A man of distinction in today’s world is a man that throws his money in military monkey business, the shenanigans that our wealthiest nations excel at.
The first step in any 12-step imperial-overstretch recovery program would involve accepting the fact that American power is limited and global rule an impossible fantasy. Accepted as well would have to be this obvious reality: like it or not, the U.S. shares the planet with a coterie of other major powers -- none as strong as we are, but none so weak as to be intimidated by the threat of U.S. military intervention. Having absorbed a more realistic assessment of American power, Washington would then have to focus on how exactly to cohabit with such powers -- Russia, China, and Iran among them -- and manage its differences with them without igniting yet more disastrous regional firestorms. But for any of this to happen, American policymakers would first have to abandon the pretense that the United States remains the sole global superpower -- and that may be too bitter a pill for the present American psyche (and for the political aspirations of certain Republican candidates) to swallow. From such denialism, it’s already clear, will only come further ill-conceived military adventures abroad and, sooner or later, under far grimmer circumstances, an American reckoning with reality.
The “inconsequential” war certainly and drastically changed America, of that there is no doubt. Whether for the good, or bad, you’ll have to decide for yourself. On the positive side, the war did cement American independence. It proved that to defeat America on its home ground, a very, very large army, and a great commitment to prolonged and bloody war, was going to be needed. On the negative side; the war left the country with constitutional revisionism, centralized power, protectionism, mercantilism, expansionism, blind patriotism, and militarism. That decentralist small-government thingy conceived by the Founding Fathers didn’t last very long, did it? One must wonder “War, what is it good for? Was it all worth it?”
The most important takeaway from the tragic events in France is that we need to stay as vigilant as ever in defending our freedoms. As the aftermath of the Hebdo attack has shown, governments will misuse any opportunity they see to further restrict our freedom and arrogate more power to themselves. This is especially easy when people are faced with an understandably emotionally tense situation like 9/11 or other terrorist attacks. However, thanks to the Internet we are less prone to accept State propaganda and are able to get a more objective view of what is really happening in the world around us.
Genuine economic growth is something you can allow, but you cannot force. If you try to trick your way to it – with phony interest rates, more debt, and cockamamie inflation targets – you will retard the growth, not speed it up. This is obvious, too. But Ms. Yellen is paid not to see it. And in the absence of real growth, the Dow at 18,000 looks vulnerable. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see a rolling top take shape... with a sharp break in the fall. But here we leave the vagaries of the market to pay homage to America’s Second Greatest Generation.
Spoiler alert: if you are 14 or younger, you have never known an America that isn't without war.
In real democracies, governments would do what the citizens who put them in office want them to do. The United States and other Western democracies make a mockery of that ideal. But, even so, there are limits; governments cannot defy public opinion on matters of great moment indefinitely. Enabling the Saudi ruling class, and the rulers of the other Gulf states, to direct American foreign policy to the extent that they do, and to get away with whatever they please, is hardly the least of it; but neither is it the only cause for concern.
Overnight Xinhua also reported that a gold sector fund involving countries along the ancient Silk Road has been set up in northwest China's Xi'an City during an ongoing forum on investment and trade this weekend. (read more about the "New Silk Road" which could change global economics forever here). The fund, led by Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), is expected to raise an estimated 100 billion yuan (16.1 billion U.S. Dollars) in three phases. The amount of capital allocated to nothing but physical gold purchases (without plans for financial paper intermediation a la western ETFs) will be the largest in the world.
What if Putin is Telling The Truth? On April 26 Russia’s main national TV station, Rossiya 1, featured President Vladimir Putin in a documentary to the Russian people on the events of the recent period including the annexation of Crimea, the US coup d’etat in Ukraine, and the general state of relations with the United States and the EU. His words were frank. And in the middle of his remarks the Russian former KGB chief dropped a political bombshell that was known by Russian intelligence two decades ago... Putin stated that the terror in Chechnya and in the Russian Caucasus in the early 1990’s was actively backed by the CIA and western Intelligence services to deliberately weaken Russia.
China is building the world’s greatest economic development and construction project ever undertaken: The New Silk Road. The project aims at no less than a revolutionary change in the economic map of the world. It is also seen by many as the first shot in a battle between east and west for dominance in Eurasia. For the world at large, its decisions about the Road are nothing less than momentous. The massive project holds the potential for a new renaissance in commerce, industry, discovery, thought, invention, and culture that could well rival the original Silk Road. It is also becoming clearer by the day that geopolitical conflicts over the project could lead to a new cold war between East and West for dominance in Eurasia.
Over the weekend, a major shift in the balance of power in Iraq took place when Islamic State forces seized the key Iraqi state of Ramadi. It took barely one day for the neoconservative cries for an aggressive and powerful response when overnight Kimberly Kagan's hawkish think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, came out with its assessment which was at least partially right that "Obama's strategy against the Islamic State in ruins not only in Iraq but also throughout the Muslim world."
Ten Members of the U.S. Congress – along with 32 of their staff members – received secret payments from Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company to travel to Baku in 2013, to cover the cost of travel, including souvenirs of “silk scarves, crystal tea sets and Azerbaijani rugs.”
It is unlikely that we would ever be called upon to give a speech to graduating students. But if we were, we would say the following: Congratulations, Class of 2015: You chumps!
The Wall Street Journal reports that you are the most indebted generation in history. The average graduate with student debt has a little more than $35,000 of it. The whole bill for student debt this year is expected to reach $68 billion – a tenfold increase over the last 20 years. But student debt is like the foul smell of gangrene: It testifies to a deeper, inner corruption...
Cold War 2.0 Caught On Tape: US Military Convoy Crosses Eastern Europe While NATO Sings Karaoke Peace BalladSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/15/2015 13:45 -0400
A day after Kiev chose hawkish US Senator John McCain to serve on President Poroshenko's advisory committee (spoiler alert: he had to decline), the US military rolls through Romania with a "simple message" for Vladimir Putin and Russia. Meanwhile, European officials hold hands and sing Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie's "We Are The World" at a NATO dinner. And yes, we have the video clips.