Shah of Iran was a monarch, and look what our friendship with him got us: shouts of Death to America on the streets of Tehran during the 1979 revolution that are still repeated even today by Irans tyrannical government.
Monarchies are by definition not democratic. They are, however, more stable than anything else in the Middle East and North Africa at the moment. Elliot Abrams, in an essay for Commentary called Dictators Go, Monarchs Stay, describes a meeting he had with former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2005 when the Bush Administration was scheduling elections in Iraq. The Iraqis were incapable of democracy, [Mubarak] argued; you dont understand them like I do; they need a general to rule them.
But now the big men in the fake republics, as Abrams described them, have almost all been overthrown while the monarchs remain. The kings on their thrones have staying power and they are not come-latelies. They have tradition on their side, at least.
Moroccos King Mohammad VI is said to be a direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammad. I asked some people in the capital Rabat if thats really true. Everybody said yes. I asked how they know its true. The answer was always the same. We just know. Is it true? Ive no idea. But everyone seems to think it is, or at least says that it is, and in any case the Alaoui family has ruled the country without interruption for hundreds of years.
The previous king, Mohammads father Hassan II, ruled more or less as an absolute monarch, and his ministry of the interior ran what basically amounted to a police state. The so-called Years of Lead, from the 1960s to the 1980s, were characterized by heavy state repression against opposition movements of both the left and the right, some of which were heavily armed. I dont know if the word lead in that description refers to the use of ammunition or to just the general heaviness of the era. It works either way.
The lead years were rough. The lead years were brutal. The lead years made Morocco a sadly typical country in the Middle East and North Africa at the time.
Then in 2004, Mohammad VI, five years after ascending the throne, established a Truth and Reconciliation Commissionthe Instance Equité et Réconciliationtheonly one in the world Im aware of that didnt follow on the heels of a regime change. Victims of internal repression by Hassan II were rehabilitated and compensated. The young king encouraged everyone to let it all out, to voice their complaints and their grievances, to do so in public and even to scream if they wantedand he encouraged them to do so against his own father.
Yet two million mourners attended King Hassans funeral. One man in Rabat explained the psychology to me this way: He was a really tough daddy. But he was daddy.
Monarchs still exist in the modern world, but they are not modern. Theyre relics from feudal times. They probably wont exist anywhere a century from now except as honorary figures like the king of Belgiumwhose name (Albert II) I had to look up.
But real kings with real power still govern in 2013, and one of them is in Morocco. And since the regions biggest problems right now are terrorism, tyranny, and war, there are a few questions aside from the obvious that we ought to be asking. First, is a monarchical autocracy better or worse than an autocracy run by a military dictatorship, a theocracy, or a police state? Second, is the monarch in question contributing to his countrys political modernization and liberalizationwhich of course greases the skids to his eventual marginalizationor not? If the answer to that second question is yes, heres a third: Is a slow transition to political liberalism better or worse than the kind of destabilizing transformation that follows revolutions?
Heres a more general question: if you cant have both, would you rather have liberalism without democracy, or democracy without liberalism? (Im using the word liberalism here in the broad and general sense, not in the parochial American sense that describes only the center-left wing of the Democratic Party. Both American parties are more or less liberal.)
That dilemma is now a bit softer in Morocco than it was, though, because since 2011 it has beenat least on papera constitutional monarchy, a system of government thats partly democratic and partly autocratic. Wikipedia puts Australia and Great Britain alongside Morocco on its list of constitutional monarchies, but this is misleading. Britains political system is far more like that of the United States than it is like Moroccos. King Mohammad VI is extraordinarily powerful compared with the Queen of England. But its equally clear that Mohammad VI is a very different man from his father Hassan II. The political system the son currently presides over is one that his father might scarcely recognize.
Nadia Bernoussi is a professor of constitutional law at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration in Rabat. The king appointed her to the nineteen-person judicial council that drafted a new constitution that was ratified in 2011.
This was the first time in the history of Morocco, she said, that the process of writing a new constitution was transparent, inclusive, and participatory. Under Hassan II, all the constitutional reform was done by himself with the help of a few specialists from France. It was a solitary authoritarian process. The new king told us, youre the engineers of the new constitution. He also appointed a second committee made up of representatives from the political parties.
Of the nineteen people on the judicial council, five were women, one was Jewish, one was from the Sahara, one was from the Islamic ulema, one came from the magistracy, five were professors of constitutional law, and the rest were professors of political science. A handful were prisoners during the lead years of Hassan II.
The majority were in favor of progressive politics, the equality of women and men, and secularism, she said. A second committee was represented by thirty three political parties and five trade unions. The parties of the extreme left and the extreme right were not invited.
I asked her to define those terms for me. What do extreme left and extreme right mean in the context of Morocco?
Unreconstructed communists on the left, she said, and radical Islamists on the right.
They stripped the king of a great deal of his power. They did it with his blessing, of courseotherwise they couldnt have done it.
Mohammad VI has nowhere near as much power, at least on paper, than the amount he inherited. That hardly means hes a figurehead. Not at all. He is still a real king. He has plenty of legal power, and an extraordinary amount of non-legal political influence. We could not take away all the kings power, she said. The society isnt ready and we didnt have the authority.
The second committeethe one made up of representatives from the trade unions and political partieswas not as liberal as the kings hand-picked committee.
The vision we on the judicial committee had was the dream of an elite, she said. The traditional political parties wouldnt follow us. For instance, our draft of the constitution included freedom of consciencethe freedom to have no religion or to change your religion. Id have the freedom to become Christian or Jewish. But the conservative parties wouldnt agree, and freedom of conscience disappeared from the constitution. But we added other provisions that added up to the same thingfreedom of thinking and freedom from discrimination.
You can read the constitutional changes yourself right here. Moroccos constitutional changes look a whole lot better than Egypts. Mohammad VI is a more liberal man than Egypts Islamist President Mohammad Morsi, and the constitutions were drafted under each mans direction. Yet Morsi was elected and Mohammad VI was born into the job. So heres an awkward question for Westerners: Is Moroccos constitution more liberal than Egypts despite the fact that the king wasnt elected or partly because of the fact that an unelected head of state appointed the draft committee himself?
Moroccos constitution is a startling document, and not just because the king lost some of his legal power at his own acquiescence. There are other things in there, too, things that are all but unthinkable in most Arab countries right now. For instance, Morocco is legally and formally described as a sovereign Muslim state, committed to the ideals of openness, moderation, tolerance and dialogue to foster mutual understanding among all civilizations. And then there is this: Morocco is definedcorrectly, I should addas a nation whose unity is based on the fully endorsed diversity of its constituents: Arabic, Amazigh, Hassani, Sub-Saharan, African, Andalusian, Jewish and Mediterranean. [Emphasis added.]
Describing Morocco as having a partially Jewish identity is not just a sop to Western observers. Anti-Semitism exists in Morocco, for sure, but its not as strong as it is elsewhere in the Arab world. Thousands of Jews still live there, just as they do in Tunisia, and theyve been there for more than a thousand years. Jewish contribution to Moroccan culture is just a fact. Only a liar or ignoramus could deny that.
But theres a big difference between the Jewish community of Tunisia and the Jewish community of Morocco aside from the fact that Moroccos is bigger. Jewish schools in Tunisia are only for Jews. But Jews run schools in Morocco that are attended mostly by Muslim children. Moroccos Jews run some of the best schools in the country, and everyone knows it. Upper and middle class families want their children to go to the Jewish schools even if they arent Jewish, just as many middle class American families send their children to Catholic schools even if they arent religious at all, let alone Catholic. Moroccos Jewish schools are extremely competitive. Nothing even remotely like them exists in any other Arab country. I was surprised to learn this. Moroccans were surprised and slightly annoyed that I was surprised.
Israelis are also welcome in Morocco. They can and regularly do travel there on their own passports. They dont have to visit on second passports while hiding their identity as they do in most Arab countries. Its no longer even a secret that Morocco has friendly behind-the-scenes relations with Israel much like Jordan did before the peace treaty was signed by King Hussein in 1994. This state of affairs is almost certainly because Mohammad VI has a more moderate view of the Arab-Israeli conflict than the population at large, though I should point out that I detected a complete lack of hysteria about Israel among the Moroccan elitists I spoke to, something I cant say about any other Arab country, period, not even Tunisia.
Our intention, Bernoussi said, was not to hobble the monarchy, but to clearly set out the responsibilities for each branch of the government. Because the context we were working in was the Arab Spring thats sweeping the region and all of its dangers. We didnt want to hobble the monarchy because we looked to the monarchy to ensure the changes we were making wouldnt get lost. The monarchy is the only institution that everybody has confidence in.
What do the Islamists think of the king? I said.
I dont really know, she said, but my friends in Tunisia and Egypt say to me how lucky I am because we have someone who can balance everything out. My Tunisian friends on both the left and the right say this.
The king and the government have separate powers now, separate areas of responsibility. Mohammad VI handles strategic sovereign questionswar, peace, and the likewhile the government deals with the publicthe economy, the budget, urban issues, and so on. In other words, the king takes care of Morocco and the government takes care of Moroccans.
The king hasnt retired from the government, she said. What changed is that the parliament has entered the government. Because before we didnt have a real parliament. The king cant make laws by himself anymore. He cant issue executive orders.
But what if he did it anyway? I said.
Then we would have a serious political crisis.
Moroccan journalist Abderrahman Aadaoui laughed when I asked him if he needs a license from the government to practice his profession. Of course not, he said, as if my question was bizarre. But journalists in plenty of Arab countries do need a license. They are heavily regulated by the dictators they write about. Not sufficiently toeing the party line? Say goodbye to your license and income, perhaps your family and home, and maybe even your life.
Aadaoui graduated with a degree in English literature from University Mohammad V in 1985 and he works today as the moderator of a weekly political show called Issues and Opinion on Moroccan TV.
I asked him about red lines in the media. Surely they must exist. All Arab countries have red lines. They arent the same everywhere, but they exist everywhere. And of course they exist in Morocco, as well.
The red lines are these: You cant bang on the king. You cant bang on Islam. And you cant question the territorial integrity of Moroccomeaning you cant say the still-disputed Western Sahara region belongs to the Polisario, a guerrilla army backed by the Soviet Union that tried to take over the region after the Spanish imperialists left.
Theoretically Moroccan journalists can say whatever they want about anything else, including the parliament and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But Moroccans can even cross those lines now to an extent, Aadaoui said. They can write about the king and argue about Islam.
Can you say terrible things about the king? I said.
He smiled and laughed. Well, it depends, he said. What do you mean by terrible? You can talk about his fortune, his wealth. People are talking about that right now. You can talk about his personal life. There used to be a red line, a wall, that has been destroyed. The word wall is better than line. Like the Berlin Wall, every day someone takes another brick out of it.
As far as liberty, he continued, Morocco has recently gone from zero percent to 95 percent. But we dont have total freedom. Once in a while somebody goes to jail. And people ask, how come during the reign of Hassan II nobody went to jail? The reason is because no one wrote about anything controversial. Those were real red lines back in that day. No one had the right to write anything about the king except what was official, the things he was doing. Now people take the initiative and write about the king.
Moroccan journalists do get arrested sometimes, and not only for crossing those red lines. For instance, in 2011 Rachid Niny, a controversial newspaper publisher, was jailed for a year for supposedly publishing disinformation about Moroccos intelligence agency.
Because of incidents of that sort, and because of the red lines, Freedom House ranks Moroccos press as not free even while listing Morocco as a partly free country.
Aadaoui thinks thats grossly unfair.
Freedom House, he said, is critical of Moroccan press freedom because they were expecting 100 percent freedom. They shouldnt make judgments about the current era without taking into consideration what we had before. There was enormous oppression. We werent allowed to say one single word. I left during King Hassans reign. I went to the United States. And when I came back, Morocco was a different country. You had to have lived in the period before to enjoy what we have now.
I can understand his frustration, but that doesnt make Freedom House wrong. The ranking doesnt by itself reveal that Morocco is more free than it used to be, but its nevertheless the case that the media isnt yet free. The rating is accurate even if Aadaoui is right that the press is more free than it used to be.
Aadaoui sees a glass thats half full while Freedom House sees a glass thats half empty. Theyre both right. They even agree with each other. Neither disputes the fact that half the glass is filled with water while the other is nothing but air.
He and I discussed the society as well as the media. Morocco is an inherently conservative place. Change occurs gradually and very carefully over very long stretches of time. Thats how it has always been there. Thats one of the reasons Morocco still has a king with actual power long after its European neighbors across the Mediterranean got rid of the theirs.
But this is the 21st century, and no culture is static.
The modern political parties talk about separating religion from government, he said. This is new. But you should understand something. You see all this modernity around you. I did, indeed, see a modern-looking country around me. Were modern in the street, but we are conservative when we go home. We have two faces. A man may watch a pornographic movie outside, but if hes home with his wife and he sees a kiss on the TV he might change the channel. This is Morocco.
Can you explain that? I said.
Modernity is new here, he said. We got some of it from French and Spanish colonialism, and from America. After the French and Spanish left, modernity stayed. There will always be a debate between modernity and conservatism, but the new generation can be as modern as they want to be. Theyre on Facebook and Twitter. They know only one thing. They are separating from the past. In twenty or thirty years, I think, we will no longer have two personalities. The duality we have here will fade. But people my age live in both worlds at the same time. And you find both points of view in the media. Some newspapers are strictly modernist and constantly attack the conservatives. One newspaper has pictures of women on whats called the hot page. Its almost pornographic.
The women are wearing, what, swimsuits? I said.
Not even swimsuits! he said. You dont see this in other Arab countries.
Which side does the king come down on in the argument between the modernists and conservatives? I said.
He isnt supposed to take sides because he represents all the people, Aadaoui said, but hes young and he encourages the modernist current. He says Morocco cant abandon its roots or religion, but he insists all the time on modernity. It is a key word in his speeches.
Morocco began its process of liberalization before the Arab Spring started. Hassan II ruled the country iron-fist style, but it was actually henot Mohammad VIwho began the process. His son just stepped on the accelerator.
Its impossible to say how much hes reforming Morocco because he wants to and how much is because he feels that he has to, but its almost certainly a mixture of both. It would be silly to pretend it isnt happening in the context of the Arab Spring. It is. The Moroccans dont pretend that it isnt, so we shouldnt either. The new constitution didnt just randomly happen to get written after revolution and war broke out across the Middle East and North Africa.
More than half of the northernmost countries in Africa just overthrew tyrants. The only reason the same thing hasnt also happened in Algeria is because the country still hasnt entirely recovered from the civil war of the 1990s when radical Islamists mounted a horrifically savage insurgency that killed more than 100,000 people. I briefly spoke to an Algerian last year who had this to say about why his country is stable: the government is atrocious, but unlike the Islamists, at least they dont want to kill me.
Morocco has no such dynamic. Change was coming one way or another. The government could either get out in front of it and manage some kind of transition or hunker down and hope for the best while political hurricanes flatten the neighbors. Since the country was already reforming anyway, this was not a hard call to make.
One of the first things Mohammad VI did was get rid of his fathers minister of the interior, Driss Basri, the kings right-hand man during the lead years who seemed to enjoy using the states instruments of internal repression to kick the crap out of people. Just four months after Mohammad VI ascended the throne, he shook Basris hand, said thank you for your service, and sent him into retirement. Basri, along with the entire circle around him, was and remains hated by a large number of people. Most of them, including Basri himself, exiled themselves to France, their names and reputations blackened at home.
Moroccans were stunned when the king fired Basri. So was the foreign diplomatic corps in Rabat. It brought the curtain down hard on the end of an era.
Basris political prisoners were let out of jail. Five of them helped draft the countrys new constitution. Others were given permanent jobs in the government. One of them, Driss El Yazami, is the president of the National Human Rights Council. It was established in March of 2011 to address past abuses in Morocco and to police abuses that are still going on.
He was jailed for being a left-wing activist by Hassan II. And now a major part of his job is stamping out the abuse of prisoners and detainees by prison guards and police officers.
We take complaints from citizens about possible human rights violations, he said, and we have the power to intervene on behalf of detained people if we suspect a persons rights have been violated. We can go right now to prisons and intervene if someone is being mistreated or tortured, but we have to give the prison prior notification.
Shortly before I arrived in Morocco, the government ratified The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture. One of the requirements of that protocol is the creation of an organization that has the authority go intervene without prior notification. That hasnt happened yet, but theoretically Yazami should be given that power.
How bad are the conditions in Moroccan prisons? I asked him. He ought to know better than just about anyone.
He didnt answer my question directly. He put it this way: No prison anywhere in the world could be described as civilized. Human rights organizations report catastrophic conditions even in Europe. I assume he meant to say that Moroccan prisons are catastrophically uncivilized while saying, at the same time, hey, dont judge us, yours and even Europes are terrible, too.
More than forty percent of the people incarcerated here havent yet had a trial, he added. It has been like that for six years.
The Moroccan Spring began a long time ago, said womens rights activist Naima Benwakrim. Shes on the National Council for Human Rights and has a masters degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. And the Moroccan Spring accelerated when Mohammad VI succeeded his father on the throne. In his very first speech he announced that the status of women had to conform with modern norms.
Moroccos family status law changed to more or less match Tunisias, which made women and men equal under the law in 1956. Moroccos Islamists werent happy about it, but they voted for it unanimously in the parliament anyway. The Islamists were reeling from a massive wave of public invective after suicide bombers from Salafia Jihadia killed themselves and 33 others in Casablanca in 2003. The entire society was roiling with fury at the Islamists, and that was the moment the king decided to put the reform code up for a vote.
Its not perfect, Benwakrim said, but its a huge achievement in our struggle as women to improve our situation. I didnt expect to ever see this sort of change in my lifetime. We struggled, but we thought we were just laying groundwork for future generations. We were so very happy about this reform because what we got was exactly what was in the action plan that was boycotted by the Islamists.
Morocco is still in many ways a conservative Muslim society, but the traditions it is conserving arent the same as they are everywhere else in the region. The country has a strong moderate Sufi current, and the religion as practiced and understood there has long been influenced by ideas from Sub-Saharan Africa and from Europe, which is only eleven miles away. Plenty of uncovered women are out and about in the streets. I didnt see a single woman with her face covered the entire time I was there. Female genital mutilation, with an incidence rate somewhere between 78-97 percent in Egypt, doesnt even exist in Morocco.
And the city of Marrakech elected its first woman mayor four years ago. Fatima Zahra Mansouri from the Authenticity and Modernity Party is the first woman mayor in the countrys history. She speaks perfect French and wouldnt have seemed out of place in the mayors office in Paris.
She does not wear a headscarf. Every time she meets with local Islamists they tell her she should cover herself, but she refuses. She has a standardand Im sorry to say, unprintableresponse to that demand.
I asked her whats the hardest thing about her job, and she knew the answer immediately. The most difficult thing is making unpopular decisions that are necessary for the citys future. Like making people pay for parking. People hate that, but its important! And I dont like taxes, but the city needs money.
Thats the kind of answer the mayor of a city in a peaceable and fully developed nation might have. The mayors of Benghazi and Baghdad have far bigger problems on their plate at the moment and likely will for a very long time. When public anger over parking meters become the biggest source of stress for the mayor of Baghdad, well know Iraq has truly and finally changed.
Mansouri and I talked urban issues for a whileI can be a bit of a geek about cities and could have discussed such things with her all daybut she really came to life when I asked my final question.
What do you wish Americans knew about Morocco that they might not already know? Most Americans know Morocco is a nice place for tourists, but thats about it. Most who know a little bit more know that Morocco is a Muslim country with a king, butagainthats about it.
It may be hard for you to understand Morocco politically, she said. I often read analyses that are totally wrong, but I cant blame people for not understanding, because this is a hard place to understand.
She leaned forward and spoke in English rather than French to make sure I would understand.
The Moroccan soul is not one of revolution, she said, but of evolution. It is our specialty. Transitions are easier here than they are in other places. We dont have what they have in Tunisia today. We dont have what they have in Egypt and Syria and Libya today. We have a special system, one with a strong king but one who does not have all the power.
We had the French protectorate period, she continued, but after independence we built our own institutions. And now we are building democracy. Democracy isnt something thats just declared. It has to be built. We have the separation of powers. And we will never tolerate radical Islam because our traditions here have been moderate for ten centuries. Look, Morocco is stable. We have a secular system. We have strong institutions and a growing economy. We are known as the door to Africa. We have so much cultural diversity here and I think we can turn into a model of human development. You have to live here to fully appreciate it. We cant adopt a Western style of government yet, but we can strike a balance between who and what we are and what we will have to become.
Nadia Bernoussi, the law professor who helped draft the new constitution, grumbled a bit about how some foreigners see Moroccos democratic reforms as a sham.
Well, I said. The king wasnt elected.
She was taken aback by my bluntness, and I felt slightly rude saying it, but its true and every single Westerner in the world who looks at Moroccos political system notices that and takes it into account. It is the most salient feature of her countrys government from our point of view.
Its true that the king isnt elected, she said, but he has a different kind of legitimacy. He has national, historic, and Islamic legitimacy.
This isnt the sort of political sentiment Americans like me can relate to, but I did hear something I could understand and appreciate easily. When I asked uncovered Moroccan women if they fear the Islamists, they all said they did not. (In Tunisia and Egypt the uncovered women I know absolutely fear the Islamists.) But even the feminists in Morocco arent afraid of the Islamists. And when I asked why, all of them said because of the king.
Yes it is, thanks for posting.
Interesting, but this guy is kind of a moron about kings.
Right near the start of the article, we didn’t get anti-American fanatics in Iran because we were friends with the Shah. We got fanatics because Jimmuh the Idiot betrayed our somewhat corrupt but basically decent ally the Shah and brought in fanatical Muslim clerics to replace him.
When you have an evil religion like Islam permeating the culture, then having a king is a whole lot better than an imam, because it splits the power. A little corruption and selfishness is a lot better than a lot of fanaticism with the power to impose it.
The people in these countries bear no resemblance to the colonial Americans who sought freedom from England. They have been shaped by very different cultural forces.
I think the author is asking a critically important question, but not in the right way.
The real question is whether liberalism (in the original sense of freedom for individuals) and rule of law is more important than democracy, in its literal sense of rule by the people.
I think it is undeniable that the first is far and away more important. Individual rights and rule of law are the goal. The only reason, IMO, that democracy has become associated with it is that democracy has so far been the only proven way to maintain freedom and rule of law for an extended period.
Freedom and rule of law can of course exist under an autocracy. And democracy, giving the people what they want, can lead directly to oppression and loss of any previous freedom, as we saw in Weimar Germany and are in the process of seeing in Libya, Egypt, Syria, etc.
You guys might appreciate this article.
As much as I want to post a full analysis, I just got home from the armory and am too tired for that, so just a quick point.
Yes, a monarch is a much better and effective ruler, in a country like that where it is more traditional and the people respect that. AND, where you have a benevolent ruler who is smart enough to make the right decisions for the people. The problem is that eventually he dies, and the next guy might not be so nice. The power has too much potential for abuse. You can’t depend on having a benevolent, effective monarch each time the crown is passed on.
OPEC Has Already Turned to the Euro
February 18, 2004
...The source for the euro exchange rate is the Federal Reserve, and I have calculated the euro's average exchange rate to the dollar for each year based on daily data.We can see from column (4) in the above table that in 2001, each barrel of imported crude oil cost $21.40 on average for that year. But by 2003 the average price of a barrel of crude oil had risen 26.0% to $26.97 per barrel. However, the important point is shown in column (6). Note that the price of crude oil in terms of euros is essentially unchanged throughout this 3-year period.
US Imports of Crude oil (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) Year Quantity (thousands of barrels) Value (thousands of US dollars) Unit price (US dollars) Average daily US$ per € exchange rate Unit price (euros)
3,471,066 74,292,894 21.40 0.8952 23.91 2002 3,418,021 77,283,329 22.61 0.9454 23.92 2003 3,673,596 99,094,675 26.97 1.1321 23.82
As the dollar has fallen, the dollar price of crude oil has risen. But the euro price of crude oil remains essentially unchanged throughout this 3-year period. It does not seem logical that this result is pure coincidence. It is more likely the result of purposeful design, namely, that OPEC is mindful of the dollar's decline and increases the dollar price of its crude oil by an amount that offsets the loss in purchasing power OPEC's members would otherwise incur. In short, OPEC is protecting its purchasing power as the dollar declines.
Thanks for the ping. Very interesting....more should read it.
And that precisely describes the demographic makeup of the United States, circa 2013.
Obama acts much more like their feckless King than the experienced chief executive of a constitutional republic.
Good post - I enjoyed reading this.