Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world of which perhaps 30,000 are members of ISIS.
  • Sheri Berman at Barnard College says ideologies succeed when they replace failed ideas. ISIS has benefited from the failure of Pan Arab-ism, Republicanism, nascent efforts at democracy, economic liberalism and secularism.

Graeme Wood at Yale said:

  • Obama’s approach to ISIS is correct but denying ISIS has any Islamic character whatsoever is wrong and leads to misguided approaches.
  • ISIS is much more focused on Muslims in Iraq, Syria, and the immediate surroundings. ISIS hates Arab rulers more than they hate Israeli leaders so it is less of a direct threat to the American homeland but is a big threat to Middle East stability.

Shadi Hamid at Brookings said ISIS’ approach to Islam is a distortion and ignores centuries of medieval Islamic tradition – it is distinctly modern and reacting against what it dislikes in the world.

Peter Beinart at City University of New York said:

  • America has done best when it has defined its enemies narrowly. We allied with communists like Yugoslavia and China against the Soviet Union and never declared war on fascist Spain in WWII.
  • ISIS is not as great a threat as many fear so Obama’s approach is the right one.
  • Obama’s dispute with Netanyahu goes to the core of how they see themselves historically – Netanyahu as Churchill in the 1930s warning of Nazis, and Obama as Nixon in the 1970s with opening up China.
  • If the nuclear deal with Iran fails, and we have new sanctions, we will be on a path to war.

Peter Zeihan said:

  • In economic growth, what really matters is demography, geography, and topography, which is why almost all of the successful ones civilizations developed around navigable waterways.
  • The US has over 17,000 miles of navigable waterways, more than the rest of the world combined. China and Germany have 2,000 miles. Water transport costs 1/12 of what it cost to move things by land even assuming you have the infrastructure in place. Adding in interstate roadways, ports, and everything, it is a 50-1 advantage.
  • The Intracoastal Waterway, half of American water frontage, is protected. Texas has more combined port potential than all of East Asia. The three largest ports in the world are San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay.
  • The US is the only rich country in the world that is not aging fast like Japan and even Germany.
  • In the developing world, rapid urbanization has been good for economic growth but has made children a luxury good, so birth rates have collapsed. Indonesia and Brazil are aging at 3 or 4 times the rate in Western Europe.
  • The global trade system is dependent on the US, which does not really use it.
  • The US is the least involved international economy as a percentage of GDP and much of that is disappearing – US oil imports have dropped from 12 mbpd to 2 mbpd and within 2 years will be zero. Shale production costs are below $50 a barrel so the oil [price war is pushing out Russian Siberian crude or North Slope crude or Albertan or North Sea crude.
  • Oil prices are decoupling so there will not be a global price and a Middle East crisis will mean more expensive Middle Eastern oil but not West Texas crude.
  • Japan, China, and Germany et al all prospered over the last 70 years because the US set up a free trade system and defended the global commons with its Navy, which is 4 times more powerful than everybody else’s combined. That relationship and US commitment is ending and we are entering a new world which will be responsible for patrolling its own system along with resulting resource wars.

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