One of our roles around here is to look at history from the long wave economic perspective and try to figure out just what the heck is going on.
This morning, we might be asking ourselves, is there a basis to worry about a coming Persian versus Arab war?
Let’s start with the basics: What binds people is language for one. And, says Wikipedia:
Persian is the predominant modern descendant of Old Persian, a southwestern Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan (officially known as Dari Persian since 1958 for political reasons), and Tajikistan (officially known as Tajiki Persian since the Soviet era for political reasons), and some other regions which historically came under Persian influence.
This area might also be considered largely Shi’ite Muslim.
Now, head on down south a ways and you have the Arab languages.
Arabic is the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century and its modern descendants excluding Maltese. Arabic is spoken in a wide arc stretching across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. Arabic belongs to the Afro-Asiatic family.
The literary language, called Modern Standard Arabic or Literary Arabic, is the only official form of Arabic. It is used in most written documents as well as in formal spoken occasions, such as lectures and news broadcasts.
It seems to me worth noting that the Sunni Muslims are largely Arabic speakers. Shi’ites would lean Persian.
And it’s this language distinction that goes much deeper than just being a novel thought of the linguistic stripe. It also provides a framework for viewing (and maybe understanding?) the tensions which are brewing on both sides of the language divide.
This matters greatly because it has everything to do with markets.
Let’s work our way north to south. First up is the report that the West has more or less capitulated on the negotiations with Iran to keep them from building a bomb.
Worse, still, is the damning AP report that claims the West allowed Iran to keep running centrifuges – the very tools that provide for enrichment of uranium.
Also on that side of the fence, we have Syrian president Assad who is declaring that all the bad things said about him were propaganda. I presume you know that Syria and Iran are both credibly backed by the Russians. It is Moscow which provides the reactors to Iran (with help from Germans and others, all in it for a buck) and support for Assad in return for access to the Med where Russian warships like to appear now and then to raise the flag.
Russia is, in some sense, being blackmailed along its southern tier, let’s not forget.
Now let’s consider the other side: Sunni is what binds the Global Caliphate, and we are already seeing first moves toward military alliances as Egypt and the Saudis are warming up relations (helped by billions from the Saudis to the Egyptians during the troubles in Egypt a while back) and now there’s talk about how there may be an emergent joint Arab military Force.
We can also see the military lines clarifying: The Saudis have moved into Yemen in order to hold back what might be seen as Iranian Quds fighters advancing to the south. Yemeni radar and military units are under attack right now.
The Gulf Today reports on the joint Arab Force as though it’s an accomplished fact, which means we will likely see a battle line between what we have called the Global Caliphate in the south (backed by Israel and the US) facing off against the Persian Empire.
To be sure, a lot of people seem to be stumped at what’s going on.
For example, the NY Times lays out the idea that it’s just “A policy puzzle of US goals and alliances in the Middle East.”
I beg to differ. It’s not a difficult puzzle if you have the Big Win at Any Cost mentality.
As I read it, the evidence rather strongly suggests that the US/West are in the process of feeding arms to both sides (Arabs vs. Persians) so that the coming World War – a necessity in long wave economic doctrine as the mechanism to “kill people and break things” – in order to create huge global economic demands for another 50-years or longer – must be played.
Since the weapons of war are pretty ugly, if the US and Russia (and sure, let’s toss in the Chinese) can “play via proxies” then we could see a relatively “sanitary war” option.
More directly: The US could simply be arming both sides to the hilt in order to let the conflict blow up much of the Middle East, which would blow back on Muslims of both stripes (Sunni and Shi’ite) for multiple generations into the future.
It would also leaves the fascinating question lingering: Is anyone besides Ures truly Machiavellian enough to think this way?
My suspicion is yes. It ain’t that complicated and may, indeed, be that simple.
There’s an old saying in the military: “Kill ‘em all and let God sort it out.” The real trick will be in not getting sucked into a head-to-head with Russia…which is why the arms length is actually a graceful option for play. If you don’t mind a billion dead, but then again….
I don’t like to “think the unthinkable” but we do it very well. And, as long as that’s where US foreign policy seems to be pointing, why not make a few fortunes on military sales along the way?
Problem solved: World blows up – main impacts aren’t at home in the US or Russia, and everyone gets to make money.
What could be simpler? You see? It’s all in how you want to read the news and whether you’ve been sucked into being a partisan.
Think any of the presidential wannabes will out this? Not on your life. While all the pieces fit, there’s the billion dead (disposable humans) from all this.
No one wants to own that…especially in 2016. So look for lots of footwork and talk about “new policy” in the Middle East with very little substance and whoever wins will run the computer models that make Obama now look like Bush IV in many of his policy moves.
We’re just not supposed to notice.
The US GDP press release is out this morning:
Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 percent.
The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued last month. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was also 2.2 percent. While increases in exports and in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) were larger than previously estimated and the change in private inventories was smaller, GDP growth is unrevised, and the general picture of the economy for the fourth quarter remains the same (see “Revisions” on page 3).
The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending and private inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in imports, a downturn in federal government spending, a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and a larger decrease in private inventory investment that were partly offset by accelerations in PCE and in state and local government spending.
Say, there’s a fine phrase we have been seeing a lot of, lately: Deceleration of growth.
Beat the hell out of saying deflation.
And the way policymakers can say it with a straight face is simple: Simply print up money (M1/M2 is up 15.8/8.9% annualized in the latest quarter).
Sure, there is somewhere around 6% more money sloshing about, although St. Greenspan hid M3 (my, what a coincidence, huh?) but using the reconstructed basis we can see how 2.2 economic growth less then 6% (call it) money growth really means 3-4% deflation and no one’s the wiser.
Can’t have too many smart people around, can we?
With West Coast Ports traffic down 22% compared with a year ago, the condition of the market argues that “some of the people, some of the time” is still as true as it was in P.T. Barnum’s day.
Which accounts for the stock futures pointing to a loss of only 35 points at the open.
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