Beyond the Cusp

July 10, 2015

Our Economic World is Shakier Than We’ve Been Told

Filed under: 24/7 News Reporting,Absolutism,Administration,Appeasement,Appointment,Austerity Measures,Balanced Budget,Banking Failure,Belgium,Binding Resolution,Brussels,Budget,Cabinet,Capitalism,China,Civilization,Class Warfare,Close Banks,Communism,Communism,Consequences,Constitutional Government,Corruption,Debt,Debt Ceiling,Default on Debt,Democracy,ECB,Economic Growth,Economic Independence,Economy,Elections,Emergency Aid,Equal Responsibility,Equal Rights,Equal Treatment,Equality,Euro,Euro Zone,Europe,European Council,European Governments,European Media,European Pressure,European Union,Executive Order,Failed State,Fascism,Finance Minister,Financial Crisis,Fiscal Cliff,Foreign Aid,Foreign Funding,France,Funding,GDP,German Pressure,Germany,Government,Government Control,Government Waste,Government Worker,Greece,Hyper-Inflation,IMF,Increased Spending,Inflated Spending,Inflation,Interest on Debt,Internal Pressures,International Politics,Italy,Leftist Pressures,Livable Wage,Local Government,Mainstream Media,Media,Media Bias,Media Censorship,Minimum Wage,Ministership,National Debt,Nationalist,Nationalist Pressures,Panic Policies,Parliament,Poland,Political Identity,Politicized Findings,Politics,Prime Minister,Protests,Quantitative Easing,Regulations,Relocation,Rioters Pressure,Secular Interests,Secularist Socialism,Sequestration,Shared Currency,Socialism,Spending Cuts,Submission,Taxes,Under Employment,Unemployment,Union Interests,Validate Elections,Victims,Voting,Wealth,Wealth Redistribution,World Opinion,World Pressures — qwertster @ 2:17 AM
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The mainstream media, especially the European Media, are all the news all the time covering the Greek economic meltdown. Some of the more honest media has also included the crises that could be soon to topple as if dominoes all in a row of which Greece is but the first domino to be tripped to fall and they have shown how Spain and Portugal would be precariously hanging and soon toppled partly as a result of Greece’s defaulting though it might be likely they would have fallen eventually all on their own. These would trigger a crisis in Ireland and Italy as to which would be the fourth victim and which would follow as the fifth victim signaling the end of the most endangered Eurozone nations too close to default to be comforting. The real horrific effect of these five weaker economies finally tripping the default cable and snagging the economic webbing, which has held the European Union and the Euro together since 1999, doing irreparable damage to the delicate webbing, more fragile than the most slightly laced spider’s web, tearing enormous holes in its intricate weaves slashing at the most vital threads and upsetting the ever so precarious balance that underlies its supporting structures threatening to unbalance and collapse even the previously though stable economies of France, Poland and many of the other east European economies possibly pushing them right to the cliff-face and potentially tipping them beyond the cusp and into default thus lacerating the last remnants of the Eurozone and possibly taking with them Germany and the ECB (European Central Bank) causing unimaginable damage to the financial structure of Europe and beyond, the ripple effect causing a second deep recession well more serious and taking longer to tank-out and hit bottom and then begin a long sluggish scent clawing for every single Red Cent and Dollar and Euro after having taken its toll on Asia and beyond. But the Euro, Greece, and the rest of the European Union and the Eurozone is but one whirlpool looking to sink every last economic boat.

 

The Euro is what we have been led to believe is the only threat. Where previously economic ships only had to worry about rising and falling tides, now they are adrift and facing not just one whirlpool representing the Euro dying, but now there is a second even more massive whirlpool coming from deep within Asia. China has hit the road’s end and is attempting to push its enormous mountain of debt using a garden trowel while piling on fresh debt using Caterpillar 990K series front end loader shoveling an additional $19.3 billion in an effort to end their three week slide totaling $3.2 trillion downturn in the past three weeks alone. These losses were the result of a Chinese Stock Market where as many as two-thirds of the stocks were frozen in a further attempt to stem the torrents of dollars flowing from their stock market and their economy like the icy waters which flooded the lower decks of the Titanic as she slowly but inexorably fell beneath the waves, something somewhat prophetic for the Chinese markets and economy. There is actually a comparison between the situation in Greece and the downturn in China as one must remember that Greece is as socialist as a nation can be without being either fascist or Communist and Greece has retained their spirit of a democratic Parliamentary system despite it all but China has taken socialism that one final step to communism, the addition of mostly state owned corporations and central planning of the economic engines and manufacturing. Chinese leaders had been attempting to liberalize their economic sectors, though not all of them, selling a number of previously State run businesses and even permitted competition between companies in the same market hoping this would charge their economy further and it had been working but even free-market economic liberalization was unable to stave off this meltdown. The problem obviously is what will this mean for the liberalization of the Chinese economy as the leadership are still Communists who serve the Party and depend on the Party, may decide that much of their financial woes are the result of these new policies and curtail or even reverse some or all of the liberalized companies, markets and take a giant leap backwards to increased government control over every iota of the economy and the manufacturing and sales etc.

 

United States Treasury Secretary Jack Lew commented Wednesday on the current crisis in China stating at the Brookings Institution, that the economies of the United States and China are “still pretty much separated.” In further testimony Secretary Lew queried, “I think the concern … it is a real one … is what does it mean about long term growth in China?” Further in his speech he pointed to the main potential impacts which could emerge as a result to the Chinese Stock Market bleeding financially leaving the leadership seeing ‘Red’ in more ways than one. The leading question is to figure out as soon as possible what the reaction of the leaders of the Communist Party is and whether they may decide that the problem dictates such as appointing new leadership, freezing prices, injecting even more dollars into the markets through the banks and state owned businesses or closing the banks and Stock Market for a week or two cool down and reset to normalcy again; the choices and potential marrying of any two or three makes predictions near to impossible. The one thing which can be computed and predicted as long as the numbers being released and any steps taken are done so in plain view then the impact of the Stock Market freefall on the Chinese economy’s core condition and whether it appears that it will have much elasticity and dynamics when the end is finally reached and the rollercoaster slides on in to the station signaling the end of the ride, and what a ride it was with vigorous growth only to drop who knows how large a percentage of that growth in this correction, and what a correction. Secretary Lew’s closing thoughts are worthy of being repeated as he emphasized, “The question isn’t their commitment to the goal; the question is the pace at which they implemented it, and do they do it fast enough for it to be effective. I hope this is not something that slows down the pace of reform. If the reaction is to put the brakes on reforms, that will slow that process.”

 

With China making a long overdue correction which will be far more severe than it should or could have been if the leadership was not so intent on what numbers they released to the world and on making their predicted economic increase and meet all targets set within the government as to fail was unthinkable and would have been a terrible loss of face thus undermining faith in the economy. This has caused the Chinese to follow the example first used by President George W. Bush and turbocharged by President Barack Hussein Obama which was in the old school simply called a ‘stimulus package’ but is now known by a more enigmatic phrase of ‘Quantitative Easing,’ either of which hides the actual result and method being implemented as who would stand for the government announcing they were devaluing the money supply and taxing every single American by a minimum percentage directly proportional to the percentage increase the total added funding was doled out in stacks of hundred dollar bills, literally thousands of such stacks in the United States and unknown amounts though what is known is the Chinese leadership pumped close to twice the percentage of GDP as did the United States. Just as the United States took their hit starting back in late 2008 and continuing through 2011 and briefly relieved with another round of ‘Quantitative Easing,’ this was like the third pitcher of beer at a table trying to drink their way sober. The economic burst from that mid and late 2011 ‘Quantitative Easing’ gave the economy a burst of hope which appeared to continue due to lowered interest rates and the paring down and mostly neutering of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act gave the economy the needed push for President Obama’s reelection as he could run his campaign claiming to have turned the economy around and that great times lie ahead. Well, as far as that goes I’ll point to Greece and China and point out that the United States has followed similar patterns of fueling the economy and especially the Stock Market with borrowed monies and when loans were unavailable the Federal Reserve would electronically buy Treasury Bonds with funds they imagined into existence as a few strokes on a Federal Reserve keyboard and one produces and completed sale with funny money in that the receipt for the Treasury Bonds was used to balance the books as it represented the electronically derived cash used. This is a very convenient way to purchase items this way when you are the government or a very clever fraudster as just try using the sales slip from one register, say men’s clothing from a department store as cash at the Jewelry Counter and see how far that takes you. The catch, and there is always a catch, to ‘Quantitative Easing’ is that eventually you either have to pay back the money that was invented which can only be done some combination of these three methods, first is retire actual money from circulation which can also be done electronically by retiring any electronic payment made on credit cards, second is to remove the funds through higher taxes taking the money directly from the supply, and lastly one could raise the interest rates and siphon off a percentage of each loan to pay the Piper so to speak. The problem is that each of these methods actually hurt the consumer the most; it is the public that pays the price for the economic and financial misdeeds and ill-advised policies.

 

There are but a few redeeming features out of all of this and one serious and potentially unavoidable problem, and it is a big one. So, we will leave the bad news for last and the good news which will cause doom’s day to come and come quickly first. The best of news is that the meltdown in China is most likely to be relatively unfelt even amongst their Asian markets as China does not purchase many goods from outside and the few major needs she has will continue even if slightly abated, things essential like coal and petroleum. Further, the only nation carrying a trade deficit of any note is the United States and even should quotas be placed on any goods currently purchased from China will very likely have ten other sources with some popping up due to China cutting production. The European crisis is more likely to hit the United States harder than anything else on the economic horizon. Should the Eurozone break apart due to the collapse of several of their nations having financial difficulties and teetering at the edge of financial Armageddon plus one, Greece, which has in all honesty gone beyond the cusp and is currently running with his feet well away from solid ground just hanging there for that brief Wiley Coyote moment before collapsing into the darkness below only to make a small puff of dust rising depicting his hitting bottom. Even should the entire Eurozone collapse it may actually serve to keep a lid on inflation and allow for low interests rates, a necessity for the United States. That brings us back to the one thing that at first everyone would be glad to see, a real recovery with rising workforce participation which in the United States is down to approximately 63%, one of the lowest figures since the mid-1970s. This would also bring jobs, especially higher end job market opening up once again which would allow for a ripple effect. As the overqualified people working at menial or minimum wage jobs would leave those as jobs in their field became available and they gain employment thus making room for these other positions to employ more of the nations’ work force and soon inflation will return, something there has been no worry about as even the few months where such measurements showed a possibility for inflation to develop only for indicators to slide back the next couple of months with it often seeming like one big step forward and all promise breaking out only to be followed by three or four months of small to moderate steps backwards and everything gained to be lost and often more. When inflation does finally return for real then there will be a really bad situation. Once inflation starts to threaten then the interest rates will rise as a counter to inflation. Rising inflation takes a bigger bite out of people’s pockets all but actual theft. Inflation also helps with making the national debt somewhat more manageable by deflating the value of the currency taking the currency to new lows and the lessening to of the value of the debt and the purchasing power of that coinage. This was where Greece and the other nations in the Eurozone faced; they no longer had control over their coinage, their monetary worth so they were unable to simply lessen the value in order to get a handle on their debts and also make their nation more attractive to investors and new businesses. Perhaps leaving the Eurozone for a set period of possibly not less than two years and no longer than a decade or quarter century at which point they can reapply at the short end or must face a permanent decision at the longer end. Granted, this will possibly make some nations more reckless but the consequence is the only alternative to having the Eurozone nations turn their entire control of monetary and fiscal planning over to Brussels, they already control the monetary which is part of the problem, and most nations will refuse to be relieved of the power of the purse even if they are no longer able to control the coinage of said purse. Perhaps even a rotating schedule where every nation has to spend a decade using their own coinage would be another compromise. Until the Eurozone finds the answer they will be facing little impossible challenges as is Greece right now and others down the line. Let’s just hope their mistakes don’t become global economic-mines blowing the world markets haywire.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

July 6, 2015

Greek Debt, the ‘No’ Vote, and the European Union

 

The first domino has fallen and Greece has laid down their challenge to the European Union (EU) basically asking if the European body will respect them the morning after the vote to thumb their noses at the demands made on the Greek government and its people demanding that they be further bailed out for free. The Greek people have chosen to support their government in firmly demanding they be granted support from the rest of the EU, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for restructuring the repayment schedule and not be so strict and mean demanding that the Greek government act what they define as responsibly using the restrictive austerity measures forcing the struggling nation to tighten its fiscal belt and stop the generous expenditures giving literally free tickets to the people and retired workers and other items standing directly in opposition of the demands for austerity measures for the struggling nation to be imposed by the EU, IMF and the ECB to prevent the very default on Greek debt which occurred late last week. The Greek default on their debt payment made them the first EU member to fail to meet their financial obligations slapping them in the face and throwing down their gauntlet. Now all that remains is a seemingly simple vote for the members of the EU on whether to hold the Greek government to impose strict terms in order to meet the financial demands of those attempting to collect on their ‘loans’ made with demanding Greece now act in good faith and honor the terms imposed on them and the restructure of the Greek governments debts such that they would be capable to repay those debts. The crisis was brought to a head with the Greek failure to meet the $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund as part of a previous set of further loans and restructuring made to avoid a similar crisis last year. Now an apparent ‘No’ vote is a direct challenge for all that entails.

 

The Greek people have now, with their ‘No’ vote, rejected the imposition of the austerity measures demanded of Greece by those holding the notes of indebtedness from the Greek government. This is forcing a crisis which has very few options and will now test the EU and whether its single currency policies are functional or inherently flawed. This threat to the EU single currency system was set into motion the second that there was not any central monetary planning unifying the disparate desires and quirks of the independent nations. Without such a system, the Euro was bound to produce just such a financial disaster leaving only the question as to which nation would be the first to fall off the fiscal cliff, the first to dare to tread beyond the cusp of financial responsibility. The predictions of an eventual default had raised its ugly face before threatening the very foundations of the Euro system and posing the exact challenge being faced today with the Greek rejection of the financial restraints being foisted upon them by the centralized powers within the EU. I suppose that Greece was as likely a candidate as any to be the first to face the imposition of external financial limits or simply defaulting thus threatening the stability of the Euro shared currency system. What are the questions needing to be answered and the actions available to be decided defining the path forward?

 

The questions are simple ones that get down to the basis of the Euro and through that to the entire EU. The writing is on the wall for anybody with the nerves to read the warnings telling the tale that there would be a day where a people made comfortable by the very structures put in place as a universal safety net designed to care for those unable to afford the necessities of life due to unemployment or other difficulties eventually making living off the government’s various programs sufficiently comfortable that work becomes an option and not a necessity. With such a system in place it becomes not only possible, but in some cases preferable to live a simple life permitting government to foot the bill. Eventually such a life would become far more attractive living large off the government than working and living not all that much differently and people would realize that not working was as much an option, and a far more enticing option, and simply choose to live an easy life seeking other means by which to have the government pay for more and more until there is no more and they start borrowing. This works for a while and the government stimulates the economy with infusions of money and the Ponzi scheme becomes the way of governing always staying one step from ahead of defaulting on loans. Finally there is a downturn of the economy and a country with finances so fragile becomes a nation unable to recover sufficiently to pay its debts. A nation unable to repay its debts is recognized immediately to be a threat to the entire system so this government cannot be permitted to collapse and start anew and is instead propped up by the wealthier governments and international bankers whose sources of income have always been shady and now are becoming downright unsustainable.

 

Soon another country teeters at the edge and begins to go down the exact same path as the previous, only more rapidly, then another and another until it becomes the crisis that is so large it can no longer be ignored or swept under the rug and propped up under auspices that this next new solution, austerity being the latest, will save the system, a system so broken that saving it is well past any possibility. The eventual default was set in motion at the very outset as was predicted by British Prime Minister the Lady Margaret Thatcher when she wisely refused to allow Britain to become dependent on the Euro and instead reached a balancing point that her merchants and industries would accept Euros as payment but that such payments must always be transferred into the Pound Sterling on the British ledgers and thus met by the EU. The Lady Thatcher once stated it referring to exactly this problem when during an interview with Thames Television’s This Week on Feb 5, 1976 she was quoted as saying, “I think they’ve made the biggest financial mess that any government’s ever made in this country for a very long time, and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them.” This is exactly where Greece now finds itself and where Spain, Portugal, Italy and soon potentially others find themselves all in different points on that slippery slope, it is simply further along and at a steeper point that Greece finds itself, the point where other people’s money has run out and they have become reluctant to continue providing, period, or have they. There is one option where Greece is freely given yet another infusion of monies and the marry-go-round will continue. The debt will be restructured except this time there will be no set repayment process set up but instead a demand that Greece show its good faith of intent to eventually repay the debt once profitable times return, and those providing the crutch will continue to pour good money after bad with no false expectations of ever being repaid. Greece will have become that poor wretched relative who nobody ever speaks about but find themselves constantly meeting their bills for them. This eventually leads to the next crisis, what happens when most of the family of EU nations becomes Greece?

 

The EU cannot financially choose to continue supporting Greece but not because it would be a strain on them financially, it would hardly be noticed as such is how small a percentage of the total EU financial institutions that Greece requires even if it were to totally fail and every Greek citizen were receiving government livable wages. The problem is one of precedence. Once the EU sets the precedent financially holding Greece’s hand and paying its way then the path is set for other nations to demand similar treatment should they fall upon hard times. Should one look far enough down the road and it is not difficult to paint the picture they will envision, an EU that half its nations survive and are carried by the other half, and the wealth produced by the providing half is completely consumed supporting the rest. The entirety of the EU production and profits are consumed by the other nonproductive half. That is not a system that will survive even the slightest of difficulties and that will spell the end of the EU right behind the end of the Euro. But is the other option going to end any differently?

 

Imagine if the EU forgives the parts of the Greek debts it is able and forces Greece to return to their own currency yet remain in the European Union, where will that lead? Again it becomes a matter of precedent as now any nation which is approaching insolvency will demand the same generous exit strategy gaining a partial bailout which does not need be repaid and a return to their native currency without any penalty. There will come a point where the EU will no longer be the panacea promised and instead will become a small block of successful and wealthy nations having paid the exit fee for the remaining nations who now use their own currency and benefit from EU membership solely when conducting trade within the EU. This will have greater effects outside the EU as the EU will set their exchange rates for the Euro against their own national currencies until they are determined to be financially readmitted to the Euro club once again. There will always be the possibility that these less productive and less affluent nations will find their stride economically and be capable of rejoining the Euro based nations but most would be relegated to using their own national currency. The real problem will strike when even those nations which had been marginally able to keep astride the powerhouse economies of the likes of Germany will now constitute the least wealthy of nations still using the Euro and there may come during a time of economic stress where they too may be forced to return to their own currency or an even more frightening scenario would be the most productive nations decide to be like Britain, namely accepting the Euro in payment for trade deals or from tourists but operating using their own national currency as they would realize that would benefit them in deals outside of the EU and they also would no longer be pressed into supporting the economically weaker nations.

 

Any path taken would necessarily result in the end of the Euro and the stresses from the nations all returning to their own national currency eventually dissolving the EU as it would no longer serve any purpose beyond setting unified trade agreements through the Euro. Anyway one might slice this rotting cake that started with the Greek default; the result is the same, the unraveling of the EU starting with the demise of the Euro. The Euro might continue on much as Roman coins and the Spanish Pieces of Eight hung around well after their issuing nation no longer held the sway and influence they had in their prime. The question then comes as to what Europe may look like down the road without the EU as a calming inclusiveness that it once provided largely through the sharing of a common currency. Would this signal the return to the epidemic of conflicts, much as was the way of things throughout history? What will happen when the EU dissolves and there is no European unified front and each nation is now unleashed to trade completely without any concerns or other brotherly obligations. The initial return to cutthroat trade practices with each nation set against its neighbor may, over time, exacerbate old rivalries leading to skirmishes and even on to open warfare? Violence is only one part of the problems as there may be demands for reparations from the nations which had debt forgiven under a moment of weakness and magnanimity more forced by the EU than entered into with willingness and a smile. The failure of the Greek economy to sustain any kind of parity with the major economic powers within the EU will necessarily result in the end of the Euro as a trans-European unified currency, also as Lady Thatcher had predicted in her actions to forestall and eventually put to rest any hope that Britain would fully resign control over her own currency. This will prove to be the death of the Euro, the necessity for every nation to control its own currency unless they would willingly surrender their fiscal and economic planning to a central budgetary committee appointed and solely answerable to the EU and acting independently of the member nations forcing upon each their assignments for production and receipt of funds from Brussels. Nationalism or completely collective socialism, which would Europe choose. Britain would never enter such a trap, but could the entirety of the rest of the EU nations join such a group and actually make it work, that’s a tall order for any organization. Nope, could never happen, not in a million years. The other question that would remain to be seen is how the death of the EU would affect the relations out of Europe with the remainder of the world. These are interesting times, and they appear to be getting ‘curiouser and curiouser.’

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 13, 2015

A Chance America Riding Off Into the Sunset

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There has been speculation about what role the United States will play on the world’s stage as threats abound of various severities and natures almost everywhere one looks and still we hear from United States President Obama that he awaits final strategy and complete plans laid out before him from the Pentagon before he can act. This excuse from President Obama for not committing to some plan of action sounds unrealistic, especially as it is well known even personally after having served in the United States Army, the Pentagon has plans, War Scenarios, for near any contingency which might arise. This makes President Obama’s excuse of not having any plans before him sound quite lame. Even had the Pentagon not had an exact battle plan in place when ISIS first reared their ugly heads and started chopping heads, especially since some belonged to the United States, you can bet the Pentagon went to their files and had cobbled together six ways come Sunday for dealing with ISIS which probably had added contingencies for removing Bashir al-Assad from power and potentially addressing the Iranian nuclear issue as well. The one thing is, they were not short of was plans. The only thing necessary would be for the President to choose one and they would be implementing within forty-eight hours. Each set of plans would have in the full layout exactly which units were trained for that exact mission and which of those units was at full strength and had a ready status. They would have decided whether or not to use the ready actions units of which at least two brigades of Army would be on immediate deployment status and I can assume the Marines, Navy and Air Force have similar plans for immediate response to any call up.

 

We can trust the Pentagon has plans and that all the President need do is pick up that phone he claims he could use to call for action if Congress did not pass his legislation in a timely manner and instead call the Pentagon and request their actions and plans be presented. Then he could pick up that pen with which he threatened Congress to use to write Executive Orders and use it to sign off on a plan of action and then write an Executive Memo to the leaders in Congress informing them of the impending actions and the Pentagon would take care of the rest. There is one contingency for which the Pentagon likely has plans but would be unable to implement them until the President ordered them to follow and support somebody else’s initiation of actions. That is President Obama’s famous plan of leading from behind, better known as following which often is the action of those too cowardly to commit to actions and stick their neck out, something which would be risky against ISIS but the President can go ahead and stick his neck out, the military would be out in front and would do or die even knowing that in the end the President would claim the glory, after all he took out Osama bin Laden haven’t you heard. Leading from behind is not an option on this crisis but President Obama is not one to make definitive decisions which might have him owning his actions. President Obama would rather simply follow and take only that action was dictated by somebody else, the United Nations, the European Union, NATO led by another member, actually President Obama would follow anybody, well, anybody but Israel. Were Israel to engage ISIS, it would not be a complete surprise if President Obama gave weapons to ISIS through some obscure middleman leader of another nation who might be supportive of ISIS though doing so would be risky. But until somebody else takes the lead we can expect more excuses over action from the White House.

 

One wonders if President Obama has even requested the Pentagon produce their plans for dealing with ISIS and said plans actually called for the United States to sit this round out. We can figure that the United States is loath to send troops back into Iraq after being pulled out by President Obama in a manner that military planners had informed the President was a premature action which would cause more problems than it could solve. The one problem leaving a residual force would not have addressed was President Obama winning reelection on his promise to bring our boys home come something (keeping it family friendly) or high water. The Pentagon may have been requested to provide plans which would include supporting UN or EU or NATO action taken to facilitate leading from behind at which time the Pentagon action would most likely be exactly what we are seeing, doing nothing waiting for somebody else to take the initiative so they could follow thus leading from behind again allowing President Obama to risk nothing which actually making a choice and lead would mean. But this begs a question; what happens if the United States is about to return to her historic role of isolationism where the United States trades with her friends and with her enemies but on a lesser scale and dares not interfere in worldly matters allowing them to work themselves out without United States interventions. United States entering an isolationist perspective would only allow her deployment of troops to be limited and almost always to support trade more than worrying about such trivialities as world balance and defeating evil, that’s better left to the knights of Europe who have always done this before. Of course this before was before the United States encouraged Europe to stop their militarism and that the United States would spread her umbrella and cover them so they could turn to less harmful pursuits such as taking on debt and squabbling amongst each other, just this time no world wars starting in Europe, that was the deal the United States imposed on Europe. But now it appears the United States may be folding up that umbrella and claiming not to see the storm clouds rising out of the Middle East, a denial which is difficult to swallow.

 

The going theory is that the United States will return to the role of the world’s police and enforce the good behavior between the nations extending force projection where needed. That is not the historic tendency of the United States after any major conflicts; her historic stance has been a laissez-faire attitude of simple sitting back keeping her hands politely to herself, which is the norm from the United States. The average American knows little about world affairs and cares even less. The average American was defined by President Clinton in his initial campaign for the Presidency with his slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The stupid in this case was George Herbert Walker Bush (the elder and first Pres Bush) and the elections proved it as President Bush did not gain reelection largely due to his having broken his promise of, “Read my lips; no new taxes,” and then was forced to raise taxes by a Democrat Congress in order to get his budget passed with the military spending not slashed by the Congress. The election of President Clinton over reelecting President Bush was all about domestic policies over foreign policies.

 

You start to talk about foreign policy with the average American and their eyes gloss over and they drift into some zombie like state all catatonic and in shock after the first two or three sentences. Talk about immigration, taxes, domestic hot-button issues, government spending of which all is unnecessary except those they are or will receive, and the economy then you will engage in a sometimes heated debate. Talk about money and they will listen, talk about something happening in the Mille East or Asia and they will repeat what the media stated, that is bad, that is good and those people sure have as rough time, but then they will turn it back to how the government needs to take care of things at home first. The average American has all the sympathy you could ever ask for and they will donate more to charities than any other peoples on earth but when it comes to sending their young men off to fight in what they mostly see as somebody else’s war, then they need a ton of convincing and President Obama surfs waves, seldom makes waves when it comes to world politics. The President came from a past as a community organizer, read rabble rouser causing trouble to force government actions usually spending more money of which they get the lion’s share, and knows little outside of Chicago, let alone outside of the United States. He treats foreign policy as if it was a plague and to his outlook, as well as many Americans outlooks, simply does not go past the horizon and possibly not past the water’s edge.

 

We can bet that should the Democrat candidate become the next President, they too will do little as they can in foreign policy. We need remember that the Democrat candidate will not likely be Hillary Clinton but more likely somebody not even announced as of yet. Ms. Clinton’s campaign van has the wheels flying off and the engine is about to quit. The van is driving down the road to oblivion. But what if it is the Republican candidate, you inquire. There we need to find out who will take the lead and which ones do not survive the first three or four actual primary votes. We can make some specific and general observations. Rand Paul is an isolationist libertarian who believes if the United States hurts nobody then nobody would target the United States. Of all the governors and ex-governors running, only Jeb Bush might be a President inclined to use military force and actually have an active foreign policy. Others have claimed that they will repair the United States relations with Israel as well as Egypt and Saudi Arabia largely undoing some of the changes made under President Obama. Still, such actions do not necessarily mean a return into Iraq to defeat ISIS unless it becomes a dire threat to the stability of the Middle East. Only Senator Marco Rubio has direct experience with foreign policies as he in on the Senate Intelligence Committee which gives him access beyond the average Senator under the need to know doctrines. Almost any Republican candidate becoming President would easily take four months to a year to become fully briefed on every hot-spot that the Pentagon had plans and counter plans and different options under each plan and time granted each. Such amounts of information is why the President has a Secretary of Defense whose staff is divided so they can divide their work and attend to each contingencies. Still, the final decisions and person who must form the overall foreign police and who has to call in the troops for action when deemed to be necessary lies with the President and the President alone. That is one of the reason it is said that it is lonely at the top. We still have no real available input that any of the Republican candidates would press for an interventionist approach to foreign policies.

 

Likely the most pressing foreign policy might already have their hands tied should President Obama make any Iran nuclear deal somehow into a treaty without gaining Congressional affirmation. Such a decade long deal would actually prevent the next administration from taking any actions without smoking gun style proof that Iran had broken the agreement but as the agreement includes steps all the way through twelve years with little margin for change in the terms or even the terminology during that time period with the Iranians presumably free to complete their desired goal of deliverable nuclear warheads and the ICBMs on which to place them after ten years according to President Obama’s own admission which would leave them at a minimum two years to produce as many weapons systems as they are able starting with an unknown amount of LEU (low enrichment Uranium) with which to work and all of that Uranium a simple two day’s processing to be made weapons grade HEU (highly enriched Uranium over 90% purity) and then they would be capable of molding the cores and producing actual weapons. All of this is a guess of what the eventual agreement will appear to say and Iranian compliance to the terms and inspection protocols as well as their answering numerous questions about previous work performed largely by the military which Iran insists is an unprecedented and unnecessary invasion of their privileges and privacies. So, when it comes to the Iranian nuclear program the next President may be acting with his hands tied and possibly looking at a negative response from a nuclear armed Iran claiming their dominion over Iraq and dismissing the need for United States interference in their area of control which they will claim includes Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and who knows where else by January 21, 2017 when the next President takes office. After Iran there will be other situations such as Russia and their low-grade war with the Ukraine and its possibilities, China and their expansion Islands being built and potentially taking territorial control semi-legally over the entire South China Sea giving them control over one of the most active shipping lanes in the world. Speaking of choke points for shipping, Iran already has menacing control over the Straits of Hormuz where almost one third of the world’s oil is shipped by tankers and may through their proxies in Yemen, Houthis can also threaten to control the Bab-el-Mandeb which would cut off the southern exit of the Red Sea making the Suez Canal unusable and the Israeli southern port to the orient and Africa blockaded, a casus belli which could lead to a state of declared war by Iran on Israel and Egypt as both would have their shipping access to the world impeded illegally as Iran would have no other excuse other than they could close all shipping. These are just the top three and none of these includes the ISIS threat which may grow to the point where Iran and ISIS meet on equal footing with ISIS having gained an Air Force even if of a limited nature, and tactics which are prone to working, at least working well against the Iraqi army. ISIS has had far less success against the Kurdish Militias such as the Peshmerga (literally “one who confronts death”) and the People’s Protection Units (known as the YPG). These have held the northeast parts of Syria having an astonishing turning point in the city of Kobanê as well as the northern third or so of Iraq where the Kurdish forces saved thousands of Yazidi and whose Yazidi Militias have joined ranks with the Kurdish Militias. We could continue to the other continents and their probabilities for causing distress but that would leave Antarctica as probably the only safe haven if you desired no strife, or at least not yet.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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