Today, I name 18 large American companies that could benefit from peace and trade with Russia, making their shareholders very happy.
Some are already there. Many are manufacturers that could create more high-paying jobs in the U.S. Most can get started even before sanctions are lifted. And all are large, publicly traded, companies.
But first, we need to talk about the challenges …
Larry Edelson has just alerted us that the “Doomsday Clock,” an indicator started by a group of scientists after completion of the Manhattan Project in 1947, is now closer to nuclear holocaust than at any time since 1953 when the Soviet Union tested its first hydrogen bomb. (Go here for Larry’s article.)
Former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev agrees. “The world today is overwhelmed with problems,” he writes. “But no problem is more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race. … More troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers are being brought into Europe. NATO and Russian forces and weapons that used to be deployed at a distance are now placed closer to each other, as if to shoot point-blank. …
“In November 1985 … the leaders of the Soviet Union and the U.S. declared: Nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Our two nations will not seek military superiority. This statement was met with a sigh of relief worldwide. … Today, however, the nuclear threat once again seems real. Relations between the great powers have been going from bad to worse for several years now. The advocates for arms build-up and the military-industrial complex are rubbing their hands.
“We must break out of this situation. We need to resume political dialogue aiming at joint decisions and joint action. … President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said that one of the main freedoms is freedom from fear. … This should become a common goal. The time to decide and act is now.” (For Gorbachev’s full article, go here.)
It’s with this goal in mind that I began 2017 by showing you how Trump and Putin could reach an agreement that will change history. (View my concluding video for the details.)
What about U.S. sanctions against Russia?
Here’s how to accomplish the dual goals of (a) leaving sanctions in place for now and (b) not letting them get in the way:
|U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley at UN|
First, rather than bundling all sanctions into one indivisible package, Russia and the West must clearly separate and assign each set of sanctions to the particular aggression for which it was imposed. That’s exactly what Nikki Haley did in her first speech as U.S ambassador to the United Nations last week. Although she towed a hard line on Crimea, she didn’t say Russia’s occupation of that peninsula would impede the lifting of all sanctions. Instead, she said it would impede the lifting of “Crimea-related sanctions.”
Economic Tidal Waves Act Just like Tsunamis
According to the National Geographic, the enormous energy of a tsunami can lift giant boulders, flip vehicles and demolish houses. But from a financial standpoint, the K-Wave will be even worse: Millions could lose their homes. Millions more could see their lifesavings wiped out in an instant. Businesses, large and small, could close their doors. Even the bare necessities of life — food, water, clothing — might become scarce. That’s why it’s so important that you get your free copy of “STOCK MARKET TSUNAMI” right away, click here to download now! -Larry Edelson
Second, rather than let prior-administration sanctions be a roadblock for new-administration talks, decouple sanctions from all other, unrelated areas of cooperation. Russia, in particular, needs to get over it and be willing to move on. Even if it takes a long time to ultimately resolve the sanctions-related disputes, there’s no practical reason why progress cannot be made in areas that have little or no direct connection with those disputes.
Here’s the key: We all know about the risks of appeasement, the dangers of rushing into a one-sided deal, and the barriers that are now being erected against a new détente. But has anyone risen above the fray to carefully examine all the potential benefits?
Benefit #1 goes without saying. We reduce the risk of mutual self-destruction. For starters, Washington would love to see Russia withdraw its Iskander missile systems from Kaliningrad, a Russian territory that’s wedged between NATO members Poland and Lithuania. Meanwhile, the Kremlin would be delighted if it could persuade the White House to withdraw nuclear missile systems from military bases near the Russian border.
Benefit #2 should also be obvious. We save trillions of dollars on investments in hardware that will never be used (unless, that is, they use them to self-destruct, which does not exactly qualify as a “good yield on those investments.”)
Benefit #3 is nonproliferation. Russia and the United States have the combined muscle to not only deal with North Korea and Iran, but to also deal with other existing or would-be members of the Nuclear Club.
But in this area, things have also been going downhill pretty fast, especially during the tail end of the Obama administration: Russia boycotted the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington, D.C. on March 31-April 1. Russia suspended the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement. And Russia was excluded from the Group of Eight (G8).
All this may sound very ominous, and it is. But with a new president in the White House, and a new secretary in the State Department, it’s hard to deny that where there’s a will, there’s a way to restore these connections. A good place to start: The State Department’s Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT), which leads me to …
Benefit #4. United front against terror. Right now, that’s impaired by a lot of hang-ups on both sides. But one of the biggest is mostly a matter of definition; they have failed to agree on which groups are terrorists and which are not.
In Syria, for example, the Kremlin says U.S.-backed rebels are terrorists; the West says Russia-and-Iran-backed Hezbollah militias are terrorists; and the reality on the ground is that, regardless of how anyone defines them, they’re all fighting against the common enemy — ISIS.
This kind of paradox is replicated in Yemen, Ukraine, and other regions now in turmoil. Plus, a similar paradox is especially apparent in the one country where the United States has been engaged the most – Iraq.
Without Russia’s largest ally in the Middle East (Iran), it would have cost significantly more American lives and treasure to dislodge ISIS forces from some of their most strategic strongholds in Iraq, including Tikrit, Ramadi, Samara, and Baiji.
Yes, the need to defeat common enemies can create strange bedfellows. But the same could have been said for Wilson and Lenin or Roosevelt and Stalin. You don’t have to love them, like them or even forgive them for their sins. Instead, the priority is take advantage of tactical opportunities to save lives and be safer.
Benefit #5. Space. NASA still relies on Russian space shuttles. In fact, if the U.S. space agency intends to continue sending astronauts to the International Space Station or to pursue its plans for the moon, it has little choice but to rely on Roscosmos’ Soyuz spacecraft, at least until 2019.
Yes, NASA has filed a “pre-solicitation” requesting that private U.S. firms reach out to NASA with ideas, but that’s going to take time. Boeing, for example, has run into design flaws with its Starliner spacecraft, setting it back until December 2018. Ditto for SpaceX, which had to delay its first mission to the space station when its unmanned Falcon 9 blew up in a test launch.
|Click here to read full article|
Moreover, beyond the near-term need to hitch rides with cosmonauts, the potential pay-offs of joint space exploration are literally … astronomical. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, it would speed up progress. It would help sustain programs for the long term despite the ups and downs in the domestic economies or internal politics of nations. And it would save a heck of a lot of money. (See “The Case for Managed International Cooperation in Space Exploration.”)
And while we’re on the subject of money, let’s not forget the big profit potential of …
Benefit #6. Economic cooperation. Most people might blindly assume that, since U.S.-Russia political relations went downhill, trade relations naturally followed the same path. Not true! Bloomberg reports that despite Ukraine, Syria, and Russian hacking, the U.S. has leapfrogged over Turkey, Japan, Poland and South Korea to become Russia’s No. 5 trading partner outside of the former Soviet Union.
Sure, the sanctions and counter-sanctions have wounded trade relations. But in the West, it’s the European Union countries that have taken the biggest hit. Meanwhile, U.S. corporations — led by companies like Boeing (BA) and Yum! Brands (YUM) — have been investing for the long haul and gaining market share.
Alexis Rodzianko, who heads up the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow, explains it this way: “The initial shock of the sanctions and economic troubles has worn off. Companies committed to being here have thick enough skins to survive.”
Looking ahead, U.S. corporations have the opportunity to land substantial deals in Russia’s healthcare sector, especially high-tech medical devices. This opens up big doors for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Baxter International (BAX), Abbot Laboratories (ABT), Stryker (SYK), Boston Scientific (BSX) and others. That means more U.S. jobs!
General Eisenhower’s Final Warning
Right before JFK took office, General Eisenhower warned him about a secretive segment of the U.S. government. Kennedy tried to take them on…and failed. Today, this hidden branch has only grown in power, threatening your wealth and access to your savings. Here’s the whole story…
Same kind of potential for machine tools. According to Euromonitor International, Russia depends on foreign producers in that sector to the tune of 79% and could easily import more from the U.S., creating still more jobs precisely where they’re needed the most — in manufacturing.
Not to be forgotten, agriculture in Russia is both the most neglected and most promising. The country has 544 million acres of fertile land, or 20% of the total on the entire planet. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, that gives Russia the potential to feed 2 billion people. But right now, only one-third of Russia’s fertile lands are cultivated.
Result: There’s a huge, almost insatiable, appetite for modern agricultural machinery and equipment — a tremendous export opportunity for Caterpillar (CAT), Deere (DE) AGCO Corp. (AGCO), and Terex (TEX). Again, more jobs for American factory workers!
Also consider these factoids:
- Russia imports over 2 million metric tons of soybeans each year. And that’s going to grow fast given the country’s huge need to feed its growing poultry and swine production. American farmers reap the rewards.
- The Russian government subsidizes and facilitates the imports of 150,000 cattle and other live animals per year, and it views the United States as one of the best sources for animal genetics. Opportunities abound not only for U.S. farms but also for companies like Neogen (NEOG), Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) and Zoetis (ZTS).
- The average Russian citizen consumes 11 pounds of chocolate per year, which creates a big-and-growing opportunity for Hershey (HSY), Tootsie Roll Industries (TR) and others.
- Russia is the 7th largest wine market in the world with an estimated per-capita consumption of 10 liters per year, an opportunity for Brown-Forman (BF-A) and Constellation Brands (STZ).
Just last week, Russia threw out the first welcome mat when Putin aid Yuri Ushakov called American businesses to increase their presence at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The goal: “To restore trade and economic ties between the countries through a dialogue with Russian colleagues.”
This is not a radical idea. Representatives of American corporations have been going to the forum all along. Nor is it so radical to simply increase trade and do more business.
Many years ago, when I was in Brazil and spent time in the Amazon jungle, I learned about native tribes that had little regular contact with the outside world, except one: They left their goods for trade in a clearing of the forest and disappeared. Non-tribal settlers showed up later, picked up the goods, and left theirs in exchange.
That was good business. I think we can do even better.
Good luck and God bless!