Musings on Investing

Trump: End of the International Order?

Nameson Holdings, etc.

Trump recently killed Qasem Soleimani. Some people are blaming Trump for having compromised the international order.

Irrespective of the merit of what Trump did, those who think he has compromised the international order lack an understanding of how the world works.

There is no international order. There has never been one. From the time of William Wilberforce (or as my Misesean friend, Dr Madhusudan Raj says, “from the time of the treaty of Westphalia”), the international order is nothing but, in the past, the fear of the UK, and in the modern times, the fear of the US.

Forget the international order; the reason Africans haven’t culled all of each other is that their leaders fear eventual justice from the US. The reason China never lined up Tibetans or Uighur and shot them is because of the fear of the US. If Japan, Korea, and Taiwan are sane, it is because of the US. If Kosovo and Chechnya still exist, it is because of the US.

If there are still minorities left in Pakistan (who are forcefully converted to Islam and women kidnapped, raped, and then married off to the rapists), it is because of the fear of the US. And, yes, those who think India is a democracy because of the democratic instincts of Indians have no clue about the reality. India is democratic because anyone too ambitious knows that the US would hold him accountable.

Muslims, who blame the US for everything, have no clue that the reason >95% of them are alive is because of the US. Despite the collateral losses, the US maintains relative peace in the Middle East, where a hundred times more people are killed by those within the Ummah than by the US.

So, no, there is no international order. There is merely the fear of the US. Is this order perfect? Not by any measure, but the virtue-signaling societies, cults, and the Third World nations would fall like a house of cards without the US.

My only complaint is that the US, by not letting the Third World (comprising of 4.5 billion people) fall into forever-warring tribes, has merely postponed the inevitable and has made the future much worse. Malthus and Darwin will eventually get an upper hand. Hundreds of millions in the Third World will perish.

I recently talked with Maurice Jackson about how the so-called virtues of education, democracy, and prosperity are doing no good:

On Investments…

Cory Fleck and I talked about Maritime Resources (MAE; C$0.075), O3 Mining (OIII; C$2.80), and Core Gold (CGLD; C$0.22) in the linked discussion.

Core Gold (CGLD; C$0.22) has a hostile takeover offer, which currently gives it >100% upside. I have tendered my shares in favor of the takeover. If you favor the takeover, you must decide by 13 January 2020. If you are a US resident, you will not get shares of the acquiring company. Your shares will be sold. If you live in other countries, and if you own CGLD shares and tender your shares, be sure to check with your broker if they can sell your converted shares and if the commission would be reasonable. I prefer using Interactive Brokers for such trades, as my converted shares are then immediately tradable on ASX. Interactive Brokers charges a minuscule commission for trades made on ASX.

In the last musings, I wrote some thoughts on Hong Kong. During my last trip, I met Nameson Holdings (HK:1982; HK$0.55). They manufacture clothes for several well-known brands. Their share price has suffered because of a merger they did with a private company owned by the management—the market did not like the conflict of interest, and moreover, the Goodwill of the merger had to be written down. Nameson share price also suffered because of the US-China trade war. In my view, the trade war will have minimal effect on Nameson, as they have manufacturing operations in Vietnam and are constructing one in Myanmar. Because of rising wages, clothes manufacturing is moving out of China anyway. Nameson’s P/E is ~3.5, and dividend yield is ~7%. ROE for 2020 in my view will be >15%, when PB is 0.62. I see a very good upside going forward.

Warm regards,

Jayant Bhandari

Associate: Rajni Bala

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