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A set of self-serving policies?
When arguing for the limited strike on Syria, President Obama conjured up the images of children dying from the dastardly gas attacks.
The specific reference to "gas" attacks led many to ask: what about deaths from other forms, by other regimes? While two wrongs do not make a right, was the USA's desire to strike on Syria a reaction to a fear that gas could be used on American soil on Americans or was it a more global human rights issue? A regime that used sticks to beat up children and women was presumably safe from a US strike since the sticks would not pose an immediate and imminent danger to the American people.
Whereas gas could be smuggled in and used on US soil.
And what about the repeated attacks on the US population by the Wall Street financial firms? Sure, there are no images of children gagging to death but it is hard to imagine there were no suicides, implosion of families, and decimation of a way of a life by the decades old practices of "where is my bonus" battle cry crusades of the financial armies. Those were on US soil and those were pretty horrific.
As President Obama noted, the US is not a "global policeman" and it is "beyond our means to right every wrong". By inference, the US government will be there to right every wrong that could have an impact on US citizens - except those caused by large political donors. God is omnipresent and all-hearing - but selective.
This subtle political message comes at a time when the US has sent out a blunt, strong economic message.
The US Dollar is still the undisputed, reserve currency in the world.
For decades the US has enjoyed what President Valery Giscard d'Estaing of France coined as "exorbitant privilege": the ability to issue US Dollar bills to a world that wanted and trusted these US Dollar bills as a means of exchange for global trade and as a store of value; as a reserve currency.
For decades, it suited the US to issue these US Dollar bills to fuel global trade and as a means to finance its own expenditure and debt-heavy lifestyle.
Cushioned by this continuous flow of US Dollars many emerging market economies, including India, ignored the need to build a structural defence of their economies by insulating them from an eventual reversal of this tide.
That tide may now be reversing. In the clear words of some of the governors of the Federal Reserve, the US central bank, their mandate as central bankers is to look after the needs of the US citizens. Not after the needs of people in other countries. Based on analysis of their economic data, it now suits the US to issue less of its own currency. The impact of this new US monetary policy on the world is of little consequence when making such decisions. Sorry, of no consequence.
Over the past few months, the emerging markets have seen dislocations in their currencies, their interest rates, and their stock markets from such a tighter US monetary policy. Countries, including India, will need to readjust their policy making in light of the new path chosen by the US central bank. The RBI has already announced a shift in the date of its monetary policy review meeting from September 14 to September 21 - three days after the September 18 meeting of the US central bank.
"The burdens of leadership are heavy", said President Obama, as he delivered his speech to justify his modified view on Syria.
Indeed they are.
And sometimes, in a replay of the Peter Principle, people get promoted to their highest level of incompetence. Their shoulders are not broad enough to bear the burden of leadership. The US was promoted by many of us to be our conscience keeper. It may not have been a role that the US wanted, but that's the responsibility they got.
The US Dollar was promoted as a reliable currency issued by a reliable central bank. It may not have been a role that the US wanted, but that's the responsibility they got.
And it is a sorry state of affairs that Putin, however fleetingly and selectively, seems to be better at being a conscience keeper.
And it is more worrying that Putin, a ruler of a country that has a closed and corruption-riddled economy, declared a few years ago that gold should be given a more important role in the global economy. The Russian Central Bank has been the largest buyer of gold in the past decade, having purchased over 550 metric tonnes of gold - more than that of China.
No, I have no desire to move to Russia and live in what seems to be a cold and depressing environment.
But I am glad that someone - for whatever reason - is fighting (selectively) for freedom.
And is also buying gold.
Suggested allocation in Quantum Mutual Funds (after keeping safe money aside)