Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • Movie studios and theaters have made a mistake in not affirming freedom of expression regarding the movie “The Interview”. In the late 1930s, the UK wanted to ban distribution of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”  to appease Nazi Germany.
  • Obama’s strategy of pressuring Russia and making it pay a price has worked.
  • Putin is not really a dictator but an illiberal Democrat.

Bret Stephens at The Wall Street Journal said:

  • The Castro regime or its successor will be much more obstreperous than we imagine and the liberalization that we seek will not materialize. The opening up of Burma – one of Obama’s great achievements – showed that just setting up an embassy and opening commercial relations was not enough and we gave up too much of our leverage.
  • Cuba is not China and not an important country so there will be no economic bonanza coming our way.
  • Pakistan has chased its best people away.

Anne-Marie Slaughter at New America Foundation said:

  • Robust US economic relations with China has not changed its hold on its society. A US relationship with Cuba is better for both countries and very important for US relations with all of Latin America, given America’s Hispanic population. The Caribbean is an area with much investment and Cuba is a key player.
  • Putin is very weak, and his move into Crimea and Ukraine was the result of both economic and political weakness. Putin’s popularity has been tied to his increasing the standard of living for the majority of Russians four-fold, but now Russia is in recession.
  • The Saudis are lowering oil prices to hurt both Iran and Russia.

Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations said:

  • The move toward Cuba is well designed and either works and sets in motion the trends we want to see or doesn’t, and we still have the embargo in place. The move is one of the positive effects of lower oil prices because Venezuela is not going to be able to sustain theIR subsidy.
  • Putin has consolidated power to a degree around his own person that is without precedent in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union, which makes it hard to predict how he will react to this pressure.
  • Pakistan is a weak, divided, almost endlessly failing state and the most frightening country in the world with 150, 200 nuclear weapons and many of the world’s most dangerous terrorists.

Rana Foroohar at CNN said:

  • A great first step would be to help Cuba build a more robust Internet a la China
  • Lower oil prices is essentially a $100 billion tax rebate for consumers, but very bad news for petro autocrats like Russia and Iran – the negative fallout tends to be more intense than the positive effect.
  • Russia is a failed state economically, with 75% of the exports coming from oil.
  • In Russia and in many other emerging market countries, there is a younger generation that is quite nationalistic.

Watch the video at or read the full transcript