If you think global wars and conflicts are distant and irrelevant, think again. They are striking a lot closer to home than you might imagine.
Right now, I am in Eastern Europe, a few yards from the Danube River. The skies are clear and quiet; the environment, friendly and safe — almost as safe as back home in Florida.
What’s different is the relative proximity to some of the world’s epicenters of war, revolution, and social chaos.
You see, in the U.S., most people are, for now at least, isolated and insulated from what’s happening overseas.
U.S. news networks devote air time to domestic affairs, such as summer storms, the immigration crisis, or the VA scandal. Only global conflicts with the most dramatic imagery and the largest contingent of Western journalists get coverage.
Worse, many viewers don’t seem to pay much attention. It seems distant and irrelevant to them.
That’s definitely not the case here in Eastern Europe. If I drive northeast, I’ll be in the middle of the Ukraine conflict in just a few hours. If I fly southeast, I’ll be in Tel Aviv even faster. From here to Syria and Iraq is also a quick hop.
Yesterday, I ran into a group of Ukrainians fleeing their homeland and heading west as fast as they could.
The day before, I talked to three Israelis. When they left Tel Aviv, there was no war; now there is. They don’t want to go home right now. But they’re reservists. So they must. By this time tomorrow, they’ll be in tanks, invading Gaza.
Not far from here, local authorities, who were already overwhelmed by Syrian war refugees, are now swamped by Iraqis fleeing the most murderous jihad since the Dark Ages, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
But I repeat: Most Americans don’t seem to be paying attention.
I presume that’s not the case with you, especially if you’ve been reading our columns by Larry Edelson, the first U.S. analyst to warn well ahead of time about these conflicts — and to do so consistently.
But have you taken adequate steps to protect yourself? Are you well-positioned to build your wealth despite — or even because of — this phenomenon?
Look. These global conflicts are not going away. They are deepening, escalating, and spreading more rapidly than almost everyone expected.
Just this week, for example …
Israel has launched a ground invasion in Gaza with untold repercussions.
Never forget: It was precisely this Israeli-Arab conflict, with its vivid images of civilian victims broadcast globally by Arab language news networks, that originally played a critical role in the emergence of jihadist groups decades ago … gave rise to al-Qaeda … led to the 9-11 attacks … and, in turn, triggered the twin U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Clearly, despite other cross-currents, we can draw a solid line of cause and effect from the Palestinian conflict of yesteryear to the global jihad of today, raising new, urgent questions for the entire global community:
To what degree will the Israel-Hamas War of 2014 give jihadists everywhere — in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus, South Asia and East Asia — a new tool to help invigorate their movements, accelerate their recruiting operations and unite against a common enemy? How will Western governments react? What new wars and revolutions will break out?
Unrelated to people living in the United States? Of course not. In military aid alone, the U.S. has provided at least $83 billion to Israel and is deeply committed to its support. In more ways than one, any war in the region has a major impact on U.S. foreign policy. And this also gives a new excuse to jihadists like ISIS and others to refocus their attacks on U.S. interests.
In Pakistan, the military has launched a new wave of airstrikes on al-Qaeda and Taliban havens in the remote North Waziristan. But even as the government touts some victories in the remote north, Sunni extremists have expanded massively all across the country, especially in major population centers of the south.
As The New York Times reports this week, “The growth of these fundamentalist groups, many with links to armed factions, has been alarmingly rapid … and has brought violence in its wake.” That includes Hindu temples defaced, Shiite Muslims assaulted, and Christians charged with blasphemy. What’s most alarming is that the Sunni supremacist ideology of these groups is similar to the one that’s been used so successfully by ISIS to conquer major cities in Syria and Iraq.
Not relevant to U.S. interests? Hah! Pakistan is a nuclear nation, a major U.S. ally, and a centerpiece of U.S. policy in the region. Moreover, the U.S. military itself is directly involved in Pakistan’s war against the Taliban, with U.S. drones making a major strike in the same region just this week.
South Korea and the U.S. have begun major joint naval exercises. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has raised tensions by launching a string of new missile tests. And South Korean President Park Geun-hye has called for “strong punishment” if North Korea initiates any military action. All this week.
Not important to American citizens? Certainly, no one in the Pentagon would ever agree with that statement. The U.S. still has 28,500 troops stationed on the DMZ between the two Koreas. And the U.S. is committed to promptly come to South Korea’s defense in the event of any attack. Remember the Korean War? Well, officially speaking, that war never ended. It continues to this very day.
In separatist-controlled Eastern Ukraine, a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile shot down a Malaysian commercial jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 295 passengers and crew have perished. And suddenly a local conflict has been transformed into a global disaster.
All-out war between Russia and Ukraine now looms.
“Not relevant to the daily lives of most Americans,” you say? Then consider this: In response to Russia’s latest aggressions …
Washington announced escalated sanctions against Russia, also this week. Until now, the sanctions were largely symbolic, with no bite, strictly targeting a short list of individuals.
Now, they are hitting the Russian economy dead center, smacking their energy, banking, and defense sectors, including companies like Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company; Novatek, a major Russian gas producer; and Gazprombank, the country’s third-largest lender.
These are giant firms, many listed on the New York Stock exchange, with shares owned by U.S. mutual funds, pension funds, ETFs and individual investors.
Think that’s still not close enough to home? Then read on …
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cuba’s Raul Castro have reportedly struck a deal to restore a Soviet-era spy station on the island — an electronic eavesdropping post that was used to listen in on telephone conversations in the Southeastern U.S. and keep an eye on the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic.
Putin has tried to deny the reports. But as a quid pro quo, Putin also reportedly agreed to forgive about 90 percent of Cuba’s $32 billion Soviet-era debt to Russia, a move which will be a lot harder to deny or cover up.
Here’s the key: For a cash-starved Cuba, that’s a huge amount of money. And in this modern era of Internet snooping, the benefits Russia can derive from a clunky, old-fashioned spy station are marginal. So there’s got to be more to this deal than meets the eye:
Don’t be surprised if Castro ultimately gives Putin permission for an expanded Russian military presence in Cuba.
That’s not some remote, far-away corner of the globe. Nor is it on the banks of the Danube in Central Europe, where I am right now. In fact, it’s literally so close to Florida, one person, Diana Nyad, swam the distance just last year.
Stand by for our team’s recommendations on how to protect yourself as the cycles of war ramp up to a crescendo and begin to strike closer to home.
Good luck and God bless!
by Charles Goyette
The similarity of today’s geopolitical dynamics and those of the 1970s is starting to get the attention it deserves.
Some of the parallels are obvious. The front page of Monday’s Wall Street Journal had an article titled, “An Arc of Instability Unseen Since the 70s.”
by Don Lucek
Second-quarter earnings season is about to heat up, and it will help set the tone for stock returns for the second half of the year. But this has been an atypical year, and emotions, rather than fundamentals, may take over and drive the market more than usual this time around.
by Bill Hall
As Managing Editor Mark Najarian pointed out in a recent Money and Markets column, the IPO market is moving along at a blistering pace. In fact, Investor’s Business Daily recently reported that the average new issue is up nearly 40 percent from its initial offering price.
by Mike Larson
Just when you thought the Ukraine crisis was settling down, two dramatic developments unfolded in the past 24 hours.
First, and more worrisome, a Malaysian Airlines flight with 295 civilian passengers and crew on board vanished from radar over Ukraine.
by Larry Edelson
I hope you paid attention to the market action this past week. The significance of it all is crucial to not only understanding what is going on, but also to protecting and growing your wealth.
by Jon Markman
Stocks flipped out on Wall Street last week following a selloff in the euro zone that was sparked by news of serious financial deficiencies at one of Portugal’s largest banks.