GDI Risk Advisory Group

Archive for the ‘International Trade’ Category

Lebanon: The Syria Playbook

In Defense, FYI - For Your Intelligence, Intelligence, International, International Trade, Israel, Libya, Terrorism, Uncategorized on December 29, 2013 at 4:37 am

LebSyrFlagWith Assad continuing to make his stand against Western backed forces and various jihad extremist groups in Syria, he has pulled an old play out of the go-to playbook for his regime. He has elected to use his faithful ally Hezbollah to open a new front. As Syria continues to sink into its current battlefield quagmire at home, taking out another high level politician in Beirut expands the scope of his operations, and provides relief through distraction. And with the assassination of the Hezbollah leader earlier this month, it all comes across as a justification on the part of Hezbollah. But make no mistake, this is the same MO as with previous assassinations and it will have Syria’s prints all over it.

The real issue is how US foreign policy is allowing for the war to spread, the empowerment of extremist groups to grow and for old and new terrorism breeding grounds to flourish. Libya and Syria are key examples, and indicators are that Iraq is beginning to follow suit. Here’s what the international media is reporting to support this.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/mohamad-chatah-lebanese-ex-minister-killed-in-beirut-bombing-1.2476861

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303799404579283692798835878

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/175614#.Ur6ZlrRfu_g

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304451904579237323053994120

Useless Sanctions on China: Robert Reich Says ‘Forget It,’ Better to Rebuild American Industry

In China, Global Economy, International Relations, International Trade, U.S. Economy on September 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Useless Sanctions on China: Robert Reich Says \’Forget It,\’ Better to Rebuild American Industry

Washington Consensus meets the updated Beijing Consensus with nationalism seeping out both sides. The writer hits the nail on the head, at least according to the framework of global production – the trade imbalance between the US and China has been disguised as political rhetoric to deflect attention away from a lack of a U.S. domestic industrial policy. How true is that? I am not sure. –

“The administration will also have to be careful not to unleash something it can’t control. Protectionist impulses run frighteningly deep in Congress.”

CONTRIBUTOR:  Wandering China is a Foresight Perspective contributor and comes to us as a researcher on Chinese politics, international relations and security.  Thanks for the piece WC.  

PERSPECTIVE VIEW: Thinking Ahead – Corporate Contingency Strategies for the Middle East

In FYI - For Your Intelligence, Global Economy, International Trade, Iran, Israel, Terrorism, U.S. Economy on September 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Strategic thinkers and planners in government and international business have long had a lot to consider regarding the Middle East.  Weighing the range of complicated and overlapping issues – such as oil resources, water rights, military power, religious conflict, territory disputes, economic and educational disparities, foreign alliances,  to name a few – it is daunting to devise contingency strategies in preparation for the potential of changed circumstances. By 2010, a host of new military and weapons-related issues have emerged, the most problematical being Iran’s steady and stealthy pursuit to secure the capability to construct and deliver nuclear weapons.

Various scenarios can be envisioned if Iran uses its enrichment sites to produce weapons-grade products from nuclear material shipped to Iran by Russia (and possibly other countries) after incorporating technology and materials likely obtained from China, North Korea and others to develop a deliverable weapons system.  Logically, corporations and governments with strong interests in the region should plan what they will do in the event the nuclear situation in the region is changed given the impact on political and economic issues.  Clearly, Israel would be under greater threat from a nuclear- armed Iran given Tehran’s past posturing about the destruction of Israel, the links between Iran and Hamas/Hezbollah, the stresses within the Iranian regime, and its leaders’ need for organized diversion at home to distract from domestic problems.   Two core questions emerge: what would Israel do about a nuclear-armed Iran, and how should businesses and governments prepare to adjust their strategies in response to likely scenarios?  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program is central to protecting and defending Israel.  Therefore, strategic planners must consider that Israel will, in some way, halt Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons perhaps with an overt air strike or covert sabotage — with or without the tacit acceptance of the United States and other international players.

 Taking these thoughts a step farther, if Israel acts unilaterally to destroy Iranian nuclear weapons development, then much of the Middle East calculus in oil, business, foreign policy and military dynamics will change rapidly.  Against this backdrop, the time to think through options and develop contingency plans for various scenarios is now while there is still time to weigh carefully alternatives and reasonable options.  While government and military planners constantly consider all options as a matter of course, corporations, both large and small, are often less equipped or inclined to consider alternatives before events actually demand change.  Best intelligence (and business) practices suggest that corporate leaders and strategists (calling upon internal and external resources) should consider likely Israeli-Iranian scenarios and their outcomes.  With such analyses in hand, corporate managers can quietly work, if necessary with other professionals, to solidify corporate contingency strategies in advance of a potentially altered Middle East landscape.  Now is the time for contingency planning.

CONTRIBUTOR:  OptionsInt is our newest contributor.  They are a security consulting firm made up retired U.S. intelligence officers with years of worldwide operational experience.  They currently use their expertise to consult with U.S. corporations and government on matters of operational security training and support.  We appreciate their insightful observations and look forward to hearing more from them periodically.

Foreigners ‘snatching up’ U.S. real estate – Is this a Problem?

In International Relations, International Trade, U.S. Economy on August 14, 2010 at 12:45 am

Foreign buyers like U.S. residential real estate – Business Courier of Cincinnati.

Is this a problem for our economic or national security?  Most countries have restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate for these very reasons.  With China and other countries at odds with U.S. policy being a big part of the run on U.S. real estate, does the U.S. government have a responsibility to monitor such activities to ensure U.S. citizens are not losing their national resourses?  Is there a need for more transparency from foreign investors to buy real estate in the U.S.?

China Eyes the Dream Factories (China Daily)

In Global Economy, International, International Relations, International Trade on August 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

China Eyes the Dream Factories

China now eyes Western film companies. China is already a major stimulant for many world economies.  Add in ownership of such ‘dream factories’, and China will not only determine and have a say in what we use and wear, but how we see the world as well.  Interesting.

“If you are in too much of a hurry to label the company as a carrier of Chinese culture, that may draw hostility from the US audience, and may eventually even destroy the brand.”

CONTRIBUTOR:  Wandering China comes to us as a researcher on Chinese politics,international relations and security.  While brief, this piece represents the efforts China is making in all areas of geo-political and economics to influence and control behaviors of western consumers.   We look forward to more from this contributor.

While U.S. Continues “Jobless” Recovery, Germany Prospers

In Global Economy, International, International Trade on August 9, 2010 at 11:57 pm

In Germany, a Broad Recovery Is Under Way

It is almost like stepping through the looking-glass.  Germany steadily working to cut deficits, control government spending and keeping taxes down.  The U.S. doing the exact opposite.  And the results:  Well, early returns are promising across the pond and bleak on this side.  What is more interesting is how George Soros notes the association between Germany tightening it’s belt and the imbalance in trade with the other European countries.   As he and his organization push for more stimulus spending, higher taxes and more debt in the U.S., he points out the deficit cutting and wage controls in Germany are to blame for Germany’s recovery at the cost of trade with the more in debt countries like France and Spain.  (Interesting.) However, Germany should not bite at this one.  Perhaps a better option would be for the other European countries to follow suit and cut their deficits and spending. 

Now this is all well and good but there is something even more important to this recovery as demonstrated by BMW’s “help wanted” signs.  The one thing that Germany is realizing is more jobs.  That is the basis of any recovery.   And as that situation grows and more jobs are chasing fewer workers, the German people will have the control.   They will be able to push for higher wages and better benefits.  They will be in the driver’s seat.  And at BMW, that’s good. 

So how does the U.S. get there?  By having fiscal policies that keep current jobs in country and invite U.S. businesses and jobs back.  Businesses will go where they can provide a product or service at a competitive price and be profitable.  Like many U.S. businesses in China and Mexico, where ever they go they will take jobs.  So why not in the U.S.?   Bring down corporate taxes to the levels in China and other developing nations, repatriate billions in hard currency, and bring jobs back to the U.S.  In that case, we will have more jobs chasing workers.  Then the people will be back in control and we too shall experience true recovery.

Chinese Separatists Tied to Norway Bomb Plot

In Intelligence, International Trade, Terrorism on July 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/world/asia/10uighur.html

As the Uighur separatist movement of Xinjiang, China known as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – ETIM (or Turkestan Islamic Party – TIP as they are known in the streets of South Waziristan) becomes more aligned with the global Al Qaeda movement, they move from being an internal Chinese problem to becoming a recognized terror threat and put their activities on the international stage.  With reports surfacing from China to Pakistan, from Norway to the U.S., Uighur separatists are becoming an integral part of the terrorist landscape as they are now found in planning attacks, participating in carrying out attacks, appearing in propaganda and now being killed in military attacks by U.S. forces in the Pakistan tribal region.  And with the recent disruption of attacks in Norway and the successful attack in Uganda, we are now finding threads linking these activities to terror elements in the U.S. 

In examining the factors that have led us to the point, it is easy to see that the Uighur population has alway been a perfect target for Al Qaeda and Taliban influence.  In observing the tactics employed when taking a Muslim to Jihad, Al Qaeda needs the opportunity to radicalize, recruit, train and finance to be successful.  In the case of the Uighur Muslims, their work was mostly done for them.  They are angry and disenfranchised being cut off from their fellow Central Eurasia Muslims, they are in opposition to the Chinese Han majority which keeps sentiments inflamed, and they are geographically positioned to access support from radical organization in Southwest Asia.  The Uighurs are half way to Jihad before any effort is made on the part of Al Qaeda.  With all the post 9-11 reporting that has been disseminated on this matter, the only real question is: What took so long?  It was only a matter of time.