Short Premier on Israeli Calculations with Moscow via Syria

Putin continues to look the other way when the Israeli’s hit Iranian outposts just northeast of Golan.  Why?

Because Israeli success in keeping Golan free from Iranian subversion makes Tehran dependent on Moscow.  Reports are confirmed that Putin gave assurances to Netanyahu about preventing deployment of Iranian forces and their proxies in the vicinity of Golan.

The irony is this:  Russia was responsible for establishing Israel as a foil against US dependent Arab regimes.  The Soviets willingly gave diplomatic recognition and weapons to the Israelis post ’47.  When the Cold War ran hot Moscow switched up and begin funding Arab radicals disguised as nationalists.  We know how that ended.

Here’s the calculus:  so long as Israel don’t openly shoot Russian aircraft or threaten the stability of the Assad regime, this game will go on indefinitely until it detonates into a conflagration between Jerusalem & Tehran.

In a sentence, Russian interests in Syria remain incompatible with Jerusalem.  A great game is unfolding with a wary, uncommitted American at the helm.

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The Syrian Backdrop As Battleground

When Obama pulled out of Iraq after being handed a win by team Bush, the political concerns that drove Obama’s decision paved the way for a surge that became the Islamic State.  That process of strategic defeat by absconding from commitments abroad may seal team Trump’s fate if his geopolitical instincts aren’t informed by realities in Mesopotamia.

Iraq is fomenting nationalist sentiments.  This is astonishing given the depth of is Shia population and Iranian subterfuge to subvert Iraq.  A year ago most U.S. strategists thought Iraq gone.  With May 15 elections arriving, we’ve got a reboot.  How can team Trump solidify gains favorable to the Iraqi’s and Kurds.

Regionally, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s cohorts have been identified and killed by special operators throughout the Euphrates.  This weakened caliphate has ambitions with a cohesive global network outside Syria and Iraq.  All of this changed when Turkey launched operation ‘Olive Branch‘ in northern Syria in January.  Ankara’s aim was to defeat the linkage of YUP (Kurdish People’s Protection Units) with PKK (designated Kurdish terrorist group.)  The Kurdish abandonment of U.S. objectives in the assistance of Afrin has revealed a startling insight; namely the limits of US regional war proxies.  With multiplying and competing geopolitical agendas, the US presence in eastern Syria is scaled back.  We’re now witnessing increased operational tempo of al-Qaeda affiliates in provinces of eastern Syria and western Iraq that were defeated.

al-Qaeda affiliates are growing in Yemen, Libya, Philippines, West Africa, the Sinai, Somalia and most of the African Horn (trans-Sahel).

This ain’t over.  We cannot disengage.  There will be no ‘Mission Accomplished‘ for the long war.  We reform and deliver a win or they come for us.

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MbS: The Only Game in Saudi Arabia

Having left America for France, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is to arrive back in Riyadh empty handed.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  Autocracies only half understand maritime republics.  I venture that MbS remains less resolute today about the domestic prospects for reform than ever before.  Here’s why.

U.S. Saudi relations were always transactional.  Especially on the Saudi side of the ledger. The House of Saudi relied on U.S. arms and strategic war advise while the U.S. got oil. This tacit alliance has fractured.  In fact, its over.  The Kingdom didn’t have much to offer outside of oil and its only option was to buy off their Salafist enemies by funding radical madrassas from North Africa to Indonesia.  The source of the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda is Riyadh.  That too is only partially over.  Yemen has exposed a deep profound political reality that Riyadh cannot surmount.  No one wants to fight for the Kingdom.

International Islamic terrorism remains a Saudi led enterprise.  Only reforming the domestic political economy will the Saudi’s from trends outside their control.

Offering the world more than oil is the challenge that MbS needs to fix.  He’s trying to do with Vision 2030.  Why will it fail?  It will fail because the clowns he hired were paid to secure the interests of the Saudi clan, not reform Islam.  This is a crucial distinction.

How can soccer matches and relief of public guardianship rules compete with Saudi political repression.  The denial of religious freedom, and vast domestic security regimes still lead Saudi public ethos.  No power grab in the maintenance of shaking down a dozen relatives and four government ministers will topple the balance needed for MbS to win.

Here’s why:  MbS has enemies abroad and domestic.  He’s got to win against them while building a functioning political economy.  My any measure this remains a colossal task in its own right.  Remember, the former Crown Prince relieved of his duties, Mohammed bin Nayef survived four assassination attempts.  There are plenty of reactionaries, traditionalists and others deposed from on hight that seek their revenge.

Refreshing candor about Israeli existence is nice, especially when its openly acknowledged in the west.  But the Saudi’s can’t afford to stop buying off radical fundamentalists; this alien bailiwick is permanent.  Its regionally, culturally and theologically entrenched.  Only by waging total war to the reform of Islam itself can MbS win.  That isn’t the policy. Riyadh’s policy is survival.  Its called Vision 2030.

So how does MbS win.  He needs luck, good strong stolid allies and a long life to test his ambitions at reforming the Saudi domestic economy.  If he succeeds, and by every relevant historical measure he can’t; the Israeli’s, the Americans and millions of Muslims have a place in modernity.  Godspeed MbS. . . .

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China’s Mercantile Regime & Its Rope-A-Dope Strategy

Beijing’s mercantile policies are identical to England’s Imperial monetary-business strategies of Empire.  All transactions were founded and justified to benefit the Crown. Period.  China remains no different.  Like Assad and his proxies, China seeks to exhaust American complaints by actively promoting trade & currency regimes that sustain its manufacturing base.  All its competitors can do is complain.  If the U.S. seriously wishes to confront China, it will sustain the initiative with profound domestic policy of tax reform, capital-equity formation & massive capital expenditure.

Beijing’s mercantilist regime isn’t rules based.  Anyone familiar with Chinese industrial policy knows that the regime acts through unwritten or informal procedures.  Much like any bureaucracy. Yes team Trump can file under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, even if only to justify tariffs. But the strength of China’s industrial regime lays with its opacity.  Its overt regulatory processes’ envelop everyone.  China’s state directed form of mercantile capitalism makes distinguishing between private and public affairs nearly impossible.  Just ask any ruling member of an Arab regime.  Without private property rights; having the Han Masters in Beijing do what the Punjabi’s of Islamabad do is to acknowledge ethnic kingship as the primacy of a ruling class.

Readers of this blog already know that Beijing and other autocracies learned their policy craft at the hands of the British.

What the Chinese do is entice foreign companies to promises of a vast consumer market only to find that the Han Masters of Beijing use regulatory bureaucracies to strip them of their bargaining power, exposing them to theft or force foreign companies to become joint ventures.

If team Trump want’s to make America great again, they’ll do everything possible to maintain Republican majorities in the House.  What does the GOP leadership in house need to learn?  They need to do something concrete with the governing majorities.

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The Don & The Darra: US Policy for Syria

Darra is the ancient Syrian city best remembered as the location where Lawrence of Arabia was raped by Otto-mites.  Given that 2018 is the centenary anniversary of the Arab Revolt under Lawrence, we need to remember the significance of Syria as the second home of the Arab Spring (Tunisia being first.)

Syria, Cairo, Jerusalem and Istanbul are the regional capitals for the levant.  They still remain so today in the minds of its inhabitants.  This is significant in shaping or retaining the working vestiges of the Arab nation state.  That hijacked morass of the late 19th century is returning with a vengeance in Mesopotamia.  Its westward movement is the impact of the Shia crescent; Iran’s foreign policy dilemma that continues to weaken the regime domestically.

And if the land of Ishmael is filled with role reversals, so are the American’s.  Having a US President accomplish five policy goals by strengthening US nuclear deterrence is part of a long arc that began under Obama.  April 7th chemical attack on Douma has a pedigree that needs a reckoning.  It arrived this past weekend.

US policy goals in Syria are simple:  prevent the Islamic State and al-Qaeda from re-emerging, support a beleaguered and moribund UN, counter Iranian regional influence, bring about safe repatriation of Syrian refugees and finally, clear the Syrian regime from using WMD by strengthening US nuclear deterrence.

This conflict ain’t over because Assad’s protectors remain standing:  Iran & Russia.

Assad’s policy is to threaten and massacre any remaining outposts of resistance. And while Erdogan’s wiles remained aimed at our own regional proxies, namely the Kurds, the US under Trump is beginning to accomplish what superpowers are supposed to do:  protect the weak by strengthening UN led processes.  The Syrian Democratic Forces remain Kurdish led with embedded US special op’s.  We’ve liberated most of eastern Syria east of the Euphrates.

Are US goals achievable in Syria?  Short answer:  NO.  Not without strengthening allied nuclear deterrence under Israel and its concomitant, if tacit agreement with Riyadh to counter the Shia crescent by hitting Iranian outposts in Golan.

What did the Don learn?  His resisting Obama’s failed domestic posture by acknowledging that premature exits from wars abroad embolden Iran.

What has John Bolton learned?  We need Arab regional allies.  To achieve this, Arab polities must reform themselves out from autocracy to meet the challenge of Iran.

Its the Arab Spring with balls.  Get ready for more regional geopolitical, ideological rivalry throughout the land of Ishmael.

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How To Screw Putin & Live

The White House finally got around to sanctioning Putin’s friends.  Let’s remember why this matters.  The Russians have demonstrated a profound serial weakness in assassinating a former double agent in Salisbury, England with a nerve agent whose dosage was so high the responding officer was hospitalized.  This isn’t some professional hit job, this was of an order different from previous political murders.  On April 06, team Trump got the idea to strike at the heart of Russians ruling oligarchy.  Putin and his criminal network were sanctioned by U.S. Treasury.

Being a reserve currency means that to participate in globalized trade one must adopt the U.S. dollar to denominate all exchange.  By sanctioning Putin and his nefarious network, the Don is seeking to bankrupt them into oblivion.  Get ready for more volatility.

There are 14 companies listed by Treasury.  Oleg Deripaska, Russia’s richest man and CEO of United Company Rusal, remains Russia’s largest aluminum supplier. By giving investors until May 07 to rid themselves of stock, the Don has sought to assist investors to stop enabling the Russian plutocracy.  All contracts, derivatives and activities with Russian Rusal end in 60 days from April 06.

Treasury listed Viktor Vekselberg and Suleiman Kerimov, Putin’s closest criminal pals that constitute the ruling Russian reich.

Here’s the downside:  Putin has ordered the Russian Central Bank to limit exposure to foreign debt while floating the Russian currency.  The Central Bank has a cushion of foreign reserves available to envelop external shocks.

Like North Korea and other sanctioned trans-criminal enterprises, the components of Russia’s globalized political economy aren’t exposed to global trends outside of oil. Russian bonds and shares have virtually no weight in benchmark indices that foreign investors follow.

Even still, its time that Putin be given the war he wants:  on America’s terms.

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Taming Bond Market Vigilantes

The U.S. Federal Reserve has tamed bond vigilantes.  Because prices move inversely to bond yields, historically, active investors reacted to adverse monetary or fiscal policies by dumping bonds that consequently raise yields.  Because the FED was the only game in town, US investors had no real place to find safe assets.  The policy of quantitative easing worked by depressing long term interest rates.  By easing the cost of money, the FED hoped that everyone would seek comity in aggressive commerce.

It never happened.

Today’s bond market exhibits trends that portend weak longterm economic growth.  But that’s only half the story.  Team Trump’s continued good jobs report coupled to pro-business tax cuts and regulatory relief continue to animate expectations of domestic growth.

Our main threats are fiscal.  Entitlements are crowding out constitutional provisions for defense.  Even threats of an impending trade war with China can’t seem to rattle the American consumer.  China is stuck in appealing to U.S. interests while backing any policy that would damage the American image.  Wether it be a U.N. veto against Assad or backing the Kim dynasty in North Korea; Russian and Chinese interests are purely disruptive.  To continue getting your voice heard, phone calls returned or threat deterrents believed, you’ve got to credibly threaten emboldened enemies abroad.

Beijing cannot dump dollar denominated assets, its impact would only boost U.S. exports by pushing down the U.S. dollar.  China cannot seek another devaluation for it cannot stand another round of capital flight.

The key to winning domestically is fiscal.  It means addressing structural shifts in the U.S. economy related to demography, currency parity, employment and capital expenditures.

In nominal terms we have an unrivaled political system that underwrites our status as a reserve currency.  We have room to fix what ails us even if their is no political leadership to address an impending fiscal crisis engendered by entitlements.

Reagan fixed it when everyone said it was impossible.  The road to confronting an impending fiscal crisis is well trod.  Let’s get on with it.

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Orban & Central European Response To Militant Secularism

Viktor Orban has won another victorious election and fears of a growing fascist menace in Eastern & Central Europe remain unfounded.  Let’s examine.

Why is militant secularism characterized as benevolent?  What can’t Brussels anticipate the impact of this militancy upon a homogenized Roman Catholic population.  The Hungarians, like the Poles have no real stomach for the overt centralized politics that characterized the Eurozone.  They want out of the diktats that familiarizes a dangerous Russian past that most working folks in both Poland and Hungary wish never happened.

Today’s generational divide in Hungary has major counterparts in America and England. Team Trump has his deplorables.  But the Hungarian countryside continues to view itself along nationalist lines that are deplored by the Euro.  Liberal Budapest didn’t vote for Orban, but everywhere else in Hungary did!

Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party took 134 of 199 seats.  His opponents, the Jobbik party won 25.  It was a complete landslide.

Here’s the results:  Central Europe is pushing for the return of the Nation State to imperil an even closer union with failed Brussels.

My monies on those familiar with the tyranny of the golden horde.

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Macron: Parisian Thatcher

The pace of Macron’s willingness to confront railways and pension reform evidences other Thatcherite achievements of liberalizing French labor markets, rescinding wealth taxes while implementing a flat tax on financial income.  Now he’s on to confronting defiant jobs-for-life for new railway recruits. The man is winning, but the reform movement has yet to openly defeat anticipated strikes that will paralyze Paris and most of France.

France currently has a budget surplus; the first since 1974.  Did I mention that team Macron tightened parliamentary rules on the hiring of relatives; and what of his achievement to reduce the number of deputies reigning in the National Assembly.

The material cause for his success is parliamentary majorities whose opposition remains enfeebled by success.  Even still, Macron is polling at a very high disapproval rate of 40%. The source of French discontent are those on fixed income and moribund trade union leaders.

Here’s where France is:  prostrate with gaze inward.  If Macron is a true Thatcherite leader his handling of the impending railway strikes will define whether or not the 5th Republic lives.  For the railways may not be the defining moment for Gallic reform, but how he handles this moment will define his presidency and tenure.

France Strikes

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Good Riddance Castro: How Cuban Church-State Relations Needs Tocqueville

It shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the nature and origins of political regimes to acknowledge Latin America’s susceptibility to the corrosive social, political effects of republicanism.  Ideas matter, but functioning institutions matter more.  The Caribbean, Central and South American regimes never solidified into a governing mass to escape the pathologies liberation movements procure and sustain.  Raul Castro’s abdication of the presidency scheduled for April 19 is long over due; even still, a reckoning is needed if Cuba is to ever succeed as a governed nation.

When the Castro brothers arrived from socialist Mexico to defeat Fulgencio Batista in 1959, the era of romantic revolutionary movements arrived, and with it a hoard of misery these entire continents tethered themselves to.  The arrival of Miguel Diaz-Canel cannot change this reality.  The sad fact is that the single most significant Cuban event that can coalesce it into nationhood is the Roman Catholic Church.

With John Paul II’s arrival in Cuba, he openly sought to reform moribund Church-State relations that have never truly sought independence from political subsidy.  Church-State relations throughout Latin America remain a dangerous fault line that no Pontiff other than JPII tried to reform.  If Cuba has a future, it rests in permitting the growth of a vibrant civil society, the sine qua none that threatens the tribal politics of the revolutionary left.

Only the Church can openly threaten Castro’s mystique of revolution.  Why is this so?

Before his death, John Paul II, like Solzhenitsyn, began the long arduous discovery of the power animating mercantile republican regimes.  JPII found Tocqueville, and like Solzhenitsyn found a way around to affirming the moral foundations of liberty that underwrote defunct Protestant Puritans.

Having discerned political, social sources for the renewal of the civil society under Communist life, both men turned to Tocqueville and found a fellow Catholic traveller.

Let’s hope a clown called Canel finds a Cuban Tocqueville, if only to save Cuba from the dangerous wiles of socialist life.

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