Trade

Much Ado About… Empire

By David Stockman  |  December 4, 2019

But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.

– Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1532)

Equity indexes are back in the green today, of course, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up about 200 points on reports the U.S. and China “are moving closer to a deal.”

No human with discernible brainwave activity is buying this bullshit. It’s an algo-driven snap-back…

Meanwhile, in Imperial Washington, it’s beginning to seem like an assault by the Zulu army of American politics – they just never stop coming.

This week, the House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings to determine whether there are constitutional grounds to impeach President Donald J. Trump over his now-famous – and probably at least a little bit imperfect – telephone call with Urkainian President Voldymyr Zelenskiy.

It’s all based on the parade of Russophobic neocon Deep Staters who trooped before Adam’s Schiff Show to pillory the Donald for daring to look into the Ukrainian stench that engulfs the Imperial City.

It’s a rank odor, indeed, and it rises from their own arrogant meddling in the internal affairs of that woebegone country. And what they evinced was nothing more than the self-serving groupthink that has turned Ukraine into a goldmine.

It’s now a cornucopia of funding for all the think tanks, NGOs, foreign policy experts, national security contractors, and Warfare State agencies – from the Department of Defense through the State Department, the Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Board for International Broadcasting and countless more – that ply their trade inside the Capital Beltway.

The ever-perspicacious Robert Merry has it right. These cats are not noble public servants and heroes. They’re apparatchiks and payrollers aggrandizing their own power and pelf – even as they lead the nation to the brink of disaster:

But these men embrace a geopolitical outlook that is simplistic, foolhardy, and dangerous. Perhaps no serious blame should accrue to them, since it is the same geopolitical outlook embraced and enforced by pretty much the entire foreign policy establishment, of which these men are mere loyal apparatchiks. And yet they are playing their part in pushing a foreign policy that is directing America towards a very possible disaster.

Neither man manifested even an inkling of an understanding of what kind of game the United States in playing with Ukraine. Neither gave even a nod to the long, complex relationship between Ukraine and Russia. Neither seemed to understand either the substance or the intensity of Russia’s geopolitical interests along its own borders or the likely consequences of increasing U.S. meddling in what for centuries has been part of Russia’s sphere of influence.

They obviously didn’t get it. But we must.

So, let us summarize the true Ukraine story, starting with the utterly stupid and historically ignorant reason for Washington’s February 2014 coup. Namely, it objected to the decision of Ukraine’s prior government in late 2013 to align itself economically and politically with its historic hegemon in Moscow rather than the European Union and NATO.

Yet, the fairly elected and constitutionally legitimate government of Ukraine, then led by Viktor Yanukovych, had gone that route mainly because it got a better deal from Moscow than was being demanded by the fiscal torture artists of the International Monetary Fund.

Needless to say, the ensuing U.S.-sponsored putsch arising from the mobs on the streets of Kiev re-opened deep national wounds. Ukraine’s bitter divide between Russian-speakers in the east and Ukrainian nationalists elsewhere dates back to Stalin’s brutal rein in Ukraine during the 1930s and Ukrainian collusion with Hitler’s Wehrmacht on its way to Stalingrad and back during the 1940s.

It was the memory of the latter nightmare, in fact, that triggered the fear-driven outbreak of Russian separatism in the Donbas and the 96% referendum vote in Crimea in March 2014 to formally reaffiliate with Mother Russia.

In this context, even a passing familiarity with Russian history and geography would remind that Ukraine and Crimea are Moscow’s business, not Imperial Washington’s.

Setting aside all that, during the last 800 years Ukraine’s been a meandering set of borders in search of a country.

There’s nothing at stake there that matters.

This Matters

This is the most politicized market in history. And the Tweeter-in-Chief is still in charge. So, the situation is changing almost by the minute.

It’s “Impeachment!” in Imperial Washington and all over the Mainstream Media. It’s “Easy Money!” on Wall Street and across Bubblevision.

And it seems as if the whole world has, indeed, gone mad.

Amid this chaos, prices will continue to rise and fall, trends will continue to develop and dissipate.

Well, The Stockman Letter is made for times like these. And we’ve updated our design to help us better navigate to not only the safest harbors but also the most promising opportunities.

The stakes are as high as they can be heading into 2020. Markets appear to be straining, catching up to an economy that’s been weak and getting weaker for years.

The Donald is tied up in the day-to-day movements of the major stock indexes like no president before him. The increasingly desperate incumbent will do anything he must to hold the White House.

It’s a major tipping point. And there’s no telling what the Donald’s great disruptions could do to your wealth.

You’ve got to be nimble to win in this market…

To common sense.

 

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David Stockman

David Stockman is the ultimate Washington insider turned iconoclast. He began his career in Washington as a young man and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street.MORE FROM AUTHOR