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The Intersection of Three Crises

By Reva Bhalla

Within the past two weeks, a temporary deal to keep Greece in the eurozone was reached in Brussels, a cease-fire roadmap was agreed to in Minsk and Iranian negotiators advanced a potential nuclear deal in Geneva. Squadrons of diplomats have forestalled one geopolitical crisis after another. Yet it would be premature, even reckless, to assume that the fault lines defining these issues are effectively stable. Understanding how these crises are inextricably linked is the first step toward assessing when and where the next flare-up is likely to occur.

Why We Can’t Reduce Global Carbon Emissions but Will Go Broke Trying

In recent months we have read a number of cogent articles arguing why our attempts to curb CO2 emissions are destined to fail. We have decided to capture these references in what will be an open post, a technique we use for creating a chronology and reference list for topics that interest us. In the process we may comment and summarize.

The Islamic State as the Purest Form of Islamism

Our friend AO drew our attention to an important article on the Islamic State (ISIL) in the Atlantic: What ISIS Really Wants. It is a long read – over an hour – but methodically analyses ISIL and presents it as a pure fundamental expression of the Islamic religion. It is represented as a Caliphate, based in its conquered territory.  Virtually all who are not believers of its expression of Islam are enemies to be either killed or enslaved.

It is important for Western intellectuals, politicians and academics to understand that this is a non-compromising religion. It is also important to understand that rather than being some psychopathy, it is the ultimate form of Islamic expression that must overpower every other form.

ISIL may eventually be eradicated but the nature of Islam is that another Caliphate will arise to take its place.

On a personal level we need to read  it again and carefully think about it since its roots are already planted in this country.

Industrial Expansion Will Strain Mexico’s Water Resources

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Summary

Editor’s Note: This is the eighth installment of an occasional series on water scarcity issues around the world that Stratfor will be building upon periodically.

Much like its northern neighbor, Mexico is not water scarce when viewed as a whole. But unequal water distribution has led to significant water stress in several parts of the country. Supply has been further strained by poor infrastructure, pollution and overuse — partly attributable to inefficient management and a growing population. Still, Mexico is positioned to experience significant economic growth because of its proximity to the United States and the likely expansion of its manufacturing sector as the country’s population increases.

Population Decline and the Great Economic Reversal

By George Friedman

In recent weeks, we have been focusing on Greece, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. All are still burning issues. But in every case, readers have called my attention to what they see as an underlying and even defining dimension of all these issues — if not right now, then soon. That dimension is declining population and the impact it will have on all of these countries. The argument was made that declining populations will generate crises in these and other countries, undermining their economies and national power. Sometimes we need to pause and move away from immediate crises to broader issues. Let me start with some thoughts from my book The Next 100 Years.

The Political Debut of Europe’s “Generation Austerity”

A news bulletin from the Guardian:

Brussels, February 12: The new Greek government’s confrontation with its Eurozone creditors over its campaign to relieve its staggering debt burden while also relaxing the terms of five years of austerity resulted in stalemate late on Wednesday …. It appeared that Alexis Tsipras, the new Greek prime minister, ordered his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, to stand firm against the pressure to make any concessions.

New Politics for Old in the Cradle of Democracy

On January 25, 2015, the Greek people elected a team of politicians who imagine themselves – probably correctly – as harbingers of a generational change that is swiftly taking place everywhere throughout Europe.

The generation of politicians who have directed Europe’s centrist parties for the last quarter-century came into office convinced that the collapse of Soviet Communism was a happy outcome for all. It would be a long time before anyone looking forward to a political career in a democracy would play with the notion that, after all, there might have been something to be said for the wisdom of Karl Mark, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin or Leonid Brezhnev. Pictures of these worthies came down from the walls in the offices of History Professors throughout the free world.

Germany Emerges

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece and Ukraine are not linked in the American mind. They are linked in the German mind, because both are indicators of Germany’s new role in the world and of Germany’s discomfort with it.

Flashpoint: The Meaning of Jihad

From NightWatch today we have a lovely, concise explanation of the term Jihad:

Jihad means struggle or striving. It is not a pillar of Islam, but it is a religious duty of all Muslims. It is one of the ten practices of Shia Islam. Historically, in most cases jihad refers to military struggle. Some Islamic scholars call jihad the sixth pillar. A Sunni Pakistani cab driver in the US assured NightWatch that jihad is the duty of all Muslims and it includes killing his passengers if Allah called him.

Of comparable importance to Christians would be the 10 commandments. One cannot as a Christian, pick and choose which commandments he will follow and which he would deny to accept.

References

Jeffrey Saut – 2015

  • Short-term:
    • unknown since Sept. last letter
  • Medium-term:
    • unknown since Sept. last letter
  • Long-term:
    • Primary trend is a DOW theory bull market and the 4th major breakout in a century. (see June 2013 gleanings)

February

  • 20150223 “Gathering Thin Reeds?”
    • Consider active management funds.
    • In last Wednesday’s Morning Tack, a description of a number of index funds is given.
    • Those two were the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLI/$58.16/see chart 1 on page 3) and the Healthcare Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV/$72.18/see chart 2), both of which screen well on my algorithms.
  • 20150218 “Can Trees Really Grow to the Sky?”
  • 20150209 “From Russia with Love?”
    • “I think the price of crude oil bottomed last week.”
    • Recommendation:
      • Enterprise Products Partners (EPD/$35.29/Strong Buy),
      • EOG Resources (EOG/$95.79/ Outperform) and
      • Plains All American Pipeline (PAA/$51.69/Outperform).

The Widening Gulf Between the Civilized World and Islam


Below, Paul discusses the evolving position of Islam in the world. We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

Immediate Impact of the Islamist Slaughters in Paris, January, 2015.

As has been the case with all of the recent Islamo-terrorist attacks upon our lives and our institutions, the monsters who perpetrated those murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, and their comrade who carried out the assassinations of civilians inside the Hyper Casher store in Paris have achieved the very opposite of their declared purpose. They have raised awareness worldwide of the unappeasable character of Islamic terrorism in all its forms while drastically lowering the prestige of Islam. They have provoked an unanticipated display of solidarity of the political community of France with the Jewish community, possibly – just possibly, averting the mass exodus of the Jewish population of France to Israel or America. They have concentrated the previously wayward attentions of the police and security units that are tasked with preventing their illegal activities everywhere in the world. They have stirred up huge popular demonstrations against further concessions to Muslim demands for accommodation of their morality and their culture.

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