By Lowell Ponte
This is a time for crossing fingers, fingering crosses, and buying gold in this time of soaring political, economic instability and rising global debt defaults.
The shooting down of a Russian jet, killing or capturing its pilots and then shooting down a Russian rescue helicopter, coming on the heels of Isis downing a Russian airliner with the death of more than 200 on board, puts enormous pressure on Putin to back up his strong man image that is the basis of his popular support as Czar.
Obama should right now be affirming U.S. military support for both NATO member Turkey (we have been using its airfield bordering Syria) and for the Baltics, especially Latvia with its 40 percent ethnic Russian population.
In the wake of Russia's occupation of Crimea, and Russia's downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine with a high altitude SAM, nations such as Moldova on Ukraine's western border and Georgia also need immediate U.S. reassurance….if only for the sake of Ukraine morale and to buck up NATO Europe and our remaining allies.
Thus far President Obama's waffling policies have given allies in the Middle East little reason to trust their future to an alliance with the United States.
Don't be surprised if Russia threatens to step up its arming of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua as well….along with many other moves. Greece is already destabilizing, with its soccer riot this week.
Obama should be ready to counter by renewing pledges of anti-missile defense in right-moving Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
We could also increase our recent quiet hints in the wake of Russia's Crimea move (which dates back to its conquest by Russian Empress Catherine the Great) about putting back into Turkey a modern version of the risky liquid-fueled use-'em-or-lose-'em Jupiter missiles JFK withdrew from Turkey as part of the Cuban Missile Crisis deal with the Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, Russia shows no sign of withdrawing from the Sunni (e.g., Isis) vs.Shiite (e.g., Iran and the government of Iraq) war where Putin has taken the Shiite side and helped Iran's doomsday theocracy to move towards nuclear weapons.
Indeed, wasn't Putin to be in Tehran this week for meetings with Iran's apocalyptic rulers? Russia would look like a paper tiger if it did anything to back out of this situation now.
Putin's grab to take control up to 70 percent of the world's available oil market is costing more than Russia's rulers anticipated.
As we watch, the Middle East is catching fire from a Muslim religious war inside a resource oil war (with the dollar running on a de facto but weakening oil standard) inside a geopolitical and military war and weakening global economy. This is unlikely to end well.
If the crisis sends oil (and gold) prices upwards, Russia could profit dramatically, and so could Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.
ISIS has largely established the territory of a nation-state, essential to its claim to be Islam's new Caliphate, the capital of a new worldwide nation of all Muslims. Ironically, the last such claim ended in 1924 with the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate in Turkey.
This opens many hundreds of potential moves on the global chess board, including the possibility of war between Russia and NATO if Russia strikes back at Turkey.
(Putin was without question violating Turkey's, and hence NATO's, airspace.)
Too bad President Obama's reluctance to seriously arm the Kurds comes not just from Baghdad's fear of their independence, but also from Turkey's fear of a future Kurdistan that would lay claim to a large piece of Turkey's land.
And all this is coming with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle going on duty in the Persian Gulf while American carriers are off for refitting. Even Francois Hollande has more guts than Obama. See our 2015 White Paper "American Engulfed":
Yes, it's time for Wise Men to bring gold this Christmas in case we need to flee into Egypt.
Lowell Ponte is a former think tank futurist and co-author of six books with Craig R. Smith. Their most recent book: WE HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE AND IT LOOKS LIKE BALTIMORE: AMERICAN DREAM VS. PROGRESSIVE DREAM.