Did Western countries just steal US$600 BILLION from Russia?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Western Countries Just Stole $600 Billion From Russia!
Pro-China groups and supporters are sharing this post on social media and WhatsApp, claiming that Western Countries took opportunity of the Ukraine War to steal US$600 billion from Russia.
It’s a long post, so feel free to skip to the next section for the facts!
Good morning. Happy Monday
Those who have read English literature would be familiar with the saying ” A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”.
What they may not know is that thievery by any other name ,as in sanction, is also thievery.
Of course the West would want to sanitize and justify their actions by avoiding the term “thievery” when they stole Afghanistan’s US$ 7 billion last year. Today they are stealing US$600 billion from Russia’s Central Bank apart from other assets belonging to Russian individuals.
Truth : Western Countries Did Not Steal $600 Billion From Russia!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created and/or propagated by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : US Did Not Steal US$7 Billion From Afghanistan
The US government did not steal US$7 billion from Afghanistan.
This false claim is based on an executive order by the Biden Administration to freeze approximately US$7 billion worth of US-based assets owned by Afghanistan’s central bank – Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB).
The US Feds are holding onto those assets, so they are not actually being taken or used by the US government.
- US$3.5 billion will be allocated for “the benefit of the Afghan people”.
- Another US$3.5 billion will be held, as they are subject to “ongoing litigation by US victims of terrorism”.
In essence, the Biden Administration is blocking the Taliban government from using the assets to purchase what they don’t believe would be in “the benefit of the Afghan people”. Chief on their mind would be weapons, and financing of terrorist activities.
One may argue that the Taliban is the Afghan government of the day – as reprehensible as they may be, and therefore have the right to access all of that money.
That may well be true, but it does not mean that the US government stole the money. After all, they did not take or use it for their own purposes.
I should also point out that the US contributed at least $130 billion to Afghanistan, so it would seem silly for them to “steal” $7 billion from Afghanistan, wouldn’t it?
Fact #2 : US + Allies Froze $400 Billion Of Russian Assets
Right after Russia invaded Ukraine, the US and its European allies sanctioned Russia’s central bank, preventing it from accessing most of its foreign reserves.
Russia had built up about $630 billion worth of foreign currency and gold reserves in various countries, but the US government and its allies froze about $400 billion of those reserves.
So right off the bat, the claim that the US government stole $600 billion from the Russian bank is wrong.
Not only did the wumao writer (intentionally?) get the figure wrong, it was not just the US government. The European Union also sanctioned the Russian central bank.
Fact #3 : Russian Reserves Were Frozen, Not Seized
The foreign currency and gold reserves of the Russian central bank were FROZEN, not seized.
That blocks the Russian central bank from accessing them in any way, but does allow the US government or any other country to take control of those assets, or use them.
For a Western government to seize any frozen asset, they would have to first prove that the assets are linked to a crime. Until that happens, they too cannot access those assets.
These cases need to be built, there has to be a showing of some sort of underlying theory of forfeiture, there has to be a reason that they are forfeited. The mere fact that somebody the United States has said is a target owns this asset isn’t enough to form a basis of seizure under U.S. law.
That’s the difference between “law-based order” where everyone follows the same rules, and “autocratic order” like in China, where the government can and have arbitrarily seized assets belonging to individuals that have fallen out of favour.
Fact #4 : Only Assets Of Sanctioned Individuals Were Frozen
The post falsely claimed that assets belonging to Russian individuals were also stolen.
Not only were they not stolen, only assets belonging to sanctioned individuals were frozen. The assets of other Russian individuals were not affected.
Chinese netizens need not be overly concerned about their money stashed in Western banks.
Even if China decides to do something similarly evil like Russia, and invade another country, Western banks will only be forced to freeze the assets of those in power, like Chinese President Xi Jinping, for example.
Fact #5 : English Piracy Has No Relevance To Spanish Abuses
The viral post falsely claimed that English pirates attacked Spanish galleons filled with gold and silver, because they looked down on the native people of the Caribbeans and Americas.
That’s an astonishingly silly claim. Pirates attacked Spanish galleons because they were after the cargo, not because they had something against the native people.
Whatever the pirates may think of the native people is irrelevant. They were not remotely interested in the abuses that the Spanish conducted in their theft of gold and silver from the Incas.
This is no different from how robbers are only interested in taking your money, and not at all interested in whether you earned your money through hard work, or stole it from someone else.
Fact #6 : Russian Assets Only Frozen After Invasion Of Ukraine
The viral post falsely suggested that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was planned by the West, as a way to steal Russia’s money.
Not only was the money not stolen at all, Western countries had repeatedly threatened sanctions if Russia invaded Ukraine.
The West tried to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine. Russia explicitly chose to ignore their threats, and invade Ukraine.
Fact #6 : China Has Publicly + Unilaterally Threatened Taiwan
The viral post falsely suggested that the West is planning to target China next for its riches, by goading China to shoot first at Taiwan.
That’s another silly claim. The West does not need to goad China to do something that it is already doing – repeatedly provoking tensions with Taiwan, even publicly threatening military action.
China and its 50 Cent Army have also been actively creating and disseminating fake news and threats not just against Taiwan, but against other countries and Western nations.
Read more : Did China Threaten West With Waterloo In South China Sea?
Read more : US Withdraws After Chinese Jamming Attacks?
Fact #7 : US Cannot Refuse To Repay Its Loans
The writer falsely claimed that the US will sanction China’s ownership of $1 trillion worth of US debt if China attacks Taiwan. That’s nonsense.
China has steadily purchased US Treasury securities as an investment, and a way to push down the value of the renminbi (RMB).
These securities are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the United States, and is considered one of the world’s lowest-risk investments, because they have never defaulted on a payment.
If the United States defaults and refuses to pay China what it’s owed, it would suffer a massive hit to its reputation and credit rating, and the yield rate of its debt would skyrocket.
Even though China owns $1.065 trillion worth of US debt (as of October 2021), that is only 3.68% of the $28.9 trillion US national debt.
It would be idiotic for the US to risk over 96% of its rock-solid bonds, by refusing to repay China for its ownership of those bonds.
This fake news appears to be part of the disinformation campaign conducted by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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