Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu phoned President Vladimir Putin Wednesday Feb. 24, to find out how the partial Syrian ceasefire due to go into effect Saturday Feb. 27 will affect Israel’s northern border security. According to the Kremlin statement, “The two leaders discussed the Middle East and reached agreement to hold a number of high-level contact meetings.”
Agreement was also reached on “a range of contact [meetings] on the high and highest level, taking into consideration the 25tyh anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries,” the communiqué went on to say.
It is hard to believe that the Russian President, while deeply immersed in tense exchanges with President Barack Obama and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani for tying up the ends of the approaching Syrian ceasefire, would give his attention to the celebration of a historic event.
The words did however convey the impression that the Russian leader was making an effort to calm Israel’s apprehensions about the coming stage of the Syrian crisis.
According to our sources, Netanyahu put in the call to Putin when he learned that the Russian and American presidents had agreed to get the partial ceasefire started in southern Syria, namely on the front closest to the borders of Israel and Jordan.
Israeli and Jordanian military officials have been trying to get a picture of how these arrangements would work and affect their national security, but Washington and Moscow are similarly tightlipped on information. This is also the reaction the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Director General Dore Gold found when he called on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Feb. 18. The minister was polite but avoided direct answers to questions.
Israel is most deeply troubled by the possibility that Syrian army, Iranian and Hizballah forces currently in offensive momentum in South Syria will exploit the cessation of hostilities to advance towards its Golan border with hostile intent.
With only three days to go before the truce goes into effect, Israel has still not received any clear answers about whether the Russian air force will continue to strike Syrian rebel elements deemed “terrorists” unabated in close proximity to its northern borders.
US officials have tried in the last 24 hours to assuage Israel’s concerns, but they are no more forthcoming with clear information than the Russians.
Netanyahu therefore picked up the phone to the Russian president, with whom he maintains a friendly dialogue, to find out what was ahead in the wake of the truce and to ask for guarantees that Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces would not permitted to take advantage of the lull to gain ground.
The prime minister also asked Putin about the huge $14bn arms deal in negotiation with Tehran.
He is most unlikely to have been appeased by the bone the Russian president threw him about a joint celebration of an anniversary. The record is not assuring. In early January, Putin promised Netanyahu that he would make sure that Hizballah forces would not be part of the Russian-backed Syrian army offensive in the South. But then, on Jan. 27, a large Hizballah force entered the southern town of Daraa and Russian air strikes drew ever closer to the Israeli border, until explosions could be heard in Israel from a distance of no more than a few hundred meters.
It's a big club and you ain’t in it!”
I’m often reminded of these words, spoken by the great comedian George Carlin, when I read about the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
That’s where the global power elite gather to discuss the big issues of the day. The most important world leaders attend. As do the CEOs of the largest companies, leaders in the mainstream media and top academics. Central bankers attend, too, along with a wide assortment of celebrities.
Three types of meetings happen in Davos, according to the BBC:
- Public meetings, which anyone can attend.
- Closed meetings, which you can only attend by invitation.
- Secret meetings, which are unannounced. The public doesn’t know the agenda or who attends.
The biggest and most important deals take shape in these secret meetings. And this year, I think there was one secret meeting with huge historical significance.
I think world leaders decided to dramatically escalate the War on Cash, making it easier for them to impose negative interest rates.
Negative interest rates mean the lender pays the borrower for the privilege of lending him money. It’s a bizarre, upside-down concept.
Negative rates could not exist in a free market. They can only exist in an Alice in Wonderland economy created by central bankers.
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[ZH: We confirmed this belief last week when we pointed out the rather disturbing headline spotted in a Davos presentation...
the most disturbing development we have seen yet in the push for a cashless society has come from the following slide in a Morgan Stanley presentation, one in which the bank's head of EMEA equity research Huw van Steenis, pointed out the following...
Think of it as “punishment interest.”
That’s a common term in Germany for negative interest rates. I think it’s an apt description.
Punishing savers is exactly what central bankers—who are really central economic planners—would like to do. They think stinging savers with negative interest rates will encourage them to spend now. It’s effectively a tax on saving money.
Central planners just want you to spend money. Even if you have to go into debt to do it. Consumption based on fear of negative interest rates is somehow supposed to “stimulate” the economy.
However, their harebrained scheme is not working. Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden all have negative interest rates. But consumer spending is not being “stimulated” in those countries. It’s totally (and predictably) backfiring on the central planners. And it’s easy to see why.
Negative interest rates make it harder to save. Put $1,000 in your bank account at the beginning of the year, and it becomes $950 by the end of the year. And that’s not even accounting for inflation.
This scenario scares people. It doesn't induce them to spend.
Producing more than you consume and saving the difference has always been the basis of prosperity. Prudent saving and thriftiness are supposed to be good things. However, negative interest rates destroy the incentive to save. That’s just one of the reasons it’s such a toxic concept.
But there’s another important reason to fear negative interest rates…
If you don’t like the sting of negative interest, you can withdraw your money from the bank and stash the cash under your mattress. The more it costs to store money at the bank, the less inclined people are to do it.
Of course, this is not the outcome central economic planners want. It puts a natural limit on how far down they can drive interest rates.
Their solution to this “problem” is to push the world closer to a cashless society. That cuts off your main escape route from punishment interest.
Central planners are doing this by phasing out larger denominations of currency notes, which makes large cash transactions impractical. Some are outright prohibiting cash transactions over a certain amount. France recently made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal, down from the previous limit of €3,000.
Statist economists even advocate declaring all dollar bills with a serial number ending in “9” invalid.
These are just some of their methods. They all make it inconvenient or illegal to use cash. This forces people to use electronic payment methods more and more, which, of course, is what the U.S. government wants.
It’s exactly like Ron Paul said: “The cashless society is the IRS’s dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.”
For weeks, Haruhiko Kuroda, the head of Japan’s central bank, repeatedly denied plans to adopt negative interest rates.
Kuroda was at the January 20–23 summit in Davos.
A few days later, on January 29, he decided to impose negative interest rates in Japan for the first time ever. Something must have changed his mind.
I don’t think this was an isolated incident. I’m quite sure global leaders secretly discussed ramping up the War on Cash in Davos.
There was a flurry of related activity during and immediately after Davos. Here are some of the most noteworthy incidents:
The writing is on the wall. The War on Cash is accelerating. And it’s setting the table for negative interest rates in the U.S.
That should not surprise anyone. Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, recently said, “Potentially anything—including negative interest rates—would be on the table.”
It’s time to protect yourself from negative interest rates and the War on Cash…before it’s too late. You don’t want to find yourself unprepared when negative interest rates hit you.
The War on Cash and negative interest rates are obvious signs of desperation. They are huge threats to your financial security.
Central bankers are playing with fire and inviting a currency catastrophe, just like they have done so many times in the past.
The sad truth is most people have no idea what really happens when a currency collapses, let alone how to prepare…