"This is why Putin is Public Enemy Number 1. It’s because he’s blocking the US pivot to Asia, strengthening anti-Washington coalitions, sabotaging US foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, creating institutions that rival the IMF and World Bank, transacting massive energy deals with critical US allies, increasing membership in an integrated, single-market Eurasian Economic Union, and attacking the structural foundation upon which the entire US empire rests, the dollar." Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit from low oil prices; but what the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show up...
- Global Debt Crisis II – Total Global Debt to GDP Ratio Over 300% - Risk of Bail-Ins in 2015 and Beyond - Currency and Gold Wars - $1 Quadrillion “Weapons of Mass Destruction” Derivatives - Cold War II and New World Order as China and Russia Flex Geopolitical Muscles - Enter The Dragon – Paradigm Shift of China Gold Demand - Forecast 2015: None. Forecast 2020: Gold $2,500/oz and Silver $150/oz
For those hoping that the recent brief dip in Brent crude below $50 - most notably Venezuela's intrepid socialist leader Nicolas Maduro whose numbered days get shorter with every day Brent closes red, and countless bondholders of junk- debt capitalized shale companies - would mean that Saudi Arabia's vendetta against OPEC would finally be put on hiatus, we have bad news: the vendetta just wen nuclear because as Reuters reports, there is "no chance of OPEC output cut."
"We’ve read a lot of silly articles since oil prices started falling about how U.S. shale plays can break-even at whatever the latest, lowest price of oil happens to be. Doesn’t anyone realize that the investment banks that do the research behind these articles have a vested interest in making people believe that the companies they’ve put billions of dollars into won’t go broke because prices have fallen? This is total propaganda."
"...we believe the current low crude oil price could be overkill and result in the next “Energy Crisis” by early 2016. Enjoy these low gasoline prices while they last."
Some are thinking that 2015 will be a repeat of 2014 with a few incremental changes, However, the interesting question to ask is, how has the ground shifted in 2014, if indeed it has? To our mind, the really interesting development of 2014 is that the world as a whole (with a few minor exceptions) has become quite lucid on the topic of what the United States, as a global empire, is and stands for. Another major shift we have observed is that a significant percentage of the thinking people in the US no longer trusts their national media. In case somebody out there in the media realm is tired of playing it safe and printing stuff that's only fit for wiping your Kardashian with, here are a some points for you to try to refute...
Will truth be stranger than fiction...
While the predictions of Blackstone's Byron Wien (born in 1933) have been all over the place in the last few years, they nevertheless provide some color on just what the mainstream does not believe... This is the 30th year Byron has given his views on a number of economic, financial market and political surprises for the coming year. From "our luck running out on cyberterrorism" to "shock and awe no longer working in Japan", Wien's non-predictions range from The Fed to China and from Oil to Hillary Clinton...
If technology requires a complex society to build and maintain it, and our dreams and hopes are pinned on even more complex and useful technology in the future, but net energy from new oil plays is shrinking, then it might not be wise to pin all our hopes on technology. Perhaps there should be some other plans in the works too.
It’s high time for a new model and for new people. But the old ones, and their utterly and dramatically failed economies, hold the power, the media, the money, everything. So what other way out is there but mass fighting, mass casualties, a complete overthrow of everything that exists today, probably nuclear bombs dropping, and in the end a world none of us would recognize, let alone be able to survive in? It’ll take a while yet to get there, and it won’t be a pretty while by any stretch of the imagination. The powers that be are not done yet pretending to rule the universe and playing God. We should kick ‘em all out today, but we won’t. Because we’re all too much like them.
With Western economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Cuba in the news, Ken Rogoff thought it was a good time to take stock of the debate on just how well such measures work. The short answer is that economic sanctions usually have only modest effects at best. In a world where nuclear proliferation has rendered global conventional war unthinkable, economic sanctions and sabotage are likely to play a large role in twenty-first-century geopolitics. Rather than preventing conflict, Pericles’s sanctions in ancient Greece ultimately helped to trigger the Peloponnesian War. One can only hope that in this century, wiser heads will prevail, and that economic sanctions lead to bargaining, not violence.
"the West has maintained the dominant narrative of 'Russia in Crimea' whereas the true narrative is 'USA in Ukraine.' The truth is not being aired in the West. It’s a surreal perversion of history that’s going on once again, as in the Bush pre-Iraq ‘WMD’ [Weapons of Mass Destruction] campaign... with CIA fingerprints on it."
Fasten your seatbelts; 2015 will be a whirlwind pitting China, Russia and Iran against what I have described as the Empire of Chaos.
US foreign policy just jumped the shark: a few days after both the FBI and the US State department were humiliated when it was revealed that it wasn't North Korea but a disgruntled, laid off Sony employee that was responsible for the "hack", and when the best possible course of action would have been to simply let this latest embarrassing incident fade from memory, moments ago Obama - currently not working out next to a rainbow or flashing his support of "Shaka" - just signed his first executive order of 2015, imposing even more sanctions against North Korea.
- The year of dollar danger for the world (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)
- Draghi Says ECB Prepares Action as Deflation Risk Non-Negligible (BBG)
- Obama Pivots to Lawmakers: New Plan to Advance Policy Goals by Working With Congress Draws Skeptics (WSJ)
- Affordable Care Act Creates a Trickier Tax Season (WSJ)
- Oil pares early gains, trades near $57 as supply glut prevails (Reuters)
- Iran says Saudi Arabia should move to curb oil price fall (Reuters)
- Pimco Fund Trails Peers in 2014 After Missing Rally (BBG)
- Piketty rejects Légion d’Honneur award (FT)
- UK manufacturing activity hits three-month low (BBC)