Who's afraid of the Russian bear? As Russia makes a grab for power and influence, the rest of the world watches to see how the United States and her still-new president will react. As an investor, it's important that you're aware of global politics, as the ramifications reach beyond diplomatic relations and straight into the markets.
I've included a piece from my friend George Friedman's company, STRATFOR, on The Obama Administration and the Former Soviet Union. It's the seventh in a series that explores how key countries have interacted with the United States in the past, and how their relationships with Washington will likely be defined during the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. It's a must-read for informed investors.
George has very kindly arranged for a special offer on a STRATFOR Membership just for my readers. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this offer. Now more than ever, you need a wide lens on the world, as politics shapes the economy. There's no one better than George and his team at Stratfor at telling you what you need to know and why. I know you'll find them as valuable as I do.
"But this time it's different!!!" Any time you hear that from a financial analyst, you should run. Or better still, take the other side of his trade! If you're numerically oriented, you know that patterns tend to revert to the mean. If you're historically oriented, you know that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Can companies really make money selling a product for less than it costs to make - even in volume? Ask Buffett why he sat out the tech boom....
Today I'm passing along a piece from George Friedman, Chief Intelligence Officer at Stratfor. He makes the absolutely compelling argument that issues of war and peace follow these same guidelines. There are ebbs and flows, but war between countries is an inevitable part of history, and it's driven by simple geography. The recent war between Russia and Georgia was precisely such a "reversion to the mean," double-entendre fully intended.
Navigating financial markets requires an understanding of the geopolitical issues - the war & peace - that drive them. What does this war mean for Russian gas supplies to Europe? What does this war mean for the future of the BTC pipeline? Does this war make Iranian inclusion in global markets more or less likely? Is Russia just "vertically integrating" its control of energy flows with less-than-subtle tools?
You may have seen Stratfor quotations recently in the New York Times, Bloomberg, and Barron's. But personally I need more than just snippets. Quite simply, George's team is the best out there, and I encourage you to take advantage of the special offer that George makes available for my readers. The old Cold War is heating up, and this is no time to be without intelligence on what's coming next and analysis of what it means.
Read the analysis below and get a solid reminder that it's not different this time - or any other.
Over the past couple of years, I've written quite a bit about how the global economy has taken shape and why it is important to understand it when building one's investment portfolio. There have been many market pundits saying that the global economy is out of balance with each individual having some sort of variable solution, whether it be the currency markets, trade relations or productivity growth. Morgan Stanley's Chief Economist, Stephen Roach, has written an excellent article on the subject, one definitely worthy of this week's "Outside the Box."
In his article "The Missing Link to Global Rebalancing," Roach contradicts the widespread notion that the US Dollar is the primary driver for rebalancing and explains why personal consumption is the issue to keep an eye on. For those of you unfamiliar with Roach, I always find his musings and analysis to be very forward thinking in nature, regardless if our views completely align.
I trust that you will enjoy his commentary and find it valuable to your investment acumen.