About Me

Retired chief investment officer and former NYSE firm partner with 50 plus years experience in field as analyst / economist, portfolio manager / trader, and CIO who has superb track record with multi $billion equities and fixed income portfolios. Advanced degrees, CFA. Having done much professional writing as a young guy, I now have a cryptic style. 40 years down on and around The Street confirms: CAVEAT EMPTOR IN SPADES !!!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Syria Risks

So far, the debate in the US about whether we should launch a missile attack on Syrian
military and related installations has been more calm, intelligent and enlightening than I
expected it would. The public, weary of war and increasingly skeptical that any US military
action in Islamic dominated countries is worth a dime or a drop of our blood, remains
largely unmoved. The majority here do not want such an attack.

A 60 day time limited attack on Syria focused on the military would do tremendous damage
to the place even if it primarily involves cruise missiles. Do not be fooled into thinking that
concentrated bombing is but a "drive by".

So it remains good that the public seems demanding and that critics are probing the
administration's case forcefully. It is also good that Obama and his crew are going to have
to work harder to make their case and for them to realize the political risks involved.

Maybe no attack will occur then, but if one does proceed as currently outlined, there could
be substantial retaliation and blowback to come from Syria and its allies. Even Russia is
reported to be inserting a few warships into the waters off Syria. Cruise missiles soaring
above or around Mother Russia's gunboats is not a recipe for carefree days on the Med.

I push the risk issue a little because these are troubled times with leaders in many countries
under pressure to have their economies perform better. And, with largely subpar global
economic performance for the past five years, patience and temperament are getting a little
frayed among the folks and their leaders. This is a tough time, a very tough time, to risk
widening a war based on deep hatreds that go beyond Syria's immediate borders.

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