Bits and Pieces – 20180413, Friday

Commentary

Our focus remains on Syria. While Trump has taken a step back, assets are still being assembled: A Second US Tomahawk-Capable Destroyer Enters The Mediterranean. As the article notes the US won’t have the USS Harry Truman carrier strike group in place until April 22, and the military would not want to launch an attack with such high risk without all their pieces on the board. We expect the rhetoric to continue.

The wild card is Trump. How can he back down? The longer he waits, the greater the risk that an independent investigation may be able to be conducted that might exonerate Assad.

War

Economic Warfare

The following article is partly correct, although the economic phase has been in operation for years in the form of sanctions: World War III Will Be An Economic War. Trade wars are now underway in the form of initial skirmishes.

Currency Warfare

All quiet on the FX front: US Treasury Releases FX Report: No Nation Found To Manipulate, India Added To Watchlist.

Trade Warfare

Charles Hugh Smith is a prolific writer with a broad view of economic issues. Here is his take on the evolution of trade wars: Why Trade Wars Ignite and Why They’re Spreading. It is a linear projection of a set of underlying conditions that he lays out. The next step would be to study these underlying conditions and see if they may independently lead to other forms of warfare.

In the meantime, China is not backing down: No “Surrender” – China Escalates Trade Tensions By “Delaying” Deal Reviews. Trump is now in a sort of stalemate with his two greatest enemies. It will be instructive of Trump’s character to see how he resolves these situations.

Trade wars don’t always go the way we want: How Trump’s “Doom And Gloom” Tariffs Are Crippling American Farmers. Trump’s linear thinking doesn’t work as desired in a complex system such as an economy.

Sanctions and Blockades

The Skripal affair has long left the front page of the MSM but the investigation continues and is not favourable to the British position: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Can’t Identify Source Of Nerve Agent Used In Skripal Attack. One might wonder how the British government could immediately determine that the Russians did it when experts, after careful study, cannot arrive at that conclusion.

The US continues to escalate sanctions against Russia as a form of warfare designed to weaken the enemy: Measures of US Power. One response by Russia is interesting as it involves trade: Boeing Slides After Russia Threatens To Halt Titanium Exports. We are linear thinkers and do not handle multi-dimensional problems well. If the various sub-categories that I have created under the war category were orthogonal it would be much easier to analyze issues. As it is, they are not and the inter-dependencies  push a reliable analysis beyond the capability of most experts, particularly economists.

Kinetic Warfare

Regional Wars

Another regional hotspot is China/Taiwan. That the Chinese consider Taiwan as part of China and would like it back is an old cauldron that bubbles up from time to time. I don’t even have it on my radar screen but maybe I should: China Launches Massive Combat Drill In Hainan As War With Taiwan “Becomes More Probable”.

Most potential regional conflicts have links to and alliances with major global players, the US, Russia and China. Any regional war has the potential to grow into a global war. Conversely, a global war will allow regional conflicts to go hot and resolve themselves. Martin Armstrong speaks of a war cycle and posits that NATO is one of the main instigators: War is Coming Because We Need It? Are we entering a cyclical phase where conflict is higher and the likelihood of war is incensing?

World War III

Good news is Trump has backed down: Trump: Syria Attack “Could Take Place Very Soon Or Not So Soon At All”. The risk, however, remains: The two superpower countries are walking on the edge of the abyss in Syria. The following article breaks down the playing field in Syria. It’s complex but useful whether or not war ensues: A Map Of The Coming War: Who Is Who (And Where) In Syria.

I found the following short video insightful also:

With Assad in control of the key areas of the south of his country he can continue to reclaim territory that remains in dispute. Turkey will be a challenge and he must reach some accommodation with the Kurds. Iran will retain its influence, a fact that will not please Israel. After several years of war we seem to be back to where we started before millions of Syrians were killed or displaced. US interests haven’t been satisfied and Israel may find the situation intolerable. In short, we probably still need a war after the players regroup.

As from the last post, relevant events in bullet form:

In the matter of the alleged chemical attack we have comments from a retired British general who dismisses it: Watch: Former Head Of British Armed Forces In Iraq Tells Truth About Syria, Is Cut Off By Sky News.

In my last post in the section on sanctions, I presented a four stage script that is useful for engaging an enemy. I suggested that the Skipal affair needed to move quickly into stage four – the diversion – since too many people were not buying it. The diversion of course is the alleged Syrian chemical attack.

What I had not considered was that the UK might be behind it. However, we have this Russian claim: Russia Has “Irrefutable Evidence” UK Staged Syrian Chemical Attack.. Russophobes will immediately dismiss this preferring another claim: Stocks Sink As State Department Says It Has “Proof” Syrian Government Behind Gas Attack. For the thinking man consider these arguments presented by Ron Paul: Ron Paul: Assad Gassing His Own People is “Total Nonsense”.

Here’s one more reference to the anticipation of the use of chemical weapons in a false flag attack: Taking the World to the Brink of Annihilation. Finally, supporting my assertion that chemical weapon attacks are the strategy of choice: Poison Gas – Weapon of Choice for “False News” .

National Politics

Socialism

So as not to forget this topic, here’s an article that discusses the reasons why socialism is inherently unworkable over time: Socialism Always Ends In Disaster.

Canada

I recently posted comments on the BIS’s concerns about the viability of Canadian commercial banks. Wednesday I posted an analysis of the Ontario government’s new budget with respect to debt and deficits (Bits and Pieces – 20180411, Wednesday).

Other areas of ongoing concern are the Canadian housing market and consumer credit. The Royal Bank may share these concerns: RBC Warns Cracks “Starting To Show” In Canadian Credit.

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