Current Affairs Current Events

Powder Keg

Nothing is improbable anymore. 

A commercial plane flying from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania is intercepted by a Belarus military jet and “recommended” to land in Minsk, Belarus despite the fact that the plane is closer to Vilnius. The Belarus Air Traffic control informs the pilot that there is a bomb threat on board. 

The plane lands in Minsk. Everyone’s luggage is off boarded on the tarmac and bomb sniffing dogs get to work. They don’t find anything. Meanwhile, a single passenger is isolated and taken separately by security agents. When the plane was asked to land in Minsk, he instantly knew what was afoot and declared to his fellow passengers that the death penalty awaited him there.

This passenger, Roman Protasevich, was a Belarus dissident living in exile in Poland since 2009. He was instrumental in organizing protests from abroad in 2019 against the autocratic Lukashenko regime that refused to accept the results of the election and bow out.

Lukashenko is ably supported by Russia which sees Belarus as the last stop against NATO expansion. So, now we have a Russia vs EU/West situation riddled with tension.

How did World War I start? Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian. What was seen as an insignificant killing quickly escalated into a full blown war amongst various nations in Europe. However, there was a backdrop of tension for decades before 1914 in Europe.

Does this incident have that potential? Tensions are already high between Russia and the USA and EU. Russia has continued to support Lukashenko and is promising to send him aid. Russia is brazenly attacking the US using cyber hacking as a war tool. 

Where can this go from here? Belarus will be sanctioned and isolated. Russia could start administering it by proxy. Belarus could see a period of unrest and Lukashenko could be deposed. With Belarus being a neighbor of Ukraine, one could start seeing war like moves in that region. 

It’s an interesting geo political situation that demands closer attention as I believe it has the potential to escalate.

Let’s see in 6 months. 

Catalyst Current Events Thinking

My predictions for 2021

I had written these down on Jan 1 and forgot to share it. Here are my predictions. The terror attack has already panned out unfortunately

  • COVID daily stats stop being displayed on TV starting in September
  • The stock market corrects by 10% during the year and finishes the year more or less flat
  • Bitcoin goes to a high of $60,000 and stays rest of year range bound between $50-60K
  • DJT is indicted on tax and wire fraud but avoids prison in 2021
  • A medium-large scale domestic terror attack happens in the USA
  • USA and Russia exchange brief military hostilities
  • A third party is formed from a split up in the Republican party
  • Silicon Valley as we know it shrinks significantly due to migration out
  • Electric Vehicles (hybrid + all electric) reach 20% of market share of new automobiles sold in USA
Current Events

Black Swan in March

It’s been a lousy month of March so far (Mar 12th as I write this) for the globe.

The human beings in this planet are under threat from an invisible-to-the-naked-eye enemy that is spreading at an alarming rate and targeting the elderly for the kill.

COVID-19, CoronaVirus, Exponential Growth, Social Distancing, Fatality Rate, Pandemic, Flatten the curve are some terms on everyone’s lips. There are real experts and there are others.

Companies have forced people to work from home. Large events have been cancelled. Travel plans are being rescheduled. Disneyland is shut down. A tiny microbe has the power to stop capitalism dead cold in its tracks. Many humans are suffering, though.

The stock market has been forced to react. It can’t deal with uncertainty and is throwing a fit. People are injecting liquidity, cutting payroll taxes as if the virus will listen. Even the market is not listening.

In the history of the world the word “testing” has not been uttered as many times as in the month of March. Some central body has the gumption to prevent conscientious soldiers on the front line from doing their job. Decentralization needs to work. Alas, bitcoin decided to throw a fit too.

There is realization that other countries in the world can do somethings better than good’ol USA.

Hoping this thing subsides in the next 2-3 months, so we can go back to our old ways again. That was tongue in cheek, but we can’t talk about the face now. My face is the loneliest part of my body now 🙂