Saturday, March 25, 2017

Today's links

Forgotten promises?  
“We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States]… We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.” Donald Trump campaign speech dec 1--Cincinnati

1--US military buildup continues, Nation  Mounting anti-Russia hysteria and military buildup, Hmmmm?

On March 9, The New York Times reported that the United States is sending 400 troops to Syria to bolster the small number of American troops that are already on the ground there. A week later, March 15, The Washington Post reported that the Pentagon has drawn up plans to send a 1,000 more troops within the coming weeks. Meanwhile, in anticipation of the coming (and perhaps final) stages of the operation against the Islamic State, the administration has decided to send “an additional 2,500 ground combat troops to a staging base in Kuwait from which they could be called upon to back up coalition forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.”

2--Le Pen goes to Moscow

Intelligence sharing?

3--Thus Spake Sergei (Lavrov, that is)

"The formation of a polycentric international order"...

(must read)  The redistribution of the global balance of power continues. We are witnessing new centres of economic power and associated political influence come into being in the world. The Asia-Pacific Region has established itself as the driver of the world economy. Latin American and African nations, which have considerable human and resource potential, are taking a more active role. These developments bring into stark relief the cultural and civilisational diversity of the modern world. The need to democratise relations between states is becoming a more pressing issue

Russia remains the economic centre of gravity for the post-Soviet countries. This objective factor, not Moscow’s mythical urge to “revive the empire”, underlies the movement toward Eurasian integration. We and our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union are linked in today’s globalised world by centuries-long economic and cultural contacts and the intertwined destinies of our nations. We also advance the EAEU’s foreign contacts to implement President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to form a multilevel integration model in Eurasia. Interest in this initiative is growing steadily

4--Daesh, Creature of the West

"In the end, Shea frankly admitted to the source that Gen David Petraeus, conductor of the much-lauded 2007 surge, had trained these Sunnis now part of Daesh in Anbar province in Iraq.
"Saudi intelligence still maintains that these Iraqi Sunnis were not US-trained – as Shea confirmed – because the Shiites in power in Baghdad didn’t allow it. Not true. The fact is the Daesh core – most of them former commanders and soldiers in Saddam Hussein’s army — is indeed a US-trained militia."
Now I doubt very much more than previously that Dr. Frankenstein will destroy his creation, which explains the sudden surge to wall off Raqqa from all other regional forces and capture Taqba airbase

5--Putin speaks

Russia opposes attempts to destabilize and weaken international relations, as this could lead to a chaotic and ever less controllable slide towards greater tension in the world.

We support joint action to ensure a democratic and fair world order based on strict respect for the norms of international law, the United Nations Charter, recognition of the unquestionable value of cultural and civilizational diversity, national sovereignty, and the right of all countries to decide their futures freely, without external pressure.

The international situation does indeed require improvement. This calls for restraint, wisdom and responsibility. I would like to reiterate that Russia supports joint efforts to resolve the real problems facing the entire international community today. 

6--U.S. ​Stocks’ Weekly Drop Is Biggest in Months-- Political uncertainty, stretched valuations drive declines amid struggle on health-care bill

7--SEC Chairman Nominee Jay Clayton Calls for Scaling Back Regulations to Encourage IPOs -- President Donald Trump’s pick for top regulatory post says past work as a Wall Street lawyer is a strength

Another Trump fox arrives at the henhouse

8--What Comes After the Trump Trade for Markets? -- Markets can be driven by stories about fundamental factors or by pure supply and demand

Markets love a good story. The narrative this week has been about fear for the “Trump trade” of rising equities and higher Treasury yields, as the congressional battle over health care raised doubts about the prospects for the president’s promised tax cuts.
A more nuanced tale involves a fragile rally increasingly reliant on share buying by private investors, even as Donald Trump’s approval ratings fell and sophisticated investors grew more concerned about how much hope was priced in to stocks.

A deeper analysis goes to the next level, trying to detect when the story itself is changing. It is often obvious with hindsight: Last summer, U.S. stocks flipped from moving the opposite way to the dollar to moving in the same direction, as deflation fears faded. The S&P 500 switched from being driven up by a hunt for yield to instead gaining from a hunt for growth, and economically sensitive cyclical stocks took the lead. Mr. Trump’s election turbocharged the rally because a growth narrative took firm hold, shown by investors who started to like higher inflation-adjusted yields....

The story is changing again. U.S. stocks have become less and less sensitive to economic factors as the year has gone on, and the explanatory power of macroeconomic influences fell close to zero at the start of this week, according to Quant Insight. QI aims to model how the macroeconomic drivers of asset prices shift as market narratives change, using a variation on a statistical tool known as principal component analysis. It found previously tight links between U.S. stocks, inflation-linked bond yields and the dollar weakened recently....

Whichever story eventually dominates, expect choppy markets until the next narrative emerges

9--Prominent U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union: “The Whole Brou-Ha-Ha Over Contacts with Russian Diplomats Has Taken On All The Earmarks of a Witch Hunt … That is the Attitude of a Police State”

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