of The American Conservative is now available to electronic subscribers. I particularly liked Diana Moon's Taki-esque article on the decline of the Winter Olympics from Jean-Claude Killy to the Flying Tomato, even though she has much better taste than I do. (Hey, I think snowboardcross is, like, gnarly, dog [dawg?]).
Ex-CIA man Philip Giraldi's always interesting "Deep Background" gossip column for spies has a paragraph on something that readers have been bringing up in emails to me:
"There is increasing speculation that tension between the United States and Iran, ostensibly based on concerns about nuclear weapons, might actually be fueled by Iran's campaign to exert pressure on the U.S. Dollar. Iran intends to open an oil-trading bourse on March 20, which would compete with the existing bourses in New York and London, where nearly all oil is traded. The existing arrangement is denominated in dollars, which forces Europeans and nearly all other purchasers of oil to maintain large dollar reserves. The Iranian bourse will be denominated in euros and will make it possible for many central banks around the world to get rid of their dollars, possibly lead to a sharp drop in the currency's value."
I must confess that even when I was majoring in economics, international currency economics struck me as Black Magic that I would never ever truly understand. So, I've consoled myself since by assuming that questions like what currency oil is traded in are purely "nominal" and the magic of the market would have already adjusted for the underlying values, so shifts from one currency as the denominator to another would be immaterial. But, maybe I'm kidding myself? If you understand this stuff, please let me know what's going on.