The immigration issue and Arizona’s controversial new law provokes passions on all sides. But too often the debate doesn’t reflect the complex history and geopolitics that inform the issue.
Today I'm sending you an article from George Friedman, expert on geopolitics & founder of STRATFOR. Dr. Friedman presents his unique perspective on the immigration issue by touching on everything from the geography of the borderlands to Andrew Jackson and the importance of New Orleans. It is a prime example of how putting an issue like immigration in a geopolitical perspective gives you context for understanding how events are related and what the future may hold. Be sure to sign up for STRATFOR's free mailing list for weekly analyses like this one.
The United States' southern neighbors have always held a special interest for explorers. In particular Sir Walter Raleigh and his ill-fated quest for El Dorado comes to mind (I'm sure we can all relate). Modern day explorers, also known as investors, are still looking for the best place to stake their resources in search of riches. Thankfully, we have considerably more information at our disposal than a treasure map. But how do we know when X marks the spot, or if it's just another faulty lead?
Intelligence, not just mass-produced information, is the key. For my global intelligence, I turn to the experts at STRATFOR. In this edition of "Outside the Box", I've included a STRATFOR analysis on the situation in Mexico. It evaluates the drug wars in terms of the U.S. and Mexican economies. Give it a read and sign up for their free reports. You'll soon understand the value in intelligence, not just news.
It's been a hell of a few weeks, so let's start with a little much-needed levity. Two friends, a Trader and an Investor, walk up to the roulette wheel in a casino. They watch a guy hogging the table hit on his first spin. Then his second. Third, boom. Four in a row! The guy has an enormous stack of chips which he lets ride again on a fifth spin. 00. He's wiped out and skulks off to the bar.
The two friends are excited because now it's their turn. The Trader says he's going to follow exactly the same pattern as the guy they just watched, BUT he's going to pocket his money after four spins. The Investor tells him to hold off for a minute. He wants to first buy stock in the casino....
Like most good jokes, there's a kernel of truth. When everything is in turmoil, you can't focus on the instances; you have to focus on the underlying foundations. Roulette isn't about guessing red or black; it's about understanding statistics. Today in a Special Outside the Box, we look at some potential problems from Russia that could impact the US and Latin America. It comes from George Friedman's company, Stratfor, the source I rely on for my geopolitical analysis. Peter Zeihan is one of the very sharpest thinkers in George's shop, as you'll see. The basic definition of public capital markets in the US and Europe is fundamentally different than in a country like Russia. If you don't understand the geopolitical lens through which a state views its capital markets, then you're making roulette bets instead of investments.
George is kind enough to have a special offer on a Stratfor Membership for my readers. I encourage you to click here to take advantage of this opportunity. Whether it's energy, public equities, or debt, the world's markets are inextricably intertwined. And that means you've got to understand the lay of the land. No one does a better job of providing the geopolitical drivers behind "the statistics" than Stratfor.
Goldman Sachs recently forecasted that oil would be at $141 a barrel by the end of the year, and rising to $200 a barrel in the not too distant future. I have seen other forecasts calling for oil to slip significantly under $100 a barrel before starting yet another bull market.
I have written for years that we are not going to run out of oil or energy, just cheap oil. I was just in South Africa, where much of their gas and diesel comes from coal gasification. At one time this was an expensive way to make gas, and South Africans had to pay more for their gas than the rest of the world. Now, it is getting close to "par" to the cost of gas in the US, and is cheaper than gas in Europe.
In this week's Outside the Box, my friend David Galland at Casey Research presents some very troubling thoughts on why oil may rise higher than we think in the next few years. Many of the countries from which the US gets its oil are seeing production fall, not rise. Some of it is political ineptitude, but much of it is from oil production peaking.
Yes, we can move to coal gasification, and the US has centuries of coal for such purposes, but building such plants takes time and capital and political will, the latter of which is in short supply. In the meantime, and until we get a full-blown crisis, oil is going to continue on its path to $200 and higher. But such a rise will not only make gasoline prices higher, it will make a host of new technologies competitive for the first time. The shift in how we make energy is inevitable.
As a quick aside, if we would start a project to build a massive nuclear infrastructure, such as in France, which produces 80% of its energy from nuclear, while at the same time pushing ahead in a Manhattan-type project the development of electric cars (or some hybrid), we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower travel costs by the middle to the end of the next decade. And the environment would be cleaner and safer.
We are headed to such a future. It would be nice if we did it sooner rather than wait for a real crisis. But in the meantime, the price of oil is going to rise and opportunities for investors will rise along with it. My friends at Casey Research publish an excellent newsletter highlighting the opportunities not just in exploration companies but in all manner of energy-related firms. As David writes:
"The good news is that there are no shortage of high-quality energy-related investments available ... in coal, heavy oil, LNG, photovoltaics, natural gas consolidators, "run of river" hydroelectric, uranium and small to mid-cap oil companies with the potential for significant near-term gains in reserves or production."
They have agreed to give my readers a risk-free three-month trial to the Casey Energy Speculator. If you like the research you read below and want more of it, you can click on this link and subscribe.
And now let's see one of the main reasons why the price of oil is going up.
Protecting the border is a big part of the presidential political debates. This week in a special edition of Outside the Box, my friends at Stratfor give us yet one more reason why we should be concerned when we look south. The topic not only concerns security, but our economy. The drug trade is becoming a problem. This is a short but very disturbing letter, but you should read it.
Stratfor continues to provide insightful and pertinent research on economic and geopolitical events and their respective ramifications. Stratfor continues to generously provide significant savings to readers of Outside the Box, for further information please click here. For those like me who seek objective analysis of world affairs, Stratfor is a daily necessity.