Following two days of negotiations in Geneva, this morning John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov announced they have reached an agreement for a framework on how Syria would destroy its chemical weapons, and would also seek a UN Security Council resolution that would authorize sanctions, but not military action as per Russia's demand, if Assad failed to comply. The diplomats announced on the third day of intense negotiations in Geneva that some elements of the deal include a timetable and how Syria must comply. At a news conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva, Kerry said the inspectors must be on the ground by November and destruction or removal of the chemical weapons must be completed by mid-2014.
In a world some thought we would never see, most Americans and much of Congress seem to agree with Ron Paul's foreign policy advice - at least on the question of a military strike against Syria...
The definition of what makes an “enemy” may vary from person to person. But we would say that, generally, an enemy is one who has an active ability to do irreparable harm to you or your essential values. He is motivated by destruction, the destruction of all that you hold dear. He is capable and unrelenting. He is a legitimate threat. He will not compromise. He will not waver. He will do anything to wound you. He will not stop. He is possessed. Americans have spent the better part of a century being told who their enemies are with very little explanation or substantiation. We have blindly rallied around our patriotic prerogative without knowing the root cause of the conflict or the nature of the target we are told to annihilate. We have been suckered into war after war, conjured by international interests in order to lure us into accepting greater centralization and concentrated globalism. As a culture, we're sorry to say, we have been used. We are a tool of unmitigated doom. We are the loaded gun in the hand of the devil. When one applies the above definition of “the enemy” to Syria, one comes away with very little satisfaction. So, the question arises: If Syria is not the real enemy, who is?
For the last few days we have been bombarded with words that appear 'peaceful' and problem-solving from Russia with love. Of course, 'no change' benefits mother Russia the most as his government's gas revenues (and political power) will continue to flow from Europe (a quarter of Russian government income comes from being Europe's gas supplier). So it will come as no surprise that amid the Mother Theresa acts, The Telegraph reports that Putin is readying delivery of more S-300 air-defense missile systems to Iran and will continue to discuss "working together in the nuclear energy spehere." Combine that with experts' views that Russia's plan to dismantle Syria's stockpiles of mustard gas, sarin, VX nerve agents is a long shot; initially "sounding attractive, but very quickly, operational problems could derail obtaining international control, much less actually destroying the arsenal." It would appear, despite all the chatter, that Putin is increasing his power-base in the region.
Imagine a huge, stinking mountain of debt, which represents all of the debt in the world... now look at this chart of student loan debt. Notice anything about this chart of student loan debt owed to the Federal government? Direct Federal loans to students have exploded higher, from $93 billion in 2007 to $560 billion in early 2013. This gargantuan sum exceeds the gross domestic product (GDP) of entire nations—for example, Sweden ($538 billion) and Iran ($521 billion). Non-Federal student loans total another $500 billion, bringing the total to over $1 trillion. Does this look remotely sustainable? Does it look remotely healthy for students, society, taxpayers now on the hook for a half-trillion dollars in potential defaults or the U.S. economy?
- Obama Holds Fire on Syria, Waits on Russia Plan (WSJ)
- China Shadow Banking Returns as Growth Rebound Adds Risk (Reuters)
- Not one but two: Greece May Need Two More Aid Packages Says ECB’s Coene (WSJ)
- BoJ insider warns of need for wage rises (FT) ... as we have been warning since November, and as has not been happening
- California city backs plan to seize negative equity mortgages (Reuters)
- Home Depot Is Accused of Shaking Down Suspected Shoplifters (BBG)
- Most-Connected Man at Deutsche Bank Favors Lightest Touch (BBG)
- Norway Pledges to Limit Oil Spending (BBG)
- China Shadow Banking Returns as Growth Rebound Adds Risk (BBG)
- Gundlach Says Fed Is Mistaken in How It's Ending Easing (BBG)
Poll: More Americans Believe World Trade Center 7 Was Demolished On 9/11 than Believe the Government's ExplanationSubmitted by George Washington on 09/11/2013 00:32 -0500
What Do YOU Believe?
UPDATE 2: French draft UN security council resolution would give Syria 15 days to make complete declaration of entire chemical arms program
UPDATE 1: NASDAQ Futures are fading the Obama "Pause" spike after AAPL is not announcing a China Mobile deal
Starting just 1 minute late, the President begab by unapologetically conjuring images of WWI and WWII and stuck to the line that "we know" Assad was responsible for killing his own people with Sarin. Then moved to fear-mongery over what Iran might do, adding that he was very much for strikes. But, in giving Congress the hot potato he knew decision would be difficult. The US military does not do 'pin pricks' and a "targeted" strike will send a message to Assad. While recognizing the need for a diplomatic solution, Obama made it clear that those efforts would follow a military strike. But then, after all the angry banter, he then backed down and said, will work for peaceful solution by putting the strike on hold and will bring a resolution to UN. Ending on a more aggressive note, he warned Republican and Democrat lawmakers to rethink their opposition to the strikes should they be needed.
'War-Drums', 'told-you-so-dance' on chemical weapons, or 'this was the cunning plan all along and the Russians played along perfectly' - we wonder which script will hit the teleprompters first tonight... and should we still be fearful of North Korea and Iran sending Sarin into the US? We are sure there will be something for everyone in this speechapalooza...
Whenever something bad happens – Iran moving closer to acquiring nuclear weapons, North Korea firing another missile, civilian deaths reaching another grim milestone in Syria’s civil war, satellites revealing an alarming rate of polar-ice melt – some official or observer will call upon the international community to act. There is only one problem: there is no “international community.” In short, those looking to the international community to deal with the world’s problems will be disappointed. This is not reason for despair or grounds for acting unilaterally. But so long as “international community” is more hope than reality, multilateralism will have to become more varied.
In August 2012, when isolating one of the various reasons for the latest housing bubble, we suggested that a primary catalyst for the price surge in the ultra-luxury housing segment and the seemingly endless supply of "all cash" buyers (standing at an unprecedented 60% of all buyers lately as reported by Goldman) is a very simple one: crime. Or rather, the use of US real estate as a means to launder illegal offshore-procured money. We also identified the one key permissive feature which allowed this: the National Association of Realtors' exemption from Anti-Money Laundering provisions. In other words, all a foreign oligarch - who may or may not have used chemical weapons in their past: all depends on how recently they took their picture with the Secretary of State - had to do to buy a $47 million Florida house, was to get the actual cash to the US. Well good thing there are private jets whose cargo is never checked. It appears that a year later this too hypothesis has been proven. Earlier today the Post reported that "U.S. authorities announced Tuesday that they are seeking forfeiture of pricey Manhattan real estate linked to a fraud they say was uncovered by a whistleblowing Russian lawyer before he died behind bars. A civil forfeiture complaint filed against the assets of a Cyprus-based real estate corporation and other holding companies alleges that some of the proceeds from the $230 million tax fraud in Russia were laundered through the purchase of four luxury condominiums located in a Wall Street doorman building and two commercial spaces in prime locations in midtown and Chelsea."
A COMEX default on delivery of precious metals and specifically of gold bullion bars remains a risk. It is of significant importance and that is why we have covered its possibility since 2011. A COMEX default would have serious ramifications not just for precious metals markets but for the wider commodity markets, for the U.S. dollar and all fiat currencies and our modern monetary system.
Two weeks ago, the Syrian regime reportedly ordered the use of chemical weapons, which U.S. sources state killed over 1400 people. Over one year ago, President Obama declared that any movement or use of chemical weapons would cross a “redline.” Right from the start, officials in the Obama White House assured the public that any decision to use force against Syria would not be designed to impose regime change. Why would the administration take such an option off the table? As strategists and policymakers have understood since time immemorial, any decision to use military force must be guided by a strategy. If Washington’s strategy is to stop Assad from using chemical weapons, demonstrate that America is committed to enforcing this international norm, and undermine states that support such atrocious actions, regime change remains the critical instrument for the United States. In fact, all other options are highly susceptible to failure. In the end, the failure to put the instrument of regime change on the table demonstrates a lack of resolve, commitment, or weakness—all of which will be interpreted by friend and foe alike as acquiescence in the face of states using chemical weapons.
US Refuses To Admit Checkmate By Russia And Syria, Redirects Purpose Of Military Incursion: Admits Regime Change IntentionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/09/2013 12:15 -0500
Rice: "Our overarching goal is to end the underlying conflict through a negotiated, political transition in which Assad leaves power" #Syria
— White House Live (@WHLive) September 9, 2013
Update: Just as suspected, Syria promptly complies with the Russian check: SYRIA WELCOMES RUSSIA'S PROPOSAL FOR DAMASCUS TO PUT ITS CHEMICAL WEAPONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL CONTROL- FOREIGN MINISTER WALID AL-MOUALEM.
In a time when Obama is pitching his entire campaign around one core, if strawman, theme - preventing future chemical weapon attacks by the Assad regime, Putin once again shows why when playing geopolitical chess, it is safe to bet on the pesky Russian. Moments ago, Russia suggested that Syria skip straight to step 2 of the US military campaign, and hand over its chemical weapons to "international control" which would immediately obviate the US campaign completely, whose entire premise for public consumption is just that - to put Syrian chemical weapons under adult supervision and third party control.
- RUSSIA SAYS WILL URGE SYRIA TO PUT CHEMICAL WEAPONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL CONTROL IF THAT WILL AVERT MILITARY STRIKES
- SYRIA SHOULD GIVE UP WEAPONS IF IT WILL AVOID STRIKE: RUSSIA
- LAVROV SAYS SYRIA’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS COULD BE DESTROYED
And now the ball is in Obama and Kerry's court following this surprising move of appeasement by Russia, and implicitly by Syria.