News & Analysis
Is Something Big Brewing in Latin American?
Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States. Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, the region is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran. "Monroe certainly would be rolling over in his grave," says Julia Sweig, director of the Latin America program at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington and author of the 2006 book "Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century." The U.S., she says, "is no longer the exclusive go-to power in the region, especially in South America, where U.S. economic ties are much less important." Since November, Russian warships have engaged in joint naval exercises with Venezuela, the first in the Caribbean since the Cold War; Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a free-trade agreement with Peru; and Brazil invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a state visit. "While the U.S. remains aloof from a region it no longer sees as relevant to its strategic interests, other countries are making unprecedented, serious moves to fill the void," says Luiz Felipe Lampreia, Brazil's foreign minister from 1995 until 2001. "Countries in the region are more aware than ever that they live in a globalized, post-American world." – Bloomberg
Dominant Social Theme: See, the world is a dangerous place.
Free-Market Analysis: Tensions are rising, not just in South America. In fact, we'll return to South America in a moment. We have some other ground to cover, and other geographical regions as well. The Western world is abuzz with dire predictions these days, much of which can be traced to the changing of the guard in the American White House. Many of the more paranoid perspectives – finding outlets then as now on the Internet – were also given a voice at the turn of the 21st century when the idea of Y2K computer failures concentrated minds.
The idea has always been that social chaos would provide an entrée for more Draconian measures of state control. These ideas have been lent credence by the endless outpouring of executive orders and secret agreements signed by modern American presidents. William Clinton signed many of these orders and so has the current president George W. Bush, who also managed to suspend the US tradition of habeas corpus besides. Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister has figured prominently into recent reports. Many on the fringe (paranoid or not) have taken to believing that some sort of incident or attack might happen in late January and that Harper's suspension of Parliament for a period of weeks will give Harper the latitude he needs to order Canada to react – as part of a continent wide strike force – without the embrace of a Parliamentary democracy to cramp his style.
What are we to make of predictions of fringe predictions of Western martial law and the forcible merger of America, Canada and Mexico into one super state? Such musings will not find much mainstream traction, and while we are not much for mainstream news, we wonder if in this case the more mainstream reporters among us have got it right – this time anyway. Bear in mind that we, within this report, have been willing to postulate a monetary elite, a gradual North American Union, and even a grand plot to manipulate gold, silver and currency, especially the US dollar. But that is yet a far cry from a mobilization of military forces to take over an entire continent in the blink of an eye.
When we look into the charges and the suppositions and the groups behind them, we think we find the same weary pattern. Most of the time, thanks to the Internet, if you look hard enough, you come to a conclusion, vague as it may be, that the organizational force and the money are somehow being provided by people who have tenuous and perhaps deniable connections to Western military apparatuses. This will of course be news to some, but not others. Former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld long ago declared war on the Internet and one of his favorite psy-ops tricks is to make what is feasible look ridiculous and what is truthful look conspiratorial.
Understand, please, if one can somehow link a hard-money economist to a UFO sighting in the public mind one has impugned who? ... the UFO sighter or the hard-money economist? The economist may have 500 years worth of economic history at his fingertips, but once he or she is seen as a proponent of little, green men the argument is never the same because it is conflated with something "far out."
So right now the idea that Harper has suspended Parliament so as to have a free hand is making the rounds on the Internet. Unfortunately, the same sites and groups discussing it are also prone to discussing issues involving central banking and other serious economic issues grounded in classical and neo-classical analysis.
We think Harper is a fairly poisonous politician who has contributed greatly to Canadian political chaos – and for that Canadians actually ought to be grateful since consolidation of power at the center is never a very good idea, long term. We are not sure however that he is ready to step forward as a Canadian Mussolini; nor are we clear why Joe Biden – or the much-decorated Iraq super-commander Colin Powell for that matter – would all but declare that something horrible was scheduled for late January. (There are videos of these declarations making the rounds as well.)
As it turns out, there is something scheduled for late January, actually for early February – and that is an international monetary conference that is being billed as the "second Bretton Woods" which defined the post-war economic consensus for much of the 20th century. We do expect something momentous to come out of this conference, or at least the beginnings of something. And if there is a good deal of tension surrounding the conference, if there are rumors of something out of the ordinary, if the dollar is wavering, if gold is up, so much the better. If the world's economy is to be seen hanging by its fingertips, then that only makes the job easier, we suppose, to generate a consensus that further internationalizes the current system with all its disastrous flaws and mock regulatory apparatus.
Conclusion: Which brings us back to the original excerpt with which we began this article. The world is a complex place and it should be clear by now, to readers of this little paper anyway, that what passes for consensus in the Western World is mostly a monetary elite located for all intents and purposes in the Anglo-Saxon regions of the world. While a global economy sounds good, the hurdles include China, Russia and other countries that must be inveigled into joining such a pact. We would make the argument that bringing the world together under one master plan is hard and getting harder, given the current economic scene. Yes, perhaps drastic action may be taken to achieve these goals, but such action (not of a surreptitious nature) would be a departure from the slow – ever slower slog – toward "one world." Those who can be harried toward this goal are being urged in its direction via fear and various kinds of monetary pressure. And yes, paranoia plays into this sort of manipulation – and it is possible that some are even engaged in inducing it. Better to make cautious decisions based on historical realities; take possession of honest money – precious metals – and be judicious about where else you place hard-earned cash. Give of your full-hearted belief sparingly. The world is a complex place. And evil as it can be, it may not be about to end just yet.