As I sit at my office desk, in midsummer 2014, going through the last chapter of the manuscript and responding to all of Terry Coxon's comments and edits, I wonder how many wrong turns I might have left uncorrected but for the attention Terry and other members of the Casey Research team have given the project.
When Doug Casey, the founder of Casey Research, broached the idea of writing about my theories of the Colder War, I was reluctant. I'm much more of an investment analyst than a writer, and I've never felt a yearning to see my work sitting on a bookshelf. But Doug persisted, and when I took up his idea of writing the book, he responded with advice that helped make it what its first reviewer termed "such a good read."
The support and guidance I received from Doug's partner, Olivier Garret, the CEO of Casey Research, were critical to making The Colder War happen, and to making it happen well. Olivier believed in the concepts and ideas I've been sharing with Casey Research subscribers for most of the past 10 years, and he saw the value in assembling the core of those ideas into a book for a wider audience. Without Olivier, the group of funds I manage would never have happened, and together we have been able to deliver to our shareholders some of the best returns in the sector over the past five years, beating our comparable index by over 600 percent.
Doug Hornig and Terry Coxon both were prime movers in the evolution of The Colder War, and they deserve much credit for any success it enjoys. Doug Hornig worked tirelessly to organize my early jumble of notes and jottings, to identify and hunt down needed details, and, most important, to impose some literary discipline on the technical topics— material that for me is music, but for most readers just isn't. Terry Coxon, as you may notice as you read the book, is an exceptional editor; he did much to streamline the story and ease its flow from the first page to the last.
I've been fortunate to find a career I love and that has invited me to travel the world many times over—and doubly fortunate for the friends and colleagues who've greeted me along the way. Jim O'Rourke, a member of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, and Rick Rule of Sprott Global have been generous mentors who for many years have shared their knowledge and experience. David Galland, of Casey Research, gave me a platform to excel at what I most enjoy, which is finding the best resource investments around the world.
My parents came to Canada with nothing but a dream of a better life for their kids than they had experienced growing up under the communist regime of Yugoslavia. I can never thank you enough. My appetite for work came from watching the two of you work to live out that dream. And to my brothers, Jad and Karlo, who nurtured my competitive, never-give-up attitude in the uncompromising way only big brothers can, thank you.
It is my brilliant and beautiful wife, Marina, whom I must thank the most. Her support and undying love carry me in all I do.
Marin Katusa Vancouver, British Columbia, 2014
The End of the Lost Decade
I am going to tell you a story you'll wish weren't true. Sometime soon, likely in the next five years or so, there is going to be an emergency meeting in the White House Situation Room. It probably will start in the wee hours of the morning, when the early risers among Europe's oil traders and currency speculators have already begun to scramble out of the way of what's coming. None of the worried participants in that meeting will have a good solution to propose, because there will be no way for the United States to turn without embracing calamity of one kind or another.
The president will listen as his closest advisers lay out the dilemma. After a long silence, he will say, "You're telling me that everything— everything—is coming unglued."
He'll be right. At that point, there will be no good options, only less awful ones.
Don't count on the wise and worldly who occupy the highest echelons of government power to know what they are doing when they sit in that meeting. Solving the puzzle of what to do will fall to the same kind of people who today are standing by and letting disaster build.
Some of them just don't know any better. They see all of mankind's turmoil as cartoonlike conflicts between white hats and black hats. Others know that reality is more complex, but it's so easy, and often politically convenient, to let everything boil down to good guys battling bad guys.
For years, political power players in the United States have joined their media allies in portraying Vladimir Putin as a coarse bully, a leftover from the KGB, a ruthless homophobic thug, a preening would-be Napoleon who worships men of action—especially himself. Even Hillary Clinton, who should know better, likened him to Hitler.
The ruthless part is quite real, but there is so much more to the truth. Eve been studying Putin's moves for as long as Eve immersed myself in analyzing world energy markets—which at this point is a long time. He's a complicated man whom Americans have been viewing through the simplifying lens their leaders like to hold up. He is less of an ogre but far more dangerous than politicians and the media would lead you to believe.
It has been a terrible mistake for Washington's political circles to dismiss him for so many years as just a hustler temporarily running a country, to cast him as a shooting star destined to flame out in the unforgiving world of Russian politics. It has been to his advantage that short people tend not to be taken seriously, even if, like Putin, they are martial arts champions and have a chiseled physique to display at age 62. And his less than dignified moments posing as He-Man have played into our readiness to treat him more as a clown than as a dangerous competitor.
But Washington should never have thought of him as a Cold War relic, any more than it should have thought of Russia as a once-lion like country that had devolved into a goat. It should have seen that Putin has a long-range plan for Mother Russia—a map covering decades, not the four-year election cycles that dominate the attention of U.S. politicians—and both the vision and the resources to make the plan work. For 15 years, Putin has been formulating, bankrolling, and directing Cold War: The Sequel. Or, as I like to term it, the Colder War. He's in it to win it.
And the way he plans to win it isn't through the sword, but through control of the world's energy supplies.
There's no undoing the U.S. government's failures to date. What I can do now is tell you the true story of the Colder War. I can trace the connections of world events you've read about and that only seemed unrelated. I can explain why Putin does what he does, so that you can anticipate what he's likely to do next. I can show you the world-changing power shift that is little recognized even though it is unfolding in plain sight, right before our eyes.
It's all about energy—oil, gas, coal, uranium, hydroelectric power. Today, when you're talking about energy, you're talking about Putin. And vice versa.
Energy is what makes the world go round. For most of the past 60 years, the United States has prospered, largely because it has dominated the energy market but also because it issues the currency in which energy and other resources are traded—a nice monopoly to have. The United States has been top dog for so long, it's a shock to imagine how things might be different.
Slowly but surely, however, U.S. strength has been ebbing as Putin positions himself for the final push. While the United States dithers over green energy, Russia has a Putin in its tank.