Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gathering Up Some Thoughts

I haven't been paying much attention to the world recently, but let's see if I can do a bit of a recap of some of the themes we've been following here at FutureJacked and try to peer forward into 2008.

Georgia - Russia
For much of the latter part of 2007 I was worried that Georgia (the one the BTC pipeline runs through) was going to become a flaming 4GW tinderbox. There is talk of improving ties between the two countries. But then again, we also just had a bombing in South Ossetia that could signal a push by Russia to repay the west for Kosovo's independence. That said, the rhetoric has been damped down, so hopefully this will just simmer a bit, but not boil over.

DEFCON 4

Pakistan
This is bad. We've been following this for some time and in my opinion this is the calm before the storm. The anti-Musharaff coalition may hold together long enough to indict him or chase him out of the country, but as for addressing this issue of salafists, Taliban elements, ethnic divisions, blowback from Afghanistan and tensions over Pakistan's nuclear weapons - these things will not go away. Do please keep an eye on this.

For those of us in North America, you may ask why. Well, basically, Pakistan is the one true nuclear weapons proliferation risk in the world right now, in my opinion. Iran is distraction - they don't have a proven ability to manufacture an HEU or Pu warhead. India won't be selling any weapons to anyone. China, Russia, France, the U.K., the Israelis and the U.S won't be selling nukes or nuke tech to anyone in the Middle East or other developing regions.

If Pakistan goes all Iraq or Lebanon on us, well, you can start having real concerns over weapons proliferation.

DEFCON 3

Iran
The official Iran WarWatch is still closed. This situation looks perfect for a major diplomatic initiative that resolves many of the disputes between the U.S. and Iran. The deal with the Devil that U.S. forces have struck with Sunni tribals allows for a window of opportunity for a deal. The Iraqi state will never be reconstituted (in my opinion), but maybe the U.S. can move on with Iran. The wildcards here are held by our Israeli friends. If their shadow war with Hezbollah were to spill over into a hot war with Iran, then it gets ugly. But it is so obvious that a deal will benefit both Iran and the U.S., even the elites running both countries should be able to see it.

DEFCON 4

The Economy
I'll let you review Nouriel Roubini's testimony to Congress for a summation of the issues credit markets face in the U.S.

I expect one last flare to the upside in the stock markets, but folks, it is bad. When the credit markets themselves are wrecked, then it spells absolute Armageddon for a country that relies on a fiat currency and fractional reserve banking system.

Get your fiscal house in order. Have cash on hand (like real folding money). There are lot's of folks out there much brighter than I following this slow motion crash. I suggest you leverage their analysis. They include, but are not limited to:

Elliott Wave International

Calculated Risk

Mish

Urbansurvival

DEFCON 2

Random But Important

Check out a blog post by Jeff Wells over at Rigorous Intuition. It is entitled Empire on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. While I don't agree with his politics, he has an uncanny knack for linking together events that go on in the underbelly of politics and life and produce insights worth at least paying attention to.

Let's all remember that we shouldn't just be reading news. We need to be acting and readying ourselves for major changes in the way the world has worked for decades, if not centuries. Act, don't just consume.

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