Global showdowns looming over us
As we scan the globe in 2013, we are seeing seismic changes that will have profound effects on the international landscape. Leadership transition and policy realignments are proceeding at breakneck pace, while currency wars and geopolitical tensions are rising to fever pitch. We are heading into uncharted territory. The first major war of the 21st century looms on the horizon.The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has come as a shock, though not totally unexpected. In Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope Is Here, co-authors Tom Horn and Cris Putnam examine St Malachy's "Prophecy of the Popes", which predicts the final pope after Benedict XVI. They base their research on his prophetic vision of the next 112 popes, beginning with Pope Celestine II, who died in 1144, and ending with the final pope - Peter of Rome. The last pontificate will end with the destruction of Rome, or the world as we know it, thereby fulfilling St Malachy's prophecy.
Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana has been widely tipped as the top candidate to become the next and first black pope. In his article "Final Pope Already Running Vatican?" Jerome R Corsi wrote that Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro ("Peter" in English) Evasio Bertone is already running the Vatican. He is currently secretary of state of the Vatican and also chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church. If this is the case, Bertone could be the next pope.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands earlier abdicated after 33 years on the throne in favour of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. There has been speculation that Queen Elizabeth II might also abdicate to pave the way for Prince William to become the next British king. President Barack Obama has won a second term to fortify his presidency, while President Vladimir Putin of Russia has also made a comeback. Xi Jinping of China has emerged as the fifth-generation leader of China, consolidating his power as Communist Party secretary, president and also top military commander.
Shinzo Abe of Japan has made a comeback for a second term, with hawkish policies including an increase in defence spending and a currency war to weaken the yen. North Korea earlier witnessed a leadership transition to the young Kim Jong-un, who has continued with nuclear and rocket tests. South Korea has a new leader, President-elect Park Geun-hye, who promptly warned the North that another nuclear test would spell doom for the communist regime.
Japan's currency war, on the heels of the US Federal Reserve's and the Bank of England's, is a prelude to economic war and social disorder. The pound sterling, the US dollar and the Japanese yen have unleashed hot money upon global financial markets. Venezuela has responded with an outright devaluation by 32 per cent of its bolivar. South Korea, Russia and Germany have complained bitterly about Japan's currency tactics.
Keep an eye on China, which is now pegging its yuan tightly to the US dollar. If China were to enter the currency war by devaluing its currency even further than Japan's, we'll see a repeat of the 1930s when competitive devaluations - started by Britain, which left the Gold Standard - led to global economic recession and eventually the Second World War.
Thai policy-makers are locked in a childish debate over whether to cut interest rates to stem capital inflows. Nobody can foresee the looming crisis that could break the global financial system.
Germany's attempt to reclaim its gold deposited in New York, London and Paris can be seen as another aspect of the currency war. Germany no longer trusts the US, UK or France as custodians of its gold. In the event of the euro's collapse, Germany would leave the euro zone to reprint its mark, backed by its gold holding of 3,400 tonnes.
Other countries are also moving away from Anglo-Saxon global dominance in finance and the US dollar sphere. Russia became the world's largest importer last year. China has also imported massive amounts of gold from Hong Kong. India is hoarding gold en masse. Iran, Turkey and other oil-producing nations are trading oil or other goods for gold. This could signal a move away from the fiat currency regime, dominated by the US dollar, back to the Gold Standard, in which currencies are backed by gold reserves.
Again, Thailand is far behind in preparing for the re-emergence of the Gold Standard, failing to heed the warning of the now deseased Luangta Mahabua, who mobilised gold to stabilise Thai finances in the aftermath of the 1997 financial crisis.
The war in Syria, the West's intervention in Mali, growing tension between China and Japan are geopolitical hotspots. False flags could be raised at any moment and they could lead to physical confrontation or war. The year 2013 is the beginning of a great unravelling. Our destiny cannot be altered as the global players head into the final showdown.