Trump Announces Withdrawal from Historic INF Treaty

Trump Announces Withdrawal from Historic INF Treaty 

President Trump announced this week the United States would be withdrawing from the historic Cold War era arms control agreement known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).  His reason was that the Russians have been cheating – this is not news, it happened under the previous administration starting in 2009 and was admitted by our intelligence agencies in 2014.

The INF Treaty was the first of its kind – not a treaty to limit testing or to limit how many nuclear weapons could be added to our inventory, but an actual reduction and elimination of an entire class of nuclear weapons.  It was an historic achievement, unprecedented in the modern era and one that would cement the historic greatness of President Reagan and help consign the Soviet Union to the “…ash-heap of history.”

Why would President Trump withdraw the United States from such an important treaty between our country and Russia?

It is actually rather easy to understand.

First some INF Treaty history.

Trump Announces Withdrawal from Historic INF Treaty 

Reagan and Gorbachev negotiated the treaty in response to the Soviet Union’s buildup of SS20 missiles in Eastern Europe.  The United States responded in kind with the deployment of Pershing II missiles to West Germany.  Some have forgotten, and younger people have not been taught, the deep anger and resentment towards the United States by Western Europeans who did not want additional US nukes in Europe.  Riots and protests were held for weeks throughout Europe, and millions participated.  Given the polarized politics of our today, we are quick to forget Reagan’s arms buildup and the global fear of a US-Soviet nuclear exchange back in the early 1980s caused widespread political conflict with our NATO and European allies.

Trump Announces Withdrawal from Historic INF Treaty Trump Announces Withdrawal from Historic INF Treaty 

Reagan correctly believed in 1980, when he was elected, that the Soviet system could not keep up with American freedom, democracy, and capitalism, and he was right.  Facing terminal bankruptcy, the Soviets cut deals to help reduce their own growing budget deficits.  Unlike previous treaties such as SALT I and SALT II, which simply capped the growth rate of nuclear weapons, the INF Treaty required both sides to eliminate the entire class of intermediate range weapons and remove their deployment from Europe.

So why has Trump opted out? Today, in the 21st Century, this is a no-brainer.

 The Top 3 Reasons Trump had to Withdraw the United States from the INF Treaty:

  1.  “The treaty never applied to anyone else … specifically China”: The treaty was not a global ban on the intermediate range nuclear missile, it was simply a ban on the Soviet Union and the United States possessing the weapon.  In 1987, we were the only two countries who possessed the weapon, and the only two – at the time – who could build such a weapon for the foreseeable future.  That is no longer the case.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford recently testified before Congress that China now has “…significant capability in the realm of short range and intermediate range missile technology … they have deployed more than 2000 weapons in the field that we can verify, and enjoy a global superiority in the numbers of such weapons.”  A treaty which does not allow America to have a weapon that potential enemies do have is not a treaty worth keeping.
  2. “The treaty is obsolete for the modern era”: Anti-access/Aerial denial … drone swarms … AI guided cruise missiles … EMP pulse … malware … an intermediate range nuclear missile is an important in-theater weapon for a global exchange between global superpowers.  But it presupposes the nature of warfare will remain the purview of destroying the planet in a mutually assured destructive fight.  It is unlikely that the Russians – atheist under communism, and nominally orthodox Christian under Putin – want to blow up Western Europe and have nothing but radiation and flattened earth to conquer.  They benefit much more from a thriving political economy in Europe which they can buy from, or they can steal, the modern technological advances of the Western world.  While important to have if they have, they are not a risk to the continental US … only the Europeans.  Who ironically, don’t want them.
  3. “The Russians are cheating, pure and simple”: The signing of the INF Treaty in 1987 included one of the great lines from the Great Communicator himself:  “Trust, but verify.”  The strict verification standards eroded over time as most of the weapons were dismantled.  At some point in 2009, the US became aware of multiple INF missiles being manufactured and deployed by the Russians in violation of the treaty (In this case the 9M729 Ground Launched cruise missile, which replaced the 1980’s era SS20’s).  This was then admitted publicly by the Obama Administration and not denied by the Russians.  They simply say that we were in breach first.  The blatant cheating continues, and combined with Chinese missiles, both countries have technological and numerical superiority over US forces in NATO and in the Pacific.

There is nothing wrong with admitting that the time of a particular agreement has expired, that the other party is violating the terms of the agreement, and then terminating the agreement.  This is the current circumstance we find ourselves in, and it is the right move for now.

It would be great if international relations could be reduced to the simpleton answers of the peace movement, or the ideological beliefs of the left.  But sober minded leadership charged with protecting Americans knows better.  The INF Treaty was an historic moment for peace on Earth, it helped bring an end to the Cold War, and was the signature achievement of President Ronald Reagan.  But with Russians cheating, it is also a treaty we can no longer keep.

Call now to get your money protected from these global events that can impact your investment portfolio. (877) 912-1919

State of the Union – A Speech that Unites

State of the Union – A Speech that Unites

This is our New American Moment. President Trump’s first inaugural address was a rousing exclamation point of the first year of accomplishments.  Stock market highs … soaring economy … it was the president at his best.

Polling done by CBS News right after the speech – not usually the most supportive of networks – found that 75% of the public agreed with and approved of the President’s message.

What was striking was the Democratic response – largely panned as either “stone-faced,” “prune-faced,” or “sitting on their hands.”  While both political parties over the years have not always provided a positive response when they disagree on policy – either providing tepid clapping when the other side gives a standing ovation, or in most cases not clapping at all – it is quite rare to see a party not applaud or acknowledge American success or personal loss when it is a non-policy issue that we all agree on – such as massive gains in income and employment, the flag, the anthem, patriotism, our veterans, or those who have suffered a loss.  The images of politicians not clapping for mothers who lost loved ones to gang members, for example, was unprecedented.

 I. Quick list of unifying issues the Democrats did not applaud or acknowledge  instead they “sat on their hands.”

  1. Trillions of dollars of wealth created in the last 12 months.
  2. Black unemployment the lowest in history. This was going down under President Obama as well.  The issue being it is now the LOWEST in HISTORY, and hiring in the black community ACCELERATED after Trump commenced his deregulation efforts … how do we all not agree on that one?
  3. Recognizing our veterans”: You cannot sink any lower than not clapping for veterans.
  4. Mother’s whose children were killed by MS-13 gang members.   Whatever you support in current immigration policy, or your preferences regarding immigration, not acknowledging the grief and loss of a child is a new low.

 II. Top policy issues President Trump listed in the State of the Union.

  1. Government serves the people … not the other way around. Trump rightly recognized that he had ended the “War on Energy” the government had waged the last 8 years.  He touted his signing into law the “VA Accountability Act” which will aid veterans with across-the-board changes to the VA.  While his “America First” trade policies have many concerned of trade wars and economic conflict, his Tax Reform Act has already returned billions to workers and created a pathway for companies to repatriate overseas cash.
  2. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream. The Tax Reform Act has put your money back into your pocket, and the pro-business environment has helped the stock market accelerate without money printing and quantitative easing.  That has increased your 401K by over 40% in the last year.  As columnist Caitlyn Huey Burns commented: “…He name-checked some specifics of the bill, including the doubling of the standard deduction and the increase of the child tax credit; pointed out some of the corporations that have been citing the tax changes in handing out wage increases or bonuses; and mentioned that most Americans would likely see increased take-home pay next month.”
  3. The President outlined a $1.5 billion infrastructure plan. While many Republicans are rightly concerned about the deficit-inducing nature of the project, there is no doubt the country has stressed and fragile infrastructure systems that could use an infusion of repair and expansion.  Some conservatives believe with toll road funding and tariff revenue we could see very little impact on the fiscal bottom line.  Either way, the populist idea has wide appeal in the rust belt.
  4. Immigration is a winning issue. Democrats constantly cite polls showing U.S. voters don’t want a wall, and they want the Dreamers to stay……the same polling outlets that predicted universally a land-slide Clinton win.  There are few, if any, respondents when asked the question – “can a country be a country if they do not have a border” – who say yes, we can still be a country.  The vast majority of voters understand that both parties’ elites benefit from illegal immigration, and that one-party benefits from illegal immigrant voting, and none of those “elites” represent the interests of the common man or woman on main street.  Trump offered a compromise, which is a winning ticket with the majority of Americans … a wall, border enforcement, and you get DACA.  Only a fool would pass that up … “Americans are dreamers too.”
  5. America First in Foreign Policy. ISIS nearly wiped from the map … more troops to Afghanistan … confronting the North Korean menace … reassuring allies in the Middle East abandoned and abused by the previous Administration……Iran is on notice and the nuclear deal is at risk of being terminated … even the Russians have been unhappy with our actions in Syria … many feared and continue to repeat the refrain that Trump would abandon NATO and leave everyone holding the bag.  Instead, he has sided with our friends, threatened our enemies, and the only bag being held is ours – meaning we are getting NATO partners to contribute more to their own defense.  A lot remains to be done, but foreign policy is another area where Trump is succeeding with his “Make America Great Again.”

America is back!!!  A pro-business President who is confident of, and fights for, American culture and American values is leading from the White House (no longer leading from behind).  Some of the opposite party could find nothing to support even with wages, the stock market, and the economy soaring … that is a shameful position to take.

One thing is certain, all of this prosperity should make the prudent investor find a safe haven for some of his/her winnings … move them off the table into a safe and simple investment vehicle.  Help us to help you by calling today! 877-912-1919

Iran in the Throes of Revolution!

Iran in the Throes of Revolution!

Watching the news, you may not get the sense of what is happening in Iran.  Most news outlets are consumed with U.S. domestic interests and pay little attention to the tens of thousands in the streets each night protesting against the Islamic government.   It is extraordinary to see those who are willing to risk their lives for the freedoms and opportunities we take for granted each day.  It is more extraordinary given the degree of indifference and outright disregard we have shown for the people of Iran over the last 8 years.

Many of our followers let out a collective sigh – “not our fight”  or “not our problem” – but as you know, what happens around the world has a profound impact on our money, and on our lives, here at home.  Many left of center analysts suggest this is “not about us,” but that it is about the Iranians.  That’s of course factually incorrect – price of oil, balance of power, terrorism, allies in the region … one thing is a constant:  It’s always about us.

Let’s consider (I) How we got here, (II) What’s happening now, and, (III) How it affects you.

I. How did Iran get to this point of a general uprising?

  1. The Short History of Iran 101. Iran is the inheritor of the Persian Empire and after a Muslim conquest in the 7th Century AD largely became a Shia-dominant population.  The modern state came into being in the early 1920’s under a Monarch known as the “Reza Shah,” which became known in the colloquial as the “Shah.”    The Shah ruled but with marginal civic and human rights.  A prime minister served to manage the government, and one appointed in 1951 caught the eye of the Americans.
  2. The Cold War brings the Americans to Iran. Iran had largely avoided the colonial impact of the British and the French throughout the Middle East.  They faced a continual subversion from communists after World War II, because of the Soviet forces which entered Iran during the war.  The residual communist political parties and influence helped elect Mohammed Mossadegh, a socialist prime minister.  He nationalized the oil industry and threatened existing corporate oil interests of the British.  The United States, without any oil interest in Iran, was worried about Soviet influence on the new Prime Minister.  The combination of those fears led to the first CIA-backed overthrow of a government in the post-War era, as US clandestine forces removed the communist-influenced Mossadegh from office.  Under the direction and influence of the CIA, the Shah rolled back reforms and democratic freedoms to help ensure no further communist influence in Iran.
  3. Repression brings the Ayatollah’s. From 1953 to 1979, Iranians enjoyed an upper-middle-class, Western lifestyle, thanks in large part to their relationship with the United States.  But political rights were limited, and the secret police jailed dissenters and Islamic radicals.  The lack of political rights led many Islamists into exile, one that would become well-known to the United States:  Ayatollah Khomeini.  The Ayatollah led a revolution against the Shah in 1979; he took 52 U.S. embassy personnel hostage for 444 days; and, he became an enemy of the US and an exporter of terror throughout the globe.  Iran became, almost overnight, a radical anti-American, Islamic terror state.
  4. No surprise that the people of Iran now want freedom! Decades of war … socialist economics … a continued police state – this one an Islamic police state … funding acts of terror around the world … funding terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah … teaching “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” … engaging in a tanker war with the U.S. in the late 1980’s … attacking U.S. troops during the War in Iraq … hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) … is it any wonder that the Iranian people would do anything for something different with their lives???

II. What’s Happening Now?

  1. Sadly, America has not helped. The United States over the last 8 years, starting in 2009, turned its back on those seeking free and fair elections (2009 Green Movement) … withdrew our secret services such as the CIA, NSA, and other intelligence gathering operations …….we ceased funding pro-freedom groups in Iran … did not provide an overt force, or voice, for freedom … disregarded the war crimes committed against our troops in Iraq……the Clinton server that was hacked led to spies who worked for us being identified and executed, rolling up dozens of human sources and essentially drying up all assets on the ground who worked on our behalf … did not exert a penalty for seizing our sailors in the Gulf in 2016 … turned over billions in frozen assets in exchange for the Obama-led Nuclear agreement, which was immediately spent on the war in Syria and to fund terror groups such as Hezbollah … the list is too long to discuss in detail.  Bottom line – America has not sided with those seeking freedom in Iran and has instead actively worked against it over the last 8 years.  It is hoped that has changed in the last 12 months.
  2. Organically, and after the departure of the Obama Administration from office, protest elements have begun popping up in Iran. In one respect, it truly is not about the US.  Decades of soaring inflation have been tamed, but the economic fruits of foreign trade have not materialized.  There are no political rights, no employment or market-driven opportunities, and the people have had enough.   You could even say that the Iranian people realize there is no one coming to the rescue, so they have decided to take matters into their own hands.  It did not start where Western-educated elites live, such as the cosmopolitan capital Tehran.  It began in one of the holy cities, Mashhad, and it appears to be economically driven – food prices are too high.  But since then, the protests have spread nationwide.
  3. The U.S. appears to have re-engaged the Iranian opposition. It appears the U.S. is beginning to return to the fray.  The Trump Administration has been offering support through NGO’s as well as intelligence services re-opening lines of communication.  It is not America’s fight, but supporting freedom over a sworn enemy IS in our interest.

III. How and Why it affects You:

  1. U.S. troops and American interests could be targeted. U.S. troop deployments in Iraq, Syria and throughout the region could be targeted if the regime feels it is about to be toppled.  That is an unlikely outcome, but we have seen the unlikely become likely all too often in the Middle East.  US Naval patrols have been targeted before, and certainly could again, if the regime believes it is at risk.  Bottom line – an unstable regime could strike out at our people if it begins to crumble from within in Iran.
  2. Friends could be in harm’s way. America’s word, and our reputation, matter.  Without the trust, or fear, of America, then our markets and economic well-being in an interconnected world will always be in the crosshairs.  Having said that, U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia, and US friends such as Israel, are equally at risk of being targeted by an unstable Iranian regime.  The more things fall apart, the greater risk to the stable regimes of the Middle East.  Also – does Iranian nuclear assets get sold to North Korea or smuggled out to terror groups?  Does Iran ask for Russian assistance?  The variables are exponential and few of them are very good.
  3. Oil – transportation – dollar – markets. Even if your position is to “… get the heck out of Dodge,” that doesn’t solve the economic dilemma:  Oil, transportation and the dollar ALL are impacted by unrest in the Middle East, specifically Iran, and therefore ALL can impact US markets and your portfolio.  We could have not one soldier anywhere on the planet other than Fort Benning, and an Iranian Revolution could widely impact oil, dollar-denominated assets, and wildly swing the values in your retirement plan.

In the end, this will most likely go the way it always has in the past – the protests will be suppressed.  A massive police state combined with government handouts will eventually stem the public resistance.  The American withdrawal over the last 8 years, combined with our giveaway of the billions in frozen assets, combined with our removal of most sanctions on their economy, and the government has enough resources to kill this nascent movement in its infancy.  It is ironic, but we have made it most difficult for the people to rise up against their autocratic Islamist government.

Another data-point of massive volatility in a world no longer under American authority.  Be careful what you wish for.  In the end, while it is a dangerous and difficult fight for freedom in Iran, your portfolio will remain exposed to the volatility regardless of the outcome.   That means it may be time to consider putting some of your gains into products that will protect you from market loss.

Call now! 877-912-1919