Marines to Australia (to establish a PERMANENT mililtary presence, for: “We are here to stay,” Obama said. “This is a region of huge strategic importance to us.”) to counteract the fear posed by the Dragon of Asia (yes, I'm being sarcastic, but perhaps I'm not getting it).
Indications are we are closing two more German bases this year, and a dozen more by 2015. Nice, except, there might be 268 American military installations just in this country, plus another 500 around the world, not counting the 700 in Afghanistan. (The counting of military bases depends on who you ask. Germany, for example, could well have fewer than 100, depending on definition.)
Having gotten the above editorial out of the way, let me tell you why you should be thankful. You could well be:
1. Bashar al-Assad (with wife Asma), dictator (actually, he is serving his second 7-year term and was elected into office) of Syria, was living the good life of an eye doctor in London, when he was summoned home to become the intended leader when his older brother was killed in a 1994 car accident, and was installed when his father (Hafez al-Assad, a true dictator, who ruled for three decades) passed away in 2000. Assad's biggest problem is that at least 85% of his subjects are Sunni, and he is a Shiite. Can he return to London? Probably not, but we are probably days away from the great negotiated escape.
2. A citizen on one of the islands of the Maldives, which are sinking, physically and politically. Three hundred thousand people are living on 1,200 islands, which were all inundated by that great Indonesian earthquake/tsunami of 2004. With the current rate of sea level rise, there will be no Maldives in a century. Today, they merely have a screwed up government.
3. Living in or near Waynesboro, Georgia (or Hilton Head, South Carolina, for you will be 95 miles away, connected by a river that flows in your direction), for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission just approved, for the first time in thirty years, two new nuclear powerplants, at a cost of $14 billion. Actually, there are already two nuclear reactors operating at the site, and they have been humming along for almost a quarter century. Which means that the nuclear wastes in pools and tanks have been stored near the site that long. Good luck on the final bill, for these two old units had an original estimate of $660 million, and ended up costing close to $9,000 million, or nine billion dollars. The inflation adjusted value of $9 billion today is close to $18 billion.
4. Working in Tel Aviv or any of those sites to the right, for our Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has hinted that Israel will attack Iranian nuclear facilities by June. I just saw that Cobalt International has just doubled in stock value, so my first thought was that Iran had perfected the cobalt bomb (click to find out why this is so terrible.) But, no, the company just found oil off the Angolan coast.
While my blog site indicates that 192 readers from Israel have visited my site, and even 21 from the Maldives, the odds are that you are not in extreme jeopardy. Second, you are, indeed, lucky to be alive and relatively well, for the odds of you even being born are something close to one in 10 the 34th power. So be good, enjoy life and have a great weekend.
It was worse earlier in the day, but the Dow Jones Industrials fell 89 to 12,801, and so did most of the world. Greece remains the concern. Gold dropped $13/toz to $1719, while the WTI Cushing Spot is at $99/barrel and the Dated Brent Spot is at $117/barrel.
Tropical Cyclone Giovanna is now at 125 MPH and will further strengthen into a Category 4 storm, then slam into Madagascar late Sunday or Monday:
If the track had just been a couple of hundred miles south, both Mauritius and Reunion would face catastrophe.