Monday, August 25, 2008


Yesterday, I wrote about the tremendous weakness in everything from the GDP in England, the price of steel and the price of shipping. World wide, economies are slowing, inflation rates are falling, and commodity prices are falling. (The US Natural gas price is down 42% in just two months!) The coming economic reports are going to be scary but promising. Stock prices typically soar when the market shifts out of inflation investments and into growth investments. This happens after the down turn in commodity prices but before the economy reaches bottom.

Today the DOW dropped more than 200 points. The decline was not all about the slower economy. The Armada that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago is now afloat. A number of military and news sites have confirmed that ships are underway or preparing to be underway. Six thousand sailors and marines are headed to the Middle East.

Two aircraft carriers and other ships are already in the area. The ships underway or departing Tuesday or Friday include the USS Iwo Jima, the USS San Antonio, the USS Carter Hall, the USS Roosevelt, the USS Rampage and the USS Vella Gulf.

The Armada includes flight decks for French and US fighters, transportation for marines and equipment, amphibious landing craft, guided missile cruisers, guided missile destroyers and attack submarines (USS Hartford plus a UK ship). A number of French, UK and Canadian assets are involved.

The departures were announced Friday and Saturday. The price of oil hardly budged. A few months ago, an Armada underway to the Middle East would have caused oil prices to soar. By my rough count, Iran has until September 19th to satisfy the negotiators. In the absence of success at the negotiating table, the US and friends are prepared to virtually stop the importation of gasoline to Iran.


When it becomes more broadly known that the ships are underway, the first reaction by many will be that the US and Russia are about to face off. To an extent, that is true. Russia has consolidated command of its Mediterranean fleet under its Black Sea Fleet Commander. Russia has assets deployed at Georgia and at Syria. The US just used a destroyer to deliver food aid to Georgia.

One of the things the media has gotten wrong is in statements about Russia not going along with the next set of sanctions against Iran. What they don't realize is that after negotiating progress was made with Iran, the toughest of the third set of sanctions was withdrawn. These sanctions have already been passed by a vote of 14 yes and 0 no by the UN Security Council. Russia and China have already voted for these sanctions.

Russia's problem with the USA and Europe is not in the handling of the Iranian situation. Russia and China protested when NATO was used like a mini-UN in regard to Kosovo. NATO's attempt to avoid another "ethnic cleansing" resulted in new borders. Russia and China have protested the actions, but, so far, the new borders stand.

The USA has about half of all the naval assets in the world. Russia's navy was allowed to rust after the collapse of the economy in 1989. Russia is rebuilding. The US has no interest in a confrontation with Russia. Today, Obama called for stepped up pressure on Iran. Obama's team is aware that the ships are already underway. Obama is on board as are the Russians. If a mission is going to be a success, a smart statesman makes sure he is "leading the band". Iran is ready to sign.

For those who do not know the whole story, it is hard to understand why Iran is being sanctioned for refining uranium while Pakistan and India have nuclear bombs. One day, we may be able to eliminate all nuclear weapons, but, until we can, we must try to avoid the proliferation of nuclear weapons.


Over the next four years, without adding a single power plant, the USA expects to increase its production of nuclear power by 4%. We will produce an extra 2 Gigawatts of electricity. Peace loving countries around the world are increasing their production by similar upgrades to existing plants.

MIT has discovered a way to boost production by another 50%! Toshiba-Westinghouse is currently working to commercialize the technology. Such technology is not going to be shared with rogue nations that secretly refine uranium.

Over the next 5 years, at least 47 Gigawatts of new nuclear energy will be built. China has a goal of producing 75 Gigawatts more within 12 years.

Some of the major companies involved are Areva, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, GE, Hitachi, Toshiba and Shaw Group. Westinghouse is 70% owned by Toshiba.

The invisible hand is at work. Billions of people are making decisions daily that reduce the consumption of fuel. Germany is building huge wind farms, but nuclear power is going to be cheaper and more reliable. Three more plants are due to come on line this year. Seven more next year. Very large increases in natural gas and oil production is going to hold prices down until even more nuclear power can be brought online.


The political news out of Pakistan has been troubling. It remains to be seen if a smooth transfer of power will take place. However, the government just outlawed the Taliban! Bank accounts have been frozen and the government has shown no interest in being duped again by phony peace negotiations. Taliban leaders are ready to sue for peace because they are getting pounded by a well equipped government army. The Brits are sending another 4,500 troops to Afghanistan. It is great to see signs of progress.

The Armada is nothing but a tool to call an end to the games. It is time for Iran and Iraq to work out a few differences. It is time for Iran and Turkey to work out a few last minute differences. It is time for Syria to sign off on a deal with Israel. It is time for a long list of commercial projects to get started. It is time for Iran to agree to assist in the war on terror.

In Iraq today, a 13 year old girl turned herself in at the local police station. She had a suicide bomb strapped around her waist, but she did not want to go through with it. There is an awakening going on. Let us hope the powerful armada will help us reach agreement.