I have repeatedly mocked the repeated panicking over the Euro-Debt crisis and Greece and Italy and Occupy Wall Street and as I put it back in 2010, “PIIGS! PIIGS! Sovereign debt! Fiscal crisis! Commodities tanking! Deflation! Wait, no inflation! North Korea war! China currency! The PIIGS! Please find me something to panic over right now! Please.”
At the time, the markets were down nearly 40% from their all-time highs and were down 10-15% from their recent highs with Greece and Euro-Debt-Crisis panicky headlines dominating the news. Whenever the markets would 10% over a few days’ time as Greece’s debt issues came to a head, I would point that Greece’s entire economy is less than the market cap of Apple. And I’ve been a steady buyer whenever the markets have crashed because of debt ceiling/fiscal planning crises would hit as the RepublicanDemocrat Regime as I’d remind you that the size of the spending terms being negotiated is always a tiny fraction of actual annual governmental spending.
So right now, “What’s the crisis du jour?”
A new probably warfront and warmongering from the Republican/Democrat Regime about Syria. So let’s try to quantify the risks here for Revolution Investors from the ramifications of a new war.
* Syria’s economy, before the outbreak of the civil war/Revolution that started in 2010, was about $60 billion a year. It’s likely collapsed to less than $40 billion a year since the Syrian currency has crashed and the infrastructure of the nation broke down in war.
* Israel and Saudi Arabia, the primary “partners” of the US in the Middle East are a huge part of this strange pull of American resources, money and blood into the region. Interestingly, Israel’s entire economy is about the same size as Greece’s entire economy. Neither of which is as big as the respective market caps of Apple, GE, Wells Fargo, Google, or Microsoft. Saudi Arabia’s economy is about four times the size of Israel’s or Greece’s economy, which makes it about size of the 2008 TARP bailout, which is about 1/10th of the entire bailout/taxpayer boost that the TBTF banks eventually got.
* The entire annual economic output from Israel, Greece, Syria, and Saudia Arabia is equivalent to about six weeks worth of economic output in the US.
* The US has spent at least $2 trillion on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere in the last decade. That is more than the entire region’s annual economic output.
* China, Russia and other countries that are “siding” with the Syrian government are hoping to build a pipeline in the aftermath of the civil war/Revolution that will deliver energy commodities to Western Europe.
* China, Russian, Brazil and other growing economies want to replace the dollar-as-the-world’s-reserve-currency with gold-backed oil trade.
* The world energy market likely makes up nearly 10% of the total global economic output and is almost equal to the entire annual GDP in China.
The upshot of the economic analysis is that the economic make up of the Middle East and any further collapses in the Middle East economy would be about as meaningless to the US economy our our stock market as the Greece/Spain/Italy/Cyrpus collapses were.
But the upshot of the geopolitical analysis surrounding this crisis is probably much bigger than the markets and mainstream media headlines are revealing. That is, there’s a serious powerplay dynamic being fought over by the US vs. Russia and China. This Syrian war crisis brings much more risk and potential for meaningful impact on the US economy and our stock market than any of the prior crises we’ve faced in the last five years or so.
The risks from the new warfront with Syria isn’t something to take lightly. If the markets had tanked 10-15% (and/or were down 40% plus from their all-time highs as they were back in 2010 and 2011), I might be less cautious. But the fact is that the broader indices are within 3-5% of their all-time highs and the ramifications from a US engaging in a new warfront in Syria are not bullish.
I am going to add short some SPY common short today to help hedge the portfolio here as the warmongering and war risks escalate.
I’m also going to go ahead and cover the LPS short since the company is being acquired and there’s not likely to be much movement in that stock until then.