When President Obama bragged earlier that "The United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world..." adding that "no other nation can do what we do," we should have guessed some more war-mongering was coming... and sure enough. As AP reports, it appears Syrian airstrikes are on their way, but there's a mind-blowing twist in US foreign policy: "In an effort to avoid unintentionally strengthening the Syrian government, the White House could seek to balance strikes against the Islamic State with attacks on Assad regime targets." In the words of the Guinness commercial, Brilliant.
- That will teach the UAE who's boss: U.S. Won’t Consult Syria on Militant Strikes: White House (BBG)
- Putin Set to Meet Poroshenko as Ukraine Tensions Escalate (BBG)... but the de-escalation algo?
- Tim Hortons’ Canadian Fans Squeamish of American Hookup (BBG)
- Israeli air strikes target more Gaza high-rises (Reuters)
- How Steve Ballmer Became a Rookie Basketball Mogul (WSJ)
- Buffett to Help Finance Burger King Tax-Saving Deal (BBG)
- U.S. Factories Keep Losing Ground to Global Rivals (WSJ)
- Boehner, Camp Profit From Corporate Bid to Avoid U.S. Tax (BBG)
- Experimental U.S. hypersonic weapon destroyed seconds after launch (Reuters)
- The Neo-Neocons (WSJ)
It is unclear exactly why stock futures, bonds - with European peripheral yields hitting new record lows for the second day in a row - gold, oil and pretty much everything else is up this morning but it is safe to say the central banks are behind it, as is the "de-escalation" algo as a meeting between Russia and Ukraine begins today in Belarus' capital Minsk. Belarusian and Kazakhstani leaders will also be at the summit. Hopes of a significant progress on the peace talks were dampened following Merkel’s visit to Kiev over the weekend. The German Chancellor said that a big breakthrough is unlikely at today’s meeting. Russian FM Lavrov said that the discussion will focus on economic ties, the humanitarian crisis and prospects for a political resolution. On that note Lavrov also told reporters yesterday that Russia hopes to send a second humanitarian aid convoy to Ukraine this week. What he didn't say is that he would also send a cohort of Russian troops which supposedly were captured by overnight by the Ukraine army (more shortly).
"Cynical disregard for the fate of civilians and 'couldn't care less' attitude toward the international humanitarian law when it comes to geopolitical interests, becomes the core of the policy of the United States and its European satellites regarding Ukrainian. More and more questions are being raised about the ability of the current US administration to participate in the development of realistic and pragmatic approaches to international problems, to adequately assess the situation in the various regions of the world." - Russia Foreign Ministry.
"Their various reconnaissance aircraft have been wandering around foreign airspace for decades and watching the military secrets of other countries like a disgusting thief spying over his neighbor’s fence. However, when the neighbor comes back with a big stick, the thief will turn tail and run away, blaming the neighbor. When you show people weakness, they will bully you. When you show people strength, they will respect you. We believe the Chinese Air Force and Naval aviation should maintain a high level of vigilence and morale in southeast coastal region to prevent the further US action. America has lost face and does not want to show the world they are sick. They have been lording over other countries for so long, and they will never let it go after they eat this loss."
Amid both domestic and world crises, which accounted for just 3 Press Statements during President Obama's 15-day vacation to Martha's Vineyard, he found time for other things...
President Obama's cunning plan to 'quasi-ouster' Shiite PM Maliki, in the vague hopes that a more egalitarian all-inclusive Iraqi government could be formed that will magically lead the 'people' of the Sykes-Picot-defined nation to coalesce in sovereignty against The Islamic State has, somewhat understating it and perhaps unsurprisingly, hit a roadblock. As Bloomberg reports, Obama's effort to have Arabs take the lead in combating Islamic State suffered a setback when Sunni lawmakers quit talks on forming a new Iraqi government after Shiite gunmen killed scores of worshipers at a Sunni mosque. The killings in Diyala province derailed attempts to form an Iraqi government with bigger roles for Sunni Arabs and Kurds that would strengthen the fight against the terrorist group. It appears the common knowledge of who is friend and who is foe remains very much in the air. We suspect, in some dark corner of Washington, Hillary is grinning from ear to ear.
Americans must realize an important fact: There is no power over us but that which we give away. The original intent of our republic is that the people ARE the government — not a select few elitists handpicked by corporate bankers. Politicians are supposed to be our employees, not a ruling class that sits above the populace. The current growing conflict between the citizenry and the government is igniting exactly because our government does not represent the common man anymore. The government is not “by the people, for the people.” It is a separate entity, representing corrupt and hostile parties. It cannot be changed from within.
White House Accuses Russia Of Painting Military Vehicles White; Merkel Agrees "Actions Represent Dangerous Escalation"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2014 19:53 -0400
With no Instagram #selfie image or YouTube clip as proof (yet), The White House issued a statement proclaiming that today, in violation of its previous commitments and international law, Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks forced their way into Ukraine... and that Russia has no right to send vehicles, persons, or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, whether under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext, without the express permission of the government of Ukraine. Furthermore, the actions "only amplifies international concerns about Russia’s true intentions...for which it will bear additional consequences." If that sternly-worded email was not enough, President Obam took time away from the course on Martha's Vineyard to chat with Angela Merkel and then issued a joint statement somewhat sheepishly noting that this is "further provocation" and represents a "dangerous escalation."
It appears China is as happy as Russia to show just how little respect it has for the US' superpower 'hegemony' status. In May China flew close to Japan's airforce; in June, Russia flew nose-to-nose with the US; and now The Pentagon reports a Chinese fighter plane came within 30 feet of a US Navy Poseidon 8 plane. The 'Top-Gun' move came after several passes across the nose of the P-8 about 220km east of China's Hainan Island. The US has registered "strong concerns" with the Chinese government about "unsafe and unprofessional" conduct and The White House called the incident a "provocative action."
In the four months since we last wrote about the upcoming midterm election, the outlook has changed only incrementally. As Goldman notes, although there were a few surprising retirements and primary election results over the last few months, none of these seem to have significantly affected the overall prospects for control of the House or Senate. However, as the election draws near, the potential effects of a Republican Senate majority seem likely to become more of a focus for market participants.
Assuming Missouri Governor Jay Nixon doesn't believe that last night's massive storms were the cause of a quieter night in Ferguson, he has decided to withdraw The National Guard from the scene of Mike Brown's death. It is unclear whether he realizes the error of his ways in this heavy-handed response or got a tap on the shoulder from The White House. Either way, we leave it to none other than AG Eric Holder to conclude - “History simmers beneath the surface in more communities than just Ferguson,” -in other words, this is far from over...
With the FOMC Minutes in the books, the only remaining major event for the week is the Jackson Hole conference, where Yellen is now expected to talk back any Hawkish aftertaste left from the Minutes, and which starts today but no speeches are due until tomorrow. And while the Minutes were generally seen as hawkish, stocks continue to levitate, blissfully oblivious what tighter monetary conditions would mean to an asset bubble, which according to many, is now the biggest in history. And speaking of equities, US futures climbed to a fresh record high overnight on just the right mix of bad news.
While it is not clear what President Obama will discuss this morning in his daily dictation; we suspect, on the heels of yesterday's gruesome American journalist beheading video from ISIS, that he will explain why 'humanitarian' airstrikes in Iraq will continue until morale improves. Perhaps he will re-dip his toe back into the ongoing Ferguson riots - noting his right hand man Holder is on the case? Or finally, perhaps he will opine on the surge in US stocks recently as proof America is beating Putin back? As a reminder, the President is back in Martha's Vineyard...