Archive for the Middle East Category

The U.S. And Saudi Arabia:  Not Playing Well With Others (Each Other) (July 11, 2016)

Posted in Gold, Gold Standard, Middle East, Petrodollar, Special Drawing Rights (SDR) on July 11, 2016 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “On August 15, 1971, President Nixon unilaterally cancelled the direct international convertibility of the United States dollar to gold.  The U.S. abandoned the ‘gold standard’ and embraced the ‘oil standard.’  As part of the grand deal, the Saudi Arabians agreed to price oil in dollars and thereby created a new and extremely valuable thing dubbed the ‘Petrodollar.’”

J          “I note to others that the Petrodollar is right up there with the steam engine and the Internet as the driver of innovation and progress in the United States.”

K          “The Petrodollar is an almost cost-free export that has undergirded American expansion and power for the last almost 45 years.  Now the two countries are in a spat that is not likely to turn out well for the U.S.”

J          “I noticed.  Life is like high school writ large.  The Saudis did not receive O’Bama when he visited Saudi Arabia; O’Bama did not receive Saudi officials when they visited Washington.  They do not play well with others.  Or with themselves.”

K          “Sounds more like elementary school antics writ small.  Sales here and sales there of oil around the world today are being denominated in something other than the Petrodollar.  If the use of the Petrodollar declines, the U.S. declines with it.”

J          “The Petrodollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency may not be able to sustain it.”

K          “The Petrodollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is also being challenged and undermined by other countries advancing the creation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR).”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at “The Percolating Middle East (February 22, 2016)” and “Venturing A Few Unfounded And Unwarranted Predictions (July 13, 2015).”] 

Bumper stickers of the week:

The Petrodollar fuels the American economy: no Petrodollar, no economy.

Dallas

The Percolating Middle East (February 22, 2016)

Posted in China, Dollar - World's Reserve Currency, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Russia, Syria on February 22, 2016 by e-commentary.org

. . .

8          “On one side you have Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the soldiers from the Sunni region of Iraq with some of its members d.b.a. (doing business as) ISIS or ISIL or IS.  They are the ‘Sunni Squad’.”

7          “Yet Saudi Arabia and Turkey really do not like each other.”  

8          “They just hate each other slightly less.  On the other side, you have Syria, Iran, Russia and the Kurds in the region who hate Turkey.  They are loosely the ‘Shiite Squad’.”

. . .

7          “Turkey has cited Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and demanded that an attack on one member is an attack on all members.  Thus, Turkey contends that NATO nations must come to its assistance.  Right.”

8          “And thus join the ‘Sunni Squad’ and assist ISIS or ISIL or IS.”

7          “Challenge Saudi Arabia and lose its support for the PetroDollar.  Without the PetroDollar, the United States slides into second world status.”

8          “Or join the Russian gang and ally with the ‘Shiite Squad’ which is likely to be the winner if there is a winner.”

. . .

8          “Now which squad is China supporting?”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at Seriously Sizing Up Syria Seizing Up (October 12, 2015).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy?

Drop A Bomb, Gestate A Terrorist; Drop A Bomb, Sprout A Refugee (November 16, 2015)

Posted in Book Reference, Iraq, Middle East, War on November 16, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

J          “The problem is the continuing and recurring problem.  Dropping bombs caused the problem; dropping more bombs causes more problems; dropping even more bombs causes even more problems.”

K          “Everyone is gasping and grasping for a solution without understanding the problem.”

J          “Everyone is so gripped with fear that no one is thinking clearly.”

. . .

K          “When someone drops 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 google mega-tons of bombs on ISIS or ISIL or whatever it is and kills all the ISISists or ISILists or whateverists, what will result?”

J          “ISIS 2.0.”

K          “Yup.  I refer to it as ‘ISIL Part Two.’  Coming to a troubled region near you.  In 2024.”

J          “Those who failed to anticipate and prepare for ISIS 1.0 are not anticipating or preparing for ISIS 2.0.  And what if it transmogrifies into ILIS?”

K          “We are doomed.  Of our own doing.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at Intended Consequences In Iraq (August 3, 2015) and Staying the Collision Course In Iraq and The Mid-East (September 25, 2006).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Think Big; Think Long; Heck, Think.

What happens in the Middle East stays in the Middle East.

“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”  George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

There is no money in the Truth.

Seriously Sizing Up Syria Seizing Up (October 12, 2015)

Posted in Afghanistan, Bush, Climate, Dollar - World's Reserve Currency, Foreign Policy, Global Climate Change, Global Warming, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Newspapers, Russia, Sports, Syria, Vietnam, War on October 12, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

7          “They could make it easier if they wore jerseys with numbers.”

8          “The good folks could sport odd numbers and the bad folks could sport even numbers on their uniforms.”

7          “Or the good folks could use even numbers and the bad folks could use odd numbers.  Or use different defining colors.  Or stitch the sponsor of the team on the back of the jersey.”

8          “During the Southeast Asian War Games conducted in ‘nam, a ‘Stars and Stripes’ newspaper cartoon depicted two identical individuals in pajamas and flip flops – one described as ‘Friend’ and one described as ‘Enemy’.”

7          “Nothing changes.  Discerning one’s friends and one’s enemies among those wearing towels and sandals is vexing.”

8          “The great feud between the Shia and the Sunni seems akin to the great feud between the Hatfields and McCoys.  No one was right and no one really knew what they were fighting for and no one really knew why they were fighting.”

7          “The reality is that the enemy of my enemy is not my friend, the enemy of my enemy is my enemy.”

. . .

7          “Most folks are more comfortable with what the nerdy folks describe as a ‘Manichean’ division into good and bad, or right and wrong, or us and them.  International relations are described as a balance of power and depicted with a scale.  A pint of water on one side can be balanced with a pound of whatever on the other side.  Yet international relations are more akin to multiple Calder mobiles strung and hung together.  Tug on one string and everything tips out of balance.  The unprovoked invasion of Iraq by then President Cheney and Vice President Bush in 2003 was the great tug that triggered the imbalance accelerating today.”

8          “Toss a rock in the pond and watch the concentric circles and the eccentric responses.  The lack of water in Syria and other places is fueling the fury.  A drought of water leads to a drought of hope.  The world is transitioning from wars over oil to wars over water.”

7          “And wars over currency.  Everything is out of balance.”

8          “Seems that global climate change is bringing about global change.”

. . .

8          “For the U.S., ‘Iraq’ is Arabic for ‘Vietnam’.  For Russia, ‘Syria’ may be Arabic for ‘Afghanistan’.”

7          “‘Waterloo’ is French for ‘Waterloo’.”

8          “Or Esperanto for ‘quagmire’.”

. . .

7          “We make decisions with limited information.  Look at who is for and who is against going to war.  Former General Wesley Clark suggests that the United States seeks to take out Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.  The Neo-conservatives in America want the United States to be mired in constant war everywhere on the planet all the time.  They keep getting us in trouble.”

8          “The bad folks.  Do they have even or odd numbers?  What color are their uniforms?”

. . .

7          “Much of the fighting is a prolonged currency war between the United States and many other countries.  The United States is slowly losing the franchise on the world’s reserve currency.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at World’s Reserve Currency War I = Cold War 2.0 = WW III (?) (September 8, 2014) and Le Dollar – World’s Reserve Currency? (November 28, 2011).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Are they doing the watusi when they should be doing the hokey pokey?

Gas / Au / Ag / Cu: The Great Commodity / Currency Wars: What’s Up? What’s Down? What’s Really Up? What’s Going Down? (November 17, 2014)

Posted in "Fiat ______", Carbon Surcharge & Dividend, China, Debt/Deficits, Dollar - World's Reserve Currency, Football, Foreign Policy, Gold Standard, Middle East, Money, Peak Oil, Russia, Silver Standard on November 17, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

E1          “Today’s high-tech town criers, LED scoreboards broadcast the news from every street and street corner.  They proclaim that gas prices are down, gas prices are down, gas prices are down.  The most public and publicized scores in our economy are even more prominent than football scores.”

E2          “Is supply up because Saudi Arabia has strategically increased the supply?  Is demand down because the world is in recession?  What’s really up?  What’s really going down?”

E1          “What’s real?  The great trifecta is at play.  Saudi Arabia is advancing American political interests by undercutting Russian oil sales while also underpricing American fracking operators and undermining Iranian producers.  Prices now below about $80 a barrel undermine American competitors who are fracking the production of oil at a cost of typically $85 a barrel.  An American operator who cannot compete and goes down will not later reenter the market.  Saudi Arabia can effortlessly constrict supply and drive up the price.”

E2          “The Republicans will provide tax benefits and government subsidies for the frackers and increase the national debt.”

E1          “That’s for real.  If Russia and Russians can endure the very real impact of the sanctions and continue to circumvent the use of the dollar, they may end up prevailing in the ‘Cold Currency War.’  The public scoreboards provide daily clues to developments on the international battlefield.”

. . .

E2          “Now when the price of oil is down is the time to adopt a carbon premium and dividend program.”

E1          “Never happen.”

E2          “Nothing will happen until it is too late.”

E1          “Not when gas mongering SUVs are flying off the shelves.”

. . .

E2          “The PM markets for elements 79 and 47 are distorted.  Now that the physical quantities of Au and Ag are so tiny in comparison to the exploding paper market, the spot price is another illusion.  Sellers of physical quantities are setting prices that exceed the former ‘spot price plus markup’ formula to reflect the limited physical supply.  However, no generally accepted ‘physical spot price’ has emerged.  In a world of fraud, illusion and dishonesty, the ‘market price’ is not the ‘market price’ and another ‘market price’ must be concocted to provide realistic information.”

E1          “The market is unreal.  However, it is hard to fix the metals market when the metals market is fixed.  Information is sketchy, incomplete and possibly inaccurate.  China, Russia, India, Brazil and other governments and the Chinese, Russians, Indians, Brazilians and other citizens are amassing massive amounts of physical gold.  Manipulating the acquisition price of physical gold lower via machinations in the paper market facilitates the transfer of physical gold to folks who are not always happy with us.”

E2          “That may be the most counter-productive policy in recent memory.  Some countries are rallying around gold to provide a counterpoise to the dollar.”

E1          “That is surreal.”

. . .

E2          “Morgans were minted from 1878 to 1904.  Peace dollars from 1921 to 1935.  Even among those who are not interested in the numismatic value of a coin, the premium for George T. Morgan’s creation is more than the premium for Peace dollars.”

E1          “A hint of aesthetic sensibility among the junk metal set.  Morgans may have been minted again in 1921.”

E2          “One fellow said that he maintains 70 percent of his precious metals inventory in silver to serve as a medium of exchange and 30 percent in gold to serve as a store of value and secondary medium of exchange.  However, the dollar is still the unit of account.  Wonder what he knows.”

E1          “Metals perforce do not pay interest, yet when banks start charging interest to hold funds, metals become the non-interest burdened asset.  What percentage of his assets are in metals?  And why?”

. . .

E1          “The ISIS or ISIL or Islamic State or whatever is proposing to issue their own currency by minting real gold dinars and real silver dirhams.”

E2          “The IS is also in the business of selling oil on the black market at reduced prices which lowers the world price.  Another factor in the analysis.”

E1          “And the scoreboard up ahead proclaims: ‘Unleaded – 3 dinars and 99 dirhams per liter; Diesel – 4 dinars and 49 dirhams per liter.  Free oil check and window washing.’”

E2          “A mecca for the gold bugs.”

E1          “‘27 inch flat screens from China for 99 dinars.’”

E2          “If gold is denominated in dollars, the dollar is king.  If gold is denominated in gold, then gold is king.”

E1          “Aren’t they obligated to field a football team first?”

. . .

E1          “If I couldn’t make light of it, it would get too heavy.”

. . .

[See the related e-commentary earlier this year at “Texas Votes To Secede From U.S. And Join Mexico; Russia Blows Up World In Response (March 17, 2014)“, “NATO: Nations Aggressively Taking Over (March 31, 2014)“, “Distrust But Verify (July 21, 2014)” and “World’s Reserve Currency War I = Cold War 2.0 = WW III (?) (September 8, 2014).”  See also the background e-commentary at “The Silver Standard: The Value Of (Sort Of) Real Money (July 15, 2013)“, ““Fiat Gold” / Fool’s Gold (May 2, 2011)” and “Is The Gold Standard Really The Gold Standard? (January 18, 2010).”

Bumper stickers of the week:

He who has the dollars has made the rules; he who has the gold will make the rules.

Folks (and governments) will use Fe and Pb to acquire and protect Au and Ag.

We seek stasis, we get entropy.

Distrust But Verify (July 21, 2014)

Posted in Afghanistan, Foreign Policy, Iran, Journalism, Middle East, Military, Newspapers, Press/Media, Russia on July 21, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

1          “Somewhat ironic that it is a rhyme from a Russian proverb made famous by Reagan.”

2          “Is it irenic?  I phrase it ‘distrust and verify’ because we have a civic duty to do our own research.”

1          “America is demonizing Putin, ostracizing Russia, antagonizing unknown forces, and militarizing the world.  Triggering World War III on the hundredth anniversary of World War I is not a righteous aspiration.”

2          “The phrase does not apply just to the misrepresentations of Putin and Russia foisted on the public today by those in power in the West.  When it comes to the Middle East and most matters of international affairs, it is also ‘reader beware’ in a world of pap, pablum and propaganda.”

1          “Who knows what is really going on in the Middle East or Gaza.  The ‘One Hundred Plus Years War’ is going strong and may go on until one people is wiped out.  And the apologists and propagandists pass themselves off as analysts and pundits.  Too many newspaper columnists and television personalities are just ideological blowhards.”

2          “So many graduates of the Edward L. Bernays School of Disinformation.  The truth is so elusive, because advancing the untruth is so often in the economic interests of the wealthy and the well connected.”

. . .

1          “Those who want America to go to war today are the ones who started the failed and failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan yesterday.”

2          “The only thing you can say with a high degree of confidence is that those who want America to go to war are clearly not seeking to advance America’s best interests.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Distrust But Verify

Distrust And Verify

“All Governments Lie” I. F. Stone

Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb [pick a place, any place], bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb [insert the place].

American Foreign Policy: Amoral or Immoral? (June 9, 2014)

Posted in Foreign Policy, Genius, Hypocrisy, Middle East, On [Traits/Characteristics] on June 9, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

1          “Makes you wonder why America threatens to blow up the world when Russia moves into territory within its sphere of influence and then finances additional West Bank settlements without hesitation.”

. . .

2          “The test for genocide turns on whether those in power in America like the people being killed and whether the killers threaten or advance America’s economic interests.”

1          “Makes you wonder why America’s policy toward East Congo is shaped largely by Western bankers.”

. . .

2          “If there is no morality, then too many American foreign policies are amoral.  If there is some moral underpinning, then too many American foreign policies are immoral.”

1          “No wonder why so many in the world are skeptical of American intentions and actions and often respond irascibly.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.” Albert Einstein

Too often in America today, what passes for genius is eleven percent flash and eighty-nine percent fluff.