Thursday, January 28, 2016


Something strange is happening.  The world appears to be suffering from a detachment of the retina.  The vision is blurred, hence the appreciation retained is based on shaky premises.
Despite underlying measurable probabilities, the political/economic turbulence abounds.
Most political aberrations grow. The financial market has become unpredictable. The Davos "reality" looks like a gadget type of game wherein players indulge in virtual reality.  While the Magic Mountain keeps participants enthralled, stocks tumble, markets are spooked and the situation regarding all looming political problems deteriorates.  Janet Yellen's Fed no longer convinces. President Obama's intellectual distance only widens the gates of hell, allowing usurpers to fill the void.  On all sides, political and economic leadership is failing.

America's Ben Bernanke, the ECB's Jean-Claude Trichet and the UK's Mervyn King saved the global financial system in August 2007.  The United States was the "indispensable" actor in trying , successfully, to save the world order from drowning.  Now they contribute in realty to increase the oil glut, contributing to the downfall of trust of the market.  Their low-profile since the Iran deal or the climate agreement in Paris indicates a second-term political fatigue. Unfortunately Syria, Asia, trade, cyber attacks, the Middle East peace process ignore second terms.  Iran's actions speak louder than words. Europe, left to its own devices and refugees, swallows its pride and throws overboard the principles with the goods.

Investors worldwide are looking for guidance. Countries start to get nervous imagining the not- so-imaginable:  a Trump or Cruz presidency!  Some wish for a Bloomberg miracle, but the "mayday" SOS will remain unanswered. The United States is not ready for a philosopher president.

This is a time for self-deception and erratic behavior because people are left clueless. The soundbite has become the message and the panic overcomes the rational.  We all know how a Israeli-Palestinian peace might look like, we have an inkling how to advance against terrorism or in Syria. We can see the underlying strength and transitory problems of the Chinese economy. Europe had better find its way out of the German-made immigration wave on its soil, which needs to be solved together rather than played out on the backs of the victims and mano a mano between member states. The Fed must come clear regarding interest rates. The ECB looks more predictable in this regard.

Unlike oil, there is never enough of American leadership. When it fails--in appearance or for real--it might be seen as dispensable and replaced by very unwelcome interlopers indeed!

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