Russia Won’t Sit Still for Additional U.S. Sanctions

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Washington will increase pressure on Moscow in 2018 through a series of expanded sanctions aimed at Russia’s financial stability, elites, reputation and defense industry.
  • Russia will weather the increased pressure by further insulating its economy, oligarchs and companies, placing additional responsibility for the country’s stability on the Kremlin.
  • The Russian government can maintain its position next year, though its resources are growing slim and the Kremlin faces a pivotal series of elections. 

Russia has begun insulating its economy from additional U.S. sanctions.

(MARK KOLBE/Getty Images)

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Trump May Push, but Pakistan Won’t Budge

 Re-Blogged From Stratfor

The new year has brought renewed troubles for the already faltering relationship between the United States and Pakistan. On New Year’s Day, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a tweet accusing Pakistan of “lies & deceit” despite receiving $33 billion in U.S. aid for its cooperation in the war in Afghanistan. The next day, the White House announced that it would continue to withhold the $255 million worth of aid that had been earmarked for Pakistan in 2016, citing insufficient action against anti-NATO militants. And on Jan. 4, the White House said it would suspend $900 million in security assistance promised in 2017 and place Pakistan on a list of countries violating religious freedom.

A map shows Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding region.
(LorenzoT81/iStock)

These Are the High-Tech Weapons the US Might Use Against North Korea

By Greg Walters – Re-Blogged From https://www.seeker.com

The Hermit Kingdom’s recent successes in missile testing are fueling the Pentagon’s search for high-tech measures that might knock out command-and-control structures or even missiles in mid-flight.

Investment Prospects For 2018

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Predicting the future is a mug’s game, and in financial markets we simply cannot know tomorrow’s prices. All we can do is make assessments of the factors that can be expected to influence them.

Economists’ forecasts today, with very few exceptions, are a waste of time and downright misleading. In 2016, we saw this spectacularly illustrated with Brexit, when the IMF, OECD, the Bank of England and the UK Treasury all forecast a slump in the British economy in the event the referendum voted to leave the EU. While there are reasonable suspicions there was an element of disinformation in the forecasts, the fact they were so wrong is the important point. Yet, we still persist in paying economists to fail us.

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The Year That Was 2017

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

We would not be doing our jobs correctly if we only forecast the year ahead. Quite simply, we must be rigorous in examining the past, and that means taking a hard look at how well we did in determining the major trends of the year gone by. In every respect, 2017 was particularly unique because of the questions — and alarmism — surrounding the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Would the world see a dramatic warming of U.S. relations with Russia that would leave many Western allies in the lurch? Would a massive trade war break out between the United States and China? Would the Iran nuclear deal be torn up? These were all questions we sought to address as we pondered the changing dynamics of the global system. What follows are some of our key deductions, alongside honest appraisals of what we got right and wrong.

The year 2017 opened with a new U.S. president, and alarmism about the path Donald Trump would take.

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In the Middle East, Russia Seems to Be Everywhere

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Russia’s growing prominence in the Middle East was on full display Dec. 11 when Vladimir Putin visited three key Middle Eastern countries in one day. The Russian president followed a surprise trip to Syria with a quick stop in Egypt before ending his day’s travels in Turkey. He met with his presidential counterparts in all three countries, and the economic deals, military agreements and political settlements he discussed highlighted Russia’s role in the region. While Russia has its own reasons for bolstering its relationships with Syria, Egypt and Turkey, it also benefits from being visible where its regional rival, the United States, is not.

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A New Year Brings Familiar Challenges for the EU

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • In 2018 the European Union will try to close the free trade agreements it has been negotiating in recent years and to sign new deals with additional countries.
  • The European Union will continue pressuring Russia to cooperate on a solution for the conflict in Ukraine but will be reluctant to increase its sanctions on Moscow.
  • Initiatives to cooperate with the countries migrants hail from and travel through will be easier to approve than will plans to reform the bloc’s rules on migration.

The EU flag flies over the stock exchange building in Brussels.

(sharrocks/iStock)

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