"The global financial landscape was evolving. Ever since World War II, US bankers hadn’t worried too much about their supremacy being challenged by other international banks, which were still playing catch-up in terms of deposits, loans, and global customers. But by now the international banks had moved beyond postwar reconstructive pain and gained significant ground by trading with Cold War enemies of the United States. They were, in short, cutting into the global market that the US bankers had dominated by extending themselves into areas in which the US bankers were absent for US policy reasons. There was no such thing as “enough” of a market share in this game. As a result, US bankers had to take a longer, harder look at the “shackles” hampering their growth. To remain globally competitive, among other things, bankers sought to shatter post-Depression legislative barriers like Glass-Steagall. They wielded fear coated in shades of nationalism as a weapon: if US bankers became less competitive, then by extension the United States would become less powerful. The competition argument would remain dominant on Wall Street and in Washington for nearly three decades, until the separation of speculative and commercial banking that had been invoked by the Glass-Steagall Act would be no more."
No tree grows to the sky. Once extremes are reached, trends reverse, often with symmetry: the decline often matches the ascent. Which leads to an interesting question: have we reached Peak Putin? The capture of a few pawns has cleared the chessboard, but the strategic choices already made have greatly reduced Putin's room to maneuver.
Diplomatic relations can be roughly categorized into realism (utilitarianism) and idealism (led by ideology and philosophy). Although realism has been dominant in modern times, idealism has seemingly been everywhere and nowhere - U.S. is a realist with ideals, while China is a realistic idealist. The “realism” of each country is more or less the same, but the ideals are not. The U.S. adores liberty and democracy while China worships the idea of a socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics. It’s because of such compromises and concessions by the U.S. and China that “new type great power relations” becomes possible. Russia, however, is a realist through and through. Of course, you can’t blame Russia for this…
The Diplomat‘s Justin McDonnell spoke with Larisa Smirnova, an expert on Sino-Russian relations and professor at Xiamen University, about the crisis in Ukraine, Russian foreign policy, and more.
For more than two decades China has abided by former leader Deng Xiaoping’s “keep a low profile” strategy in foreign affairs. But things are changing — China is ready to take on a leadership role in international affairs, and the world may benefit from it. Does the goal of a more stable and prosperous world necessitate a China that’s more active and assertive in global affairs.
Russian Politician Suggests Dividing Ukraine Along Lines Of Nazi-Soviet Pact, Proposes West Ukraine ReferendumSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/24/2014 12:23 -0400
It has been a while since well-known Russian nationalist and spotlight-grabbing politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, made headlines. The recent flame up of Cold War 2.0 is precisely the cover the flamboyant individual needed to reemerge once more, scandalous as ever. Because while the west scrambles to find a way to punish Russia for openly flaunting its relentless hollow threats by annexing Crimea, Zhirinovsky is back and has a "modest proposal" for Ukraine, and the countries neighboring the troubled former USSR territory: namely dividing the country along the lines of an infamous Nazi-Soviet pact, suggesting that regions in Western Ukraine hold referendums on breaking away from Kiev. In a letter sent to the governments of Poland, Romania and Hungary, Vladimir Zhirinovsky also suggested those countries hold referendums on incorporating the regions into their territory. The question is whether Zhirinovsky, who traditionally has been just a bit of a loose cannon yet whose nationalist Liberal Democratic party largely backs President Vladimir Putin in the Russian parliament,speaks only for himself, or whether Putin is using him the way the Fed uses Hilsenrath.
Personal sovereignty is a ‘State of Mind’ long before it is a state of being.
Palladium has gained 5.5% during the last five days of the crisis and is up 7.9% year to date. Ore deposits of palladium are rare and are mostly located in Russia and South Africa. Russian resource nationalism, as has been seen with natural gas, could lead to supply disruptions and to palladium going higher in the coming months. Some analysts believe palladium may be in deficit for most of the next decade as Russia depletes stockpiles and industrial uses and investment demand for the precious metal increase.
- European Bonds Surge on Slowing German Inflation, Ukraine Tumult (BBG)
- Ukraine tensions hit shares (Reuters)
- Debating Geithner’s Appearances in 2008 Transcripts (Hilsenrath)
- Tensions in Asia Stoke Rising Nationalism in Japan (WSJ)
- GM Investigated Over Ignition Recall Linked to 13 Deaths (BBG)
- Smartphone wars shift from gadgetry to price (Reuters)
- Some Companies Alter the Bonus Playbook (WSJ)
- London’s Subterranean Luxury Manors Lure New Breed of Lenders (BBG)
- Japan No Country for Old Farmers as 7-Eleven Takes Plow (BBG)
- Dream of U.S. Oil Independence Slams Against Shale Costs (BBG)
The world is now beginning to realize Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s true intentions. With his controversial visit to the Yasukuni shrine, which memorializes war dead, including Class A war criminals such as Hideki Tojo, he is no longer hesitant to reveal his true nature: without question, the most conservative leader in Japan’s postwar history. By encouraging a spirit of nationalism, Abe is hoping to engender self-confidence and patriotism among the Japanese public. But what exactly is his future agenda?
Selling hope, after all, is the stock and trade of the Sell Side. But we all need to take a step back and ask ourselves just where we stand on the proverbial economic timeline...
It would appear that in order to appease the masses - despite his recent small bump in popularity post-Affair - France's President Hollande has gone full Socialist-tard. Aside from promises to cut spending by EUR50 billion in the next 3 years (so less taxes?), Hollande has suggested...
- FRANCE'S HOLLANDE SAYS FRANCE MUST PRODUCE "MORE AND BETTER"
- HOLLANDE SAYS COMPANIES WILL IN RETURN BE GIVEN QUANTITATIVE TARGETS FOR HIRING, TRAINING
- HOLLANDE SAYS PUBLIC SPENDING CUTS CAN BE MADE WHILE PRESERVING FRENCH SOCIAL MODEL
Channeling Stalin, he further calls for "more economic governance of the Euro-zone" and the creation of a Franco-German energy company and more tax-harmonization with the Germans. We are sure Merkel will be over-the-moon at that suggestion.
We are not sure how to interpret the fact that Hilter's manifesto Mein Kampf is #3 and #4 on iTunes Political books list; but undoubtedly it marks something of significance...
How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
- Adolf Hitler
We remain hopeful that these sales trends spring from a curiosity on behalf of the population, rather than from a darker more hateful place.
15 months after acquiring three disputed islands in the Senkakus, and amid growing tensions with the Chinese following tit-for-tat air-defense zones, Abe's visit to the war-shrine, and public-opinion battles; Japan may have just cranked the rhetoric dial to 11. As Japan Times reports, the Japanese government will nationalize about 280 islands whose ownership is unknown out of the about 400 remote islands that serve as markers for determining Japan’s territorial waters.
Margaret Macmillan recently warned there are dangerous parallels between the year WWI broke out and today. Pivoting off the well-know Mark Twain adage that history does not repeat itself, but does rhyme, Macmillan suggests that the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I encourages us to reflect on the “valuable warnings” of the past. The actual and potential conflicts in the year ahead are many, and some of the same structural forces that lead to the Great War a century ago will be prevalent in 2014.