E Market Briefing For Monday, May 20

Memo from Beijing?

If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time. -Chinese Proverb 

Challenges are multiplying - for markets; for trade negotiations, and now it seems realistic concerns about 'why' the United States reacted (partially as a result of 'missing' Iranian weapons transfer activity) swiftly to 'reports' of a rise in shipments and 'threatening activity' in the Middle East.  

First of all this matters, and has now been extensively leaked by the British Press, and caused the Foreign Minister to reverse his General's quiescent stance, and point-out they now see what Iran was doing. Worrisome in that is the revelation that the Quds Force (really Iran's terror paramilitary) head, summoned terrorist groups from all over (including operating in Iraq) to meet with instructions to prepare for a 'proxy war' (asymmetric attacks) aimed at their 'regional adversaries and America'.  


    (Virtually no basic change overall from last night's assessments.) 


This meeting apparently was 3 weeks ago; and would thus 'predate' what a lot of folks (myself included to a degree) worried was John Bolton's leaning too heavily on ramping-up force presence in the region. Now that we know it was 'not premature', we can say with greater conviction it was justified; but of course that doesn't mean Bolton isn't (at times) a bit hot-headed (we all remember his participation to convince Bush of Saddam's WMD that never existed; and we all know it was more the Saudi's or even Pakistani's, that attacked the United States on 9-11; there were zero Iraqi's or Persians that I recall; even though they are all quasi-police state or theocratic countries.

In any event; now that we know about the meeting and plans to mobilize the various tribal-like militias throughout the region; plus moving rockets or arms that neither U.S., Saudi, or Israeli intelligence picked-up at the time; there's an acceptable (and necessary) logic to the rapid deployment of Forces. And it's why the U.K. not totally endorses the U.S. posturing; totally reversing the more restrained initial reaction (and not because Washington simply asked); as it's the British who actually uncovered this (at least that we saw today). I address it in more detail in the 2nd video this weekend).  

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