- - Sunday, April 27, 2014


Woodenly bowing to a robot last week in Japan and far away from home, President Obama seems set to plunge America and allies over the abyss, in a battle with a rising Russia he is plainly not competent to lead, let alone win.

A community organizer steeped in platitudes long ago rejected throughout the pre-1991 Communist sphere will never intimidate a judo master, even by threatening to attack the vast fortune Russian President Vladimir Putin likely has assembled since coming to power.

Instead, raising the stakes against Mr. Putin over the crisis in Ukraine opens the distinct possibility of a counter-attack against the bloated underbelly of the capitalist system — the addiction in America, Western Europe and Japan to debt and dependence upon fiat currencies backed solely by slipping credibility.

President Obama and the Greek chorus supporting him must appreciate that Mr. Putin and Russia are now fully able to galvanize support for shunning the U.S. dollar, the euro and the yen.

With help from savers and from other resource-rich nations, Russia may even be able to create a new alternative currency, backed by precious metals and commodities essential to the modern global economy.

In truth, the over-leveraged Western financial system stands far more exposed to a coordinated assault led by Russia than Mr. Putin does, even if a considerable portion of his wealth is temporarily frozen.

In the event that America and allies mount a more personal attack against Mr. Putin, he and his government will certainly strike back swiftly, in a manner that will hurt the West in the short run far more than the U.S. can harm Russia.

Can anyone restrain our commander-in-chief, or must we prepare to suffer economic reversals worse than the downturn starting in 2008, reversals that could lead to a geopolitical Armageddon?

Days into Mr. Obama’s historic first term as president, who imagined that Vladimir Putin would deliver a master discourse explaining what truly ailed the global financial system? How can it be that a retired lieutenant colonel in the KGB apparently knew more about underlying structural challenges afflicting the global economy than did Mr. Obama and his team?

Increasing the uncertainty

Unswervingly since 2009, the Obama administration has increased the relative cost and uncertainty of investing inside America, while expanding the scope and expense of government.

Because there has been no practical alternative to fiat currencies, international investors have suffered in silence as the value of their holdings melted relative to precious metals and essential commodities.

Until now, Mr. Obama has refused to acknowledge his own mistakes, or to learn lessons from the painful failures suffered by other nations whose leaders took precisely the wrong direction thinking they might advance the welfare of their people.

In Japan’s resounding economic implosion since 1989, we see America’s future if President Obama and his allies continue to get their way, despite so many failures since January 20, 2009. Running structural budget deficits and letting central banks purchase government debt at suppressed interest rates explain much of the Japanese economic disaster.

Our president must acknowledge where his fight with Mr. Putin leads should he fail. Failure would ignite a long overdue righting of global capacity with flagging intrinsic demand and sow the seeds for the president’s impeachment, conviction and removal from office in disgrace.

Unschooled in market-based economics and unwilling to understand how gravely weakened America has become under his watch, Mr. Obama evidently spoils for a fight with Mr. Putin.

General Custer faced better odds at Little Bighorn.

Charles Ortel serves as managing director of Newport Value Partners (newportvalue.com), which provides economic research to executives and to investment firms.



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