The Secret Hillary Rodham Clinton, Part I

By Ralph BenkoForty-five years ago Hillary Rodham made a fateful decision. It has defined her life. Understanding that moment of decision is essential to understanding  Hillary Clinton’s life — the successes and the failures and, perhaps,  the future. It would explain the subtly discordant persona that causes  the media — even many elite Hillary sympathizers — to … Continue reading The Secret Hillary Rodham Clinton, Part I

How The Republicans Can Win The Upcoming Battle Over Income Inequality

by Ralph Benko  Following President Obama’s lead, the Democrats are seeking to make  income inequality the wedge issue of the 2014 Congressional and Senate  elections. This unquestionably addresses an issue that — after forty  years of middle class family wage stagnation — resonates with voters. Yet the Republicans, thanks to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx) and Rep. Kevin Brady … Continue reading How The Republicans Can Win The Upcoming Battle Over Income Inequality

Tōˌtaliˈte(ə)rēəns Among Us?

by Ralph Benko Possibly the most powerful, and dangerous, euphemism in politics today is “progressive.” This writer has many cherished progressive friends. He considers them beautiful… but, often, misguided. Yet perhaps they are more “guided” than he has supposed. Perhaps progressives, many of them, are precision guided. A pattern is emerging. That pattern is to … Continue reading Tōˌtaliˈte(ə)rēəns Among Us?

Elections Don’t Matter, Institutions Do

By Robert D. Kaplan Many years ago, I visited Four Corners in the American Southwest. This is a small stone monument on a polished metal platform where four states meet. You can walk around the monument in the space of a few seconds and stand in four states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. People … Continue reading Elections Don’t Matter, Institutions Do

World Bank warns of emerging markets risks

The world economy is projected to strengthen this year, with growth picking up in developing countries and high-income economies appearing to be finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis, says the World Bank’s newly-released Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report. The firming of growth in developing countries is being bolstered by an … Continue reading World Bank warns of emerging markets risks

Can The Left’s “Mad Tea Party” Beat The Tea Party?

By Ralph Benko One year ago, between the re-election and re-inauguration of Barack Obama, the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy met and mapped out three major strategic goals.  These are designed to seize plenary control over the US government and, thereby, America. This is not “black helicopter” paranoia.  It was reported candidly in the pretty hard … Continue reading Can The Left’s “Mad Tea Party” Beat The Tea Party?

NAFTA and the Future of Canada, Mexico and the United States

By Marc Lanthemann The 20th anniversary of NAFTA's implementation on Jan. 1 has revived some of the perennial arguments that have surrounded the bloc since its inception. The general consensus has been that the trade deal was a mixed bag, a generally positive yet disappointing economic experiment. That consensus may not be wrong. The history … Continue reading NAFTA and the Future of Canada, Mexico and the United States

Government Gridlock, Saving America From Even Worse Laws

by Ralph Benko Many hands are being wrung among the elite governing class about Congressional gridlock. The Democrats have invoked the “nuclear option” — allowing the Senate majority in effect to prevail by simple, rather than 60%, majority. (This will come back to haunt them if majority control turns Republican in next year’s election.) Fortunately … Continue reading Government Gridlock, Saving America From Even Worse Laws

Rediscovering the Americas: The World’s 15 Best Countries for Business in 2014

The US, Germany, Poland and Mexico are among next year’s Best Countries for Business. Rotterdam Week in cooperation with Atlantico Business Development (an international consultancy based in Rotterdam) has selected the best 15 markets of 2014/15 for your direct investment or for exporting your products. This is the first edition of a series of articles … Continue reading Rediscovering the Americas: The World’s 15 Best Countries for Business in 2014

How the US Will Amend the Constitution To Rein In A Power Drunk Washington DC

by Ralph Benko On December 7th, nearly 100 state legislators, many distinguished, representing 32 states, assembled at Mount Vernon. They gathered at the homestead of George Washington, 15 miles from the capital city named for him. The purpose? To discuss how, safely, to revive an overlooked, but invaluable, provision in the United States Constitution to … Continue reading How the US Will Amend the Constitution To Rein In A Power Drunk Washington DC

Is Paul Krugman the architect of permanent slump?

by Ralph Benko Public intellectual Paul Krugman recently consigned to Hell, in a New York Times op-ed column entitled A Permanent Slump, the world economy. He wrote: [W]hat if the world we’ve  been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if  depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for … Continue reading Is Paul Krugman the architect of permanent slump?

Israel’s new strategic position

By George Friedman Israel has expressed serious concerns over the preliminary U.S.-Iranian agreement, which in theory will lift sanctions levied against Tehran and end its nuclear program. That was to be expected. Less obvious is why the Israeli government is concerned and how it will change Israel's strategic position. Israel's current strategic position is excellent. … Continue reading Israel’s new strategic position

Chairman Hensarling’s Promise To Tackle the Fed

by Ralph Benko House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling, after his introduction by Cato  Institute vice president Mark Calabria at a panel of the 31st annual Cato Monetary Conference, had effusive praise for his host: I do want to thank the Cato Institute for everything they  stand for and everything they have meant to … Continue reading Chairman Hensarling’s Promise To Tackle the Fed

Equities set to rise further in 2014

Equities are set to rise further in 2014 after the world returns to normality, with higher global growth and the end of easy money in the US. These are the key predictions of Robeco’s Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen in his outlook for markets next year. Stocks are Robeco’s preferred asset class for 2014, although returns … Continue reading Equities set to rise further in 2014

How to Stop Elite Republican Plans to Take the GOP Down The Way of the Whigs

by Ralph Benko Amidst the Democratic Party meltdown might elite Republican Party  operatives snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?  Don’t rule it out.   Many elite Republicans lust to steer their party the way of the Whigs. The Whigs?  This month a candidate of the Whig Party, long believed extinct, won an election for the … Continue reading How to Stop Elite Republican Plans to Take the GOP Down The Way of the Whigs

Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead

The global economy is expected to continue expanding at a moderate pace over the coming two years, but policymakers must ensure that instability in financial markets and underlying fragility in some major economies are not allowed to derail growth, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook. Growth in the United States is projected at a … Continue reading Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead

Let John Boehner fix Obamacare

by Ralph Benko Better the loss of office than of honor. If he cannot prevent the botch of Obamacare from becoming a blunder  the honorable course for President Obama is to resign, together with his vice president, from office.  Let John Boehner — next in line of  succession — assume the office of the presidency … Continue reading Let John Boehner fix Obamacare

Mr. Obama, I Am Unhappy That Obamacare Threatens To Kill Me

by Ralph Benko Will Barack Obama kill, or financially ruin, me?  Interesting question. This columnist is one of the, reportedly, millions whose health insurance (much of good quality and affordable) has fallen prey to an Obamacare “Death Panel.”  My insurance policy of long standing, apparently, will disappear on January 1. My efforts to replace it, … Continue reading Mr. Obama, I Am Unhappy That Obamacare Threatens To Kill Me

For the Tea Party and GOP to Unite and Win, Follow the (Shrinking) Money

by Ralph Benko What is the next direction in the Republican Civil War? Best guess:  Follow the Money. Americans feel their dollars shrinking.  We don’t like it. And we are groping for a way to stop it. The left is reported shamelessly cheerleading for a  bout of inflation in no less than the lead story … Continue reading For the Tea Party and GOP to Unite and Win, Follow the (Shrinking) Money

Much Bigger Than The Shutdown: Niall Ferguson’s Public Flogging Of Paul Krugman

by Ralph Benko While America was distracted by the theatrics of the government shutdown and threat of default something of much greater importance occurred.  Niall Ferguson undertook a public flogging of Paul Krugman. Krugman’s horns now forever will show under his dislodged faux halo. For this the world will prove a safer, and much more … Continue reading Much Bigger Than The Shutdown: Niall Ferguson’s Public Flogging Of Paul Krugman

U.S. Foreign Policy from the Founders’ Perspective

By George Friedman Last week I discussed how the Founding Fathers might view the American debt crisis and the government shutdown. This week I thought it would be useful to consider how the founders might view foreign policy. I argued that on domestic policy they had clear principles, but unlike their ideology, those principles were … Continue reading U.S. Foreign Policy from the Founders’ Perspective

The Government Shutdown as The Cruz ‘Crisis’: Dangerous Opportunity

by Ralph Benko The government “shutdown” properly should be called “the Cruz Crisis.” This indeed is a crisis in the Chinese nuanced sense. The Chinese character, weiji, usually is translated  “dangerous opportunity.” Actually it means “precarious pivot  point.”  That describes perfectly where Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) stands… and has pushed the Republican Party.  Ted Cruz has made himself the point  … Continue reading The Government Shutdown as The Cruz ‘Crisis’: Dangerous Opportunity

The 1% that Can Fix the State

by Ralph Benko “The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.” – Ernest Hemingway, Notes on the Next War: A Serious Topical Letter The transition from total … Continue reading The 1% that Can Fix the State

The U.S. Debt Crisis from the Founders’ Perspective

By George Friedman The U.S. government is paralyzed, and we now face the possibility that the United States will default on its debt. Congress is unable to resolve the issue, and President Obama is as obstinate as the legislators who oppose him. To some extent, our political system is functioning as intended -- the Founding … Continue reading The U.S. Debt Crisis from the Founders’ Perspective

The Republican Civil War: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

By Ralph Benko Open warfare has broken out inside the GOP (the Grand Old Party - the Republicans, ed) between Tea Party  Insurgents and the Republican Party Regulars.  It revolves around  tactics, more than policy.  It’s an old-fashioned power struggle. The Insurgents’ protagonist is charismatic freshman U.S. Senator Ted  Cruz. Behind him are a handful of powerful Insurgent … Continue reading The Republican Civil War: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

The Roots of the Government Shutdown

By George Friedman In general, Stratfor deals with U.S. domestic politics only to the extent that it affects international affairs. Certainly, this topic has been argued and analyzed extensively. Nevertheless, the shutdown of the American government is a topic that must be understood from our point of view, because it raises the issue of whether … Continue reading The Roots of the Government Shutdown

U.S. and Iranian Realities

By George Friedman U.S. President Barack Obama called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last week  in the first such conversation in the 34 years since the establishment of the  Islamic Republic. The phone call followed tweets and public statements on both  sides indicating a willingness to talk. Though far from an accommodation between  the two countries, … Continue reading U.S. and Iranian Realities

The Gold Standard is no fairy tale

by Ralph Benko Once upon a time — September 17th — Reuters published a delightfully preposterous blunderbuss of a blog. It served up a one-sided attack on conservatives.  It did so as part of what it calls The Great Debate. Well, a debate has two sides. This was A Great Soliloquy. Here’s the side Reuters … Continue reading The Gold Standard is no fairy tale

As the Fed Turns 100, Currency Reform Gains Currency

by Ralph Benko We approach, on December 23rd, the centenary of the Federal Reserve System.  This anniversary has not gone unnoticed. The nearly million-strong, militantly Jeffersonian, Campaign for Liberty — the classical liberal counterpart to MoveOn.org — is using the occasion to press for an audit of the Fed as championed in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky). … Continue reading As the Fed Turns 100, Currency Reform Gains Currency

The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now

By George Friedman I am writing this from Greece, having spent the past week in Europe and having moved among various capitals. Most discussions I've had in my travels concern U.S. President Barack Obama's failure to move decisively against Syria and how Russian President Vladimir Putin outmatched him. Of course, the Syrian intervention had many … Continue reading The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now

How a small band of heroes saved the internet and how Hollywood is trying to pirate it again, Part II

By Ralph Benko Continued from last week. Two years ago, Hollywood, no kidding, masterminded a plot to, in effect, steal the Internet (by criminalizing certain conduct, booby trapping the Web in ways that few non-mega-corporations can cope with).  There are signs, as perceptively flagged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that the perps are back at it. … Continue reading How a small band of heroes saved the internet and how Hollywood is trying to pirate it again, Part II

Strategy, Ideology and the Close of the Syrian Crisis

By George Friedman It is said that when famed Austrian diplomat Klemens von Metternich heard of the death of the Turkish ambassador, he said, "I wonder what he meant by that?" True or not, serious or a joke, it points out a problem of diplomacy. In searching for the meaning behind every gesture, diplomats start to regard … Continue reading Strategy, Ideology and the Close of the Syrian Crisis

How the internet was saved from Being Hijacked: Now Beware SOPA 2.0

By Ralph Benko Two years ago, Hollywood, no kidding, masterminded a plot to, in effect, steal the Internet (by criminalizing certain conduct, booby trapping the Web in ways that few non-mega-corporations could cope with).  There are signs, as perceptively flagged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that the perps are back at it. We should care. This two-part … Continue reading How the internet was saved from Being Hijacked: Now Beware SOPA 2.0

Syria, America and Putin’s Bluff

By George Friedman In recent weeks I've written about U.S. President Barack Obama's bluff on Syria and the tightrope he is now walking on military intervention. There is another bluff going on that has to be understood, this one from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin is bluffing that Russia has emerged as a major world power. … Continue reading Syria, America and Putin’s Bluff

Conservatism, Texas style: Latinos are making their home in a welcoming Republican Party

by Ralph Benko The political stakes could hardly be higher. Latinos, who have leaned Democratic, demographically are surging in Texas. And if the Democrats can turn Texas blue (or even purple) they would have a huge leg up at winning control of the executive branch of the U.S. government in future presidential elections. By achieving sufficient … Continue reading Conservatism, Texas style: Latinos are making their home in a welcoming Republican Party

Obama’s Tightrope Walk

By George Friedman Last week began with certainty that an attack on Syria was inevitable and even imminent. It ended with the coalition supporting the attack somewhere between falling apart and not coming together, and with U.S. President Barack Obama making it clear that an attack was inevitable, maybe in a month or so, if … Continue reading Obama’s Tightrope Walk

Syria and the Limits of Comparison

By Robert D. Kaplan Because so many war plans simply do not survive the reality of war itself, each war is a unique universe unto its own and thus comparisons with previous wars, while useful, may also prove illusory. One of the many wrong assumptions about the Second Gulf War before it started was that … Continue reading Syria and the Limits of Comparison