Dollar in trouble? Yippie, says the right

Under Bush, conservatives ruthlessly attacked "anti-Americanism." Under Obama, they celebrate it

Published October 6, 2009 5:15PM (EDT)

What can we learn from Robert Fisk's supposed "blockbuster" scoop that Arab nations, China, Brazil, France and Russia have been holding secret meetings "to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations" in the Mideast?

I mean, that sounds like a big deal, doesn't it? The U.S. dollar no longer the preferred currency for oil trading? Fisk himself dubs it "the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history." The story's headline is the foreboding "The Demise of the Dollar." Gold hit a new high on the news, and the dollar sank in trading across the world.

Never mind that everybody involved is hotly denying the story, which Fisk, who is not known for his financial reporting, sourced to anonymous contacts in Chinese banking and Arab circles. But we all know why their denials are so strong. Any suggestion that the dollar might be replaced as the world's de facto No. 1 currency is bound to exert downward pressure on the dollar, which would have an immediate strong negative impact on the foreign exchange holdings of ... you guessed it, China ... the Arab petro-states ... Brazil.

Which perhaps raises the question of why the parties involved would do something so potentially self-defeating, but never mind that. What I find most interesting is how this story proves a fundamental law about current right-wing partisan politics. If you're considered "anti-American" while a Republican is president, you must be pilloried at every instance. During the Bush years, Robert Fisk was so hated by the right for his anti-Iraq war reporting and pro-Palestine stance that his very name, "fisk," became Internet slang for the process of demolishing the inaccuracies of someone's reporting via line-by-line online analysis.

But under a Democratic president, anything that can be considered "anti-American" -- such as a supposed worldwide push against the dollar -- must be promoted and lauded and celebrated, simply because it might make Obama look bad. This is the Chicago Olympics theory of the dollar. Thus, a big push from Drudge, as well as links from RedState and Instapundit.

Instapundit! Where proprietor Glenn Reynolds once wrote: "Robert Fisk: Indistinguishable from Islamist propaganda."

The notion that a cold shoulder to the dollar by the world is a specific reproach aimed at Obama's policies, instead of the accumulated irresponsibility of American administrations helmed by both parties over the last 30 years, is just nuts. Watching the right-wing blogosphere embrace one of their most hated foes, simply because his latest scoop can be employed to critique Obama, would be embarrassing and sickening, if it wasn't just so predictable.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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