Friday, December 19, 2014


President Putin, picture courtesy

The decline of oil prices from $100 in mid 2014 to $57 now is no coincidence, nor does it have anything do with supply and demand as oil demand has certainly not halved in six months.

It is seriously suspected that oil prices are being manipulated by U.S. to crush Russia and to make them pay for re-possessing Crimea from Ukraine. When sanctions and all else failed, U.S. seems to have decided to hit Russia, where it hurts most - in the pocket. The Russian Ruble is in a free fall and despite a recent raise in Russian Central Bank rate from 10 to 17%, the Ruble is not even half its worth what it was a year ago.
According to some estimates, it is costing Russia around $70  a barrel to extract oil, if that is accurate, Russia is in net loss of $13 per barrel it produces and sells. This could hit Russian economy hard, inflation could sky rocket, post Soviet style bread lines could form again with possible loss of popularity for Putin from its current 85% level. And that is exactly what U.S. may be hoping to accomplish. Such a policy may have a short term impact, but long term, it could have a devastating effect on the world economy.
A desperate Putin with his back to the wall could adopt 'Destroy West' policy by turning off oil taps overnight to Western Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil. The already fragile European economies will not be able to withstand such a shock and may go into recession or even a depression, which in turn would hit all the economies of the world, including that of the U.S. resulting in a 1930s style worldwide depression.
The Obama Administration needs to reign in its anti Russia hawks and think long and hard about the consequences such a policy. Better sense should prevail before the bear hits back with a vengeance.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Will the 2016 U. S. Presidential Election be between two dynastic candidates - Jeb Bush v Hillary Clinton?

(Photo courtesy the sleuthjournal)

The 2016 U.S. Presidential elections are less than two years away and by early 2016, front runner  candidates will begin to emerge. However, at this point in time, it seems that Jeb Bush (Republican) could be pitched against Hillary Clinton (Democratic).

However, 23 months in politics is a long time and one slip, one bad move, one un-thoughtful speech can derail a candidate and not all candidates have the capacity or resilience like candidate Barack Obama, who came back from the brink a couple of times and won the nomination of his party.

Jeb Bush is a credible candidate, he is the only Republican to have won two full terms as Governor of Florida. He is a moderate Republican and  may attract independent voters who now form the largest group in U.S. elections. Also, he is fluent in Spanish and his wife is from Mexico, which could be a major attraction to 17% Latino population in the U.S. But being pro immigration reform, he is not the darling of the ultra right wing Republicans who are hell bent on deporting 11 million illegal immigrants from U.S., so winning the party nomination may be a challenge, but if he looks like a winning candidate, the party will rally around him.

Other challengers will of course emerge from both parties, but more so from Republican than Democratic Party. Mitt Romney is still harboring Presidential ambitions, so are probably Marco Rubio (son of a Cuban), Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and a couple of others. A black candidate by the name of Ben Carson, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins could also pose a serious challenge to Jeb Bush.

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Dr. Ben Carson

Hillary Clinton is clearly the front runner in the Democratic Party and having lived in the White House for eight years and having successfully held the position of Secretary of State in President Obama's fist term, she has earned the right. However, a challenge could still come from Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is astute, very together and fully familiar with Government policy. She was part of President Obama's team that oversaw the economic recovery of U.S. after the 2008 crash. She is stickler for rules and regulations and has helped greatly in regulating the once wayward financial institutions. In 2012 she won the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, which was temporarily won by Republican Scott Brown after Kennedy's death. She is probably a better candidate than Hillary Clinton, but she does not have the grass root support of the party, so her nomination will be an uphill task.
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Senator Elizabeth Warren

Dynastic Politics
Jeb Bush is the son of former President George H. W. Bush and younger brother of former President George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton is the wife of former President Bill Clinton. Questions may arise about entitlement and dynastic politics. The voters in other countries i.e. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka are already questioning the value of dynastic politics. A case in point, the recent Indian elections, where dynastic politics was one of the factors in Congress Party's substantial defeat at the hands of BJP.