Thursday, September 25, 2014

Petro-Blockade: How To Decapitate ISIS’ Financial Lifeblood


The ISIS killing machine runs on oil, its financial life-blood, that enables it to acquire material and human resources worldwide. Oil is a fungible commodity which is always in demand worldwide regardless of price, particularly the high-quality light sweet crude in Iraq. This means that there’s always a buyer. In the case of ISIS, its buyers are shadowy intermediaries and smugglers who have no political or moral scruples at the ready with all cash payments. There are ways to disrupt these transactions but never shut them down enough to adversely impact ISIS’ operations.

Instead of attacking its army, coalition ground troops (a.k.a. US troops) should focus on its revenue source directly: the dozen or so oil refineries under ISIS control. Defending these facilities is a lose-lose proposition for ISIS. The sudden and severe loss of revenue will soon separate the wheat from the chafe amongst ISIS fighters. In other words, when things get tough or even dire the financial shortfall will cause internal fissures amongst the militants and will reveal which are true believers (fighting for ideology) and which are doing it for cash. More than likely the de facto mercenaries consist of the foreign fighters. It’s not only a method of progressively denying ISIS a major source of funding, it will also create rifts in the ranks making it more difficult for the leadership to control and inspire them to hold fast and push forward. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “An army travels on its stomach.” For ISIS add petro-dollars.

There are three ways this can be accomplished, each one with its own particular risk:

1.       Blockade/siege: low risk with ground troops who establish themselves on periphery of the oil facility cutting oil pipes and preventing vehicles from entering or leaving. Possible drawing out ISIS forces elsewhere for reinforcements cut down aerial attacks because of open dessert. Isolation of ISIS units.

2.      Invade: High risk with high ground troop losses, damage to the oil facility and possible scuttling of the facility by ISIS forces.

3.      Destroy: Low risk with airstrikes which are currently underway to destroy or disrupt the operations of the oil refineries. Nonetheless ground troops will be required to “mop up” otherwise the militants will undertake repairs.

In WW II the US Marines performed island-hopping amphibious assaults against Imperial Japan in the Pacific. Similarly ground troops would perform oil refinery hopping in the vast desert oceans of the Mideast. This tactic can be undertaken one oil refinery at a time or a simultaneous attack on several.

Once ISIS begins to lose control, a regime at the brink of collapse like a cornered dying beast, is likely to strike out viciously and commit more horrific atrocities if that’s even imaginable.
 
Author: A Goldson
 
Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.


 

Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges. We'll get you on the "Short List".
Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Check out my international media profile as TV panelist and published articles:

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

America's Iron Cross: West Point Aristocrats Aim for Glory


The movie Cross of Iron (1977) is directed by Sam Peckinpah and stars Maximillian Schell (Captain Stransky) and James Coburn (Corporal Steiner) as German soldiers in 1943 on the Eastern Front. The aristocratic Prussian Captain Stransky transfers from occupied France to the Eastern Front for an opportunity to earn the coveted Iron Cross. This medal was first awarded in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars for distinguished service well before the rise of Nazi Germany. Captain Steiner goes through Machiavelli-type methods to “earn” the medal and frequently buts heads with NCO battle-hardened Corporal Steiner who has contempt for this military social climber.

According to a NY Times article 13 April 2014 entitled “In New Officers’ Careers, Peace Is No Dividendthere’s an eerie similar parallel in the US with some West Point graduates (military aristocrats) in the class of 2014 who are actively seeking combat participation.  The purpose for such a request is that experience in combat duty is a tremendous career booster for future military career opportunities which served the earlier graduates rather well. The same scenario occurred during the Vietnam era when the war was winding down and recently graduated West Point officers requested assignment there to obtain the combat infantry badge.


The article continued stated that these new graduates will be asked to lead men and women who have completed multiple tours in battle-ravaged Middle East without themselves having to face enemy fire. Undoubtedly there’s no substitute for those officers who have “been there, done that” with boots on the ground leading men under fire. Justifiably these soldiers get greater consideration for advancement than those without combat experience. Notwithstanding, despite their deployment stateside to for peaceful assignment, these recent graduates still may get their chance in America’s “forever war” in the Middle East with Special Operations units. But even within Special Forces, advancement may be limited.

I’m sure that not every graduate has a burning desire to enter the cauldron of war. But for those who do, I wonder if they’ve ever visited a VA Hospital or spoken with the families of loved ones killed or maimed serving their country and truthfully explain why they’re anxious to serve in those hotspots.

A career as an officer in the armed forces is a serious commitment, particularly from a prestigious and elite institution. We need men and women like them to defend us in a perpetually turbulent world. War is self-serving a business with bombs and bullets that kill and maim. I just hope for all of our sakes that the vast majority of them are doing it for the right reasons.
 
Author: A Goldson
 

 The NY Times article link:


  The trailer to Cross of Iron (1977)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV3gBzBnzr8

Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.

Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll help you get on the "Short List."

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Check out my international media profile as TV panelist plus articles:



Cable TV appearances on 2014 Emmy-award winning international talk show "Fresh Outlook":http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/videos/
Speaker Profilehttp://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/
Published articles:http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Albert_Goldson

Follow us on twitter: @caerusNYC
 

 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ISIS at the Crossroads


From the perspective of the ISIS leadership they realize that they’ve arrived at a critical crossroad of their existence. Just imagine that you’ve achieved unimaginable success that no other militant group has accomplished in the region in a short period of time.  This wildly successful military and terror campaign have resulted in your soaring popularity amongst your fighters, a booming recruitment of additional militant fighters worldwide and daily revenue of $1-$2 million from oil revenues, kidnapping and other criminal activities.  What lays before you through your binoculars are militarily feeble and corrupt governments who are unable to come together to form a strong ground force coalition for a counter-attack despite the air support of the US, the most powerful country in world history.

On a small scale, these early conquests parallel Nazi Germany who in 1940 conquered most of Europe within months and neutralized Britain. By1941 they made the fateful decision to invade the Soviet Union, the curse of over-stretch, which eventually doomed them 4 years later.

Throughout history all totalitarian regimes think that they’re different and that they’ll change history because of new tactics and new technology to conquer and hold additional lands. Early dramatic victories often result in the delusional thinking that this successful trend will continue.  Often, just as when you win big early in the poker game, you end up borrowing money for a taxi ride home. ISIS is at this crossroad.  Their options are as follows:

Wait: The counter-intuitive, savvy strategy is to halt their expansion, consolidate their power and wait. Any future coalition composed of regional tribes will be weak. By not mobilizing to invade further reduces the urgency to form such a coalition. Then in the near future they can attack each of those parties individually who won’t have the support of their coalition partners with low grade attacks by nibbling at the fringes.

Attack: If you had to pick the jewel in the crown for ISIS it would probably be Baghdad, a capital city of a major oil producing country and OPEC member.  It’s an astoundingly tempting option.  Symbolically it’s the unofficial US military capital in the Middle East and its capitulation will rock capitals worldwide.  If ISIS can sow enough internal chaos and confusion in the city prior to an attack, this could be the major thrust of their next campaign.

But the ISIS doctrine is based on a warped, fanatical religious belief driven by emotion, a collective Messiah Complex, not by logic. Quite importantly, such organizations are not monolithic because there are always various factions jockeying for influence. Often there are differences on matters of execution and other times there are differences on strategic matters. The question is whether the religious and military leadership of ISIS are on the same page strategically.

The former Iraqi military brass is well aware of its operational limitations however the religious leadership doesn’t care. To what extent will this create an internal conflict? This is Western intelligence’s opportunity to inject misinformation and disinformation to create enough internal conflict and dissonance in the ISIS leadership to weaken it, make them turn on each other, and perhaps render it ineffective.

Chances are that the religious faction will prevail because ISIS, like Nazi Germany, is psychologically geared for perpetual war and enslavement of people. The problem for intelligence services is that their governments don’t have strong options as a cause for ISIS fighters to defect. That’s why they joined ISIS in the first place because not even al Qaeda could offer them satisfaction. The only way is to make ISIS an unappealing organization that can’t satisfy their desires.

All power has its limitations politically and militarily.  There is always a line in the sand, not necessarily articulated by Western governments, but when crossed will provoke the US to react and respond accordingly beyond air support.
Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.


Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll get on the "Short List".

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Contact us at:

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ISIS: The Reservoir Dogs of the Middle East


Whatever coalition is cobbled together by the US, their performance, or lack of, to combat ISIS is contingent not on US leadership, rather the coalition’s followership.  Specifically it’s how and to what lengths each coalition member will follow and support the US in this campaign that will determine its effectiveness and outcome.

Take the classic cult heist movie Reservoir Dogs (1992) in which several criminals meet beforehand to plot a jewelry heist and receive color codes for their assignment.  Each participant has a skill and a specific role to insure its success and most know each other quite well from previous heists.  Additionally, each one has a track record of reliability and is highly motivated to succeed, thus each member can rely on his partner to do his job.  Their background confirms that each one was raised in a tough environment and tougher neighborhood so each one is battle-hardened.

Interestingly enough the coalition members have similar backgrounds as the Reservoir Dog crew but lack critical components that endanger the campaign.  Despite a dangerous common enemy, they’ve never worked collectively before despite residing in the same tough neighborhood and they can’t trust each other nor the leader (US) because somehow, somewhere they’ve been betrayed by each in one way or another.  There seems to be more honor among thieves than governments.

The Reservoir Dog crew has only one minor pre-heist with respect to ego but it never compromises the operation.  Steve Buscemi is not a physically threatening or imposing guy.  He’s more of a thinker, “street smart”, who uses his brain rather than brawn, who is predictably miffed at being assigned the color code “Mr. Pink”.   His brief unsuccessful effort to swap his color code to a more masculine one doesn’t irk the other members because they know he’s a trusted and fully capable partner.

On the other hand, the commitment of coalition members is not only less than enthusiastic, their capability is in doubt.  Many of them will rely more on US military power while they commit as little as possible to defeat an enemy that threatens their very existence either directly or indirectly should ISIS influence hostile groups to their regime.  This problem goes well beyond jockeying to get the coolest color codes.

Depressingly, there are no heroes in this campaign.  The US, the leader of the coalition, carries considerable political baggage and each coalition member is damaged goods, severely tainted by some kind of recent actions, and always engaging in the exhausting shifting of alliances of a street hustler.  This upcoming conflict appears more like gang warfare rather than the liberation of groups targeted for extermination.

The infamous scene in which  Mr. Pink tries to change his code color:
 
 
 
 
 Author: A Goldson
 
Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved
 

Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to get on the "Short List" in your cross-cultural and global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges. We'll get you on the "Short List."

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Check out my profile including international media coverage on global issues as a panelist on TV and articles:

Cable TV appearances on 2014 Emmy-award winning international talk show "Fresh Outlook":http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/videos/
Speaker Profilehttp://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/
Published articles:http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Albert_Goldson
 
Follow us on twitter: @caerusNYC

 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Coalition of One: America’s High Noon in the Middle East


ISIS’ military and public relations objective is to decisively win a major battle against coalition ground forces and force the US to make the excruciating lose-lose choice of either withdrawing from the Middle East or go it alone by committing ground troops. It took the alliance of convenience amongst Kurds, Shiite militia and Iraqi Army with the help of US air power to break the 82-day siege at Iraqi town of Amerli which happens to have the same population of 21,000 as another town under siege during the same period called Ferguson MO. Just imagine what it would take to dislodge ISIS from larger towns and eventually small cities. Air power alone has never won any war so ultimately ground troops are needed. US flyboys can’t be everywhere all the time in an area the size of Indiana. Air power is merely a disruptive not invasive force.

There are unending conflicting interests between the coalition partners making them fractured and weak for a grueling campaign. Each of these coalition countries, de facto police states, already has serious internal threats. And each one of them are aware that a sudden change in American politics midstream can suddenly restrict or even halt US air support leaving coalition ground forces exposed and at the mercy of a battle hardened, well-led and well-disciplined ISIS force. The track record for US-trained forces is abysmal. Even the millions poured into training the South Vietnamese Army in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in a quick collapse shortly after the American withdrawal.

ISIS welcomes this coalition because its composition will neither be robust nor durable. Despite US air support the coalition ground forces ground forces will be underwhelming. That’s why I believe that ISIS will ramp up its operations immediately against proposed coalition countries to “discourage” them from participating. Imagine the US at the head of a line of reluctantly participating coalition members while ISIS begins picking off the members one by one leaving only the US standing.

Another more likely reason why President Obama is reluctant to commit US ground forces is not the threat of ISIS, rather the home front. Americans are war-weary and fed up that the US spent billions of dollars that has resulted in worsening chaos in the Middle East. These billions could have been spent more wisely to spur the economy where the middle class has almost vanished and millions of Americans barely get by paycheck to paycheck – those that have jobs. Any authorization to send US ground forces can provoke significant unrest nationwide requiring more than militarized police to control it.

The depressingly bad news is the dirty secret no one will ever dare broach: the war against ISIS is unwinnable without US ground troops. Politically, authorization for deployment of US ground troops is unlikely to happen under the current administration. The probable domestic political objective of the Obama administration is to contain ISIS through air power and hand off the responsibility to eliminate ISIS with ground forces to the next administration.

Psychologically ISIS has achieved what no other sovereign country in the region has been able to do – dominate and intimate based strictly on a pro-Sunni doctrine which crosses all borders. With its blitzkrieg-like victories, invasion and occupation of vast territories, ISIS combatants probably feel very much like the German soldiers after defeating France and most of Europe in months in 1940 – invincible supermen destined for greatness.
A decisive victory by ISIS over the coalition forces in just one battle will attract thousands of additional recruits worldwide including defectors from al Qaeda that will embolden pro-Sunnis and other militants everywhere. The ISIS leadership is savvy enough to control resources and territory it can effectively defend. Their only potential misstep will be the historical curse of over-reach, the ego-driven grandiose ambitions that exceed operational capability. Sadly it may be the former because these military forces are led by experienced former Iraqi military brass formerly under Saddam Hussein who are clear & free of the insane and self-destructing operational demands of a madman. This is what makes ISIS the Ebola of the Middle East - hard to contain, hard to eliminate.



Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.


Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll get on the "Short List".

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Contact us at:

http://www.indobrazilian.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bellicose Neutrality – A Gathering of Militants


ISIS is reveling in their strong recruitment results in attracting disaffected youth from Western countries thanks to the fortuitous combination of stunning military successes and a sophisticated social media marketing campaign. In response to the dangers posed by returning indoctrinated, battle hardened recruits, Western countries are in the process of identifying those individuals who travel or intend to travel to militant hotspots as well as question those who have visited those regions and are trying to re-enter their home Western country. This government policy will certainly hamper departing and returning Western-born militant movements in the short-term, however ISIS is a cagey organization capable of lightning quick adaptation.

The focus of Western intelligence should be aware of is the transit of these militants to and from the following so-called neutral countries:
1.       Those who are passively aggressive by refusing to cooperate and permitting any traveler to freely come and go, and

2.      Those led by anti-Western leaning governments like Venezuela.

These are countries that can be used as gathering places between experienced Western militants and new recruits who have no intention of traveling to militant held regions. The purpose is for the new recruits to receive information and training as a sleeper-cell in their home countries. These are the countries where face-to-face intel can be exchanged more effectively and safely as well as impromptu training in sabotage and provoking chaos upon return to their home countries.

The easy part is to track and match the travel patterns of militants directly leaving hostile zones to non-combatant countries with Western recruits traveling to those same countries. Several plotters of the 9/11 attack hobnobbed in Germany before executing their deed. The challenge is diplomatic: to acquire the full cooperation of the counter-part intelligence agencies to exchange information on suspect travelers particularly through third party countries to capture those taking an indirect route to those non-combatant countries.

To be more effective Western intelligence agencies have to realize that despite ISIS’ utmost ruthlessness, there are more safe havens, including non-Muslim, for ISIS members and other radical organizations than they might imagine in these same so-called neutral countries. There is strong anti-Western and anti-American sentiment in corners of the world that one would least suspect simply because historically the world hates empires, particularly if they can’t become citizens of them. And the safe haven gatekeeper may have little to do whether they believe in ISIS’ doctrine, only a shared symbiotic fraternal philosophy that they’re fighting against an empire.

Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.


 Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll get on the "Short List".

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Contact us at:

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

America’s High Noon Against the Viral Plagues


Two horrific virulent viruses are quickly engulfing vast swathes of territory in a dastardly pincer movement.  Ebola, from the remote jungles of West Africa, and ISIS from deep in the desert, are implacable killing machines with a shockingly high kill rate wrecking havoc and terror in their ever-expanding domains.  Sweeping aside token resistance, they’re conducting cross-border invasions across multiple sovereign states and increasingly getting stronger as they grow.

ISIS has about 20 pro-ISIS groups in countries yet invaded by them, one of which is Libya in the midst of civil war.  Additionally, ISIS is generously funded by revenue from captured oil refineries and kidnapping.  Ebola has mutated with their expansion from remote villages to towns and is now at the cusp of entering high-density cities in countries with appalling medical and sanitation conditions which give it greater strength.  Like ISIS, once under their grip, there are few survivors to tell the tale.

Like Ebola, ISIS is easily exportable.  Viruses adhere to the victim, Ebola through “blood, sweat and tears” and ISI through propaganda.  In other words they both operate by attacking and capturing the “hearts and minds.”  Conversion to protect oneself from either virus is not an option – only death.  And neither virus can easily be defeated because neither has a well-defined infrastructure.  There are no vaccines to protect against Ebola and only a pro-ISIS Sunni can protect himself and his family from ISIS.

All viruses have humble beginnings that go undetected, under-reported, and often ignored.  Isolated they grow in the dark, slowly gaining strength and then multiply prolifically amidst the chaos and confusion all the while cloaking themselves as a savior to resolve the crisis.

Ebola was an isolated virus identified in the 1970s possibly caused by the cross-species consumption of chopped up bush meat.  ISIS was a small, relatively unknown radical group that mushroomed amongst the factional splintering and chaos in the region.  Because of al Qaeda’s ‘soft’ stance on certain issues, numerous Sunnis joined ISIS particularly the top Iraqi military brass who were administratively “chopped up” from Saddam Hussein’s regime and are now seeking revenge.

The strength of these viruses is that Ebola is apolitical (for obvious reasons) and ISIS has deep pool of rabidly anti-American ‘talent’ regionally and internationally.

It’s the 1930s redux which will eventually take the world’s collaborative resources to first contain and then destroy these viruses, always at a high human and economic cost.  The last viruses requiring a gargantuan global effort were Nazism and then communism.

Sadly the World Health Organization (WHO) is under-staffed and under-funded.  A recent budget cut reduced their annual budget to about $4 billion which is far less that the $6 billion budget for the US Center for Disease Control.  It is estimated that $600 million is required to combat the Ebola virus.

The US government is war-weary and trying to reduce the military budget just at a time when more funding would be required to lead a coalition to combat ISIS and other global flash-points.

The difficulty in forming a coalition is that often sovereign state partners are weak and corrupt with limited resources which will be more of a burden.  In other words, as always, America will be carrying all of the fight like Gary Cooper in High Noon as its so-called allies bail in the face of danger.

Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.




Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll get on the "Short List".

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Contact us at:

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Public Relations Handbook for Dictactorships

Author: Albert Goldson

ISIS and Russia’s ability to conduct these surprisingly cost effective operations is due in large part to fortuitous timing. The US is war weary and has already evacuated their troops after expending billions with limited results and tangible political change. The US can now only manage supportive air strikes for their allies in the Middle East. The EU membership is politically fragmented on the degree of course of action and NATO, by policy, can’t respond directly by charter because Ukraine is not a NATO-member. Today’s wars are conducted as NATO leadership describes as “hybrid wars” encompassing several components that didn’t exist previously. The first is propaganda transmitted worldwide instantaneously via the internet, and the second is cyber-warfare which can render an adversary “blind” with respect to intelligence information.

The commonalities between ISIS and Russia are striking. They are expansionist by invading territory in weak and corrupt sovereign states with a “welcoming” population, natural “allies”: ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and Sunnis in the Middle East. This makes their occupation cost effective in that there is minimal threat within those newly invaded territories of a local rebellion. Thus the size of the occupying force is to repel outside attempts to re-seize it, not indigenous crowd control. They rely on oil productions for their revenue.

1.      Big Business: Waging war is an expensive undertaking. As a high-demand, fungible commodity and owners of oil refineries and the grounds that hold oil, easily sold through intermediaries if required, they are less vulnerable to lack of funds. Russia has the advantage of not only having oil but also limiting or denying natural gas to the West as bargaining leverage particularly with fall and winter arriving shortly. Think of Big Business with a military.

2.      Vengeance: For Russia it’s expansion to increase territorial buffer against perceived Western encroachment and influence. For ISIS it’s the redrawing of the Middle East which was divvied up in such a way primarily by the British and French after WW I to deliberately weaken the region.

The simultaneous wars occurring in Ukraine and the Middle East display contrasting public relations campaigns conducted by the aggressor parties. Here are the differences how their public relations campaigns are conducted which are based on their classification of non sovereign state (ISIS) vs a sovereign state (Russia):
As a non-sovereign state ISIS is not recognized nor beholden to any official world organizations. As a sovereign state Russia is well integrated politically and economically into the global community. For ISIS, no rules apply particularly those pesky Geneva conventions. As a result, ISIS revels in highlighting its despicable actions vs Russia’s denials because it supposedly is not involved in the conflict. Russia can be sanctioned, ISIS cannot, which is the West’s dilemma.

1.      Objective: Russia’s expansion is defensive in nature to create a buffer and is limited by its military capability to the Near Abroad –one sovereign state, Ukraine - occupied by ethnic Russians. ISIS’s expansion is offensive to areas with religious not ethnic natural allies in Sunnis who reside in multiple sovereign Middle East states that span vast territories. These countries fear possible uprisings amongst their Sunni population from within and may not have enough military might to defend their borders which is why ISIS can secure more territory more quickly.

2.      Public Relations: Russia promotes crude, bold-faced lies despite proof to the contrary portraying Russia as the savior and protector of ethnic Russians in other sovereign lands as premise for political and military threats, pressures and direct intervention. The signature disinformation moment was the missile attack on the Malaysian airliner. This public relations campaign is run by the state media for the purposes of justifying the situation. It’s like a thug beating someone up in broad daylight screaming, “Please help me stop this fight!”

On the other hand, ISIS presents a smooth, sophisticated, polished public relations campaign with brutally honest updates via social media cleverly packaged for specific target audiences in the Middle East and West serves a recruitment tool. It’s equal opportunity for all if Muslim and Sunni (sectarian specific) reason for foreign fighters who fulfill their manpower requirements (aka cannon fodder) to depict a global struggle. The twisted irony is that though they utilize sophisticated propaganda methods to promote their cause and persuade potential converts, they publicly execute journalists – the signature moment of beheading a Western journalist. It’s a perverse purity of evil.

Ruthless regimes are not crazy. There is, as they say, “a method to their (perceived) madness.” It’s a Twilight Zone of propaganda in which both truth and lies can cut equally deeply and effectively for the purposes of hijacking emotions to create true believers from non-believers.

Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.


Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll get on the "Short List".

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Contact us at:

http://www.indobrazilian.com







Friday, September 5, 2014

Chinese Dragon Lurking

Author: Albert Goldson 

The unfolding events in Ukraine are of intense interest to the Chinese leadership who face similar challenges in their part of the world with respect to perceived Western encroachment and a large Chinese Diaspora near China. Western economic and military offerings of EU and NATO membership to Ukraine are perceived as a serious encroachment into the Russian sphere of influence and buffer zone. This resulted in a not so surprising blowback in the form of the Russian annexation of Crimea and occupation of eastern Ukraine under the convenient guise of protecting its ethnic Russians in those territories. Though this invasion was not conducted by the mighty Soviet military machine of the Cold War, Putin’s willingness to use forceful means to protect his buffer zone is now unquestioned.

Historically there has been a large Chinese diaspora throughout Asia who have suffered pogroms by the indigenous populations in British Malaysia and Indonesia. Ironically during these violent events, China never seriously threatened action to protect or evacuate its ethnic brothers and sisters, perhaps because they were probably seen as traitors to the Motherland, disowned, by living in capitalistic countries. Nowadays China is a capitalistic juggernaut with a need for greater resources to feed a wealthier population. China’s dramatically increased military spending is for the purpose of creating buffers and protective zones like Russia.

The primary differences between China and Russia as to how they handle these encroachments are as follows:


·         First is geography. China’s defense is maritime vs land masses of eastern Europe thus invasion of neighboring countries is all but impossible. However a Chinese naval blockade can be just as effective. Unlike Russia who faces perceived hostile forces mainly to the west, China is almost surrounded by Asian countries: Japan, Korea and the US to the east, India to the west, and Vietnam to the south – a kind of crescent quarantine.

·         Second, Europe has NATO whose charter stipulates an attack on one is an attack on all. There is no NATO-style agreement in Asia, only several recently and hastily formed alliances between Asian countries and the US except for the long-standing US-Japan and US-Taiwan defensive agreements.

Ironically, unlike Russia, because of their huge economy, China is perceived as a greater threat in the 21st century than a militaristic and agrarian society in the 20th century. China is economically globally connected with memberships and participation in a myriad of world organizations and is viewed today as more of a threat when it was economically and politically isolated.

Russia must deal with one organization (NATO) while China must deal with several countries. The advantage goes to China’s ability to weaken their adversaries because there is no collective agreement amongst all the Asian countries, each one having distinct problems, and the US while NATO is one collective unit. Additionally, China’s persistent maritime challenges in the South China Sea including the creation of artificial islands is the Chinese version of establishing a strong presence within the disputed territories of their neighbors who, like Ukraine, do not have a strong military force to dislodge them. To the extent how forcefully the Chinese hold on to their maritime outposts as the Russians hold on to the eastern Ukraine is yet to unfold.

Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.


Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll get on the "Short List".

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Contact us at:

http://www.indobrazilian.com



Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Hidden Trust Fund Luxury Market

Author: Albert Goldson


The media incessantly portrays trust fund kids as the offspring of billionaires and multi-millionaires who race around in Maseratis, dine at Michelin rated eateries, and party at exclusive clubs worldwide thanks to daddy’s platinum or black credit card generally leading the good life “without an apparent day job and no visible means of support.”. Although that may be true, that demographic is significantly larger with respect to a different kind of trust fund kid. The underground trust fund kids represent the hidden luxury market. These are the ones that the media almost never report about who probably work next to you at your job in private industry, in non-profit and even in government.
Indeed this different economic demographic of trust fund kids tend to keep their status on the ‘down-low’ for personal and professional reasons. They’re usually from well-off but not necessarily rich families whose parents have purchased for them, in full, a modest condo in a gentrified neighborhood.
After the residential purchase the young adult is on his/her own with respect to all living expenses: utilities, common charges, food, entertainment, whatever. In other words they have a fully-paid a roof over their heads with mortgage-free ownership.
Of course with this secret cool arrangement (except for close friends - maybe) they can live normal lives without anyone sneering at them for being some snotty trust fund brat thinking he or she is better than they are. They basically want to live a normal social life and not necessarily in the hermetically sealed bubble of truly wealthy trust fund kids whose real-life experiences are stunted. Professionally they don’t want to be passed up for raises or promotions because of their “wealthy” status”. They’re justifiably trying to avoid envy – being a target. They’re financially secure so that their personal and professional stress levels are dramatically reduced with the perk of being of being a non-celebrity.
This is the quiet, underground luxury niche market buyers with zero long-term debt who earn middle class salaries consistently make high-end purchases. Mortgage free is good even if they don’t own a McMansion. Data mining to uncover gold nuggets like these is a worthwhile pursuit for large and specialized luxury goods & services firms. Additionally, this market may be more profitable in the long-term because debt-free buyers can more easily whether economic downturns. A Wall Street numbers cruncher making $300,000 a year may have a crushing mortgage on a $2 million condo. Yet a non-profit trust fund young manager with a more secure job and no debt has more disposable income percentage wise now and in the future. It’s the hidden luxury market of quiet trust fund kids.

Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.

Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll get on the "Short List".

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Contact us at:

http://www.indobrazilian.com


President Obama's Brazilian Doppelganger

Author: Albert Goldson


Political developments in Brazil leading up to the October presidential election are overflowing with Twilight Zone parallels to the events leading to the American presidential elections in 2008.  After a period of explosive economic growth, the Great Recession was enveloping the US economy rapidly that summer.  It featured increased popular discontent particularly with the outrageous upper-level executive salaries and bonuses while millions of workers were being laid off.

Likewise today Brazil is in the midst of a slowing economy which, according to some economic data may already be recession, after a period of strong economic growth that uplifted the poor into the middle class. Brazil’s economic shock was the revelations of gross cost overruns and alleged wide-spread corruption in expenditures for the World Cup which might have been better served for public services followed by its psychologically devastating defeat at home to Germany 7-1 in the World Cup semi-finals.

President Obama and Marina Silva are mixed race orphans from humble beginnings, born a mere three years apart, liberal leaning, former community organizers and professors who were born far from their nation’s capital and political powers in Honolulu and the Amazon Basin respectively.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is of European descent woman and the protege of former president Luiz Inacio da Silva Lula.  She’s from a political dynasty whose grandfather was Tancredo Neves who was appointed president in 1985 but died before taking office. With respect to gender, Latin America female presidents have always been part of a political family dynasty or had a male relative occupy the highest office. In this case, Ms. Silva does not which makes her accomplishment at being one of the top presidential candidates all the more impressive. Ms. Silva formerly held a high governmental position as Environmental Minister (appointed by another Silva – Luiz Inacio da Silva Lula) and is seeking to become Brazil’s first president of color.  Similarly, President Obama went against the Bush family political dynasty and won.

The personal and political parallels extend to the countries themselves. The United States and Brazil have the largest economies in North and South America respectively and are almost geographically equal in size. Both have recently exploited new energy sources, Brazil with off-shore oil and the US through exploitation of fracking technology. Both are former European colonies and immigrant countries with the largest importation of slaves in the hemisphere. Slavery was dominant in USA south, Brazil in the north. Historically the difference is that the US fought a revolutionary war against England and a civil war while Brazil went through more of a legislative transition for independence from Portugal and the abolition of slavery.

Brazil’s non-white population is larger percentage of the total population than that of the US though historically in Brazil there are fewer opportunities for them in education, business and government. Brazil’s handful of non-discriminatory laws is not aggressively enforced compared to those in the US.

As in Obama’s 2008 campaign, Marina Silva’s is riding the wave of enormous discontent of a population fed-up with the current power structure and laggard economy, and who are seeking a profound change. Brazil has a feudal societal structure with a small, all-white elite, a small middle class and large underclass population. Ironically the US is assuming a quasi-feudal structure too with a small, all-white elite, shrinking middle class, and a growing underclass with a comparative gap between rich and poor to Brazil.

Should Marina Silva become Brazil’s president, it would be interesting if she encounters similar perceived ethnic and racial attacks as President Obama, and if so, in what form will they take.  Even in multiethnic and multiracial societies deep hidden prejudices lurk just under the surface and attack viciously when the status quo is challenged and changed.
Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.


Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels specializing in international investment, political and security risk assessments. International business is increasingly complex featuring a highly mobile professional class in all corners of the globe. We provide you the tools to successfully negotiate cross-culturally in your global business endeavors. Tell us about your challenges.  We'll get on the "Short List".

Available for speaking engagements and workshops. Contact us at:

http://www.indobrazilian.com