Shocking news out of Kiev came out this weekend about the conflict in Eastern Europe. According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Heltey, Russia is prepared to drop nuclear bombs on Ukraine. "The Russian side has threatened on several occasions across unofficial channels that, in the case of continued resistance they are ready to use a tactical nuclear weapon against us," Heltey posted on his facebook page. What this means for the already tense situation in Europe is anyone's guess.
It's no secret that the Global political and financial climates are extremely uncertain. During the period of Ukranian Civil Unrest, European and American Media all but dismissed President Putin's insistence that the West was funding the dissenters and trying to engage Russia in a war by proxy. Whether or not that is true is still up for plenty of debate, but what seems to be all but certain is eventually the United States and NATO will come into direct conflict with Putin in the Ukraine.
Putin has already warned the European Commission that, "If I wanted to, I can take Kiev in two weeks." I don't think anyone in the West doubts that he means exactly what he says. The first term of Obama's presidency proved that Putin will follow through with his plans when left to his own devices.
Economic sanctions imposed by the West are the only form of diplomacy left, but in themselves are acts of aggression and may force Putin to become even more hostile. He's not letting go of Crimea, that conflict is over with, and financial restrictions may force him to sweep Eastern Ukraine - the rise of nationalism for winning a popular war would help quell the pains that economic sanctions will surely bring. How far will Western Europe push Ukraine when they're so reliant on Russian Natural Gas? Would Eastern Ukraine really be worth a freezing winter with no gas to heat the homes of the rich and poor alike? What about Western Ukraine?
The only thing we can be sure about Putin is to expect the unexpected. It's becoming clear that his goal is to restore the might of the Soviet Union, at least in terms of land. He's always hated having NATO on his doorstep, so there's no telling how far West he will push until he feels secure. NATO and Russia are obviously the two largest Nuclear powers in World History. Putin has alarmingly not dismissed the possibility of short to mid-range Nuclear weapons, and it's not hard to envision a scenario where he feels forced to use them, especially if he feels Russian sovereignty is threatened. Will the final straw become having Ukraine join NATO? He seems to have made it clear that he feels Western armies in Ukraine would all but be an act of war.
Instability in Eastern Europe already has precedent for starting the largest wars mankind has ever seen. Nuclear deterrence has worked since World War Two but seems to no longer be the force for peace that it once was. Since the Cuban Missile Crisis, there hasn't been a period of time that has been so close to an armed global conflict.
President Putin has appeared emboldened by the reluctance of United States President Barack Obama to challenge him head-on. There's no telling what will come in the second half of 2014, but predicting further aggression from Russia seems to be a safe bet.
Obviously war in Europe would be a disaster for the Euro, the Dollar, as well as currencies around the globe. Investing in precious metals and gold bullion is going to become more common in the ensuing crisis. The Dow Jones market, which has certainly rebounded, is most likely inflated artificially. Global, or even a large regional conflict, would burst the bubble of our so-called economic recovery, and plunge the market back into recession. Many people with the means have been finding that a self-directed gold IRA is the best choice for their investment needs in these uncertain times. Being diversified and investing in solid assets -such as gold or silver- is a smart play in the upcoming months.