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Mon, 27th March 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Latest Posts

Watch These Geopolitical Flashpoints Carefully

Anyone who has been involved in alternative geopolitical and economic analysis for a decent length of time understands that the establishment power structure thrives according to its ability to either exploit natural crises, or to engineer fabricated crises.

This is not that hard to comprehend, but for some reason there are a lot of people out there who simply assume that global sea-change events just happen “at random,” that the elites are stupid or oblivious, and that all outcomes are a matter of random chance rather than being directed or manipulated.  I call these people “intellectual idiots,” because they believe they are applying logic to every scenario but they are sabotaged by an inherent bias which causes them to deny the potential for “conspiracy.”

To clarify, their logic folds in on itself and becomes faulty.  They believe themselves objective, but they abandon objectivity when they staunchly refuse to consider the possibility of covert influence by organized special interests. When you internally dismiss the possibility of a thing, no amount of evidence will ever convince you of its reality.  This is how the “smartest” people in the room can end up being the dumbest people in the room.

In Stinging Defeat, House Republicans Abandon Obamacare Repeal Effort

To summarize today’s latest Congressional rollercoaster, the pundits and the White House were wrong, and the online betting markets were right.

Following a day of drama in Congress yesterday, Friday was another nail-biter until the last moment, and after Trump’s Thursday ultimatum failed to yield more “yes” votes, the embattled bill seeking to replace major parts of Obamacare was yanked Friday from the floor of the House.

As a result, Trump suffered a second consecutive blow as opposition from within his own party forced Republican leaders to cancel a vote on healthcare reform for the second time, casting doubt on the president’s ability to deliver on other priorities.

The withdrawal pointed to Trump’s failure to charm republicans in the last minute, raising questions about whether he could unify Republicans behind his pro-growth legislative goals of tax reform and infrastructure spending.

Putin Meets Marine Le Pen, Vows “Not To Influence” French Election In Any Way

Pen, in the Kremlin on Friday, and as Reuters summarized, “handed her a potential boost to her campaign to win next month’s presidential election in France.”

 Putin told Le Pen Moscow reserved the right to meet any French politician it wanted and that she represented “quite a fast-growing element of European political forces.”

“Of course I know that the election campaign in France is actively developing,” said Putin who sarcastically commented on ongoing allegations that Russia is behind the final outcome of western elections in the past year saying  “we do not want to influence events in any way, but we reserve the right to talk to representatives of all the country’s political forces.”

As Reuters adds, a meeting with Putin is a coup for Le Pen and could help her burnish her foreign policy credentials. While increasingly popular in France, she has struggled to get any backing abroad apart from support offered by other far-right parties.

Juncker warns Trump that anti-EU stance risks triggering Balkan war

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has delivered a blunt warning to Donald Trump against encouraging countries to copy Brexit, arguing that a break-up of the EU could trigger war in the western Balkans. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Juncker said the US president’s enthusiasm for Britain’s departure from the EU was “annoying” and “surprising”. It showed the real estate tycoon was unaware of the complicated history of Europe. The Luxembourger, a 62-year-old veteran of European politics, delivered his warning to US vice-president Mike Pence when he visited Brussels last month. “I told the vice-president, ‘Do not say that, do not invite others to leave, because if the European Union collapses, you will have a new war in the western Balkans,” Mr Juncker said. In 1991, at the end of the Cold War, the break-up of former Yugoslavia led to a brutal ethnic war between Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims which only ended after a Nato-led military intervention.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has delivered a blunt warning to Donald Trump against encouraging countries to copy Brexit, arguing that a break-up of the EU could trigger war in the western Balkans. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Juncker said the US president’s enthusiasm for Britain’s departure from the EU was “annoying” and “surprising”. It showed the real estate tycoon was unaware of the complicated history of Europe. The Luxembourger, a 62-year-old veteran of European politics, delivered his warning to US vice-president Mike Pence when he visited Brussels last month. “I told the vice-president, ‘Do not say that, do not invite others to leave, because if the European Union collapses, you will have a new war in the western Balkans,” Mr Juncker said. In 1991, at the end of the Cold War, the break-up of former Yugoslavia led to a brutal ethnic war between Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims which only ended after a Nato-led military intervention.

Philippines allows suspended miners to ship out nickel ore – Reuters

Volume of nickel ore stockpiles that can be sold from two mines exceed 1 mln tonnes

Total volume of nickel ore at eight mines unlikely to exceed 5 mln tonnes

  • The Philippines’ environment agency has allowed eight suspended nickel ore miners to ship out stockpiles of mined ore, sources told Reuters, temporarily boosting supply from the world’s top exporter of the raw metal after a major mining crackdown.
  • More than half of all mines in the Philippines have been ordered to permanently shut to protect watersheds in an eight-month campaign led by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez.
  • Allowing the halted mines to sell their stocked nickel ore is aimed at limiting the potential build up of silt in nearby waters, an official with knowledge of the order said, rather than the government toning down its campaign.
more to come

Yonhap says North Korea is prepared for another nuclear test

Yonhap (South Korean media), citing South Korean defense officials

  • North Korea seems to have finished preparing for another nuclear test
  • Awaiting for leader Kim Jong-un’s final decision
  • “It’s assessed that North Korea is capable of conducting a nuclear test within hours after Kim Jong-un’s order,” an official said on the condition of anonymity
  • “We are keeping close tabs on its nuclear-related facilities with combined assets with the U.S.”
  • “The test could come as early as the end of the month,” one official was cited as saying.

China’s Largest Dairy Operator Suddenly Crashes 90% To Record Low, Muddy Waters Says “Worth Close To Zero”

In December 2016, Muddy Waters’ Carson Block said China’s largest dairy farm operator, Hong-Kong listed China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., is “worth close to zero” and questioned its profitability in a report. Today, with no catalyst, it suddenly almost is. The stock collapsed over 90% in minutes to a record low.

The sudden crash wiped out about $4.2 billion in market value in the stock, which is a member of the MSCI China Index.

In ‘year of the scandal,’ Abe’s woes could shake Asia

It is increasingly hard to keep up with this year’s bumper crop of scandals. U.S. President Donald Trump continues to generate fresh controversy on an almost a daily basis. In France, the old-school “family values” presidential candidate Francois Fillon had been tripped up by an old-school family values-type scandal involving payments made by businessmen to his wife and children. Meanwhile, lurid details of sexual antics and lavish hospitality have emerged in the “Fat Leonard” corruption affair, in which at least 20 serving and former officers of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, including two retired admirals, are accused of accepting favors from a Malaysian defense contractor.

The human weaknesses of greed, lust and pride are immutable. In every time and place, the powerful periodically succumb to the temptations of power. Northeast Asia is no exception. Scandals have recently tarnished the reputations of two previously unassailable leaders, though the outcomes are likely to differ greatly.

 Abe’s image problem

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should be well placed to quell the mini-typhoon of adverse publicity that has suddenly blown his way, though he will have to work hard to recover the aura of invincibility that he once projected. The blow to his popularity ratings — which have dropped 5-10% in a single month according to newspaper polls, albeit from unusually high levels — comes from a tangled tale of involvement with the Moritomo kindergarten, a private school which purports to instil traditional Japanese ethics in its tiny pupils.