"May you live in interesting times" - Ancient Chinese verse
In economic terms we are doing just that.
Newspapers have reported that last winter's weather has made the first quarter of 2014 a bust with an almost 3 percent decline in the CPI. That's the largest decline ever recorded without being in a recession.
The economic definition of a recession is "two consecutive quarters of CPI decline." In other words, if the second quarter in also negative, then we are back in recession. Coming off a 3 percent decline to get to a positive number is a big job. Preliminary numbers are due out soon and while they will be adjusted, it will give us an indication of what to expect. I'm interested to see what direction we're headed. That's interesting.
I visited with a retired Army colonel recently. I asked him his opinion about the reported Russian military involvement in Ukraine. He said since he was no longer active he couldn't say for sure but the video of the RPG exploding a Ukrainian Hind helicopter showed an exhaust trail similar to the Russian SA-4 surface to air missle. Also, the presence of Russian tanks within the borders of the Ukraine seems to indicate some Russian Army involvement.
Tanks and SAM missiles are not readily available to the general public in any country. We read that these insurgents are Russian sympathizers but maybe, they are more than that.
I wrote last month that I thought there would be a Russian invasion of the Ukraine. I think that it's happening and the only thing holding back the full onslaught is the fact the Russians would like to get paid the $2 billion for natural gas they are owed before they move in. The U.S. has forwarded something on the order of $1 billion to the Ukraine for that payment. That's interesting.
In Syria, the terrorist Sunni group, ISIS, led by a person on our country's Most Wanted List, allegedly is setting up a "Caliphate." Iraq exports about as much oil as the recent increase in U.S. oil production. There exists reports of massacres of Iraqi troops and Christians and "death lists" with names of politicians and police chosen to be eliminated. These reports evoke memories of Hitler and Stalin. While disheartening, that's interesting.
Japan has just voted in its legislative body to reinterpret its constitutional prohibition on offensive arms in response to China's initiatives in the East and South China seas in regard to the ownership of certain island groups and potential oil deposits. Chinese nationals have fled Vietnam due to international tensions over the same subject. The Philippines are asking for U.S. ships to be based there after kicking us out and closing our bases. That's interesting.
In Nigeria, Christian girls are being kidnapped and sold into slavery while churches are being blown up and civilians murdered for their religious beliefs. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa. That's interesting!.
So, to sum up, at a time during which we are drastically reducing the size of our military and pulling out of all foreign involvement, bully boy governments and terrorist organizations around the world are pulling off some pretty impressive shenanigans. The argument for reducing our military and not getting involved overseas seems to be losing momentum in light of these events. Without our involvement in peacekeeping on a worldwide basis, there seems to be chaos everywhere. That's interesting!