Iran So Far Away

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

– Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II (sometimes wrongly attributed to Sun Tzu)

Iran has come up as a subject of conversation a number of times over the last few days.  After a breakfast talk by the UAE’s Ambassador to the U.S., His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, a friend posed this provocative question:

Would the UAE freeze Iranian accounts as a sanction to prevent their acquisition of nuclear weapons?

(more…)

Advertisements
Published in: on February 21, 2010 at 16:03  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Sound of Freedom?

Tomorrow is 22 Bahman, the day a group of young students wishing for a better government, a better country and a better life, toppled a dictatorship against the unlikeliest of odds, forever changing the course of their country and putting their country at the center of a global geopolitical storm that would last for decades.

Tonight:

They chant:  “Death to the Dictator,” but the year is not 1979 and the dictator is not a Pahlavi.

Check out the various sources, cited in an earlier post by the Cowboy here.  Sullivan is still on top of things, but not doing dedicated coverage.  Backgrounder here.  Tehran Bureau is another good source.  Wright has a thought-provoking  realist view.

Pray for the land desiring to be free and the brave seeking to make it so.

Published in: on February 10, 2010 at 21:07  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Mired In A Slough Of Despond

Ah, Neighbour Christian, where are you now?

Truly, said Christian, I do not know.¹

Markets up, markets down, dollar up, dollar down, jobs up, unemployment down, sovereign concerns, hot money flows, oil, copper and gold.  Where do we go from here?  Where is HELP!

(more…)

China Impoverishes The World?

The last post on LUV got the Cowboy thinking about China’s internal focus.

As the Cowboy has stated:

“Given that the Chinese economy is already focused on exports anyway (like Germany and Japan), the currency manipulation just adds to the current account surplus, putting more foreign currency in the hands of the government.  This is money (or stored value) that is being saved by the country as a whole.  If the Chinese consumed more, there would be less production available for export, they would import more and, with a freely floating currency, you might eventually reach a current account balance.  As for a black market, the Chinese government has been pretty effective at keeping it to a minimum.  All of this begs the next question though.  Why would the Chinese government intentionally make its people worse off, allowing them to buy less and forcing them to save more, especially given how poor most of its population is?”

Go to the post (and the following parts) if you want the Cowboy’s answer to that question.

And as a wise friend reminded the Cowboy yesterday, it was Keynes who said:

“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.”¹

Well, get a load of Arvind Subramanian‘s piece in yesterday’s FT.  I know, I know, that’s two consecutive posts linking to the FT, behind its pay-wall.  Sorry.  The article is entitled: “It Is The Poor Who Pay For The Weak Renminbi”.

(more…)

Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 22:02  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

LUV Ya!

Here’s the soundtrack for today’s post (blatantly taken from a previous post.. or two).

As is so often the case, Wolf beautifully summarized the economic ennui at Davos this year.

As an aside, the Cowboy  enjoyed the coinage attributed to Sir Martin Sorrell (of WPP fame) for describing the global recovery.  You will remember the alpha-pictorial discussions of the last couple of years relating to economic recovery (U-shaped and so on).  In that context, the world can be described, aptly in the Cowboy’s view, as facing a period of LUV (Europe, North America and emerging economies, respectively).  With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and economic uncertainty abounding, I suppose it is no surprise that Cupid has taken an interest in the dismal science.

Question 1:  Was that Cupid everyone saw cavorting during the wee hours in Davos?

Question2:  Who was he with?

Question 3:  Most important of all, is Cupid a monetarist or a Keynesian?

(more…)

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 21:59  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

1918: History, Medicine and Art

Below is an interesting film on the infamous 1918 flu pandemic.  Mrs. Gomez (Mama), of the first interview, is the matriarch of a clan with which the Cowboy has had a lifelong family friendship.  The Cowboy had the good fortune to be able to say hello to la Señora, as he always addresses her,  just before Christmas.  She is 100.  Like her daughters and grand-daughters, she is a strong, dynamic woman filled with energy and charm.

Her son-in-law, an opthalmic surgeon, was a huge positive influence on a young Cowboy, who spent many hours with him in operating rooms, both as a patient with a complex trauma-induced condition, and as a student standing beside him.  The Cowboy regularly followed him on Saturday mornings, beginning at 7 am, donning scrubs, and observing microsurgery performed by this artist of the medical arts – a good man, a dedicated teacher, and a strong father figure to his kids as well as the Cowboy.

(more…)

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 21:25  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,