Recession May Loom for Next U.S. President No Matter Who That Is

As mentioned four times already (here, here, here and here) before anyone picked up on it, the next President will be in over his or her head. In reality, it’s the need to reverse a U.S. decline in power.

 

Talk about a poisoned chalice. No matter who is elected to the White House in November, the next president will probably face a recession.

The 83-month-old expansion is already the fourth-longest in more than 150 years and starting to show some signs of aging as corporate profits peak and wage pressures build. It also remains vulnerable to a shock because growth has been so feeble, averaging just about 2 percent since the last downturn ended in June 2009.

If the next president is not going to have a recession, it will be a U.S. record,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist for North America at the Conference Board in New York. “The longest expansion we ever had was 10 years,” beginning in 1991. Continue reading

US: Russia Building ‘Arc Of Steel’ From Arctic To Med

WASHINGTON — A resurgent Russia is creating an “arc of steel” meant to challenge and confront NATO, a top US naval officer warned Tuesday.

“We are observing the manifestation of a more aggressive, more capable Russian Navy,” Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander of US Naval Forces Europe and commander of the Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, said in Washington. “It is naval capability focused directly on addressing the perceived advantages of NATO navies. And they are signaling us and warning us that the maritime domain is contested.”

Continue reading

Moscow supports Pakistan’s application for full-fledged membership in SCO

ISLAMABAD, December 15. /TASS/. Moscow supports Pakistan’s application for full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexei Dedov said on Monday.

“Over more than a decade of its work, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has established itself as an authoritative organization, becoming a key player in the global and regional politics,” he said at a conference dedicated to Pakistan’s prospects to have a full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. “Over the year of Russia’s presidency /in 2014-2015/,we will develop ties with partners within the SCO and create conditions of its further expansion.”

Continue reading

U.S. opens door to Chinese investors

The United States faces a massive US$8 trillion infrastructure investment bill, and is courting Chinese investors since many of its own local governments are in financial difficulties, according to a US Chamber of Commerce report.

“The US is poised to undertake the most significant expansion and modernisation of its infrastructure since the 1950s,” the chamber said in its report.

“This is taking place in the context of significant pressure on federal and local budgets. The pressing need for capital to modernise US infrastructure is creating substantial new opportunities for Chinese investors.” Continue reading

Russian Oil Behemoth Rosneft Has Unlocked the Arctic

Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia’s vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so.

Russia’s Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands. The only problem is that the Arctic reserves are incredibly hard to exploit, as we saw with Shell’s platform disaster earlier this year. Fields in the Kara and Barents Seas are stuck in incredibly cold and rough seas, and the huge reserves in Siberia’s Laptev, East Siberian, and Chuckchi Seas are additionally separated from population centers by thousands of miles of tundra.

Those vast oil and gas fields aren’t impossible to tap, just expensive. With oil platforms in the farthest reaches estimated to cost somewhere between $5 billion and $8 billion apiece, it should come as no surprise that the Arctic has remained quiet this long. (It’s also a reason why Soviet scientists wanted to melt the whole thing.) Continue reading