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Fight of the Century - Jeff Thomas (24/2/2017)

Image: Donald Trump

February 24, 2017

In March 1933, The Enabling Act was passed by the Reichstag in Germany. Its purpose was to provide Chancellor Adolf Hitler with the ability to bypass the Reichstag. It allowed him (amongst other measures) emergency powers to legally wage pre-emptive war without any further parliamentary approval, or even discussion.

In January 2017, H.J. Res 10 was introduced to the US House of Representatives. Its intent was simple and straightforward:

“This joint resolution authorizes the President to use the U.S. Armed Forces as necessary in order to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

The bill has a “whatever it takes” tone to it. It was introduced by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D- FL), and seeks to create unilateral presidential authority to legally wage pre-emptive war without any further Congressional approval, or even discussion.

So, is it possible that the US is following a similar path to that of 1930’s Germany? Well, let’s look a bit closer and see.

During his campaign, Mister Trump was very vocal with regard to his sentiments toward Iran and, since his inauguration, has famously “put Iran on notice.”

He has the full support of his chief advisors on this issue. His first National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Defense Secretary, General James Mattis have both recently accused Iran of “state-sponsored terrorism.” New Head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo also favours invading Iran.

On the other side of the fence, Ayatollah Khamenei has behaved with traditional Iranian braggadocio, saying of Mister Trump, "We are thankful to this newcomer. He has proven what we have been saying for more than 30 years. We would always speak about the political, economic, moral, and social corruption in the US administration. This man revealed it during the election campaign, and since then.”

With each side goading the other, both sides seem to be as eager to “get into the ring” as Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were in 1971’s “Fight of the Century.”

So, will the match take place? Well, it appears that the sabre-rattling has become more serious of late and, unless one side chooses to back down, war could occur early in the Trump presidency. Ironically, for Mister Trump, this could be beneficial, as the US has never been more divided with regard to its support of its president. However, in times of war, party rhetoric tends to dies down considerably and nations rally round their leader.

I’ve previously described Mister Trump with the medical term, “productive narcissist,” as I believe he’s a textbook example. Were I an American citizen, any criticism of Mister Trump would likely label me as a liberal, which I am not. But, at the present time, Americans are so divided that they’re expected by their peers to be “pro-Trump” conservatives or “anti-Trump” liberals, with little allowance for independent observation.

If my psychological assessment is correct, Mister Trump could be predicted to not only pursue conflict with Iran, but revel in it. Certainly, the conflict would result in his becoming the most focused-on man on earth. An EU breakup, collapsing economies, failing currencies and bank confiscations would all take a back seat to the main event – the Fight of the Century, as Mister Trump and the Ayatollah step into the ring.

Unfortunately, war, as attractive as it often is to political leaders, tends not to work out as well as expected. It tends to be more prolonged and more devastating than any leader ever anticipates.

First, each protagonist tends to underestimate the ability of the other to wage war successfully. Second, he tends not to take into account who his opposite number can count on for support. This is especially significant with regard to the upcoming contest, as both Russia and China have declared their support for Iran. It’s unlikely that the US, even if they were to gain the support of the EU, could take on both these nuclear powers. In addition, the EU may well be on the verge of collapse. Individual European countries have sought to increase their trade with the Russians even as the US has sought to impose sanctions against Russia.

Further, as I’ve often stated, “Any country that is considering waging war against another country should first consider that the loser is almost always the country that runs out of money first.”

The US is at present more greatly in debt than ever before in its history and can ill afford to dive into a war that’s almost certain to become a world war.

The last time the world was this close to a world war was in 1962, when US President John Kennedy wrestled with the Cuban missile crisis. At that time, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff advised an all-out attack. Mister Kennedy, thankfully, took a backward step and appealed to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to do the same. Mister Khrushchev agreed and the world was saved from nuclear war by two men who had the sense to calm down and back off.

So, some fifty-odd years later, will we be so fortunate? Unlike Mister Kennedy, Mister Trump appears to approach aggression with gusto. A lover of challenges, he appears quite willing to put on the gloves and to do so soon.

Another difference between 1962 and 2017 is that, back then, most Americans wanted no part of warfare, having lived through World War II. Today, with the help of the media, the average American not only believes in “American exceptionalism,” but has been programmed to believe that Russian President Putin is a highly aggressive leader who needs to have his wings clipped. If anything, Mister Putin is, in fact, more the diplomat than his predecessor, Mister Khrushchev, and has exhibited a desire to tone down the ongoing vitriol from the West.

Effectively, the US media and many Americans are already filling up the grandstands before the Fight of the Century has even been announced. At present, only two small acts remain necessary to bring about the match.

The first would be the passage of H.J. Res 10, which, as it has been proposed by a Democrat, is likely to gain support by the left as well as the right. After that, all that would be necessary would be a decision from a President who, if appearances are correct, may be seeking his place in history as “the Great Man.”

Hopefully, sanity will prevail, but the odds don’t seem to support that possibility.

Indeed, the U.K., U.S., and allied military forces are about to undertake operation “Unified Trident,” a joint exercise in the Persian Gulf, intended to simulate a military confrontation with Iran. (Iran most certainly will not look upon this as mere “games.”)

It’s always wise to hope for the best, but to assume the worst. If H.J. Res 10 does pass, the reader would be advised to begin his plan as to where he wants to be if a world war erupts. (He should bear in mind that, in the two previous world wars, many countries did not participate and relative calm existed in many places in the world. The same promises to hold true this time around.)

Jeff Thomas is British and resides in the Caribbean. The son of an economist and historian, he learned early to be distrustful of governments as a general principle. Although he spent his career creating and developing businesses, for eight years, he penned a weekly newspaper column on the theme of limiting government. He began his study of economics around 1990, learning initially from Sir John Templeton, then Harry Schulz and Doug Casey and later others of an Austrian persuasion. He is now a regular feature writer for Casey Research’s International Man (http://www.internationalman.com) and Strategic Wealth Preservation in the Cayman Islands.

The author is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by Sprott Money Ltd. The views and opinions expressed in this material are those of the author or guest speaker, are subject to change and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprott Money Ltd. Sprott Money does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness and reliability of the information or any results from its use.

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