To continue with a week of global forecasts, today I'm sending you STRATFOR's assessment of the year ahead for Russia. As I said earlier, we need to think of the world at large and how global events will affect us. Russia represents a huge piece of that puzzle.
In the midst of an economic crisis, we are inundated with data - information that often, a few years down the line, turns out to be wrong. Forecasts are made based on a single month's set of data or previous trends, and the public often doesn't know how to read the fine print about margins of error.
The problem is faulty methodology. Most media and even government intelligence agencies assume the information they get from leadership figures is 100% correct, no questions asked - leading to defective analyses. Instead, underlying assumptions should be constantly vetted in the face of new facts. I'd encourage you to consider the intelligence produced by my friend George Friedman at STRATFOR - a trusted source in forecasting future geopolitical trends.
Click here to watch this video by George and his intelligence team. It looks beyond the current protests in Iran and delves into what policy changes could be on the horizon in this pivotal Middle Eastern state. George extrapolates what these recent events mean for President Obama's and Israel's options in terms of Iran and the peace process.
Anyone looking to gain a leg up in the world of finance needs to understand geopolitics and foreign investments. Take a look at STRATFOR, which offers a special deal for my readers. Barron's referred to them in a cover-story profile as the "Shadow CIA," but I would say that their methodology gives them much greater accuracy than their government counterpart.
Really hear what I'm about to tell you. The center of gravity of the world economic system has moved from New York to Washington. Let me illustrate what I mean so you understand just how profound this is. Banks used to compete against banks. US carmakers competed against each other and the Japanese. And the New York financial markets told you how they're doing against each other.
Understand what's happening now. The US Treasury has become the only "customer" that matters. The Treasury is now the customerâ€”and investor -- with the $750+ billion checkbook. The Treasury is now the "investment banker" of last resort, arranging and financing mergers. Banks are competing against insurance companies for their slice of the bailout pie. Chrysler and GM (and the Michigan Congressional delegation) are looking to Washington, not Goldman or Merrill, to facilitate a merger. This is a seismic shift.
As investors, we have to start looking at the world in a completely different way, and getting our information from different sources. A company's 10-K is almost irrelevant if all it includes is financial statements and market outlooks. What matters now are the "exogenous" factors: government guarantees of the commercial paper market, currency interventions, direct capital infusions, etc. And how does a company describe in its Management Outlook that "Yes, our company is too big to fail."
In this environment, it's more important than ever to read unbiased geopolitical intelligence and analysis of government moves, and that's what my friend George Friedman at Stratfor offers. I'm enclosing below his team's Fourth Quarter Forecast. George's team analyzes US government policy as well as the moves that are being taken by central banks and governments around the world as the private sector gets taken public all across the globe. You will not be able to understand market moves if you don't understand who the real movers are now.
I'm sending you Stratfor's Fourth Quarter Forecast, and I strongly encourage you to join Stratfor and get access to all their daily intelligence. George has arranged a special offer on a Stratfor Membership for my readers: click here to take advantage of this opportunity. In this new era, I use Stratfor daily to give me a wide-lens, global view of politics and economics. I know you'll gain as much from reading Stratfor as I do.
In times of crisis, those with psychological fortitude discover opportunities that most people miss. A friend of mine in Houston tells me of unending piles of tree limbs broken down by the hurricane. The homeowner laments his disaster; the tree trimmer and the roofer order a new Mercedes. Most of the world sees a Wall St. meltdown. Buffett takes the opening to deploy billions from his cash hoard. They're all seeing the same thing, but they're reacting differently based on different visions of the future.
I've included a piece today from my friend George Friedman over at Stratfor about the landscape the next US President will face. This article is a perfect example of why I rely on Stratfor for my geopolitical intelligence. The newspapers and other media do better or lesser jobs of telling me about what's happening right now. But that's not what an investor needs. What I need - and I recommend for you - is an analysis of what we're going to be facing. That's where George and his team absolutely excel.
For at least the next month, the public conversation is going to be completely dominated by the November election and the political maneuvering to address the financial crisis. There will be tremendous drama. There will be dizzying swings back and forth in emotions, expectations, and more than likely the markets. And if you focus on it, you'll miss the real opportunities to position yourself for the emergence. George has made a special offer on a Stratfor Membership available to my readers, and I strongly encourage you to click here to take advantage of this opportunity. Now is the time to get positioned for future opportunities, while everybody else is wallowing in the here and now.
This week we step outside the box of conventional geopolitical analysis to hear the thinking of George Friedman, founder and chief executive officer of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor), on the geopolitics of Israel. George makes the key point that Israel's geography has been fundamentally important to its geopolitical successes and limitations, and has lent a surprising continuity to its foreign policy from the Biblical era forward to the present day.
This is the first in a series of monographs by George on the geopolitics of countries that are currently critical in world affairs, and he has kindly let us have a preview.
George Friedman and Stratfor have long been my single best source for commentary on geopolitics. They identify trends and predict world-changing events in a way that is consistently ahead of the curve - and that has earned them worldwide respect. I see about 3-4 Stratfor letters each day, each with thoughtful analysis of both breaking global events and longer-term situations. I find the work they do to be of the highest quality and very useful as I think about how everything fits together in our rapidly changing world.
And finally, if you have not yet subscribed to Stratfor, then you should. They have some very favorable offers just for my readers, which you can access here: https://www.stratfor.com/campaign/biblical_and_modern_israeli_geopolitics_0
This week's special edition Outside the Box is what I would call one of the more "philosophical" pieces by Stratfor President George Friedman...let me explain. In his article "Geopolitics and the U.S. Spoiling Attack," George looks through the lens of history at the US involvement in Iraq by comparing the outcomes with past US military encounters. While he goes on to show the result of each situation, the most interesting part, at least to me, has been the intended or unintended consequences that have developed as a result.
For example, George hypothesizes that victory may not be or have been the optimal outcome for all of the past US military endeavors, but rather the strategy (or unintended consequence) of only using a fraction of the country's military might to disrupt an imposing enemy's agenda. This is what he calls a "spoiling attack."
George's company Stratfor provides some insightful and comprehensive research on geopolitical events and global affairs. He continues to be generous by offering my readers a discount to his normal subscription rates which can be obtained by clicking here.
My desire is that you continue to find these special editions of Outside the Box to be valuable and, at the very least, thought provoking.
Today's Special Edition of "Outside the Box" by my friends at Stratfor gives us a very insightful analysis of the difference between the rhetoric of Iran and the reality of the world they face. George Friedman, President of Stratfor, dispassionately gives us a look at the world from Iran's point of view. Given the reality of today's political climate, it is important to understand what is going on inside a nation that is giving much of the world so many concerns.
Stratfor is the closest thing to a "private CIA" as the organization provides in-depth analysis on geopolitical events spanning the globe. As always, George has decided to give my readers a special 50% discount off his normal subscription rate. You can receive the offer by clicking here. Current readers will soon be getting their 2007 forecast. New subscribers will get it as well.
If you're interested in the mindset of Iran or maybe just want to stay up-to-date on current events of the world, I believe that you will find George's article to be both very insightful and thought provoking.
The past couple of days have been filled with anticipation over the outcome of which party will emerge victorious during this year's elections. Adding to the flurry of activity, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield unexpectedly announced his resignation raising further questions about the future of American policy. Both the parties and individuals newly appointed to government positions will have an impact on both fiscal policy for the markets (dividend and taxes) and on our foreign involvement (the war in Iraq).
My good friend, George Friedman, has written an excellent analysis of the situation and has allowed me to freely send it to you, my readers. In his article, he provides a good review of the key events of the past several days and then directs his attention towards what decisions will be faced by the new representatives.
George has decided to continue offering a special discount of 50% off the normal subscription price to his service. In order to receive the discount, you must click here. I trust that you will enjoy this special edition of "Outside the Box."