Europe still tries to maintain one currency with seventeen different fiscal policies. Derivatives still present a clear and present risk to both the market and the economy. Still, nobody knows what caused the infamous Flash Crash on May 6, 2010 or how to prevent another one. And, we just learned that traders can buy breaking information seconds before the rest of us, giving them a totally unfair advantage.
We are jerked around by a tinhorn dictator with nukes in North Korea. China is attacking our cyber-body. Europeans are facing great austerity. There is a general strike going on in Greece, with demonstrators taking to the streets again. Egypt continues to flounder on the edge of despair. Almost a hundred thousand people have been killed in Syria, where that war is escalating with more U.S. aid. And, we just learned our government is no different than Google in shredding our privacy.
But, what really worries me right now is Turkey. Typically, the trigger for the current street demonstrations was a relatively minor affair involving the destruction of a city park. Unfortunately, the Turkish president, Erdogan, is handling the situation badly. Turkey is important to us! It is a longtime, dependable ally of the U.S. with borders on Syria, Iran, and Iraq, which sounds like a horror movie for sure. Russia is also close by and covets the seaports of Turkey. Turkey is in the geographic position to dominate the sea lanes and oil transport in the Mediterranean. Several pundits have described Turkey as our replacement for the world’s “essential nation.”
Despite having a significant Kurdish population, who insist on their own nation, Turkey has remained a democracy . . . until now. You will recall I have mentioned Erdogan’s famous comment that “democracy is like a street car. When you get to your stop, you get off.” My fear is that Erdogan has now reached that stop, and we are seeing the end of democracy in Turkey. If Turkey becomes just another brutal dictatorship under Erdogan, he will be a very powerful person indeed . . . but more powerful than dependable.
How do I know the sky is really falling this time? Because it always is!
Wall Street analysts are fond of saying they are facing a “Wall of Worry.” They always are!