Will The USA Nuke Its Way Out Of Recession?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Increased saber-rattling and growing rumours that the USA may even plan a nuclear strike - inevitably killing civilians - against Iran have left their mark on commodity prices again. Oil scratching at the $70 mark and gold and silver at quarter-century highs express the world's fears of another armed conflict in the area with the biggest fossile energy reserves worldwide.
Looking back into history offers a very uncomfortable perspective. Since the 1930s war has always helped to pull the USA out of recessions.
  • The Great Depression ended with world war II.
  • The slump in the 1950s ended with the Korea war.
  • In the 1960s Vietnam helped grease the military industrial complex.
  • The recession in the early 1980s preceded the Nicaragua conflict.
  • Interference in the Kosovo in the 1990s stood at the beginning of irrational exuberance in the 1990s.
  • In the new millennium the biggest defense (?) budgets and the invasion of Iraq helped pull the USA out of the rubble after the dot.com bubble until now.
Taking into account increasing pressure on the property market from higher interest rates, worsening demographics with their associated higher medical costs and the biggest debt bubble, private and public, all signs are pointing towards a recession.
To lift the eonomy out of the doldrums by way of war the USA would only follow a concept that has worked well in the past.
Although I hate to be caught using the phrase "this time it is different" it may well apply in the case of an Iran war which it will have to fight with an outworn army that has not exactly "won" the "liberation" of Iraq.
While the material drain can effectively turn into a blessing for companies in the defense sector and help drag along the nominal picture of the American econonmy it will be harder to replenish the ranks of those willing to fight a war with doubtful purposes. People are not lining up for redeployment in another oil-rich country.
Trying to defeat Iran in a remote high-tech war and exercising the nuclear option would lead the world into a dark chapter of history.
For the first time a nation would use nuclear bombs in a war of aggression. Decades of trying to make the world a more peaceful place after the horrible experiences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed that the nuclear option has an inhumane strike price and is therefore rightfully outlawed by those nations calling themselves civilized.
A country willingly weighing the devastating forces of atomic bombs in order to secure its oil supplies will lose all its moral authority which was once a role model for the democratically minded majority in the world.
Investmentwise there is nothing to add to the old advice: Buy gold, buy silver, buy platinum and buy energy.
UPDATE: The Power and Interest News Report has a timely analysis on the lingering conflict. I recommend this site in general for good geopolitical analysis that can be received by email subscription (UNPAID advertisement.)

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