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He just doesn’t care August 12, 2017

Posted by hslu in 美國, Putin, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy, US Government.
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To save money on the payroll, Trump has to fire all 755 state dept employees expelled by Putin.

Source: Yahoo News

Being a business man, Trump should know this at least. Apparently he doesn’t. Maybe he want to let them go.

Well, the State Department budget will be cut by 25% anyway. The layoff of 755 in one fell swoop will help to speed up the process a lot.

Let’s get the pink slips flying. American’s State Department has done a lot of bad things to other countries in the world for 70 years already. A 25% cut across the board in that department is a good start.

The next target: DoD?

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Not on his 1st day and not now April 12, 2017

Posted by hslu in Election, Politics, Trump.
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Trump on the campaign trail: Trump claimed that China suppressed its currency, the renminbi, to make its exports more competitive with US goods. Trump likened this to “raping” the US”. He repeatedlyG promised to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

Trump in the White House:

Here is one more example on Trump changing his mind.

Before the White House:

After the White House:

Now,  do you see a pattern? Are they Trump’s lies or it was just game American politicians play?

Oh, no. I forgot what Trump said about his respect of Putin and his love of Russia.

Did you vote for him?

A crane and two clams fight to the death April 11, 2017

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Global Affair, Islam, Middle East, Military, Muslim, Putin, Russia, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy.
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The fisherman on the sideline benefits without doing a thing.

In Chinee, it means:

鷸蚌相争,魚翁得利。

Pictures are worth a thousand words. 

You’ll know who is the crane and who are the clams.
You’ll have to guess who the fisherman is.

The U.S. wants Assad out. America is building another nation. It just can’t stop messing around with other nation’s business, can it?

Trump apparently wants to start two regional wars, one chemical and one nuclear, at the same time. 

Now, how many Koreans are there in the United States and how many of them are from the North of the 38th parallel?

What will North Korea do? 

What will Trump do?

What will Russia do? Back to “Cold War” again?

麻煩了! April 7, 2017

Posted by hslu in 美國, Global Affair, Middle East, Military, Muslim, Putin, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy.
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有去無來何時了,飛彈打多少,
川普昨夜顯威風,敍國機場被炸損壞中,

普丁阿薩應猶在,只是恨癢癢,

伊朗能有幾多仇,恰似卡倫大江向南流。

Putin slaps Trump on his wrist February 7, 2017

Posted by hslu in Putin, Trump.
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Putin has shown his trump card (殺手鐧) which puts Iran under Russia’s protection. All the tweets Trump has posted lavishing Putin with words like “leader”, “very smart” and “admire” went for nothing.

Trump have been cozing up to Putin despite Putin’s “killer” label by some people in the news media. Trump sees China as America’s biggest adversary and he wants to recruit Putin to block China from accessing Russia’s natural resources. Trump also want to prevent China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative from expanding into central Asian and European countries.
What Putin did with Iran effectively put Trump on notice that U.S. – Russia alliance isn’t a free ride like Trump wants it to be.

What’s between a rock and a hard place December 11, 2016

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Economics, Election, Global Affair, Politics, Taiwan.
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Taiwan is. 

However, this time around, Taiwan, more precisely Tsai Ing-wen, will be played like a ping pong ball between two hard hitting ping pong paddles. Tsai ing-wen or a high level Taiwanese official may even get a chance to formally meet with someone from the State Department or DoD as a way to annoy China.

How China will hit back is not clear right now judging by China’s response to the phone call between Trump and Tsai. 

The ball with Tsai ing-wen’sname on it is in China’s court now but China might down play Trump’s comments again because Trump isn’t the president yet. There is no need to be worked up by a TV interview yet. 

Remember Trump’s comment on the phone call after it caused some fuss from the White House and Congress? “It was just a phone call.”

Trump’s intention was very clear though: if I got what I want from China, Taiwan can go back to be part of One China. If I didn’t get what I want, this ball game will continue down to the dark alley with bad outcomes. 

The one player who will get the short end of the stick won’t be the U.S. or China. It will liked be Taiwan.

Whether Trump will follow his words with tough actions against China next year and how China’s Xi Jinping choose to respond will be THE blackswan for the world financial markets to digest. Can the major U.S. indices continue their march to another all time highs? I don’t think so.

It could end very badly. 

The path to an outcome, any outcome good or bad, will be a long, unpredictable and tumultuous one. I don’t think markets will like it. I don’t think Taiwan’s economy will escape the damage either because America has less influence on Taiwan’s economy than China does.

How Tsai ing-wen choose to be played is also worth watching too. What will Taiwan want from Trump? What real and lasting benefits can Taiwan get from Trump? Will Taiwan’s stock market continue to rise next week? Will the New Taiwanese Dollar drop below the recent support of $33.6989 to 1 U.S.dollar?

Trump’s position on Russia is an interesting one too. Apparently Trump is courting Putin because he is considering ExxonMobil’s Tillerson as the Secretary of State. Will Putin fall in line and be played by Trump as well? Not likely.

In any case, brace yourself because the ride will be a very bumpy one and someone will get hurt.

天下要大變了。

America: paper tiger of the 21 century December 26, 2015

Posted by hslu in Cold War, Global Affair, Islam, Middle East, Military, Obama, Putin.
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Regime change has been a very important foreign policy goal for the United States.

If a foreign government becomes a friend of one of America’s enemies, it automatically becomes a target of regime change for CIA. Once the undesirable foreign government is toppled, nation’s building phase using American tax money officially starts.

The following countries have all suffered from regime changes in the hands of CIA and American soldiers in the past: Korea, Iran, Lebanon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Kuwait, Iraq, Guatemala, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, China, South Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, Chile, Afghanistan, Turkey, Poland, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Somalia, Syria, Haiti, Bosnian, Sudan, Albanians, Yugoslavia, Pakistan, Yemen, Colombia and Libya.

The major players were CIA, State Department, Secretary of State, ambassadors to foreign countries, foreign embassy attaché, anti government activists in the US, anti government groups in the US, opposition party leaders, weapons dealers, foreign governments, international drug dealers, money transfer units of major banks, media, organizational crime groups and cyber attack units.

The weapons of choices are: money, drugs, radio programs, TV shows, guns, cannons, anti tank rockets, helicopters, fighters jets, bombers, Tomahawk cruise missiles, special op forces, aircraft carriers and American troops.

For years, America sometimes did it overtly but most regime change operations were done covertly. America did it routinely under the auspices of American national security and national interests.

However, U.S. seldom acknowledged such operations existed let alone admitted it openly to the media.

Well, John Kerry didn’t follow the script and seemingly on 12-15-2015 admitted that regime change has always been America’s policy in Syria since the beginning.

And John said it After he had a meeting with Putin in Moscow.

Here was what Kerry said to the media:

“The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change,” in Syria.

For years, Obama and other US officials have insisted that al-Assad has to go. It changed after Putin sent in Russian troops, helicopters and fighter jets.

For the most part, the regimes which have been changed in the hands of the CIA were small and weak. With a few exceptions,  America basically rolled over them with little efforts.

When Putin stepped in with his guns blazing, Obama promptly backed down and asked Kerry to say that Assad can stay. For now. Kerry did add that Assad has to step down in the future. Just not now.

So what’s happening to the ones supported by the U.S. in its effort to replace Assad?

They are being killed by Putin’s soldiers because they mean nothing to the U.S.

Is it fair to say that America is the paper tiger of the 21 century?

  

What will year of the monkey bring? December 17, 2015

Posted by hslu in Economics, Election, Energy, Global Affair, Middle East, Military, Muslim, Oil, Politics, Putin.
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This question was bought to me by a friend in Dallas. My response follows:

 

What year of the Monkey will bring is something I cannot predict but I point the following out for you and everyone, including myself, to ponder:

 

  1.    Many people in the financial market disregard the geopolitical risk associated with ISIS and other terrorist groups. After all, the Syrian civil war has been going on for four years and al Qaeda, and later ISIS, has been active for many years beyond that. They treat it as a regional conflict which is self-contained in the Middle East or a conflict between Sunni and Shiite, a thousand-year ideological or religion battle no one cares about. But you might want to consider this: the US is fighting a proxy war against Russia in multiple fronts.
  1. In the Middle East, Russia decided to protect Assad and, more importantly, its own interest in the region by responding aggressively against Syrian rebels who, under American’s support, want to bring down the current Syrian government. In essence, the United States is working on its next target (Syria) of nation building which seriously affected Russia’s interest in the Middle East. Russia, or shall we say Putin, took the opportunity of a downed Russian airliner which crushed into Egypt’s Sinai desert bought down by a bomb and sent Russian troops and aircraft into Syria to fight the terrorist groups including the ISIS and Syrian rebels. On one side, we have the U.S., Turkey, Syrian rebels, Saudi Arabia and a few other Shiite countries. On the other side, we have Russia, Syria and Iran. Mixed in the middle are ISIS, al Qaeda, Turks and many other terrorist groups. Don’t forget the conflict between Israel and Palestine. It is still there. We just don’t hear as much as we used to because ISIS is taking all the headlines.
  1.    In Asia, Russia is aligned with China who is American’s primary containment target. America’s pivot to the east foreign policy is aimed to keep China at bay thereby maintains American’s influence in the Pacific region. Japan, Philippine and Vietnam are America’s partners while China is working with Russia closely in the fields of energy, commerce, technology and weaponry. Taiwan is being played by the U.S. which sells obsolete weaponry to Taiwan (Japan is allowed to buy the newest F-35 but Taiwan has been denied a request of an upgrade to F-16 C and F-16/D from its current fleets of F-16 A and F-16/B). The pending $1.83 B arms sale to Taiwan from the United States has no real impact on the balance of military power between China and Taiwan. But America’s intention is very clear. Pretty soon, Japan will send its own navy ship to the South China sea to work with American navy against China’s expansion in the region. There is currently discussion going on in the Pentagon whether to send in another air carrier into the region. But, do you think America has the financial and military capability to face so many enemies at the same time? China will set out to do what it plans to do. But I do not think China will risk a regional war with America because China will play cat and mouse with the United States but at the same time build up its own military as fast as it can to protect its own interests, primarily the flow of energy to China from the Middle East.
  1.    In Europe, America uses NATO to fight against Russia and Russia’s take-over of Crimea was Putin’s first shot against American’s aggression in the region. Of course, Europe has it own problems; recession, low growth rate, high unemployment rates, mounting deficits, high national debts, homegrown terrorists and Syrian immigrants. Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and France are all in poor economic shape with youth unemployment rate remaining in double-digit levels.
  1.    In the regions of Central Asia and sub-Asian continent, Pakistan treats India as its enemy no. 1. Both countries have nuclear capabilities and probably won’t hesitate to use it against each other. The newly established Afghanistan government is not strong enough to withstand Taliban’s attack. As such, America is keeping approximately 10,000 US troops there. Central Asian countries are heavily relied upon high oil prices to keep the current government in power. With oil trading at sub $40 range, governments in these countries are in danger of uprising too. I have no doubt that Russia is doing its job to destabilize these governments, just like the American is doing the same to other countries in the world, in order to bring these countries into its fold.
  1.    Africa is in a dire situation as well. Ever since the death of Qaddafi in 2011, Libya has been a training ground of terrorists. Currently, the country has no government and a civil war between two groups, one based in Tripoli and the other one based in Tobruk, are fighting it out with no apparent winner. Oil producing countries in the region are facing civil unrest because oil price has collapsed. Others such as Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Congo and Somalia are all mired in civil unrest and millions have been killed or displaced. The unstable situation has been a hot bed of terrorists which feeds into ISIS and al Qaeda. It will continue to be a training and recruiting ground for many terrorist groups.
  1.    Then we have OPEC countries to deal with. I am not worried about the Middle East oil-producing countries: Saudi, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Iraq and Iran. Others, such as Algeria, Angola, Ecuador,  Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela, are suffering and their governments may buckle under the weight of prolonged low oil prices. The problem is not unstable government itself, the problem is their currencies will lose value against the US dollar. Bond and currency markets may not able to take the blow of defaults and bankruptcies and the snow ball effect that follows.
  1.    South America and Australia are probably the safest places in the world these days in terms of threats of terrorist attacks. But the same can’t be said about their economies. Most depends on high prices of commodities and natural resources to maintain government spending. With demand from China declining, a new equilibrium in the market places will take some time to achieve. Another problem is in the currency market. Weak economies will not able to keep their currencies pegged to the U.S. dollar. Currencies control will fail eventually and some countries will face high inflation, capital flight, reduced living standard and stagnant economic growth for a long time. If these countries have a high amount of U.S. dollar based debt and they don’t have foreign reserves to pay for them, financial crisis will happen. When financial crisis happens, citizens will suffer and countries have to adjust. All these will create uncertainties in the financial world.

Now, back to the question about what else might happen in 2016? America will elect a new president which is important to millions of people. Taiwan will have a new government. The new government will test out its relationship with China and China will likely give the new government a chance to prove itself. If things don’t work out, the situation will not be pretty. German’s Angela Merkel may not able to hold her seat until 2017. IMF in late 2106 will formally include Renminbi into the SDR basket of currencies if China continues to adapt IMF’s demand to open Chinese financial market. When it happens, trades in Renminbi will increase and China may do away with capital control which will usher in a new era in the currency market. Of course, China has to learn how to release its grip on its currency. If done badly, it might bring more instability in the near term to Chinese economies than what the government wishes.

ISIS likely will gradually fade away and hide under the weight of continuing bombing attacks from many countries. America, France and Britain will declare victory. But ISIS and other terror groups will not go away. They will find a new way to attack western world’s interests and Russia will pop up the Syria’s Assad. Iran will likely get IAEA’s approval and economic embargo will probably be lift. China will continue its progress to move people into urban centers which will create pockets of disconnect in the economy. Whether Chinese government can keep everything under control is a difficult question to answer. If the transition is smooth, we will see less turmoil in the stock, bond and currency markets. If not, we will have a roller coaster ride.

In the oil market, Saudi will not budge on keeping its oil production at a higher level. Russia will raise it oil production too probably under a secret agreement between Saudi’s Crown Prince and Putin when the two met in October 2015. Of course, Russia needs high oil production to grab market shares and to reduce the negative impacts from lower oil prices. The pressure on oil price will not go away until American shale oil producers raise the white flag and declare total defeat. This will happen in 2016 and the dream of America’s oil independence will die for now. Oil price should stay near current lows but most likely will trade within a range of $5 to $15 on the downside and $10 to $20 on the upside from the current level. This is purely a guess on my part. Geopolitical events will dominate short-term trading activities but unless the demand and supply situation reaches a natural or artificial equilibrium in the market place, oil price will not reach a stable trading range. Of course, Saudi can change its mind at anytime. But I think it is not likely.

Commodities prices will continue to drop as demands from China, Europe and Japan continue to drop. America’s economy isn’t out of the woods yet. The commodity cycle is a long way from turning over. We are only half way into the current down cycle. The upside will not come until current production capacities are cut to a minimum level and new capitals are reduced to a trickle. This is still several years away.

One bright spot for 2106 may be the defense industry. America is quickly using up all its bombs (missiles) and new supply isn’t quick enough to replenish inventory. With more ground troops deployed into the Middle East, America probably will allocate more funding just to grab ISIS’s attention away from the America home land. Many nations are building up their military budgets and arms sales should be a good business to be in.

As for another question by Shirley on whether (American) oil drillers can survive this down turn, my answer is no. Offshore drillers have more capacities on hand than contracts. Oil companies have cut their capital budgets and production capacities will decrease. But the effect on the market will not show up until decline from current fields reaches to a level when new investment is required. This will not happen for a few years; not when Saudi and Russia are pumping all they can to flood the market. Don’t forget these two countries can produce oil much, much cheaper than the cost of finding and producing new oil from the ground: offshore where water depth is 8,000 feet or deeper, shale oil where oil in the ground does not flow by itself, heavy oil where steam has to be injected to make oil mobiles. Additionally, oil faces a formidable enemy: cheap gas. Some companies probably will change their company’s make up of gas and oil composition through mergers and sales. In short, it is probably cheaper to buy oil or gas resources on the Wall Street than get it out of the ground.

 

Thanks for the information on Houston real estate market. It will happen but I do not know how bad will the damage be and I do not know how long the market will be depressed. But, I can tell you that 2016 will be worse than 2015 as more layoffs will take place in the oil patch. The guys who got laid off are still claiming unemployment benefits. They are probably still staying in the region. The ones who got laid off in the first wave may find new jobs in a different field. The ones who got laid off later, will not be able to find new employments because by that time, local economy will be negatively affected by budget cuts and lose of employments. 2016 is also a key year for the real estate markets for the greater Houston area.

4 or 5 instead of 5400 October 9, 2015

Posted by hslu in Cold War, Global Affair, Islam, Middle East, Military, Muslim, Obama, Putin.
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US Pentagon said that our tax dollars in the amount of $500 million has so far produced 4 or 5 Syria rebel fighters instead of 5400 rebels originally planned for 2015.

image

Source: BBC News

Nearly all rebels who have gone through the training program set up  by the US advisors have been rounded by and left their weapons and equipment to a group called Jabhat al-Nusra inSyria.

Now Russian fighter jets are killing them because they are a threat To Assad.

So what does Obama do? Yield to Russia and kowtow to Putin by pulling away from the rebels and leave them die in the hands of Russia and Syria.

U.S.         0           Russia     1
U.S.         0           Syria        1
Obama   0            Putin       1
US Tax Payers                    0

Prelude of a proxy war October 5, 2015

Posted by hslu in Cold War, Global Affair, Middle East, Military, Obama, Putin.
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Obama’s Middle East policy is crumbling down in front of our eyes like a house of cards.

America wants to get rid of al-Assad and build a new nation first through the hands of US trsined rebels and then ISIS. Both strategies failed miserablly. The weaken al-Assad called Putin and Russia got a perfect excuse to ‘protect Russian national interest’ and send in heavy fire power recently.

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Source: Fox News

Now, Russian jets are bombing US backed rebels instead of killing ISIS.

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Source: Fox News

What will Obama do: back up rebels and fire back at Russian fighter jets or let Putin does what he wants which is standing up against the U.S. and extending Russian’s influence into Mideast?

I don’t think Obama has no option but to back down unless Obama wants a proxy war with Putin.

Super power?

What super power?

All I see is a deflated Obama playing 2nd fiddle on the world stage and a once mighty nation fading into old age because of diminishing influence in the world, heavy and growing national debt, weak economy, 10% U6 unemployment rate and more and more citizens working 2 or more jobs just to get by. In the mean time, huge military spending becomes less effective and drags down the back of the nation. Obama’s foreign policy and his view on America in the world only accelerate America’s eventual dimise.

百足之蟲 死而不僵。It will take some time. The history will mark Obama’s 8 years in WH as the pivotal point which marks the beginning of an end: the end of American’s hegemony.

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