A couple more things …


1.  The slide  to war with Iran.  IMO we should all be aware of the ongoing push in the present NSC towards ever increasing hostility toward Iran.  the Iranians clearly have little common sense and are allowing a situation to develop in which people like Flynn and Derek Harvey are pushing the president toward actual red lines on the other side of which IMO is a shooting war with Iran involving the US Navy and USAF.  This deadly duo seems to be motivated by a desire for revenge against Iran for its support of insurgents during the US occupation of Iraq.  How mature!  Israel's as yet untested influence on President Trump and its desired application of a version of Cheney's 1% solution adds to the momentum.

2.  Natanyahu's trip to the kennel.  He will be here on the 15th.  The Israeli press is filled with pros and cons as to whether or not he will be able to bring Trump to heel.  IMO an ego as large as Trump's will not react well to the sound of its master's voice. 

3.  Niki's visit with Churkin.  She went to Vitali Churkin's home in NY City yesterday to talk things over.  A desire for cooperation was expressed thereafter.  IMO the message delivered by her was "Don't pay any attention to the hostile sounds we are making.  They are for the benefit of people like McCain and Graham.  All will be well." 

4.  President Trump wants to de-regulate banking?   I watched the old documentary (2010) "Inside Job" today.  It deals with the general criminality and neglect of duty of assorted banksters, government officials, regulators and presidents in creating the economic and financial meltdown of 2009.   The major players in that fiasco are still active and on the scene in Trump's government.  They are now older, richer and yet more cunning.  And now Trump wants to do away with parts of Dodd-Frank?  This will need watching pilgrims.  pl

This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Current Affairs, government, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, Policy, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to A couple more things …

  1. wisedupearly says:

    Fox says “The Iranian-backed suicide attack targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen on Monday may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials told Fox News.”
    “In the audio heard on the video, a voice narrating the attack shouts in Arabic, “Allahu akbar [God is great], death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory for Islam.”
    well there you go, proof positive, better than WMD is a faceless voice screaming just what the neocons want to hear.
    “U.S. defense analysts believe those behind the attack either thought the bomber was striking an American warship (except for the flags etc etc) or that this was a “dress rehearsal” similar to the attack on the USS Cole (except that blowing yourself up is not dress a rehearsal), according to one official.”
    Our defense analysts are so sharp its amazing.

  2. b says:

    An attack on Iran would be a much bigger screw-up than the attack on Iraq. Iran can block everything in the ME should it want to do so. U.S. troops are in extremely vulnerable position in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and in their bases in the Gulf states. Not even the Bush gang was crazy enough to try it. I believe we will see a lot of bluster but no action. (Mattis said “no change in U.S. poser in the Gulf”)
    Israel’s Mossad chief, national security adviser secretly met with Trump officials for second time
    The phonecall between Trump and Poroshenko must have been a blast. The readout of the call is a groaner.
    Trump knows well that his DC enemies, McCain/Graham/Biden, incited Poroshenko to start the recent miniwar with the separatists. He told Poro, more or less, that he is now screwed, will get no support against Russia and may well better leave.
    A day before the phonecall Trump allegedly met Timoshenko who (again) wants Poroshenko’s seat. She works only for her self-interest, is bribable, and has proven that she can make deals with the Russian. Certainly not the best for Ukraine but anything will be better than the Galician nazis under influence of Washington’s neocons.
    Trump and the bankers – is there a difference on the issue from to Obama and Hillary? I don’t see any. Schumer and other Clintonits will welcome such legislation.

  3. Pat,
    Interesting analysis as always!
    Re: Iran, I worry that those who think Trump was genuinely opposed to war in the Middle East are going to end up being “rode hard and put away wet” as I think the idiom goes. I hope the Iranians find some common sense soon, because otherwise things are going to get messy in a hurry in the Middle East. At least it sounds like Mattis, in spite of my worries, is actually acting as a little bit of a damper on the rest of the Iran hawks. Still a really scary situation. A war with Iran isn’t going to stay contained for long.
    Re: Dodd-Frank. There probably are elements of Dodd-Frank that in hindsight are either ineffective or even counterproductive. But a) fixing legislation is Congress’s job, not the POTUS’s, and b) the timing here might be really poor. As a friend of mine pointed out over lunch yesterday, because of all the money pumped into the system via Quantitative Easing, the stock market is currently trading at a P/E ratio 2x the historic average. And we’ve been longer since a recession than the typical inter-recession average. Which suggests there’s a good chance for a downturn soon, regardless of what Trump does. But if it say started crashing next week, everyone is going to blame it on Trump repealing or gutting Dodd-Frank, regardless of what the real cause was. So even if you think Dodd-Frank was bad, now might not be the best time to try and ram through Executive Order-driven reforms.

  4. Nuff Sed says:

    Reposting my response to the Iran issue on MoA:
    Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States
    Indeed, Iran building defensive measures is a very hostile action to US interests, how dare they? 🙂
    Trump is simply blustering to satisfy neocons and zionists, some non-essential unilateral sanctions is the “best” they can do.
    As for US war on Iran, I can assure you it wont happen. US neither can afford it nor would be capable of winning, Iran’s asymmetric capabilities is one of the best in the World and specifically tuned to repel USrael’s attack and make them pay. US military knows, so does IDF, and while they can keep on dreaming of “real man goes to Tehran”, but in real life they arent suicidal and will block any such attempt.
    Posted by: Harry | Feb 5, 2017 4:37:26 AM | 85
    Agree with Harry @85. In addition to the asymmetrical capabilities deterrent, there is the highly advanced missile deterrent. The fact is that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. And the entire Western economic system with its multi-trillion dollsar derivatives bubble is just that. It cannot withstand a severe shock to the system, which is what a single Noor missile aimed at the Ra’s Tanura deep water port complex would be; the port of exit for most of Saudi’s 10 mbd of crude. A single missile would put that out of operation for months. That is why Cheyney and Rummy were overruled back in the day by the NYSE.
    Posted by: Nuff Sed | February 05, 2017 at 05:05 AM
    That Sed, I hasten to add that the above logic does not take into account irrational factors and unknown unknowns. Nuff Sed.

  5. Ghostship says:

    First surprise of the week:
    “President Donald J. Trump Will Continue to Enforce Executive Order Protecting the Rights of the LGBTQ Community in the Workplace”
    ….The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.
    Most of the column inches expended on this if you can find them refer to how Ivanka and her husband are responsible for this, but I’m not so sure.
    Second surprise of the week:
    OO’Reilly then challenged Trump, calling the Russian president “a killer.”
    Trump shrugged the comment off, saying: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?”

    I doubt there will be war with Iran, there are more important things that Trump wants to do and he saw how expensive and damaging to the United States the invasion and occupation of Iraq was, and Iran has three times the population and is not flat, I think that Trump has gathered Neo-cons inside the tent so that they’re pissing out but he also has them on a short leash so they can bluster all they want but I doubt they’ll get what they want. Trump is definitely not Bush and Pence is not Cheney, and if Trump wants to defeat ISIS which seems to be his first foreign policy objective, he doesn’t want the Iranians pissing near his tent but on ISIS and their backers and supporters. So, no, I can’t see him ever going to Tehran in this presidency.

  6. LondonBob says:

    Frank-Dodd was overkill, sensible reform is entirely possible. Anyway the financial crisis was more an outcome of too low interest rates and of course the CRA pushing government backed mortgages to minorities unable to afford them. We will see the what is proposed.
    Russians need to have a word in the ear of the Iranians, I don’t get the impression they are helping themselves.

  7. Harry says:

    The Bill O’Reilly interview was fascinating. On the banksters, it seems to me the system won’t survive the next period of abuse. Banksters are never long term players. Partnerships are long term, publicly listed investment banks practically beg to be looted. I doubt Trump understands this. Expect another period of looting and then a collapse.

  8. Vic says:

    I’m not sure why this administration is investing so much time and effort into middle eastern affairs.
    For the first time in decades America is nearly energy independent. The only reason that we sucked up to the arabs in the first place was the 1973 oil embargo. It demonstrated in no uncertain terms that were were then totally dependent upon foreign oil. Suddenly, the middle east (actually its oil) became a “vital national interest” (our national survival depended on it).
    Now that area is no longer a vital national interest, it has nothing that we need and it is located in an out of the way location that can be by passed and ignored. The terrorism coming from that region can be contained away from American shores.
    National treasure and resources wasted in the wars in the desert can now be used else where. We might even want to recombine CENTCOM with EUCOM because the middle east is still a vital interest to europe (and especially to China, good luck with that!). We are not the world’s policemen, let europe try to deal with the arabs.
    The middle east has been a cesspool for American Presidents. If Trump is smart he will not touch that area with a ten foot pole. It is no longer important.

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday there was a multinational (US, France, UK, etc.) naval exercises in the Persian Gulf simulating attacks on Iran.
    On Wednesday, the French Foreign Minister was in Tehran, trying to reassure Iranian leaders about JCOPA.
    They probably listened to him politely and went about making their own decisions – regardless.

  10. kooshy says:

    I don’t think Iranians will back out, other than reciprocate US’ actions. Theater of this potential war will be from Afghanistan borders of Tajikistan/China to the Mediterranean Sea, Russian border to north and Persian gulf to south, a low cost local supplied proxies against a classic highly expensive supplied and operated military force.

  11. Marcus says:

    So it was more the government give-away to minorities and the bad fortune of low interests rates that caused the financial crisis? Nothing about credit agencies AAA rating the financial wizards creation of toxic alphabet soup?
    “High risk, opaque, and extremely complex financial products such as collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps have been among the key causes of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Regulators, buyers, and even many issuers of these investor or capital market products (as distinct from consumer products) did not understand how they worked in calm times, much less in times of extreme market stress. Not only have these products helped cause the crisis but they have also made the crisis extremely difficult to resolve. In response, building on the analogy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a number of analysts have proposed a requirement that financial products be approved by a government regulatory authority the Financial Stability and Product Safety Aministration (FSPSA), before they can be marketed.”http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=
    This consumer will opt for more government oversight rather than trusting the financial wizards again.

  12. b says:

    “God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.” is the inscription on the Houthi flag. They shout that all the time when something good happens like when they blow up a Saudi tank. It has nothing to do with the intended target of the attack.

  13. eakens says:

    Perhaps Trump wants to get re-elected and knows he can’t go that if the market takes a crap late into his first term…

  14. Norbert M Salamon says:

    President Trump owes his alliance to the flyover country, an area of USA opposed to war [for they have higher % of armed force participation than Hillary Country – eg Frisco], so there will not be a war with Iran, with Russia or with China nor with anyone else, but Isis and relations.

  15. turcopolier says:

    This would not be a ground war involving many of Trump’s constituents and the war party enthusiasts like Flynn and Harvey are not concerned with Iranian casualties. pl

  16. Serge says:

    Completely unrelated, but here is a fascinating ANNA article from today(in russian)detailing how reporters and soldiers were targeted by an ISIS drone in deir ezzor. Apparently the drone accurately disabled their vehicle, hurting noone, then came back for a second round and injured an officer. There is a noticeable uptick in ISIS propaganda related to drone warfare,notably in mosul, in in the past month. This is the first instance to my knowledge of the technology being used in syria

  17. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, SST;
    IMO Iran is being targeted at the behest of izzies who fear the Hezbollah and its (mostly Iranian supplied) rocket forces. Would taking out Iran would neutralize this threat? Perhaps not before Hezbollah uses what it has. Another angle is the Russian position. W/o a grand bargain w/ Putin, an attack on Iran would probably not achieve desired aims. Could such a deal be successfully negotiated? Would Ukraine-where the ukronazis are now using ballistic missiles against population centers- be part of the bargain?
    Perilous times for the world.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  18. Jack says:

    Wall St’s heads I win, tails you lose proposition can easily be managed with a simple rule that officers and directors have their personal net worth in first loss position.
    Dodd-Frank is an excellent example of DC sausage. Complex legislation with loopholes designed for TBTF. Since its enactment the TBTF have got bigger while the number of regional & community banks have shrunk. As other correspondents have noted the TBTF have paid billions in fines for everything from price fixing to money laundering and outright consumer fraud in between. They epitomize the two-tier application of the law. One for the privileged and one for everyone else.
    Trump was always going to be friendly towards them due to his Manhattan RE business ties. But no different than Hillary or our past presidents.
    Rocketpreuner is correct that the stock market is rather expensive in terms of certain metrics. On a Price/Sales ratio being more expensive than 2000. Valuation however provides no timing value. This time however it is not obvious where the next financial crisis will come from, unlike the previous episode when it was rather apparent the leveraged mortgage finance and products structured around that would unravel. The next crisis of that magnitude, IMO, will be when a market runs away from central banks. And they are unable to control it as their credibility of unlimited balance sheet has been shot. Markets I keep an eye out are sovereign debt and currency.

  19. FB Ali says:

    Flynn and Harvey “are not concerned with Iranian casualties”, but I hope they have some awareness of what the whole ME blowing up might mean for the US (as b and Nuff Sed have written above).
    A US air and sea attack on Iran will not just mean war between the two countries, but will destabilize the whole area. US troops (and HQs) in the area will be targetted and severely affected, as will US interests there.
    The best hope is that Trump will stick to his policy of concentrating on the US and not getting involved in foreign adventures.

  20. Jackrabbit says:

    Dodd-Frank made TBTF worse.
    Regulatory barriers support entrenched incumbents.
    And Dodd-Frank didn’t end bailouts. Instead of govt bailouts, D-F allows for bail-ins via measures authorized by the Financial Stability Oversight Counsel.
    <> <> <> <> <>
    Not surprising that D-F was created by the Wall Street-friendly Obama Administration (don’t forget Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s “foaming the runway for the banks”).

  21. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “This would not be a ground war involving many of Trump’s constituents…”
    I’m still wondering about Hadi Al-Amiri in Iraq. One might guess that he could mobilize the popular anger against Trump’s EO after we are no longer needed in Mosul even though Haider al-Abadi chose not to enforce the nonbinding retaliation passed by parliament.
    But then there’s this…
    “PM Abadi stated during a press conference that U.S. President Donald Trump assured Iraq of his support ‘at all levels’ and that the Trump Administration promised to ‘double U.S. support for Iraq, not just continue it.'”
    Yes, it’s from the ISW crowd but one thing I’ve learned here at SST is to evaluate the content regardless of the source!

  22. robt willmann says:

    Here is the video of Trump with Bill O’Reilly when Trump replies to B.O.’s statement that Putin is a killer–
    B.O.: Putin’s a killer. Trump: Lot of killers. Got a lot of killers. Why [What], you think our country’s so innocent?

  23. steve says:

    The CRA accounted for less than 7% of loans. The large, large majority of loans that went bad were higher priced loans than the CRA would cause.
    They are also pushing to do away with the fiduciary rule. Now your financial adviser can put his interests ahead of yours, legally. Poor Bernie Madoff should have waited until Trump was in office.

  24. steve says:

    Trying to emulate Libya? That worked well.

  25. Chris Chuba says:

    I don’t think Iran can appease the U.S. by abstaining from their ballistic missile testing, we’ll just go to the next ‘red line’ like we did their nuclear program. After the nuclear agreement, we are now making an issue of them having ballistic missiles next it will be air defenses and a modern air force. This is a bare bones requirement for their essential military defense.
    Tactical Ballistic Missiles needed for Iran’s military
    This is Iran’s PM, Zarif explaining why Iran needs tactical ballistic missiles. I’ll paraphrase his comments but I recommend taking a trip to the video (it’s only two minutes) because I think you really miss something when you don’t hear a person’s voice. He was passionate but not angry and I was struck by the hurt in his voice.
    He recounted how Iran was struck by missiles carrying chemical weapons during 8yrs of war without any means to retaliate and to deter attacks. That Iran was unable to obtain missiles, that they need to have their own missiles and that they would never use these weapons for any other purpose than for defense.
    I was struck by the sincere tone of his voice vs. the smarmy comments of John Bolton who dismissed Iran’s claim that they needed ballistic missiles for defense.
    Here is an interesting analysis of how Iran’s recent missile tests are medium range, tactical missiles and not ICBM’s that would threaten the U.S.
    There will never be a time where Iran can test ballistic missiles where this Administration would not claim it to be aggression.
    Absurd MSM coverage of recent events
    To keep this post short, I’ll just cite a couple …
    1. Saying that the recent military exercise included ‘cyber warfare’. This made no sense to me. Fars reported that they tested ‘electronic warfare’ which makes much, much, more sense but saying cyber warfare is a more loaded term.
    2. Claiming the attack on the Saudi ship was a suicide attack targeting a U.S. ship is absurd. The Houthis always chant the same thing, I’ve seen videos of them saying ‘death to America’ after hitting Saudi tanks and the video shows a hit above the water line but this brings back images of the USS Cole.
    Our Administration is beating the drums of war and our MSM is criminally going along with it.

  26. Laura says:

    turcopolier — I find your optimism thin but am grateful for it. What alternative is there to a ground war with Iran? Would you trust this administration not to use nuclear weapons?
    And…is anyone really surprised about the roll-over on the bankers and the raging desire to repeal all Dodd-Frank regulations? Isn’t that what this election was all about?

  27. robt willmann says:

    You note that, “Not even the Bush gang was crazy enough to try it [attack Iran]”. I have a different view. Bush jr as much as admitted they wanted to attack Iran in his memoir, “Decision Points”. He is quoted as saying in his book (likely with a ghost-writer) that the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran (after the fraudulent one about Iraq) “tied my hands on the military side”, and, “But after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”–
    There was also the Bush jr administration’s desire to attack Syria. This came out after Iraq was invaded and the writer Gore Vidal (RIP) said publicly that he had been told about it from people he still knew in Washington. Former secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger said that if Bush jr invaded Syria, he would last in office about 15 minutes. I think that Eagleburger made that remark to a media outlet in Britain, and very briefly on the Sean Hannity television show on Fox News.
    The Bush jr administration’s callous disregard for the suffering of people (our own included) from unnecessary war was obscene.

  28. Valissa says:

    Steve Bannon told colleagues to read a book about hubris https://www.axios.com/inside-bannons-thinking-about-power-2238834033.html
    Over the past three months, Steve Bannon has been reading David Halberstam’s book, “The Best and the Brightest.” (A NYT reporter spotted him with the book in an airport in December.)
    It’s a devastating account of self-regard, delusion, and the tragic series of miscalculations that led America into Vietnam. The book shaped Bannon’s thinking during the transition, and he recommended it to associates, including Jared Kushner and Anthony Scaramucci, as a warning against hubris. He’s told associates the book is a warning to “always keep the ‘law of unintended consequences’ in the front of your mind.” And that “the governmental ‘apparatus’ has an institutional history, memory and methodology.”
    It will be interesting to see if Bannon & crew can figure out how to shift the direction of the Borg in some areas. I’m sure he is well aware of the power of the Military-Industrial-ThinkTank complex (Borg) in regards to foreign policy, and that devious plans will be needed to attempt to change anything substantially.
    R + 7 anyone? Egypt is aligning itself with Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria…
    Middle East: Rapid Tectonic Changes on Regional Chessboard http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/01/30/middle-east-rapid-tectonic-changes-on-regional-chessboard.html
    Iraq will provide Egypt with 1 million barrels of Basra light oil each month. The agreement involves extending an oil pipeline from Iraq to Egypt via Jordan.
    … Egypt is about to train four Iraqi army units on war against terrorism, in the light of the rapprochement between Egypt and the Iraqi-Iranian axis in the region. It also mulls sending peacekeeping troops to Syria during the coming days to support the ceasefire agreement under the auspices of Russia, Iran, and Turkey. It has been reported that a unit of Egyptian ground forces might deploy to Syria this month.
    …Egypt is a predominantly Sunni nation. Its open support of the Russia-backed coalition in Syria is a game changing event of fundamental importance. It makes the sectarian interpretation of the Syria’s conflict not valid anymore.
    … The relations between Russia and Egypt have been on the rise. In February 2015, Egypt signed a breakthrough agreement on establishing a free trade zone with the Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union.
    … Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa and the fifteenth-most populous in the world. Last year, the country’s population has just reached 92 million. Its policy shift is well-substantiated. Cairo is fighting the Islamic State on the Sinai Peninsula. The fierce fighting there seldom hits media headlines but the IS poses a grave threat to Egypt. IS militants can also strike Egypt from Libya.
    The IS presence in Libya brings Egypt and Algeria together as the two great nations face the same threat. The emerging Iran, Iraq, Russia and Turkey alliance may also include Algeria. …
    Africa is the up and coming territory of a new Great Game. The US is busy building mini-bases and running special ops all over the continent while China is influencing many of the same countries via economic development. Russia doesn’t have as big a budget as the US and China for playing this game, but they seem to be carefully building relationships and strength with key countries of MENA.

  29. turcopolier says:

    “Would you trust this administration not to use nuclear weapons?” Yes, I would trust them not to do that. you are fixated on them as madmen and I don’t think Trump, Tillerson or Mattis are madmen. They understand fully the long term implications of the use of nuclear weapons in terms of proliferation. “What alternative is there to a groundwar with Iran?” An air and navel war with Iran. you do not understand the logistics of ground war. Here, we are not talking about tiny little operations like the thing in Yemen. To fight a ground war with Iran you would need to transport an army (2 or 3 hundred thousand soldiers) to the Gulf base it and its logistical train, supply etc. in S. Arabia or the other Gulf states and then make a cross Gulf entry into southern Iran with the force and sustain it there for a protracted period of time. This would all be vastly expensive. Iran is a large country, a very large country. Have you looked to see how large it is? No, I don’t think the election was fought for the benefit of the banksters. actually HC had more support from Wall Street than he did. pl

  30. turcopolier says:

    Chris Chuba
    in general I agree with you except for this. “during 8yrs of war without any means to retaliate and to deter attacks. That Iran was unable to obtain missiles” That is untrue during the Iran-Iraq War the Iranians had SCUD missile with which bombarded Baghdad during the War of the Cities. Having been there under SCUD bombardment I can testify to the truth of that. pl

  31. turcopolier says:

    Robert Willman
    In fact the USAF and US Navy kill a lot of people every day in Syria and Iraq in air attacks. some of these people just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. have we never participated in targeted individual killing? To think otherwise is childish. that is part of the Game of Nations. pl

  32. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    You know that I agree with you or would not have raised the subject. IMO we must hope that the businessman’s risk aversion will tamp this down and that his inclination toward Bibi does not last long. pl

  33. jsn says:

    As mentioned above, it’s my secret hope Trump is giving the bankers enough rope to quickly hang themselves so he can obliterate their power once and for all by not bailing them out. On the other hand, don’t underestimate the banks long hand, they are just not playing for king and country but for themselves:

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think a grand bargain between the Fortress West and the Russian Federation is not in the cards.
    Ukraine – “The Border Country” – is dead and why would the Russians bargain over the carcass of that country when in the ripeness of time they would swallow it?
    At some time in the past, Russians would have wanted movement on NATO expansion, ABM Treaty etc. Given the recent technical advances on hyper-sonic non-nuclear munitions (with nuclear-weapon lethality) I am not sure those consideration are as important to them.
    What is needed, in my opinion, is to breath new life into the Peace of Yalta while some of its institutions – such as UN – are still functioning, though moribund.
    That would require the People’s Republic of China to be included – the 3 Kings deciding the contours of the strategic settlement on Earth for a few more decades.

  35. Donald says:

    What do you think would happen if we did get involved in a naval/ air war with Iran? This might be an interesting topic for the knowledgeable people here ( which does not include me) to war game. I don’t mean that to sound glib. I don’t have to be an expert to expect such a war to be a catastrophe, one way or another.

  36. BraveNewWorld says:

    Lets remember that a month or two ago under the last president US ships were reporting that they were being shot at and it was all Irans fault. It turned out to be a problem with the radar system and no missiles had actually been fired. But that didn’t stop them from jumping straight to blaming Iran. When all you have is a hammer ever…

  37. Linda says:

    I guess re Trump one has to believe that he is capable and willing to conduct a very elaborate charade appearing to be clueless and arrogant, or he really is clueless and arrogant. I’m not sure which is more dangerous.

  38. BraveNewWorld says:

    It isn’t about oil, it isn’t about America and it isn’t about terrorism. It is about Israel and American politicians being their bitches.
    “PM: Israel, US, UK must form united front to combat Iran ‘aggression’”
    “Elaine Chao, confirmed this week as Trump’s transportation secretary, received $50,000 in 2015 for a five-minute speech to the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, previously called a “cult-like” terrorist group by the State Department. Former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani also was paid an unknown sum to talk to the group, known as the MEK.
    More than two dozen former US officials, both Republican and Democratic, have spoken before the MEK, including former House Speaker and Trump adviser Newt Gingrich. Some have publicly acknowledged being paid, but others have not.”

    “Already, a group of former US officials, including Giuliani, wrote a letter to Trump last month encouraging him to “establish a dialogue” with the MEK’s political arm. ”
    I have to wonder where the MEK is getting the money to pay these politicians $10,000 a minute to speak and how much value you can get out of a 5 min speech from the soon to be Transportation Secretary? #DTS

  39. Donald says:

    I googled and found an answer to my own question about what a war with Iran might be like–

  40. wisedupearly says:

    “Our defense analysts are so sharp its amazing.”
    You want a job as the top defense analyst? Looks like you are sharper than the dudes (or is it duds) we’ve got.

  41. wisedupearly says:

    the Borg is banking on Trump’s extremely thin skin and short attention span.
    Trump will bluster as is his habit and the Borg will suggest “rules of engagement” that will force military retaliation for “looking sideways at a navy vessel with evil intent”. The worst possible declaration of war is the one you didn’t want to make.
    Does Trump have enough sense to avoid the traps being set?
    Doubt it.

  42. turcopolier says:

    “It is about Israel and American politicians being their bitches.” At root all the devilment in the last 15 years in Syria and Iraq is due to that. pl

  43. turcopolier says:

    Given the performance a few days ago of a towed ECM pod against a US Aegis class cruiser in the Black Sea a few days ago the US might have some nasty surprises inflicted on it. pl

  44. sid_finster says:

    @turcopolier: please explain.

  45. turcopolier says:

    Why should I? pl

  46. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    I share your concerns, but I would argue to President Trump to choose his battles, and I think he is doing so. President Obama and the democrats were rightly criticized (IMO) by economist Mark Blythe as always bring a knife to a gun fight. If President Trump is to have a gunfight with the banks, he has the guns (in his cabinet). As to whether there ever will be a gun fight, I too have concerns and hopes. The same may be true on Iran.

  47. turcopolier says:

    I believe that I am arguing to him to pick his battles. pl

  48. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel, Yes, and watch his backside. Hopefully he will employ his “Your fired! ” signature to good use.

  49. FB Ali says:

    I sincerely hope you’re right about Bannon. I have my hopes pinned on him: that he’s shifted his thinking from its previous direction, now that he is ‘in power’.
    I think that Nikki Haley’s visit to Ambassador Churkin’s home after her vitriolic speech in the Security Council was the result of the White House telling her to.

  50. Imagine says:

    The Oded Yinon plan was to subvert America, get it to wipe out Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran, reducing them to hand-to-mouth constant civil-war failed states. It was somehow envisioned this would lead to more safety for Israel. This plan has succeeded beyond wildest dreams, except for the last grape. The Iraq war for Israel is costing the United States tens of thousands of PTSD ruined lives and an estimated $6T; the Syria war for Israel has created a tsunami of refugees that is threatening to founder Europe, the world’s largest collective economy, and still it is being pushed. Israel has nuke-armed subs parked off Iran. Cooperation with Iran would create jobs and save billions over cooperation with Israel. None of this matters to Congress. Rationality is no longer relevant. Israel is willing to fight to the very last American to wipe out the wogs around it. Congress follows Israel’s will. And the military, in the end, does what Congress and the President tell it to, even when it’s suicidal.

  51. Ante says:

    Honestly, every single time, every single houthi ambush of a saudi coalition tank or uparmored truck video has the excited words. Anyone who’s paid the slightest attention knows that.
    They can try to lie their way into war with Iran, but it won’t happen, only the Michael Weisses of the world can delude themselves into the idea that a good outcome would come from war with Iran. The semi lucid human beings will stop at sanctions and pointless posturing and rhetoric.

  52. Ante says:

    As for Trump targeting parts of Dodd-Frank, well you can’t spell FIRE as in Finance Insurance Real Estate, without Real Estate, that part is played here by trump, and Finance, that part is played by the investment banks that want Dodd Frank dismantled.
    They work hand in glove, “developers” like trump get huge loans to put up huge monstrosities and the bank makes their money as a portion of the rents of the big monstrosity’s tenants for the next 40 or 50 years.
    Finance might pouted at the intiial success of trump, because it already owned the political establishment, and was used to having its boots licked, but his personal interests lay in large part with theirs.
    What will be interesting will be his actions when the commercial real estate market crashes (I’m sure you’ve all heard about Macys closing thousands of stores, multiply that square footage and the end result may be shaped like a wobbling domino). Much of his personal wealth is tied up in commercial real estate, we’ll see if how much he acts in the interests of 1. citizens 2. the state 3. the industry 4. his own portfolio.

  53. Freudenschade says:

    I will not shed a tear when Dodd-Frank is repealed, provided the much simpler and more effective (and shorter) Glass-Steagall is restored.

  54. I hope this comment is not too far off the point of this thread. It’s about US policy in the Ukraine. This might give some confirmation of a genuine change in that policy:.
    The link given links in turn to other BBC articles on the recent Ukraine offensive.
    I find these BBC reports miss out on most of what is happening in the area at present. However, they do indicate a change. It looks as if the BBC is retreating from blaming Russia entirely and is now moving towards giving us more of a “six of one and half a dozen of the other” view.
    The BBC view is closely aligned with UK government foreign policy. It’s now in effect a government information service as far as foreign policy is concerned. So does this shift indicate a shift in UK policy on the Ukraine? If so, it will be to accommodate a changed US policy. That would confirm that Trump does indeed intend to pull back from the previous US policy on the Ukraine.

  55. Apologies. Wrong link entirely. This is the correct link:-

  56. David E. Solomon says:

    If you think that the politicians will ever stand for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall you are living in a fantasy world.
    It was the repeal of Glass-Steagall (signed by our illustrious President Bill) that led to the 2008 financial crisis. From that event (which should have resulted in a large number of bankers behind bars with tin cups) we have progressed to the point that the one percenters control more of the wealth in this country than ever before.
    I too wish to see the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall but it is not going to happen.

  57. Peter Reichard says:

    The singular failure of Obama was his unwillingness to rein in the excesses of Wall Street. Buoyed by their understanding that they were considered to be not only too big to fail but also too big to jail the major players have for eight years doubled down on their reckless and criminal behavior and rebuilt the financial house of cards. Under Trump it is going to get even worse as Wall Street insiders have been appointed to critical oversight positions and as Presidential advisers so there will be even less restraint. This will not end well.

  58. Valissa says:

    Were those vitriolic comments for show? An article at SF by Alexander Mercouris in part addresses Haley’s performance. Her full remarks are included, as well as an interpretation of them which I excerpt below.
    Trump Administration Fails To Back Ukraine https://southfront.org/trump-administration-fails-to-back-ukraine/
    This is a very different statement from the one which might have expected from someone like Samantha Power.
    It says that the US wants better relations with Russia.  It does not say that Russia or the eastern Ukrainian militia started the latest fighting.  It calls for full implementation of the Minsk Accords, which (as everyone knows) Ukraine is not implementing.  Lastly it calls for heavy weapons to be removed from “both sides of the contact line”, when everyone knows it was Ukraine’s decision to violate this provision by moving heavy weapons into the buffer zone (which includes Avdeevka) which caused the latest fighting.
    As for the criticisms of Russia, not only do these have a ritual quality – with Haley simply repeating what is still official US policy – but she actually says she regrets having to do it.  Moreover it is difficult to avoid reading Haley’s comment about her having to do it being “unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances over many years in which United States Representatives have needed to do that” as being anything other than a veiled reference to Samantha Power, with the clear implication being that Haley wants to be different from her.
    … Immediately following the UN Security Council meeting on Thursday where Haley read out her statement, Churkin said that he had noted “a tangible change of tone”, and said that he found Haley “friendly enough, with the allowances for the circumstances and the subject.”
    Churkin and Haley then met on the following day.  Interestingly, it was Haley who went to see Churkin, not the other way round.  
    Yes, it is very interesting that Haley went to Churkin’s residence for a private meeting. That strikes me as unusual, but I know little of UN politics and norms. But that’s probably the only place she could have had enough privacy to have a serious discussion. That is, if the Russians have been able to keep the NSA or other intelligence agencies from bugging the place.
    Given how much a big faction of the Borg wants a return to the Cold War, and how many members of congress are getting lobbying money from the military-industrial complex, it will be tricky to move towards better relations with Russia. I expect there will much kabuki in public … or perhaps bunraku would be a better word https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunraku

  59. Edward Amame says:

    “The Dodd-Frank Act is a disastrous policy that’s hindering our markets, reducing the availability of credit and crippling our economy’s ability to grow and create jobs,” Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, said Friday.
    Meanwhile the WaPo says that “the roughly 6,000 banks insured by the FDIC earned $168.8 billion in profits in the past four quarters, a record, and above the $146.2 billion they earned in the 12 months leading up to the 2007 housing bust.”

  60. Norbert M Salamon says:

    Sir, in case of air war Kuwait, and the other gulfies better store some water, for all the desalination plants in the gulf would be in danger.
    As an aside Saudi Arabia’s sea water intake for oil production is approx. 1 barrel of desalinated water for every 2 barrels of oil production — all in the Persian Gulf.
    Perhaps the straight closure is not even necessary to cripple oil exports

  61. Thirdeye says:

    We’ve been consistently underestimating Russia’s high tech capabilities. It seems to be a holdover from the late Cold War, when there was a significant lag and our estimates of Soviet systems were influenced by the performance of their export systems. The Donald Cook incident, where the destroyer in the Black Sea suddenly found itself a sitting duck under ECM, was a rude shock.

  62. Tunde says:

    I’ve seen this as a repudiation of D-F but indulge my imagination; A neophyte POTUS BHO stumbles into a global recession. Wall Street advises, print money or be responsible for a global financial catastrophe. The sop to those outraged by the financial recklessness of the bankers is D-F.
    What should have BHO done, bearing in mind the exponential consequences on the international financial system ? I can accept you insisting that the rescue may not have been worthwhile in retrospect but I’d be interested in a real world response to a quickly deteriorating financial situation at the time.

  63. different clue says:

    Norbert M. Salamon,
    Do I understand your comment to be saying that the Saudis desalinate the seawater they inject into some of their producing oil fields? I had thought they just injected it as seawater without any desalinating at all.

  64. different clue says:

    David E. Solomon,
    What if some New Deal Revivalists were to start a political party and call it the New Deal Revival Party or New Deal Restoration Party or Newer Deal Party? And run people for offices on such things as specifically restoring Glass-Steagall ( and throwing certain 2-hatted banks over the Glass-Steagall cliff to let them hard-shatter back into their separated functional pieces)?
    I think it might get some votes. I would like to see the experiment run.

  65. Jack says:

    While Glass Steagall was important legislation that separated commercial and investment banking it would not have prevented the 2008 mortgage credit crisis. Recall that Goldman Sachs only became a commercial bank in the teeth of the crisis to avail themselves of Fed largesse. Lehman would have failed just like Bear Stearns even if Glass Steagall was law.
    The mortgage credit crisis was an entirely investment banking problem. Yes, there were some commercial banks with large investment banking and proprietary trading operations including Citi & Chase, but the vast majority of commercial regional banks in the thousands were not speculating in leveraged financial products.
    The 2008 financial crisis is an excellent example of leveraged speculation taken to scale by short term funding and implicit backing of government. Risky bets were taken due to Fed policy (the Greenspan & Bernanke put) and government backing of mortgage credit through Fannie & Freddie growth of balance sheet. Then add all the insurance companies like AIG who got into the credit insurance business with credit default swaps. When the last marginal leveraged buyer left and subprime credit started going south, the extreme leverage worked its magic in the reverse direction. Just the opposite of when it was levitating. The implicit backing became explicit as the Fed and government guaranteed trillions of dollars in debt and effectively took Fannie & Freddie into receivership.
    The privatization of profits and socialization of losses went full circle.

  66. hans says:

    All… It would not take too many small incidents around Hormuz to get a large rise in the price of crude; the current ~$50 bbl could go to $80~$100 bbl in a couple of weeks.
    Such a rise would be enormously beneficial to U.S. shale producers from the Bakken to Texas’ Wolfcamp. The Russians too will enjoy a bonanza, especially across the arctic fields that are rapidly coming into production; indeed, this past week saw a convoy of Korean tankers escorted by Russian icebreakers make the first deep winter transit of the high arctic via the Bering sea.

  67. “She went to Vasili Churkin’s home in NY City yesterday to talk things over.”
    I think his name is Vitaly Churkin, not Vassili.
    “President Trump wants to de-regulate banking?”
    Major disappointment. Trump originally campaigned on restoring Glass-Steagall–he even had it put into the Republican Party’s platform! Now this? How sad …

  68. turcopolier says:

    Seamus Padraig
    Thanks. pl

  69. FkDahl says:

    FBI is releasing information about its investigation into the Clinton closet servers

  70. turcopolier says:

    I will look at it to see if there is anything worth publishing. pl

  71. Fred says:

    WAPO has figured out the no-strings-attached bank bailout is good for record bank profits? Shocking.If only there had been an Attorney General who would have jailed a banker or two.

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