00:06 GMT01 April 2020
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    At the moment, the OPEC oil-backed status of the dollar allows the currency to enjoy the status of the most stable and sought-after medium of exchange in trade. However, a number of countries and non-state actors have recently sought to change this state of affairs, proposing other currencies, gold or even cryptocurrencies as a replacement.

    The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the powerful state organ coordinating the foreign and domestic intelligence of the US intelligence community, has published a job posting searching for PhDs to evaluate threats to the global dollar system.

    The posting, which appeared on the Oak Ridge Institution for Science and Education’s Zintellect job opportunities network, which is often used by US federal agencies, appears to be real, and is seeking candidates who can “provide useful new insights not available today” to allow the US to “prepare for scenarios that threaten to undermine the US dollar as the world reserve currency.”

    © Photo : Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
    Screengrab of a job posting on the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education system's Zintellect job posting network.

    The posting explains that the dollar’s status as the world reserve currency provides America with many advantages and opportunities, including “jurisdiction over financial crimes” associated with dollar transactions, and the ability to “effectively level sanctions” against countries or entities at will.

    The ODNI emphasizes that “the US maintains international dominance in no small part due to its financial power and authorities,” and seems to want things to stay that way.

    Unfortunately, the posting notes, multiple factors, including the growing economic power of countries like China and India, as well as cryptocurrencies, threaten the dollar’s supremacy.

    The job posting, applicable to US citizens with a PhD and associated with an accredited US university, college or government laboratory, as well as non-citizens employed by one of the above for a ‘research advisor’ role, calls for “deep expertise” in fields including economics, finance, and emerging and alternative banking mechanisms. Curiously, the posting also calls for skills in Earth and geosciences, environmental and marine sciences, life health and medical sciences, and nanotechnology.

    The research project calls on candidates to “leverage all available information as well as recent breakthroughs in applied statistics, artificial intelligence, and deep learning” to determine the most likely expected cause of the dollar’s decline, the timeframe involved, and the likely economic and national security consequences.

    Potential candidates have until February 28, 2020 to apply, and are required to send a resume and fill in a detailed application. No information about salaries or benefits is available. Presumably successful candidates would be paid in dollars.

    FILE- In this Nov. 15, 2017, file photo, a worker aerates printed sheets of dollar bills at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington.
    © AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin
    FILE- In this Nov. 15, 2017, file photo, a worker aerates printed sheets of dollar bills at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington.

    Anti-Dollar Trend

    Russia has helped to lead the charge in challenging the dollar’s hegemony in recent years after accusing Washington of the “outright abuse” of its coveted status and the “increasingly aggressive use of financial sanctions.” Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that Russia would continue “its policy aimed at the gradual de-dollarization of the economy.”

    Once one of the largest investors in dollars and US debt, Moscow has gradually dropped the vast majority of its Treasuries holdings, and topped up the share of gold, yuan, euros and other currencies in place of the greenback in its $500+ billion reserve cushion. Furthermore, Russian trade partners including China, Turkey and India have agreed on the use of local currencies for major trade deals and defence-related contracts, in part to allow them to skirt US sanctions restrictions. Late last year, Russian energy giant Rosneft, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, dropped the dollar in favour of euros in export contracts. Russia’s ministry of finance has also toyed with the idea of switching to euros in all trade with the European Union.

    Iran, which switched from dollars to euros for its official reporting currency in 2018, has proposed an ambitious international effort at the Non-Aligned Movement level to battle the dollar, saying the community of neutral states has the power to counter and defeat illegitimate US economic and sanctions pressure.

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