What Is Hezbollah?

By Tony Badran – Re-Blogged From Prager University

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Beginning Of The End Of The Dollar

By Rick Mills – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Donald Trump will go down in history for many things, including a justice department investigation into US-Russian collusion in the 2016 election, a guilty verdict for his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, and a guilty plea by his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in relation to hush-money payments to women in violation of campaign finance laws. Then there was the Access Hollywood tape, the ban on Muslims, the implicit condoning of neo-Nazis, the plans to build a border wall to keep out illegal Mexicans, the separation of immigrant children from their parents (though some say that law was drafted under Obama), and Trump’s ban on global abortion funding to please the pro-life portion of his base. Could Trump’s legacy though be something few had ever predicted: The beginning of the end of the dollar?

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The Dollar is Central to the Next Crisis

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From GoldMoney

Introduction And Summary

It is now possible to pencil in how the next credit crisis is likely to develop. At its centre is an overvalued dollar over-owned by foreigners, puffed up on speculative flows driven by interest rate differentials.  These must be urgently corrected by the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan if the distortion is to be prevented from becoming much worse.

The problem is compounded because the next crisis is likely to be triggered by this normalisation. It can be expected to commence in the coming months, even by the year-end. When flows into the dollar subside and reverse, bond yields can be expected to rise sharply in all the major currencies. There will also be a number of other unhelpful factors, particularly rising commodity prices, the timing of the Trump stimulus and trade tariffs pushing up price inflation. Coupled with a declining dollar, price inflation and therefore interest rates are bound to rise significantly.

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Turkey’s Detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson Prompts U.S. Sanctions. What’s At Stake?

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

The Big Picture

The distance between Turkey and the United States has been growing as each pursues security and economic imperatives at the expense of the other. In our annual forecast, Stratfor mentioned that U.S. rival Russia would use its “deepening ties to widen Turkey’s rifts with NATO and with the European Union,” just one of many stressors taxing the U.S.-Turkey relationship.

 

See 2018 Annual Forecast

See Middle East and North Africa section of the 2018 Annual Forecast

What Happened?

On Aug. 1, the United States sanctioned two Turkish government ministers in response to what Washington views as the “unjust and unfair” detention of Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor who has lived and worked in Turkey for two decades. Turkey’s government has promised to retaliate.

How Did Turkey and the United States Get Here?

The sanctions on Turkish government officials because of Brunson’s detention represent the culmination of increasing tension between Ankara and Washington. For months, they have disagreed over issues as wide ranging as Turkey’s demands for the extradition of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, Turkey’s relationship with Russia and its threats to the NATO alliance, Turkey’s history of flouting Iran sanctions, conflicting U.S.-Turkish policies in Syria and more.

What Do These Sanctions Mean for Turkey’s Economy?

The economic sanctions themselves are largely symbolic — they only affect the two ministers’ personal finances — but their imposition is just one of many external factors wreaking havoc on its economy and contributing to the further depreciation of its currency, the lira. And Turkey has a history of exacerbating domestic economic strains with its foreign policy decisions.

 

The sanctions on Turkish government officials because of Brunson’s detention represent the culmination of increasing tension between Ankara and Washington.

 

In part because of the country’s flagging economy, there has been an unusual coalescing of its many feuding political parties. Now that Washington has implemented sanctions, all the parties can join together to blame the United States for Turkey’s economic woes.

What Do the Sanctions Mean for American Businesses in Turkey?

Turkey’s legal system, its recently expanded counterterrorism laws and the current hypernationalist political atmosphere give Ankara license to crack down on anything that it deems a security threat. There is a strong possibility of increased harassment of U.S. travelers and businesses, as well as a disruption of business operations for companies with U.S. ties.

What Are the Foreign Policy Implications?

The United States and Turkey maintain the largest and second-largest militaries in NATO, respectively. A serious rift between them would result in disruptions and confusion within the NATO alliance. This would be a boon for Russia, which would welcome a less cohesive NATO. Moscow could use the potential disruptions — especially in the Black Sea — as an opportunity to break down Turkey’s traditional role as NATO’s southeastern flank against Russia. The Kremlin may also decide to shift more of its forces to its western military region to face off against NATO in Eastern Europe.

The United States is also traditionally the largest arms exporter to Turkey, so damaged relations between the two could drive Ankara toward alternative suppliers. And given the two countries’ interconnectedness in a number of defense industry areas, a U.S. cancellation of arms deals with Turkey (seen in the U.S. threat to cancel F-35 fighter shipments to Ankara) could result in significant short-term defense disruptions that would affect the many countries involved in the F-35 program.

A serious rift between the Turkey and the United States would result in disruptions and confusion in the NATO alliance as a whole. This would be a boon for Russia, which would welcome a less cohesive NATO.

Furthermore, a schism could damage U.S. interests in the Middle East. The harm would be particularly evident in northern Syria and northern Iraq, where Turkey could be even more proactive in undermining the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as well as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and its allies in northern Iraq. This approach would clash with U.S. efforts to emphasize the defeat of violent extremist groups like the Islamic State by maintaining a stable SDF presence in Syria and a stable environment in northern Iraq. The United States could also potentially lose access to its air base in Incirlik, Turkey, though it has enough alternative basing rights in the Mediterranean and the Gulf region to mitigate such a loss.

One final negative implication for U.S. policy in the Middle East could involve Turkey’s refusing to enforce U.S. economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Some of those penalties will be reapplied on Aug. 6 and Nov. 4. Turkey is likely weighing two competing imperatives. It needs to protect its fragile economy, which could not withstand additional external shocks from more U.S. sanctions. But it also could choose to trade with Iran in order to poke a hole in U.S. efforts to limit Iran’s economic activity. For this type of retaliation, Turkey would need to rely more on its fair-weather relationship with the European Union, which is currently in a fairly positive place.

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Back Under U.S. Sanctions, Iran Looks for a Plan B

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Iran’s strategy to get the European Union and other economic partners to push back against unilateral U.S. sanctions will fail.
  • As sanctions hit Iran’s economy, the country will eventually have to resume negotiations with the United States, but it will try to wait until President Donald Trump leaves office.
  • In the meantime, Tehran will consider restarting its nuclear program as leverage in talks with the United States to keep other more important issues off the table.

A picture from March 2017 shows an oil facility on Kharg Island on the Iranian coast.

(ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

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Why You Still Need Guns, Gold And A Getaway Plan…

By Mike Gleason – Re-Bloggd From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Gerald Celente, publisher of the renowned Trends Journal. Mr. Celente is perhaps the most well-known trends forecaster in the world, and it’s always great to have him on with us. Gerald, thanks for taking the time again today, and welcome back.

Gerald Celente: Thanks for having me on.

Mike Gleason: Well, Gerald, the potential for a trade war is the hot topic in the financial press these days. Around here, the question is what escalating concerns over trade might mean for the precious metals markets, and we would like to get your thoughts on that. But first, please give us your take on the President’s trade policy in general. Some people think the U.S. has been a major beneficiary of trade. We’ve been able to import real goods and services in exchange for increasingly worthless dollars. Others hate what so-called globalization has done to U.S. manufacturing and think Trump is delivering a long overdue warning shot to nations who have taken advantage of the U.S. So, where do you stand on all this?

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2018 Third-Quarter Forecast

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Table of Contents

(ALY SONG-POL/JOHANNES EISELE/HULTON ARCHIVE/MLADEN ANTONOV/TIMOTHY A. CLARY/ABID KATIB/KATJA BUCHHOLZ/DAVID MCNEW/ATTA KENARE/FOverview

China Remains in the U.S. Crosshairs. The United States will impose tariffs, sanctions and blocks on investment and research in a bid to frustrate China’s development of strategic technologies. China not only has the tools to manage the economic blow, but will also accelerate efforts to lessen its reliance on foreign-sourced technological components.

Trade Battles Fall Short of a Full-Fledged War. Trade frictions will remain high this quarter as the White House continues on an economic warpath in the name of national security. U.S. tariffs will invite countermeasures from trading partners targeting U.S. agricultural and industrial goods. As Congress attempts to reclaim trade authority, the White House will refrain from escalating these trade battles into an all-out trade war.

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