Friday, December 7, 2018

OPEK's Shifting Leadership Dynamics





Albert Goldson CEO Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC provides an insidious compelling trend how Russia as a non-OPEC member is usurping OPEC policies by wielding enormous influence with the soft dictation of production targets and reaping the benefits of the agreements without the responsibility of OPEC membership in the 6 December 2018 article "OPEC's Shifting LeadershipDynamics."



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Unspoken Darker Side of the Khashoggi Affair



The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul has indeed turned it into the 21st version of the movie Casablanca: an illiberal democracy (Turkey) encircled by regional rivalries (Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia) and competing superpowers (US, Russia) with their unique assets specifically, cash, oil, democracies, illiberal democracies and autocracies supported their respective brutish internal security and military intelligence, not to mention the 3.5 million refugees held within Turkey’s borders thanks to generous European financing for care-taking purposes in exchange of, for lack of a better word, “protection money” to keep them there indefinitely to prevent an exodus to Western European countries.

Since Khashoggi’s death the media has focused intensely on the role of the Saudi government. But the question not being asked is why would the Saudi government risk killing a prominent, US-based journalist? Certainly Khashoggi irked the Saudi government with his criticisms of the Saudi leadership as well as close friendship with Turkey’s President Erdogan and his associates.

Turkey is Saudi Arabia’s regional adversary whose policies & practices are diametrically opposite of those with Saudi Arabia’s such as economic support for Qatar during Saudi Arabia’s embargo and political support for the Muslim Brotherhood. One could even argue that Khashoggi’s divorce to a Saudi woman and engagement to a Turkish woman was an ironically symbolic final straw.

It begs the question why the Saudis would utilize outrageously expensive resources in an military-like operation that require approval at the highest levels of government utilizing two private jets flying long-distance carrying a reportedly total of 15 Saudi royal security agents with a 24-hour turnaround time to commit a crime in a sovereign NATO member country with the objective of intercepting a mere journalist, a poet warrior who fights with a pen not a gun.

For sure there are endless other more economical ways to discourage dissents from expressing their view. A case study is the Russian government’s alleged assassinations of dissents outside of Russia which have been quiet, subtle and “professional” a literal poison pen versus the Saudis’ blunt force trauma against a journalist that appears brutish, clumsy and amateurish.

This over-the-top effort begs the question whether there’s something far deeper, sinister than the neutralization of a dissident poet warrior. For decades Khashoggi has been a well-respected, well-liked journalist with an envious depth of extensive connections at the highest corporate and governmental. Although his criticisms of the Saudi government were professionally articulated his superb reputation carried more political far greater weight than some unknown rabid blogger spewing far more aggressive language.

Viewing this scenario from a conspiratorial perspective, which is not a stretch in regions such as the Middle East, is whether one or more of Khashoggi’s contacts or even friendships posed an existential threat to the Saudi leadership. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), has made many enemies amongst the Saudi royal families during his ruthless rise to power and is certainly mindful of being overthrown by high-level disgruntled parties. Perhaps Khashoggi, knowing or unknowingly, is the messenger to these parties whose leader is assuming the role of Claus von Stauffenberg, the infamous German officer who led the plot against the Third Reich leadership under the name Operation Valkeyrie.

For this reason I believe that in some way the Saudi government at the highest levels believed that Jamal Khashoggi was an existential threat to them, not as a journalist, rather as a willing or unwilling active participant in a growing underground movement to overthrow MBS and neutralize a critical go-between like Khashoggi was of the highest priority. It was a situation that required extreme, brutal and immediate action regardless of the public relations fallout.

To find out whether this theory has been mentioned amongst journalist circles I had the opportunity to ask journalist Chris Hayes of the TV program “All In With Chris” who was the moderator of the panel discussion “National Security Journalism in an Age of Disinformation” about this possibility during the question & answer period that took place at NYU School of Law on 22 October 2018. Disappointingly the usually loquacious and verbose Mr. Hayes provided an unusually short response that Khashoggi’s death was the result of nothing more than his dissenting writings of the Saudi government in The Washington Post. Even more surprisingly the rest of the five-person panel consisting of distinguished journalists and one former high-level US government official declined to add to his comment.

As in the movie “Chinatown” (1971), there’s more than meets the eye to a murder when ruthless land baron Noah Cross ominously tells highly seasoned private detective Jake Gittes, “You may think you know what’s going on, but you don’t” to which Mr. Gittes simply smirks thinking that it’s a straight-forward, open and shut murder case of a jealous housewife and her supposedly cheating husband and doesn’t consider the possibility that there’s something far more sinister. Nevertheless the Khashoggi affair may present a huge misdirection that is being played out at the highest geopolitical levels.


Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2018. 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 provide executive coaching, speaking engagements, speechwriting and workshops. Contact us at www.indobrazilian.com


Cosmic Megatrends Are Powering Trump’s 2020 Re-Election



Globally incumbents whether in autocratic or democratic countries have historically been notoriously difficult to dislodge despite high turnover of staff through executions, resignations or scandal depending on the type of government.

One need not engage in any profound research to realize that there are particular historical cycles in which the outcome has already been cosmically pre-ordained. It’s only a question of how it will be reached. In the forensic analysis the facts & figures are simply “backed in” to support and justify the result. There’s no scientific proof or logic to this perspective, merely the universal law of mega-trends.

This projection is not about politics rather about mega-trends seeking a balance which sometimes defy all logic and statistics. Sometimes it seems as if a confluence of events and circumstances conspire to arrive at an outcome as close to inevitable as you can uncomfortably imagine.

In a dramatic shift from the historical norm of presidential profiles, Obama and Trump are outliers. Each was the proverbial bumblebee in its own way scientifically “proven” to be aerodynamically impossible to fly. Yet not only does it fly it thrives and is essential to nature.

Against all odds, Obama got elected to the US presidency despite being as a man of color, whose father was a Muslim, less than a decade after the 9/11 attacks that fueled anti-Muslim sentiment in the US. As a Democrat, he was the forward-looking, inclusive, internationalist, progressive thinking leader during the dawn of a supposedly post-racial society in which a non-Caucasian can achieve the highest office.

Against all odds Trump got elected to the US presidency despite never having held a political office and losing the popular vote by almost 2 million. As a Republican, he is the inward-looking, divisive, nationalist seeking to revert to the country to a segregationist and supposedly happier society that made the country prosperous. Trump achieved the leadership mantle riding the wave of particularly nasty political backlash following Obama’s two-term presidency.

Additionally despite endless scandals and resignations under the current administration, the universe seeks balance. This means facts & figures are mere illusions and that the GOP will not only secure both houses in the upcoming mid-term elections but also secure a second presidential term in 2020.

This cosmic balance is achieved because Obama and Trump are equally unusually powerful disruptors from different sides of the coin.

At the same time Obama and Trump each has several critical commonalities that make them outliers:

·         Uncommon pioneers: person of color and non-politician.
·         Under-estimated because of the more experienced competition within each one’s respective parties for nomination.
·         Unelectable because their victories were thought to be a fluke and would be one-term leaders.
·         Un-re-electable because of unrelenting blowtorch criticism and dissatisfaction during their tenure.

During their campaigns Obama and Trump were each thought of as a short-term diversion as one-term leaders. After they reached the proverbial political mountaintop they were labeled as one-off flukes because of unique circumstances. However during their first term, each one has been surprisingly robust and enduring despite the hyper-aggressive tactics by the political opposition. The reason is each one found the “secret sauce” to enable a second-term victory.

For this reason I believe that Trump will more than likely mirror Obama’s back-to-back two-term duration of leadership. Regardless how many highly qualified candidates the Democrats put forth for the upcoming midterms and further along for the presidential election, Trump and the GOP will prevail simply because of the universe’s insatiable quest for balance and symmetry. Of course nothing is inevitable however this is an unfolding mega-trend that’s as close to a slam dunk as you can imagine.





Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2018. 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 provide executive coaching, speaking engagements, speechwriting and workshops. Contact us at www.indobrazilian.com






Monday, August 13, 2018

Turkey’s Economic Meltdown and Subsequent Global Economic Contagion



Our monitoring of Turkey’s economic erosion began with the April 2017 referendum that put in place (barely) enormous unprecedented executive powers. Since President Erdogan’s June 2018 presidential election win and accompanying political party majority in parliament, he has pursued an unchecked aggressive economic policy that by any economic metric, will inevitably destabilize Turkey’s economy and threaten its political stability.

There are arguments in certain circles that the deteriorating Turkish economy will have a minor impact on world markets and perhaps somewhat higher impact on the emerging market. Indeed Turkey comprises a mere 0.7% weight of the MSCI Emerging Market index. However what makes this situation a potential global contagion is that it’s an ever-growing toxic economic and political stew with the elements of self-made, hyper-aggressive economic policies, high-interlinking relationships with Europe and China, and escalating battle of increased tariffs with the US against the back-drop of higher interest rates, record-breaking global debt and a strong US dollar.

Finally Turkey’s geographical position as the de facto guardian between Europe and the volatile Middle East region, unique among emerging market countries, cannot be under-estimated especially as a long-time and reliable NATO member with the 2nd largest military after the US in the organization protecting the eastern flank. It’s a membership that the Erdogan government may reconsider and utilize as a negotiating leverage with the escalating spat with the US.

Please find below the published articles that discuss these and other pertinent issues that are not covered in many major media outlets:

Published 13 August 2018

Published 6 August 2018

Published 20 June 2018

Published 14 April 2017


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Why Companies Should Be Like Billions’ Axe Capital



Bobby Axelrod plays Damian Lewis, founder and CEO of Axe Capital locate din Westport, CT, the fictitious hedge fund company in the popular TV series “Billions. As the uber alpha male, Axelrod is the 21st century Gordon Gekko in many respects in that “it’s all about the bucks kid. The rest is conversation.”

Like Gekko he came from humble backgrounds. Gekko was a CUNY grad while Axelrod grew up in a blue collar family in Yonkers, NY and graduated from Hofstra University. Both universities are highly regarded in academic circles yet they’re not perceived at or even near the same level as Ivy League or other prestigious private universities. For this reason, despite their respective tremendous successes their Ivy League competition still slight them in a subtle disparagingly way at their so-called inferior educational pedigree. This is why both men are obsessively driven to not only win but completely crush and humiliate their lofty educated competition.

But getting back to Axe Capital, the architectural design of the building is an oxymoron. Axe Capital’s interior is light and airy – practically a large white canvas with few visual distractions to foster greater collaboration, creativity, cross-fertilization and encouragement for a free-flow of energy & information with endless possibilities. Except for the firm’s in-house psychologist whose office justifiably has a solid door for complete privacy, the work spaces are open cubicles. Even Axelrod’s and upper-management’s offices are floor-to-ceiling glass enclosures with floor-to-ceiling glass doors.

However externally the building itself is isolated from everything else – hidden in plain sight, a standalone structure, a gated community within a gated community, essentially an open air corporate inner-sanctum. In other words the only transparency is strictly within the firm, not with the outside world that creates an odd transparent exclusivity.

With respect to Axe Capital personnel, Bobby Axelrod hires whoever gives him the best bang for the buck regardless of race, religion, ethnic background or even gender including non-binary gender as portrayed by actor Asia Kate Dillon Asia Taylor who, by the way, actually is a non-binary gender individual. It goes without saying that Axelrod treats all of them equally ruthlessly, well, because it’s a ruthless business.

In fact he’s attracted to these unconventional types because he himself is an outsider and contrarian, not with a chip on his shoulder, rather a mountain range, another subconscious snub at the establishment and traditional way of doing things in the finance world, even in the cowboy world of hedge funds.

This makes Axelrod the pure capitalist beast by hiring and firing personnel specifically on performance - their performance. One could interpret his humanity when he fired an analyst because of his recommendation to sell a high-risk investment. But when Axelrod decided to hold the investment resulting in a massive loss, he went directly to the analyst and “re-hired” him because it was Axelrod’s final decision, not the analyst’s, that resulted in the loss. This wasn’t an act of humanity rather responsibility which Axelrod accepted immediately and publicly which is what you really want in a leader.

I certainly abhor and vigorously condone Axelrod’s amoral, illegal and other innumerable transgressions and irregular activities for monetary gains. Notwithstanding individuals and firms can certainly gain enormously with respect to Axelrod’s hiring process which is to not only select, rather uncompromisingly and enthusiastically embrace the absolute best which often doesn’t come in standard packaging. To put it bluntly, personnel diversification not only works, it succeeds spectacularly.


Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2018. 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 provide executive coaching, speaking engagements, speechwriting and workshops. Contact us at www.indobrazilian.com