If you’ve been following our blogs for a number of years, you will know we’ve mentioned the fear that the world, at some point, will descend into a third World War. At the time this seemed a far off concept. But I’ll admit that the last four years have constantly brought me up on how much international events are accelerating. If we’re honest, most of us can probably instinctively feel it. There doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by without some unraveling of the world we knew when we were young.
(Source: Daily Mirror)
Today, it’s the Russian-Turkish tensions. As many of you will be aware Turkey shot down a Russian jet yesterday. We’ve written often in the last year of Russia’s desire – along with China – to overcome the U.S. as the global super-power. Now, we at Bleyer, have always liked to be measured in our analysis of the news. And there are some very hopeful signs early this morning that this will not descend into open conflict. But let’s start at where the general consensus falls:
“The Turkish military’s bombing of a Russian jet over Syria’s border has pulled the trigger for Twitteratti who see the latest action as a prelude to World War III. Only three hours after Turkey announced it had shot down the Russian war plane for violating its airspace, the phrase World War III picked up rapidly and was trending in almost all regions in the world. A fuming Russia called Turkey a “backstabber” and “accomplices of terror” and warned of “significant consequences.” Most see Russia in the near future stepping up the heat on Turkey – a significant Nato member, who may be backed by the US and other western allies. While Russia and Turkey have boasted of fighting the Islamic State (Isis), the fact remains that each has its own objectives in mind.” (International Business Times, 25 November 2015).
There are two things I believe; one for a number of years and one for a few months.
Firstly, I believe that – for all the hero-worshiping headlines of him “fighting ISIS” – Putin’s motives for getting involved in the Middle East are Machiavellian. At no point is a Communist Leader who wants to be a super-power concerned with the well-being of a Muslim state. But it does make complete sense that a Communist Leader who wants to be a super-power will support a Syrian regime that is in direct conflict with American backed government rebels. On one level you have a fight between U.S. and Russia being played out as puppet masters in Syria; their perspective puppets being anti-government rebels and Assad’s regime respectively. Now let me be clear, I don’t agree with Obama’s disastrous foreign policies, which have created the very vacuum for such turmoil in the Middle East region. Plus, if ISIS get pummeled in the process that’s clearly all good with me! But it is Machiavellian to appear to be motivated to fight against Islamic terror, while using normal people’s fear of ISIS in the West as a P.R. smokescreen to really accelerate one’s Communist desire’s to rule the democratic world. Strong, charismatic leaders are always, always a trap. History teaches us this. But at the same time I am at a loss to explain the U.S. administration’s move to arm Iran. Maybe the world is going mad and ironically, that’s the only sane conclusion!
Secondly, I have believed that the trigger for World War III will come from a country of which we wouldn’t automatically consider. Syria fits this bill. So does Turkey. Who would have through the U.S. and Russia (currently backed by China in the wings) would be going head to head over Syria?
History also teaches us that we sometimes get a few warnings that difficult times are ahead but usually the masses don’t listen, because they don’t believe the unimaginable can happen. Until it does. This latest incident of a Russian jet being blown from the sky by Turkey in Syrian airspace, may not be the flash-point to start World War III but if it’s not, it is yet another warning shot over our collective bow to prepare for the unimaginable. Here are a few positive sparks of news coming through first thing this morning that this is a warning shot:
“Russia would be prepared to “create a joint staff” to fight the Islamic State (Isil) in which Moscow would work with France, the United States and even Turkey, the Russian ambassador to France said Wednesday (today) “We are prepared to… plan strikes on Daesh (IS) positions together and create a joint staff with France, the US, with all the countries who want to be in this coalition,” said Alexander Orlov,” adding: “If the Turks want to be in at as well, they are welcome” despite tensions after Turkey downed a Russian military jet.” (Telegraph Live Feed)
And another perspective:
“The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.” Can we trust what the U.S. is saying about Russia? Or are the two super-powers tussling again in plain sight?” (Telegraph Live Feed)
The source of these updates raises another point. For many years I would research throughout the week and write a blog for Bleyer once a week, using much of my earlier research. But repeatedly this year that is proving impossible. Because the news is changing so fast. Whether it’s the rise in U.S. interest rates, terrorism or U.S./Russian relations or the Chinese Stock Market triple-crash, it is a now-regular occurrence to be writing a blog with several live-feeds open. Otherwise it would be impossible to bring you the most up-to-date news. Financial and political events seem to be accelerating.
I don’t often quote the BBC. But I found a very thought provoking editorial from a year ago, on whether we could face a third world war. Here it is:
“Could another world war break out? It seems unlikely – but that, of course, is exactly what people everywhere believed before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Serbian extremist in June 1914. There are certainly potential flash-points at present. Europe and Russia are trading angry insults over Ukraine, and China and Japan are squaring up over a few uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. There are two particular dangers at such times. The first is that smaller countries can drag larger ones into conflict. In 1914, Russia, France and Britain became involved on Serbia’s side, while Germany supported Austria. The second is that governments are sometimes tempted to believe they can launch limited, successful wars that will be over quickly. They are usually wrong.”
But the whole article is eerily forward-thinking. Financially, Putin got straight to the point late last night when he stated that, “We long ago established the fact that a large amount of oil and oil products enter Turkey from territory seized by Islamic State, which represents a large monetary replenishment for the group,” Mr. Putin said.” (Wall Street Journal, 24 November 2015) It is difficult to criticize someone who is doing a great job in garnering considerable international support to tackle the terror bases of ISIS, when the “weakness” of other governments to do so is also difficult to comprehend. But I do think it prudent and logical to assume that in many ways, Putin is showing a great deal of strategic intelligence in positioning himself in the region, as if this was his primary purpose; when it is not.
Oil, War and Gold are so often linked it would be impossible to have time to cover that link in just one blog. For a deeper look please visit previous blogs such as:
From Russian With Gold (7 October 2015) “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that his coalition with Russia, Iran and Iraq must succeed in Syria’s war, suggesting the alternative would be a region in chaos. The alliance “must succeed, otherwise we are facing the destruction of the entire region and not just one or two states,” Mr. Assad said in the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network interview.” Let’s just read that list of allies again: Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq. That’s not a healthy grouping of ideologies. But it is exactly the sort of “mutual alliances” we alluded to back in December.
But that is not the only alliance Russia has been building. We have covered this in detail but Russia is extremely close to China, is its moves against the dollar. Why is this significant to Gold? Because a Gold backed currency is the most logical safe haven when fiat currencies collapse. And Russia and China seem to be positioning themselves as the owners of most of the world’s Gold in order to be the creators of that new Gold backed currency. And what will bring that global collapse? Almost certainly, the collapse of the dollar and / or the euro, not necessarily in that order. We at Bleyer are under no illusion that a currency war has been in action for quite some time.”
And Putin isn’t that silly (17 December 2014) “(NB: The situation is changing rapidly. Information is correct at time of publication.) So the Russian bear is suffering and it looks – as usual – as if it’s all about Oil. Or is it? The question in my head is why is the price of oil dropping, who is causing it and which nation(s) does that pressure? If you’re holding your physical Gold and Silver long, and think the price drop in Oil could affect your Precious Metal, don’t worry. Oil is often connected to the “shaking out of weak hands” in the Gold and Silver Physical market. We believe it is wise to keep holding onto your physical. In fact any price drop is what the Physical Metals Market like to call a buying opportunity.”
In conclusion, we’d like to sum up the complexity of the politics involved. I, like many others, believe not all is what it seems:
“French president Francois Hollande heads to the White House on Tuesday, calling for urgency in the war against Islamic State but also attempting to smooth ruffled feathers over his next diplomatic stop. Hollande’s decision to follow talks with Barack Obama with a trip to Moscow two days later to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin is not likely to go down well with his American hosts. “There is dissatisfaction on the US side about the optics of going from the US to see Putin,” a source in Washington said. “If Russia is serious about this effort, they should really be coming to the coalition.” The talks may also be complicated by Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian warplane on Tuesday, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace and had ignored repeated warnings. Russia said the SU-24 was downed by artillery fire, but Turkey claimed that its F-16s fired on the Russian plane. The Russian ministry of defense said the plane was over Syrian territory “throughout the flight”. The US has repeatedly condemned Russia’s intervention in Syria for propping up President Bashar al-Assad, whom it says has lost popular support, and for becoming a recruiting tool for Isis. On Monday, Putin visited Assad’s other key backer, Iran, for talks with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.” (The Guardian, 24 November 2015)
And finally, NewsMax put out a very interesting interview with Retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, last night: “Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of being accomplices of terrorism, warning of “very serious consequences.” The countries were fierce enemies during the Cold War. Hayden told Newsmax that Putin would retaliate viciously because he must do so “for the crowd,” both domestically and internationally. “Restoring some sense of Russian greatness — and then doing it for the crowd globally, trying to demonstrate to everyone that Russia is once again a global player.” He said that Turkey responded because Putin was bombing moderate Turks who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of Islamic State terrorists. “What the Russians were doing, not bombing ISIS, they were bombing Turkmen who are ethnically very, very similar to the Turks,” he told Hayworth. “This is the opposition, the moderate opposition that we want to arm to move against Assad.” “Frankly, I don’t see how either side backs down,” he said. “The Turks defending their brethren and the Russians trying to defend their manhood.”
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