A new year is almost upon us, so now seems like a perfect time to step back from the (many) crises at hand and take stock of the big picture. According to my friend & fellow thinker George Friedman, the big picture of the next 10 years is this: America will dominate, and the American president will have to figure out how to act as global emperor without admitting that's what he is.
George's newest book, The Next Decade, comes out in paperback in January; and he's graciously agreed to let me send you the first chapter, which backs up the bold statements above. We don't always agree, but I have to give George credit. He's an expert at constructing an argument.
If the first chapter whets your appetite, you can <<get a free copy of the book>> when you subscribe to STRATFOR, a geopolitical intelligence company founded and led by George. It is the publication to read if you're interested in foreign affairs. Plus, OTB readers can get a hefty discount.
Your really glad I'm not a global emperor analyst,
For those of you that have read about my new book, Endgame, you know I make the point that, while there are no good options for dealing with the debt crisis, the worst choice of all is doing nothing. In today's Outside the Box, you'll see a similar argument — but this "lesser of two evils" situation deals with the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, and the ever-present Iranian push to dominate the Persian Gulf region.
George Friedman — my friend, and founder of STRATFOR, a global intelligence company — discusses the potential "bad options" the U.S. has in its attempt to rein in Iran, and arrives at what he considers the least detrimental: negotiation. The worst of course is doing nothing, thus allowing Iran to increase its hold on the entire region — a region on which the global economy is dependent for its oil... You can see why all this matters.
More and more, investors are realizing the importance of geopolitical risk in their assessments. I highly recommend STRATFOR for all things geopolitical. Right now, they're offering a hefty discount — plus a free copy of Endgame — for any of my readers who wish to subscribe. Enjoy the free piece below, and <<see their special offer here>>.
This week I'm sending you a real treat. My friend & geopolitical expert George Friedman has written a fascinating new book, The Next Decade: Where We've Been... And Where We're Going. His previous book, The Next 100 Years, hit the New York Times bestseller list, so it's not just his fishing buddies like me that think he's good.
I've had the pleasure of reading a galley copy, and after a grueling arm-wrestling match, won the exclusive privilege of sending you the Author's Note and Introduction a few weeks before the book's release. The Author's Note will give you a sense of George & why he set out to write this book. The Introduction sets up this concept of the U.S. as an unintended empire (a striking phrase, but he backs it up well). You can view them both below.
Better yet, read the hard copy. If you <<order the book here>> for $16 (same as the Amazon price), George is offering a free 3-month subscription to STRATFOR, his global intelligence company, which I read daily. As George says, the book and STRATFOR are "part of a single fabric of thought." I'm positive you'll enjoy both.
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.
Where do business and geopolitical boundaries meet? As we've seen with the recent coverage of terrorism suspect David Headley, Mumbai is one node – but the possibility for others is extensive. As investors, we take risks every day, and sometimes it's not just our bank accounts but our safety.
Today I'm including a video from my friends at the Counterterrorism and Security division of STRATFOR, a global intelligence company whose content I highly recommend. In this video, we learn the dangers of international business. Deception, when done right, is hard to spot, so we've got to stay aware of some broader trends. Click here to view "Islamist Militants and the American Connection," and be sure to sign up for their other free intelligence reports and special offers on memberships.
Recently I had a discussion with a colleague about university athletes. I was previously unaware that NCAA colleges set up guidance programs that develop the well-roundedness of student athletes. 'Life coaches' ensure that these individuals balance their rigorous athletic commitments with personal and academic accomplishments. I'm not judging your ability to run a mile or catch a football, but well-roundedness is an element to being successful - whatever your area may be.
To be a solid investor, it's important to consider a variety of markets, and you must be well-informed in a myriad of sectors. This is where having the best information comes in, and one of the better places for intelligence is STRATFOR. They offer a straightforward recipe of news about global affairs - causes, outcomes and what to expect next based on a rational, time-tested methodology.
I'm including a STRATFOR report that discusses the possibility of gasoline import sanctions against Iran. It's an absolute must-read for anyone interested in energy, foreign relations, Russia, the Middle East, etc. I'd encourage you to sign up for their free weekly reports here, so you aren't limited to what I send you on occasion. Begin (or continue) your journey to well-roundedness... Now, get to the line and practice your free throws.
This week saw a 2-day summit between the United States and Russia that looks to be the first in a trend of subtle push and pull that will shape economic agendas for both states. Just as at the height of the Cold War, these two superpowers are jockeying for global attention and prospective untapped markets. But while the communication between the two is at the same volume and frequency as it was back in the days of Kennedy and Khrushchev, the tone has taken on a different level - as Obama flexes his newly appointed muscle and plants a possible seed of discontent between Medvedev and Putin concerning the future of the former USSR.
Hands-down the most important thing in Russia is energy. It's not the headline on CNN these days, but come less than 6 months from now the cold European winters will make natural gas supply lines and shipping an unavoidable talking point. Today's U.S./Russia relationship lays the groundwork for the future of global energy markets.
I'm sending you an article by my friend George Friedman at STRATFOR, a global intelligence firm, discussing what's really going on between the U.S. and Russia - at the summit and in the coming months. If energy markets matter to you - and they do, regardless of how you're invested - then you need to understand this pivotal global relationship. Also, STRATFOR is offering special rates to Outside the Box readers. Click here to read more and be sure to take advantage of these low rates for priceless intelligence to help you in your future financial planning.
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.