The science or art of predicting outcomes based on known variables is far easier than doing the same with unknown variables. In a global economic environment it is slightly more accurately established based on some predictability between certain macroeconomic knowns such as money supply, inflation, debt, interest rates, commodity price impact, central bank policies, trade flows, and many other fairly well understood and related variables.

Historically, these factors have been intensively studied and especially the aspects of world production versus world trade have been studied for their impact on growth and why the usual symbiotic relationships seem almost like a reversal of predictability during wartime. For me this simply means that I must compare some of these relationships even as I try to determine if we are at war. No nation has recently announced its declaration of war, however there is the implied threat.

Or, if I am tempted to think we are not at war, I feel that is a possible puppet show involving the USA, Russia, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Israel, and China, all of whom seem to have differing strategies that are seemingly independent, but now heading towards a possible focal point of some interdependence. If it is not reality, then at the very least it is using military threat to intimidate for economic and political gains.

So while giants fight, ants (like Jamaica) should be able to craft strategies that would tend to create growth while we are outside of the blinding glare of the spotlight. Instead, we handicap ourselves by having a local gang war that impacts productivity, hours of work, affects local entertainment, and curtails the movement of persons. We must emphasize the external impacts even as we focus on our internal disruptions.

Through no fault of our own oil prices are rising. This will, in turn, push inflation and the price of goods; it will force a re-look of wages; it will impact interest rates; and it may curtail or increase the demand for specific materials such as aluminum and steel (prime components in construction worldwide).

We are and will continue to be pushed to take sides in a complex geopolitical struggle, and as a result may face sanctions in one form or another depending on our choices. In addition to economic impact, the Palestinian/Israeli new hostilities present a moral dilemma for our position in the United Nations.

We may not be able to play our non-aligned card for much longer and any stand we take will be costly. I do recommend taking the moral high ground but that has its own consequences for trade and aid, but then we survived apartheid.

There is much to think about as we plan our own strategies in the face of a volatile and unpredictable President Trump. I confess that every time I see any connecting pathway in his thoughts, within two days I have to wheel and come again. But his presence and influence cannot be denied, and his eventual goals are far from benign. He is a clear and present danger/asset depending on the time of day, but to ignore him is a very dangerous strategy. Ozzie Newsome Jersey

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