As a real estate person youprobably think, I am operating here in the US and the geopoliticalissues don't really affect me, or at least not negatively. Lastweek Putin consolidated his effective leverage over Ukraine andRussia kidnapped a Estonian police official. Step one to beginpressure on Estonia. Israel and Egypt are not finished in Gaza.That has a long way to go. Israel stopped only because it wasstarting to run short of ammunition and Iron Dome rockets and Obamarefused to provide the needed back up. China continued to exert itsinfluence over the South China Sea, and its confrontations withthose countries. Iran continued to drag the nuclear talks to a nondeal in a few weeks and will lever Obama to extend again inexchange for help with ISIS, thereby allowing Iran to continue itsprogress to a bomb. ISIS beheaded a Brit and had time to readjustits forces while Obama diddles and does nothing but talk. Libya isin full civil war. Europe teeters on the edge of a new recession,with Italy already there. Obama essentially was turned down by theArab and European countries when he asked for their joining thefight against terrorists. Only Syria said, sure, go ahead and wipethem out. And in summing up all of this, the Pope, of all people,said we are now in the piecemeal stages of WWIII. Just reflect onthat for a moment. The Pope. The man of peace warning the world toact. Stating it is OK with God to attack ISIS. And you think youcan just sit back and ignore all of this.

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The western world is currentlyleaderless. Obama diddles in incompetence. Merkel is afraid to doanything because Russia can shut off the gas. The UK politics aresuch that Cameron is sounding strong but really doing not much.France is burdened with a bad economy and continual changes in thecabinet. There is no Regan Bush, Churchill or Thatcher. Nobody who has the brass to do what is right as aleader and defy the political pressures. There is no MaggieThatcher to do what is needed regardless of the politics. In July2007, Bush gave a speech defending his surge decision against hugepressures to pull out, and in that speech he detailed exactly whatwould happen if we did not pursue the surge, and if we pulled outearlier than the commanders advised. Everything bad he predictedwould happen if we pulled out as Obama ordered, hashappened.

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So why should you care. Because theblack swans have taken over now and there is no hunter to killthem. America will not be able to just go on as it had after 9-11,ignoring the wars. No more fantasizing that Putin was a proper lawabiding leader. No more making believe the US can withdraw from theMideast and let the Muslims kill each other. Their intent is tokill all of us. This is the modern day version of the crusades.Muslims vs Judeo Christian beliefs. It has not changed in athousand years. Go read a description of the crusades and see howsimilar it is, and in the exact same geography.

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The US, and especially Europe, willnot get away with business as usual this time. The Pentagon haswarned Obama that the defense cuts have made it impossible for themilitary to carry out all of the missions required now to fullydefend the US and US interests abroad. He has ignored them onceagain. This is how things go from bad to worse historically. Afterwars the US disarms and then the bad guys ramp up and we are caughtleft to catch up. That is where we are today. Exactly as it was in1914, 1941, and 1950. The result is there will be many more badthings happening over the next two years. There couldbe disruptions in the world economy. There could be periodicdisruptions in capital markets in Europe. In the end there will bea major military war in the Mideast before this is over. This willgo on for several years, and it will get much worse until the USbuilds its forces and gets fully engaged again. China will takeadvantage and push the envelope in Southeast Asia. Putin will pushthe envelope in the Balkins.

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The world is going to get a lotuglier now, and Obama does not have the competence, nor experiencedadvisors to deal with it. Ben Rhodes was a creative writing majorin school and worked as a political speechwriter. Susan Rice hasproven to be just a political hack. Kerry is totallyineffective. If youthink none of this will matter over the next few years to yourbusiness, I suggest you go reread your history books. When the Popesays we are now engaged in WWIII, you better pay attention. Myblack swans are now arrived in force.

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Joel Ross

Joel Ross began his career in Wall St as an investment banker in 1965, handling corporate advisory matters for a variety of clients. During the seventies he was CEO of North American operations for a UK based conglomerate, and sat on the parent company board. In 1981, he began his own firm handling leveraged buyouts, investment banking and real estate financing. In 1984 Ross began providing investment banking services and arranging financing for real estate transactions with his own firm, Ross Properties, Inc. In 1993 Ross and a partner, Lexington Mortgage, created the first Wall St hotel CMBS program in conjunction with Nomura. They went on to develop a similar CMBS program for another major Wall St investment bank and for five leading hotel companies. Lexington, in partnership with Mr. Ross established a hotel mortgage bank table funded by an investment bank, and making all CMBS hotel loans on their behalf. In 1999 he formed Citadel Realty Advisors as a successor to Ross Properties Corp., focusing on real estate investment banking in the US, UK and Paris. He has closed over $3.0 billion of financings for office, hotel, retail, land and multifamily projects. Ross is also a founder of Market Street Investors, a brownfield land development company, and has been involved in the acquisition of notes on defaulted loans and various REO assets in conjunction with several major investors. Ross was an adjunct professor in the graduate program at the NYU Hotel School. He is a member of Urban Land Institute and was a member of the leadership of his ULI council. In 1999, he conceived and co-authored with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Hotel Mortgage Performance Report, a major study of hotel mortgage default rates.