North Korea

Hillary Clinton Is The Clear Candidate Of The War Party

Last week, Hillary Clinton gave up trying to compete with Bernie Sanders on domestic policy. Instead, she zeroed in on the soft target of Donald Trump’s most “bizarre rants” in order to present herself as experienced and reasonable. Evidently taking her Democratic Party nomination for granted, she is positioning herself as the perfect candidate for hawkish Republicans.

Frontrunning: June 2

  • Global stocks struggle as ECB and OPEC meetings loom (Reuters)
  • Iran Resists Saudi Gesture for Unity as OPEC Fractures Reappear (BBG)
  • Clinton to blast Trump on North Korea, NATO in foreign policy speech (Reuters)
  • Hillary Clinton Shifts to California as Race Tightens There (WSJ)
  • Puerto Rico’s U.S. Rescue Won’t Come Soon Enough to Halt Default (BBG)

So, You Thought Slavery Was Dead? Think Again

Nearly 46 million human beings are subject to slavery, a new report released this week concluded. According to the third annual Global Slavery Index, which gathers and analyzes surveys conducted by Gallup, the number of people forced into “modern slavery,” or “human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation,” rose from 35.8 million to 45.8 million since 2014 — a 28 percent increase.

Frontrunning: June 1

  • Japan PM delays sales tax hike, puts fiscal reform on back burner (Reuters)
  • Japanese Shoppers Keep Wallets Shut Despite Sales-Tax Delay (BBG)
  • Global stocks limp into June on oil and data slips (Reuters)
  • Euro zone factory growth remained tepid in May - PMI (Reuters)
  • China's factories steadying but weak, hopes for quick recovery fade (Reuters)

The Global Bear Market In Freedom

Americans will be celebrating Memorial Day this weekend, to honor those who fought and died for the values they have traditionally cherished the most as a nation: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The world has changed dramatically in recent decades. The geopolitical situation is much more complex, with rising powers challenging America's supremacy. The intractable war on terror seems interminable. Old foes appear to spring back to life even more powerful than before. And things at home look dicey in terms of politics and economics. As we reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice that others have made‎, it is an opportune moment to consider a very important question: is the US winning the fight for freedom?

If You Think Cultural Fragmentation Is Bad Now...

As technology continues to fragment communication and the spread of ideas, people will continue to pursue their own individual interests with the effect of further cultural divergence. We are heading toward a world where we can build our own echo chambers and shut off anything we find offensive or unpleasant. In other words, if you think that cultural fragmentation is bad now — or that the Trump supporters are suggesting extreme measures in order to reimpose a degree of cultural hegemony - you ain’t seen nothing yet. The decentralization of warfare through the adptation of drone technology and things like 3-D printed guns and bullets means that many skirmishes will likely be fought over this stuff again.

"We Come To Mourn The Dead" - Obama Is First Sitting President To Visit Hiroshima, Offers No Apology

Ealier today, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit the memorial of the American atomic bombings of Japan in Hiroshima, however without offering no apology for the attacks. The trip comes amid Japanese protests over alleged crimes committed by US troops stationed in Japan. "We have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history. We must ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again," Obama said in a speech at the memorial.

Frontrunning: May 27

  • Oil prices ease from seven-month high to below $49 (Reuters)
  • Wall Street Waits for Yellen Before Taking Off for a Long Weekend (BBG)
  • Donald Trump Celebrates Clinching GOP Delegate Race (WSJ)
  • Trump vows to undo Obama's climate agenda in appeal to oil sector (Reuters)
  • Japan Fails in Bid to Have G-7 Warn of Global Crisis Risk (BBG)
  • Valeant Rejected Joint Takeover Approach From Takeda, TPG (WSJ)

Meanwhile In China, Cow-Collateralized Stock Buybacks

Over the past few years, we have written many strange stories about China's often-ridiculous, perpetually-bubbly, always on the precipice financial system. The story about China's literal "cash cows", however, is by far the strangest.

A Retired White House Correspondent Explains "How Obama Gets Away With It"

At a time when large numbers of Americans say they are fed up with politics and politicians, why is it that the nation’s chief politician, President Obama, seems to skate above it unscathed?  Reporters who criticize or dig too deep are cast by the administration as spoilsports or, worse, cut off from sources. With Donald Trump now the media obsession—and most in the media don’t like him—it is easy to see why Mr. Obama’s performance over the past seven-plus years is still not a major issue in the 2016 campaign. And that’s the way he likes it.

UN Plots War On Free Speech To Stop "Extremism" Online

The United Nations Security Council wants a global “framework” for censoring the Internet, as well as for using government propaganda to “counter” what its apparatchiks call “online propaganda,” “hateful ideologies,” and “digital terrorism.” To that end, the UN Security Council this week ordered the UN “Counter-Terrorism Committee” — yes, that is a real bureaucracy — to draw up a plan by next year. From the Obama administration to the brutal Communist Chinese regime, everybody agreed that it was time for a UN-led crackdown on freedom of speech and thought online — all under the guise of fighting the transparently bogus terror war.

Washington's Military Addiction (And The Ruins Still To Come)

In a Washington that seems incapable of doing anything but worshiping at the temple of the U.S. military, global policymaking has become a remarkably mindless military-first process of repetition It’s as if, as problems built up in your life, you looked in the closet marked “solutions” and the only thing you could ever see was one hulking, over-armed soldier, whom you obsessively let loose, causing yet more damage. But don’t bother to blame the politicians and national security nabobs in Washington for this.  They’re addicts.  They can’t help themselves.  What they need is rehab.  Instead, they continue to run our world.  Be suitably scared for the ruins still to come.

The Nuclear Arms Race Is Back: Russia Furious As US Launches European Ballistic Missile Shield

The United States' European missile defense shield goes live on Thursday almost a decade after Washington proposed protecting NATO from Iranian rockets and despite Russian warnings that the West is threatening the peace in central Europe. As a result, Reuters notes that "Russia is incensed at such of show of force by its Cold War rival in formerly communist-ruled eastern Europe where it once held sway. Moscow says the U.S.-led alliance is trying to encircle it close to the strategically important Black Sea, home to a Russian naval fleet and where NATO is also considering increasing patrols."

Will Turkey Become An "Islamic State"?

As we recently hinted, concerns are mounting that Turkey is headed toward Shariah law implementation as the Presidency is consolidated, and particularly given Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman’s comments that secularism should be taken out of Turkey’s new constitution last week, moving it instead to a "religious constitution."

Obama Reveals Plans To Build A "Missile Defense Shield" Around North Korea

"One of the things that we have been doing is spending a lot more time positioning our missile defense systems, so that even as we try to resolve the underlying problem of nuclear development inside of North Korea, we're also setting up a shield that can at least block the relatively low-level threats that they're posing right now"