US withdraws from the United Nations Human Rights Council Today

Michael Berookim did not write this blog post and the content within this article does not express his views on the topic.

Today, the United States U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the United States is withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. While this move apparently was in the works- after 17 months of participation by the United States, Nikki Haley announced that the council is composed of human rights abusers and political bias. Not to mention, many anti-Israel policies.

A senior USA official claimed that they had given the council one year to reform itself but it failed to do so. Human rights abusers like Venezuela and Cuba and other countries like China, Egypt, and Russia undermine the United States’ reform efforts. The official also claimed that these countries passed resolutions against Israel more so than against 3 other tyrannical countries combined like Iran, Syria and North Korea.

The official claimed countries like China, Egypt and Russia worked to undermine U.S. reform efforts, and that the council has passed more resolutions this year condemning Israel than Iran, Syria and North Korea combined. The United States says it would rejoin the Council at a future date if reforms and changes are made.

Time will tell if this was a smart, diplomatic move on the part of the United States. The intention of not lending the council credibility may prove fruitful one day.

Trump Cancels Summit Meeting with North Korea

Michael Berookim did not write this blog post and the content within this article does not express his views on the topic.

In the latest string of events in the past few weeks, including the meeting of South Korea’s President and President Trump at the White House,
Donald Trump called off the summit meeting set for June 12th in Singapore with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. In a letter addressed to the North Korean leader, President Trump withdrew from the Summit in a kind yet stern way. President Trump left the door open by welcoming the North Korean leader to write him or call. In his letter, which is said to have been dictated by the President himself, he mentions that this was sadly a missed opportunity but left the possibility of a future summit at a later date open depending on whether there is constructive action and dialogue coming from North Korea. The United States sent a team to Singapore to make preparations for the Summit where they were not met or received as no North Korean team was sent to prepare for the Summit. President’s Trump’s actions were allegedly based on a culmination of these events and lack of dialogue with North Korea over the past few weeks.

North Korea was infuriated by comments made by President Trump’s National Security Adviser and Vice President Mike Pence regarding the comparison to Libya’s past leader Muammar Gaddafi, who gave up nuclear weapons and then was brutally murdered. In response, a North Korea representative foreign vice minister issued a statement yesterday calling Mike Pence a “political dummy.”

North Korea obliterated three of its nuclear sites this morning claiming to be acting in good faith. North Korea is taking the position they are surprised by President Trump’s calling off the summit. We will look to the future to see whether another summit will be scheduled to take place. In the meantime, we hope that President Trump’s actions prove to be fruitful in future diplomatic relations and are a successful version of his “Art of the Deal.”

Venezuela’s Re-Election of President Nicolas Maduro

Michael Berookim did not write this blog post and the content within this article does not express his views on the topic.

In light of the recent Venezuelan re-election of President Nicolas Maduro’s that took place this past Sunday, many commentators including Vice President Mike Pence are calling the election a sham. The election gives President Maduro another 6 years in office. In recent weeks, President Maduro expelled two American diplomats. In response, President Donald Trump expelled two Venezuelan diplomats and were instructed by the State Department to leave the United States within 48 hours.

The international community is weighing in on the recent election in Venezuela and considering pulling its ambassadors from the country’s capital, Caracas. We will have to wait and see how diplomatic relations continue to assemble or dissolve between the United States and Venezuela over the next few weeks.

President Trump Welcomed France’s President Emmanuel Macron at White House

This blog post was not written by Michael Berookim and does not reflect the opinions of Michael Berookim.

President Trump’s alliance meeting today with French President Emmanuel Macron went seemingly well. The French President and his wife were welcomed by approximately five hundred US Military members as well as a 21 gun salute.

On Tuesday night, the White House hosted a State Dinner. The two world leaders discussed three primary topics during their meeting: the Iran Nuclear deal, the denuclearization of North Korea and the crisis in Syria.

President Trump was able to sway the French President away from his prior position that the Iran Nuclear deal should remain intact. Mr. Macron also supports a new deal should be forged with Iran, which is in alignment and consistent with the White House’s position on the topic.

As to the issue of the chemical weapons in Syria- the bases which were attacked with the help of US allies- France and Britain- was a successful strike against Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime. It seems President Macron was able to sway President Trump to leave a footprint behind in Syria to ensure the situation does not worsen- by leaving troops behind although Mr. Trump wanted to leave Syria sooner.

The France-USA alliance is positive and strong which will hopefully forge ahead to tackle difficult world issues.

China’s Richest Inventor

This blog post was not written by Michael Berookim and does not reflect the opinions of Michael Berookim.

A co-founder of a Chinese social network and internet company that has produced a popular app, WeChat, as well as numerous video games, has been named as China’s richest person. According to the wealth research firm Hurun Report in Shanghai, the CEO of Tencent, Ma Huateng, saw his wealth double in the past year to reach $47 billion. In that same time, shares in his company have increased over 100 percent.

Although Tencent, valued at $540 billion, is now worth more than Facebook, Ma’s wealth still lags behind that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Hurun places Zuckerberg’s $79 billion fortune in fourth place behind Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

The number of very wealthy people in China is skyrocketing, with roughly four people per week moving into that category over the last year for a total of more than 200 new billionaires. Ma knocked Hui Ka Yan, a Chinese real estate billionaire worth $41 billion, from the top spot. Hui is the top shareholder and the chairman of Evergrande, a property developer, and shares in that company over the past year have increased more than 300 percent.

In all, while Americans may occupy the top wealth positions according to Hurun, China has 50 percent more billionaires than the United States with a total of more than 800. Hurun Report’s chief researcher and chairman attributes this growth to a booming tech industry in China. According to him, many young people are starting businesses in that environment. Ma got a degree in computer science from Shenzhen University in 1993 and got his start in the pager business.

The positions are volatile ones. Two years ago, Wang Jianlin, the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, was the richest man in China, but he has since slipped to eighth place as his worth has dropped to $10 billion from $27 billion. China’s fourth richest man, Jack Ma, is the founder of Alibaba, and he has seen his worth increase to $32 billion over the past year, a total of 10 percent higher than the previous year. However, global stock markets experienced a turbulent February, and Hurun’s Global Rich List only covers the period through the end of January.

The Geopolitics of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

This blog post was not written by Michael Berookim and it does not reflect the opinions of Michael Berookim.

Digital currency is new to the currency market. The well-known names include Ethereum, Bitcoin, and more than 30 others and counting. Today, the world economies have a Fiat Currency regime. Fiat currency is money that a government declares by its laws to be good and legal tender, and it is not backed by a promise to deliver gold or some other hard currency or precious metal.

Fiat money then is like a commodity, and we can discuss money supply. Inflation is an excess of money. It is more than just higher prices which is a symptom and not a cause. Nations require acceptance of their currency. Bitcoin has no government guarantees. It is a creature of a peer-to-peer system, not law or bank agreements.

While Bitcoin has a definite supply limit, the Internet currency has uncontrolled volatility, and it cannot be a reliable unit of account. Bitcoin rises and falls with demand; in 2017, the value increased more than 40-fold. The simple reason for this pattern appears to be that Bitcoin behaves like money supply. It responds to demand but with enough lag time for Bitcoin earnings and returns that attract new investors.

The main driver is in China, and Beijing is the leading digital marketplace. Going back to 2015, China accounted for more than 75 percent of Bitcoin trades. Currently, the top 25 percent of the exchanges trade cryptocurrency primarily in yuan.

The Yuan and Bitcoin move in opposite directions. Many China residents take profits in Bitcoin to avoid government controls. As the Yuan depreciates because of capital flight, the Bitcoin is a frequent method for conversion of the Yuan. Based on all the circumstances, there is a question. Is the use of e-currency a type of attack on the China economy.

Tax Cuts

This blog post was not written by Michael Berookim and does not reflect the opinions of Michael Berookim.

In an updated economic forecast presented at the recent World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that it anticipates global economic growth of 3.9 percent through 2019. This is an increase from the 3.7 percent forecasted in October 2017.

The IMF based its updated growth forecast, in part, on the recent Trump administration tax cuts, which it believes will benefit U.S. trade partners that provide raw materials, goods, and machinery to the United States.

The IMF also updated its forecast for U.S. domestic economic growth from 2.3 percent to 2.7 percent for 2018. The forecast for 2019 was also upgraded from 1.9 percent to 2.5 percent for 2019. Starting in 2022, the IMF predicts that U.S. economic growth will be lower than previously forecasted as the next administration attempts to reduce the deficit and the temporary tax write-offs for business investments expire.

The continued upswing in the global economy that started in 2016 also contributed to the upgraded forecast. The economic growth of 120 countries was higher than expected in 2017. In addition to the United States, economic growth was especially strong in Japan, Germany, Korea, Brazil, South Africa, and China.